Encyclopedia > Suspense

  Article Content

Suspense

One of the premier programs of the Golden Age of Radio (now known as old-time radio), Suspense advertised itself as "radio's oustanding theater of thrills" and was heard in one form or another from 1942 through 1962.

Suspense went through several major phases, characterized by its hosts, sponsors and director/producers; programs from all phases survive today in high quality audio. Alfred Hitchcock directed the audition show on a 1940 program call Forecast, which starred Herbert Marshall. In the early phase, the program was hosted by "The Man In Black" (played by Joseph Kearns or Ted Osborne) and many episodes written or adapted by the prominent mystery author John Dickson Carr.

The sponsor became Roma Wines and then Autolite; eventually Harlow Wilcox (of Fibber McGee and Molly) became the pitchman. William Spier, William N. Robson, and Anton M. Leader all produced superior programs of drama and suspense. The heyday was in the early 1950s, when the great radio actor, producer and director Elliott Lewis took over (still during the Wilcox/Autolite run). Here the material became even more pointed and personal drama, and yet even more expansive; the writing was taut, and the casting, which had always been a strong point of the series (featuring famous dramatic stars like Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton[?], Henry Fonda, Humphrey Bogart, Ronald Colman, Cary Grant and many others), took an unexpected turn when Lewis expanded the repertory to include many of radio's famous drama and comedy stars as well, and the use of such familiar and practiced radio personae as Jack Benny and Jim and June Jordan (aka Fibber McGee and Molly). All aspects of the show were of the highest production values, and many of the shows retain their power to grip, entertain and move.

Among the most famous episodes of Suspense is "Sorry, Wrong Number," later adapted into a movie, written by the premier radio writer Lucille Fletcher, in which a blind woman (played by veteran radio actor Agnes Moorehead) is terrorized as she talks to a phone operator. But there are literally hundreds of extant episodes of equal or greater dramatic force.



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Etruscan language

... L /r/ letter: R /m/ M /n/ N Rix also postulates several syllabic consonants, namely /l, r, m, n/ and palatal /l, r, n/ as well as a labiovelar spirant. The ...