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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Suspense Sundays (20)

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
"Now let's see... Suspect... Suspectant... Suspend... Ah here we are, Suspense.  The condition of mental uncertainty usually accompanied by apprehension or anxiety.  Fear of something that is about to occur, as 'Do not keep me any longer in SUSPENSE.'"

Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962, claiming to be "radio's outstanding theater of thrills."  I have a fondness for "Old Time Radio" as we call it now, and Suspense is my favorite show.  It sets up weird, dark, scary, or intriguing stories with a plot twist in the end, and all in half an hour.  I love the old-fashion story-telling and I thought it would be fun to give a short review of an episode every Sunday.  




"Devil in the Summer House"
Air date: November 3, 1942
Starring Martin Gabel
Joe Parker, attorney, and Captain Burke, homicide detective meet unexpectedly at a summer house where 25 years earlier Major Kenyon committed suicide. After all this time Joe Parker has received a letter from someone who died years earlier, telling him to look in a certain drawer to find the answer to the death of Kenyon. Burke is there on official business, with his own suspicions about the death. Parker takes us flashback style to that fateful day when Kenyon was alone in the summer house and Parker was talking with Mrs. Kenyon. It seems the Major was a flirt and caused Mrs. Kenyon grief, especially with the new girl he seemed to be paying attention to. Later, when Mrs. Kenyon goes to check on her husband she finds him dead, shot through the head. It was called a suicide and Mrs. Kenyon died a year later. So why did Joe Parker receive a letter from her 25 years later?

This is a simple mystery story with a great double-backing twist. It seems like the thing is solved, and then Captain Burke interjects with the real solution. It would have been nicer to have those steps in between the false solution and the realization of the real solution better delineated, but with a half hour program it was probably impossible. However, it was an interesting and unexpected solution.

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4 comments:

  1. Hi Charlene, I'm not kidding you, I too love old time radio. Got it in high school and recently re-discovered old episodes through the internet. Been working my way through "The Whistler" episodes. I also love "The Shadow" and "Suspense." I'm gonna listen to "Devil in the Summer House" and then read through your review!

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    1. Wow, same for me- I first came across old time radio during high school on some obscure AM station. I used to listen to The Whistler and The Shadow too! The suspense/mystery ones were always my fave. There was a science fiction one called X Minus 1 that I used to enjoy as well. Thanks for commenting, and I hope you enjoy the episode!

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  2. Well, I listened to the episode last night. I enjoyed it, but also found the extra twist at the end a little too much. Great review!

    (X minus 1 is definitely another favourite. So interesting to read science fiction set, for example, in the futuristic 1990s, from a 1940s perspective!)

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    1. Thank you! Hee, that twist does come without any warning! I haven't heard X Minus 1 is such a long time, I'm going to look some episodes up - I don't think I had the idea to really think about how the 1940s imagined what the future would be like when I listened to it in high school.

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