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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Suspense Sundays (157) Life Ends at Midnight

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962.  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.  For Suspense Sundays I'll give a short review of an episode.

"Life Ends at Midnight"
Air date: May 8 1948
Starring Fay Bainter and Tony Barrett
>>Episodes here<<

Walter comes to visit his mother - because he's in a bind and he needs to a lot of money to get him out of it.  His mother is distressed though because all of her savings went to paying his jail bond the last time he was in trouble.  Walter is very threatening, until a lodger - old Mr. Chalmers - shows up to say hello to Walter's mother, and also to tell her how he just lost his nephew unexpectedly and now doesn't have anyone to leave his life insurance money to (convenient!!).  Obviously now Walter has a plan...

Wow, this was a disturbing episode in many ways.  First Walter is an awful person, and his mother should not put up with him in any way.  And then the cold-blooded planning of Mr. Chalmers murder is outrageous, and I'm shocked that Walter's mother couldn't even put a little more force in her protestations.  However, it's very telling what kind of relationship he has with his mother, when there is a scene where you can hear he slaps her around - and it's awful!  I would have thought that would be too much to hear on the radio in 1948, it's quite distressing to think of a son beating up on his mother.  There is one very interesting scene for me though, when Walter sweet talks/cons Mr. Chalmers into making his mother a beneficiary of the life insurance policy.  He's unfortunately very good at conning people.  Obviously there is a ironic twist to this episode and it is ENTIRELY satisfactory given how dreadful a character Walter is!

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