OTRCAT Suspense

Thriller tales (1940 -1962): Excellent Mystery Drama with an all-star cast including:

Jimmy Stewart
Jimmy Stewart
Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly
Charles Ruggles
Charles Ruggles
Alice Frost
Alice Frost
Jack Webb
Jack Webb
Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Alan Ladd
Alan Ladd
Dane Clark
Dane Clark
Cary Grant
Cary Grant
Susan Hayward
Susan Hayward

Suspense is one of the classics of old time radio. Some fans have special favorites in the thriller/chiller/macabre genre, but all will agree that Suspense did it best. The guiding light of this show was William Spier, who developed the formula into a human drama that attracted the finest of Hollywood’s elite as well as the cream of radio’s great actors.

Suspense AdOrson Welles was in many episodes, and Cary Grant was quoted in 1943, “If I ever do any more radio work, I want to it on Suspense, where I get a good chance to act.” Spier’s method with his show’s stars was to keep them under-rehearsed, somewhat uneasy. In Suspense, as it were. He got great performances, and the show gained greater and greater popularity.

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The Roma Wine sponsorship in 1943 allowed the show to create works that are a lasting part of the old time radio entertainment experience. All the production values were first class. The great Bernard Hermann did the musical scores. He previously had worked with Orson Welles in his Mercury Theater series, and went on to do of Alfred Hitchcock film fame. Lucian Moraweck did many of the greatest episode scores.

Agnes Moorehead performing the famous script, 'Sorry Wrong Number'The “Man in Black” is your host, reminding one of the many thriller show presenters, but Suspensewas the best of the bunch, and never did the show lapse into over-the-top melodrama. William Spier was so deft in his weaving of the spell of Suspense, he was dubbed “the Hitchcock of the airwaves.”

Through the years, various directors were enlisted to create the show. Anton Leader directed in the late 40s, and Norman Macdonnell, producer/developer of The Adventures of Phillip Marlowe and Gunsmoke did stints in the 50s. William M. Robson, another radio great known for his writer/director credentials, finished the series in Hollywood in the late 50s, but the show continued from New York with radio’s best actors under the production/direction of Bruno Zirato, Jr.

“Radio’s outstanding theater of thrills” was just that. It was not a show about crime or detection like many others, nor was it a melodramatic horror show. In quality and tone, it’s closest rival was Escape. Throughout its long run, Suspensewas dedicated to the excellent script in which a normal person becomes involved in a situation that becomes beyond control. As the intro said, “We invite you to enjoy stories that keep you in …. SUSPENSE!

SUSPENSE also stars:
Agnes Moorehead
Agnes Moorehead
Charles Laughton
Charles Laughton
Eve Arden
Eve Arden
Rita Hayworth
Rita Hayworth
Peter Lorre
Peter Lorre
Vincent Price
Vincent Price
William Conrad
William Conrad
Loretta Young
Loretta Young
and many, many more!

For other similar series see also Dark FantasyEscapeInner SanctumAdventures by MorseLights OutMysterious TravelerMystery in the AirThe Whistler, and Weird Circle. See also the compiled collection, Best of Suspense, which includes some of OTRCAT’s favorite episodes from this epic series.

(Source = OTRCAT Suspense)

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