Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year on Old Time Radio - The 32nd of December on Suspense (1958)

After working on highlighting Christmas Old Time Radio episodes for the month, I thought I would close out the year with a few focused on New Year's Eve.  In the new year, I will try to get one entry out a week - maybe two.  I am going to be working on some series with lighthouses and baseball as themes, probably something related to African-American History Month as well in February.  As you all know by now, I do love listening to Old Time Radio and enjoy that it is available on XM 82 and many resources via the Internet.

This is an appropriate recording for New Year's Day 2015.  Unless it really is the 32nd of December! To celebrate the new year, there is a great episode of Suspense that I would like to share.  Suspense is one of the most famous radio series that ran from 1942 to 1962.  It was one of the last regular series that was being broadcast in the early 1960s.  In many ways, Suspense was the 'gold standard' of radio mysteries.  It was self-described as "radio's outstanding theater of thrills, well calculated to keep you in SUSPENSE."  I will be writing about this great series throughout the year.

CBS Columbia Square (Hollywood, Los Angeles, California) - October 31, 2013

Columbia Square (Hollywood, California)
The Home of CBS Radio in the Golden Age (taken in October 2013)

The episode I want to share is  "The Thirty-Second Of December."  This was broadcast on Sunday December 28, 1958.  Interestingly, that was the same day that the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts played The 1958 National Football League Championship Game at Yankee Stadium.  It is long considered the "Greatest Game Ever Played" as Baltimore defeated New York in overtime, 23-17.  But we are not talking about football today.

Anyway, "The Thirty-Second Of December" is a great episode from Suspense, featuring Frank Lovejoy, Norman Alden, Joan Banks, Barney Phillips, with Morris Lee Green & William Walker (writers) and William N. Robson (producer, director).  Frank Lovejoy has been in a large number of episodes, including Suspense, Escape, many Norman Corwin productions, and his own series, Nightbeat (that I showcased here).

Frank Lovejoy plays Joe, a man in a tough situation with one day left to pay off a $1000 gambling debt to the mob. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Inflation Calculator - $1000 in 1958 would be $8,171 today - no small amount!)  But anyway...Joe takes his wife's ring to a pawn shop.  While getting money for it, he was distracted by a special watch.  This watch had special powers, the ability to bend time.  If you controlled time, then all of your problems would go away.  Or will they?  This is the lesson that Joe learns about the hard way.

Thirty-Second of December (originally aired December 28, 1958)

Here are some links to programs relating to Suspense:

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