Friday, December 18, 2015

25 More Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 17 - Suspense's Back for Christmas (1943)

Among the very best shows that were broadcast during the Golden Age of Radio, the CBS Network's Suspense really stands out as one of the best of the best.  Radio's "outstanding theater of thrills" had a 20 year run on CBS - starting in 1942.  In fact, the last Suspense episode in 1962 marks the end of the Golden Age of Radio.  They had numerous Christmas episodes over the years, and I am happy to highlight their first holiday offering today.  One of the reasons why I love listening to the early episodes is because I enjoy the sponsor, Roma Wines.  Their commercials are the best - Salute!

I am happy to feature this series for the Christmas series.  This is the second year I have showcased different Old Time Radio programs for Christmas.  Here is a link to all the 2014 OTR Christmas entries.  If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148).  He does a great job of showcasing great holiday themed episodes, especially as we get closer to Christmas and the end of December.  I actually heard this driving the other week as part of the Frank Sinatra blocks that he setup to celebrate the centennial of his birth.

Visit to Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site (Long Beach, California) - October 23, 2015
Not Quite a Devil's Garden - Visit to Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site (Long Beach, California) - October 23, 2015
When you are a meek botanist and you hate being corrected by your nagging wife all the time, what would be the perfect Christmas present?  A bit of silence and a maybe a new admirer.  Not that I am drawing from experience here - but this was the sad situation that the great actor Peter Lorre found himself in for the Suspense episode that was their first Christmas themed show.  Airing on December 23, 1943, "Back For Christmas".  

Poor Peter Lorre.  He plays Herbert, a henpecked British botanist who has finally had it with his wife Hermione.  They were planning a trip to the United States, but Hermione insisted that they are back for Christmas.  Instead, Herbert conjured up a plan to make sure that his trip was a chance for a new start.  He found in a young bookstore clerk the perfect companion to start over his life.  But first, he had to take care of the Mrs.  Part of Herbert's plan is to take care of his wife by making her the centerpiece of his "Devil's Garden," a vague project of his in the cellar.   And just when Herbert thought he was free, he was done in by a simple and unexpected act of kindness.  Poor Peter Lorre.

The director and writer of the program was the show's creator, William Spier and it featured Joseph Kearns as the "The Man In Black".  I hope your travels over the holidays have fewer problems and that you get to stay where you would like.  The same could not be said of Herbert!  The story would be repeated in 1948 (as Holiday Story) and 1956, both times with Herbert Marshall in the lead role.  Enjoy this great Christmas themed crime story from Suspense.  

            25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links

            25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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