Suspense Upgrades

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by Wildcat44 on 12/1/2018, 8:09 am

Thanks Greybelt. This is my favorite morning read.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/2/2018, 7:29 am

Suspense_1954-09-30_ALittleMatterOfMemory_wLDobkin&PWinslowe UPGRADE-2.mp3
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Some newspaper clippings have been previously posted. This particular one is new, and reports the change in producer to Norman Macdonnell.
1954-09-30 San Francisco Examiner


While Spier and Lewis seem to get all of the attention about being star producers, Macdonnell was one of CBS' best producers and had a much lower profile. He was responsible for Gunsmoke and Escape, as well as Philip Marlowe with Gerald Mohr and Romance. Macdonnell actually took over Suspense in July 1954. His tenure would end in mid-December, after just 15 performances, when Suspense would be handed over to Antony Ellis. Ellis would have Suspense for nearly two years. The brevity of the Macdonnell run makes me wonder if Lewis or CBS cut his Suspense leadership short, and then Macdonnell was a fill-in until someone else could permanently take over the show. Macdonnell would work on TV's Gunsmoke as well as The Virginian.

I found this profile of Lewis the other day... (click on image to see in full)
1954-08-04 Lincoln NB Sunday Journal and Star

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/2/2018, 12:01 pm

Thanks greybelt

Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/3/2018, 7:31 am

Suspense_1956-01-10_Two_Platinum_Capsules_wSHarris&EBarrier UPGRADE-2 (orig 'Two Platinum Needles').mp3
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1956-01-10 Kokomo IN Tribune


1956-01-10 San Rafael CA Daily Independent Journal

The prior week's show, The Eavesdropper, is missing. The script does show the announced title was planned to be "Needles."


My suspicion has been that drug addiction was in the news because of the release a few weeks earlier of The Man with the Golden Arm, starring Frank Sinatra. Because needles could be associated with drug use, it seems reasonable that they decided to change the episode title since they did not want a story about radiation confused with that topic.

Platinum and all things atomic were in the news. Maybe it was a story like this one that led to the switch to "capsule."
1955-12-15 Eau Claire WI Daily Telegram

Whatever the case, the title change was not made soon enough to hit the newspaper listings. Not a single listing can be found for "capsules."

This recording was transferred from a reel in the Golden Age Radio catalog. Someone posted that they had this reel over at the OTRR Facebook page and I volunteered to review it and process it. The contents sheet stated that these recordings were "A" grade in terms of sound. Only two programs were better than the sound quality we currently have in the collection; others have been replaced with much better recordings, especially recent ones from AFRS discs. There are others persist in bad sound that this reel was equal or worse -- despite the "A" rating.  It's a reminder of how fortunate it is to be collecting OTR in today's digital format. What collectors often considered "excellent" in the 1970s would not be such today. Tomorrow's posting is also from that reel. Here's the original listing from the catalog.



I imagine this reel was a big seller because it had 16 shows on it. Each of the four tracks of an 1800' reel could hold 94 minutes of programs (allowing for blank tape at the beginning and end and space in between shows). All of the shows on this reel had clipped endings -- this was the time when there was a period of filler music on Suspense for the network and the AFRS broadcasts, and there were no mid-show announcements. This makes it hard to tell if the recordings on the reels were AFRS or network since that filler was clipped out. That filler section would include the announcement of "This is the CBS Radio Network" or "this program came to you through the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service." Such announcements are gone. Since reels were expensive, GAR's deal to buy 3 and get 1 free for $25 was quite the bargain. In this case, this worked out to 40 cents a show. In today's dollars, that's about $1.30 per show or just under $21 for the reel. That's what makes me certain GAR probably sold hundreds of this reel over the years.

If anyone has Golden Age Radio reels, especially of Suspense and Escape, please contact me -- I'd love to check them out. Those reels, even of sub-par recordings, are closer to source and still might be upgrades to some of the LQ recordings that we have not been able to replace yet, just like today's posting.

A while ago, a Cobaltian Supreme Council Member, the revered and beloved Ghemrats, sent his Golden Age Radio catalog to me for scanning. It was a trip back in time for us and for others who were new collectors in the 1970s. We relied on catalogs to advise us what shows were worth listening to. Here's the link to the PDF [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] For new collectors, it's a peek into the hobby as it was structured at that time. If you've collected only since the digital era, it's worth looking at just to see how relatively little was in circulation at that time compared to now.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by ghemrats on 12/3/2018, 2:51 pm

You are far too kind, my friend. But then we knew that with your bottomless cup of cheer.
Jeff

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"WRONG! You had Special K with bananas!" What a Face
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/3/2018, 4:29 pm

Thanks greybelt

Best regards
Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/4/2018, 8:08 am

Suspense_1956-04-10_TheLonelyHeart_wBenWright UPGRADE-2 CLIPPED END STILL LQ.mp3
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1956-04-10 Los Angeles Times

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/4/2018, 9:17 am

Thanks greybelt

Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/5/2018, 6:28 am

This is a "missing" AFRS version of this program... in nice sound. The other copy we have is on the LQ side and has a clipped end and we can't tell if it's AFRS or network. Today's recording is full AFRS in much nicer sound.

Suspense_1957-01-20_SecondClassPassenger_wSterlingHollaway AFRS.mp3
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1957-01-20 Bridgeport CT Post


I remember Sterling Holloway on many children's records in the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known among the general public for his work on Disney's Winnie the Pooh animations. But I remember him most playing bumbling professors on the Superman TV series, which was in constant reruns when I was growing up in the 60s. His Wikipedia page is at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/5/2018, 9:48 am

Thanks greybelt

Best regards
Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/6/2018, 7:06 am

This is a "missing" AFRS version of this episode. The network copy is in better sound. Completists may like this, others may pass on it. It is a lower encode than usual.
Suspense_1957-04-14_ThouShaltNotCommit_wVictorJory AFRS (SocSecPSA; occ tape squeal).mp3
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1957-04-12 Kokomo IN Tribune


This next item is an upgraded network performance of Green and Gold String. According to Suspense researcher Don Ramlow, this was around the time when Vincent Price was insisting that all of his movie and television contracts include a clause that would allow him to appear on radio at any time. Most contracts ask for an exclusive period so they can promote whatever movie or television program to get the most out of their agreement. This tells us two things: Vincent Price loved radio; and movie and television producers knew that radio was no longer a threat to their audience franchises.

Suspense_1957-06-09_Green&GoldString_wVincentPrice (network) UPGRADE-2.mp3
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1957-06-09 Pasadena CA Independent Star-News

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/6/2018, 10:19 am

Thanks greybelt
Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by chasedad on 12/6/2018, 11:27 am

Thanks, greybelt, as always for sharing your wealth of "Suspense" episodes with us. I was particularly gratified to finally be able to hear William N. Robson's introduction to "Second Class Passenger". Robson's intros were always a treat: erudite, witty and often eloquent, and sometimes, if nothing else, gracious to a fault in their acknowledgement of the contributions of the artists involved with the production. (Sometimes the introductions were the best part of the episodes!) With this upgrade of "Second Class Passenger" there are now only eight Robson episodes which I've never been able to find a copy of with its intro intact:

Russian New Year - 1/13/57
Death and Miss Turner - 5/15/57
Trial by Jury - 6/16/57
The Sisters - 3/30/58
The Steel River Prison Break - 7/27/58
On a Country Road - 5/10/59
Drive-In - 6/14/59
Night Man - 7/26/59

I assuming that if anyone knows of the existence of copies of these episodes with their introductions intact it would be you. Any chance that you have any in your collection?

Thanks again for generously sharing your collection with us!

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/7/2018, 6:50 am

Suspense_1957-09-22_ShadowOnTheWall_wJackieKelk AFRS#649 FROM DISC.mp3
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There are no newspaper clips for this episode. Even the timetable listings for it are sparse.

Here's some background on the episode
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* * * * * * * *

Regarding chasedad's question about recordings with the full opening comments by Robson, all except two are still missing. The two that do have them are not in good sound.

Here are the two files that have the Robson openings intact -- the sound is not good, but they are listenable. This is why I keep going through early collections, especially reels and encodes made in the late 1990s or early 2000s, where some of these different recordings can be found. We have to keep hoping that AFRS discs show up somewhere, sometime. That would be the best outcome. The second best would be that some of the original home recordings are found in the hopes that these recordings were not edited down.

Suspense_1959-05-10_OnACountryRoad_wHowardDuff&IdaLupino UPGRADE-3 COMPLETE OPEN & CLOSE.mp3
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1959-05-10 Tampa Bay FL Times

On a Country Road is one of the series classic episodes. This was Bazar's only moment in radio history. He became a reporter for the New York Journal-American.

Suspense_1959-06-14_DriveIn_wMargaretWhiting VLQ but has open & close.mp3
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1959-06-14 Tampa Bay FL Times

Most fans are more familiar with the 1946 presentation of this script with Judy Garland. For that program, Garland was reluctant to perform in dramatic radio, but had to be cajoled into doing so. Who did the nudging? Godparents of the newborn Liza Minelli, Suspense producer William Spier and his wife Kay Thompson, that's who!

* * * * * * * *

This is a good time to remind Cobaltia about the master spreadsheet of AFRS program numbers.
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The Shadow on the Wall episode was also released as #951. Sometimes there are slight editing differences or changes to the AFRTS identification at the close of the program, but most everything else is the same.


Last edited by greybelt on 12/7/2018, 9:43 am; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/7/2018, 9:30 am

Thanks greybelt

Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by chasedad on 12/7/2018, 10:17 am

Greybelt,

Thanks so much for posting those episodes of "On a Country Road" and "Drive-In" with the Robson comments intact, it's great to finally be able to hear those. That leaves only six of the Robson episodes which we may have to resolve ourselves to never hearing his intros for.  When "Night Man" was performed on 10/23/60, I have to believe that the intro delivered by announcer Dennis James was lifted from the 1959 broadcast. It sounds exactly like Robson's writing, and it wasn't uncommon during the 1959-60 NY run for scripts reused from the Robson era to incorporate the introductory remarks he wrote as well (e.g. "A Statement of Fact", "Night on Red Mountain", etc.) Although, of course, it would be nice to get to hear Robson himself recite the "Night Man" intro; he was, unsurprisingly, more facile delivering his own words in front of the mike than the later "Suspense" announcers were.

An interesting side note is the April 17, 1960 episode "Tonight at 5:55", which features an introduction that almost definitely had to be written by Robson, it's got his stamp all over it. Possibly the episode was written with the intention of being performed during Robson's Hollywood run but then got shelved and wasn't used until the move to New York. Another possibility: scriptwriter George Bamber ("Like Man, Somebody Dig Me" and "Return to Dust") was an avowed favorite writer of Robson, to hear Robson tell it, and possibly he wrote this intro as a nod to a promising talent he laid claim to having discovered.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/7/2018, 12:03 pm

Does anyone have more background on George Bamber? There is very little about him online. I know he had a sci-fi book in 1971, The Sea is Boiling Hot
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/8/2018, 8:56 am

Suspense_1957-11-03_Firing_Run_wRuthHussey AFRS#655 FROM DISC.mp3
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AFRTS #957 of this episode is also in the collection; that has a skip at the beginning.

The episode was originally titled "Firing Gun"

1957-11-03 Decatur IL Daily Review


1957-11-03 Shreveport LA Times


1957-11-03 St Louis MO Post-Dispatch
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/8/2018, 11:05 am

Thanks greybelt

Best regards
Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/9/2018, 1:10 am

Suspense_1958-02-02_TheSilverFrame_wCharlesMcGraw AFRS#667 FROM DISC.mp3
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There is another AFRTS #966 release that is in circulation.

1958-02-02 Tampa Bay FL Times


McGraw was on Suspense about a year earlier in 227 Minutes of Hate. He was always a busy actor, rarely in the lead role. But for brief times he was, playing Rick Blaine in the short-lived Casablanca TV series in 1955-1956, and as Mike Waring in The Falcon the TV season before. He had a long supporting and bit actor career.

You can see him in an episode of The Whistler at YouTube
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/9/2018, 10:12 am

Thanks greybelt

Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/10/2018, 4:42 am

Suspense_1958-06-01_RaveNotice_wVincentPrice HAS COMMLS UPGRADE-2.mp3
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Love the first ad! Take your transistor radio with you on vacation! An earlier copy we had was in lesser quality and the commercials had been edited out.

1958-06-01 Shreveport LA Times

Our friends at Old Time Radio Review have a preference for the 1950 version of this with Milton Berle. He does admit that Price has a following on Suspense because of his richer voice, and that's one of the reasons why I usually prefer his.
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(I also prefer the Price version of Three Skeleton Key... there's just something about the way he says "rats"....)

* * * * * * * * * *

I stumbled into a posting by Christine Miller at her Escape-Suspense site about a new production of Sorry, Wrong Number... the blogpost was from 2009! She enjoyed this Final Rune production.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/10/2018, 11:00 am

Thanks greybelt
Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/11/2018, 8:01 am

This is a much improved recording...
Suspense_1958-08-10_DiaryOfSaphroniaWinters_wMercedesMcCambridge AFRS#690 FROM DISC.mp3
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1958-08-10 Shreveport LA Times


1958-08-10 Tampa Bay FL Times
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/11/2018, 9:27 am

Thanks greybelt

Best regards
Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

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