Suspense Upgrades

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by chasedad on 12/21/2018, 11:38 am

Thanks as always, greybelt, for providing us with interesting background information on "Suspense" via your painstaking research and archival digging. Interesting to learn that "Search for Isabel" was performed on "The Clock" before being done on "Suspense" the following year with Red Skelton. (The other scripts you listed were all performed on "Suspense" first.)

You do have to wonder how much warning the production teams on "Suspense" and "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar" were given prior to their cancellations on September 30, 1962. There's no announcement at the end of the last broadcast for either show indicating that they won't be back the following week (or ever). At the end of the September 23 broadcast of "Johnny Dollar" Mandel Kramer, delivering the teaser for the following week's show, announces "Next week I want all of you to be sure and listen. You may be sorry if you miss it." Which is as close as either show came to alluding to the fact that there would be anything out of the ordinary about the September 30 broadcast (and sounded, in hindsight, as though "Johnny Dollar" was preparing some kind of farewell episode that would wrap up the series, although "The Tip-Off Matter" turned out to be just another run-of-the-mill episode.)

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by lasombra on 12/21/2018, 12:50 pm

Someone who was involved in the production of the last show of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, I don't remember who, told SPERDVAC about some plot they wanted to use for the last show but the idea was nixed. I wish I could remember the details. It was something like a bomb going off, killing everyone, or along those lines. If I ever find it I'll let you know. But yes, they knew they were being cancelled.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by chasedad on 12/21/2018, 12:59 pm

lasombra wrote:Someone who was involved in the production of the last show of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, I don't remember who, told SPERDVAC about some plot they wanted to use for the last show but the idea was nixed. I wish I could remember the details. It was something like a bomb going off, killing everyone, or along those lines. If I ever find it I'll let you know. But yes, they knew they were being cancelled.

Holy mackerel...what a sendoff THAT would have been! I'd be fascinated to hear more about that, if you should be able to track down the information. Thanks!

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/21/2018, 2:15 pm

They couldn't be cancelled -- there were still scripts left!
(I assume everyone has heard that old joke: "What do you mean I have no money in my checking account? I still have checks left!")

In fact, the production pipeline still had a very small handful for each.

I remember when the ABC TV series Dynasty had so many unsigned cast members at the end of a season they had terrorists come in with machine guns and spray bullets at the big family event as the "Moldavian Massacre" cliffhanger ending the fifth season.

Lasombra: if that's a SPERDVAC meeting, is that the one where Jack Johnstone visited? I think I have copies somewhere.

TRIVIA: Jack Johnstone wrote BOTH final episodes of Suspense and YTJD. His scripting of Devilstone was under his pseudonym "Jonathan Bundy."
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by lasombra on 12/21/2018, 2:52 pm

That is certainly the most logical person who could have said it. I just spot checked the meeting and didn't hear it. If anyone else has the time you can hear the meeting at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
It's the last one at the bottom of the page.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/21/2018, 5:30 pm

It could have been uttered around a dinner table or some other casual conversation. There may be other SPERDVACkians who remember it.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/21/2018, 7:49 pm

I checked with some SPERDVACkians active in the events at the time and they said the person was Bob Maxwell and they did a YTJD recreation that day. They believe he was "mis-remembering" (my word) and that no such show was ever presented (which we know) and that they believe no such show where a bomb went off in New York was officially proposed or even rough outlined. We'll never really know for certain, but it seems really unlikely the way they see it.

However, I can understand why some of the radio folks in Hollywood might be a bit miffed at the accountants and CBS execs from CBS Radio HQ in NYC... and muttering in a passive aggressive way that this was a plotline they would enjoy sneaking past them.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by lasombra on 12/21/2018, 9:47 pm

From Bob Maxwell's lips to your ears: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/21/2018, 9:57 pm

There ya go! Barb and I exchanged emails this evening as well as with Larry Gassman -- they're skeptical it really happened that way as he's explaining it in '62, but it is a funny story.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/22/2018, 1:54 am

Here we go with this next batch of upgrades, all from reel-to-reel tapes! That fact provides a special challenge. Tape has noise, and as copies are made of tapes that are copies, and then copies of those are made, etc., there is a buildup of tape noise. The high frequency tape noise is usually the most noticeable (called "tape hiss"), but it's actually throughout all of the frequency range. This is why it is so important to find tapes that are as close as possible to the original disc recordings. This is not an issue in this digital era as each copy is exactly the same.

In many cases, I had to make a choice as to whether the sound of the program was better than what is in the collection despite the tape noise. In some cases the noise was too annoying to keep the recording even though other aspects of it were nice.

Many of these programs don't sound as crisp as other episodes, but even if that is true, they sound better than the other copies that are in general circulation of that specific episode. There are programs here I have not seen very often in the various collections I have reviewed. "Everybody" has recordings of the 1940s shows, and they usually have better than average sound. But the mid-1950s stuff is not around that often among collectors who have not made a special effort to compile the complete series. I can't remember the last time I saw a copy of The Spencer Brothers, A Watery Grave, or a network copy of Bertillion Method and shows like them to compare my current copy to. It was usually the case that these tape recordings had a wider range of sound with a tolerable level of tape noise and I thought they compared favorably with the ones I had with narrow ranges and minimal tape noise. I did the best I could with a discerning eye (for the audio graphs) and a discerning ear. Two thirds of the upgrades are from the Lewis era and later. All are network shows.

Another way you can tell these shows have not been around -- in some cases it's been 6 or 7 years since I've found an upgrade -- is that I had to get newspaper clippings for nearly every one of them.

Some of the recordings sound very good but have a non-sound defect, like a partly clipped opening. Since I keep all of the recordings I review, it's not a big deal for me. But if you're keeping only one copy per program, you'll have a choice to make. For my listening purposes I always choose the best sounding drama portion. For my archiving purposes I keep everything. That's what the life of a completist is like Smile

Nearly all of the programs had to be speed corrected. I think only about 5 or less were on proper speed. This was always an issue with lower level consumer equipment, which for many of us was all we could afford. I'll never forget my first Teac -- what a step up that was, and then to have a pair of them -- wow! Not all collectors made that leap, and the tape hiss they introduced in their copies also added speed inaccuracies. Most of these were too fast, the worst being 5%, with most corrections being between 3.5% to 4.25%. That was the easy part -- today's digital audio software makes this so incredibly easy.

First up is The Singing Walls. The "UPGRADE-5" notation means that I have had 6 different copies of the program in the collection over the years.

We've got about 40+ recordings to post. Guess what -- I'm told there are more reels on their way!

Suspense_1944-11-02_The_Singing_Walls_wVanJohnson (Network) UPGRADE-5.mp3
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1944-11-02 Central NJ Home News


1944-11-02 Indianapolis IN News
The writer seems to be upset with Van Johnson's career being in high gear at the time.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/22/2018, 8:30 am

Thanks for all the info everyone, and thanks to greybelt again for the upgrades

Have a wonderful holiday season everybody

Best regards
Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by keilj_33 on 12/22/2018, 1:58 pm

Greybelt,

Thanks for the Suspense from reels links! Is it possible to get these programs in FLAC?

Thanks again!

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/22/2018, 2:38 pm

I don't take no flack from nobody Smile
Oh.... FLACs
I do have FLACs of all these files. Perhaps when all of them are posted I can figure a place to upload them if there's enough interest
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/23/2018, 6:13 am

If you haven't checked in for this thread's roll call, please send me a private message or send an e-mail to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. Thanks!!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today's item is a completist one, as it offers the East -- or is it the West? -- recording of Footfalls. The difference I detected is the rush to announce the network ID at the end of the program, where the ID is announced in normal course in the other circulating recording. That means that this performance was running slightly over time and they had to make up for it by changing the pace and manner of the announcement.

Remember, you can't rush the ads! The advertiser paid for their exact time. Everything else had to contract or expand accordingly to get to whatever the target time was, 29:30, or 29:45, or 30:00 or for a period of time in the 1950s, 24:30. It was the job of the director to keep the pace of the drama and announcements as planned. Suspense being one of the programs that had East and West performances, has incredible exacting re-performance. The drama portions are usually within milliseconds for every actor's line, and the intonations are virtually identical every time. (I still think that's a result of the SWN flubbed line and paranoia about it happening again).

That means we have no clue which is East or West, and only have differences like this one has. The only way to check is to find the original disc with its original label and play the section that is different, or find a recorded file from a reliable source that labeled it properly.

Sometimes there are other differences, such as the one cited earlier where the East would get its announcement that FBIiP&W was up next and the West. Other times I've stumbled on a change in dialogue, but that was always by fortuitous accident.

I'm still searching for the exact date the East and West live performances stopped in favor of a recorded performance of the East being played for the West and then when the live performances all stopped and everyone heard recorded performances. Not all CBS series switched at the same time, and my current hunch is that Suspense changing to fully recorded production was implemented later than others. I'm hoping to get to the Thousand Oaks library sometime in 2019 to inspect scripts to get some clues in this regard. The change might have have started on a piecemeal basis: Joan Crawford refused to appear in a live broadcast and insisted on transcription while other Suspense performances were always live. Even in those cases of partial transcription of the drama content, the announcements and commercials complete with music were still done live. Those years of transition certainly seem confusing!

Overall, this is a good sounding recording in its own right. The other is slightly better with a fuller sound. We may never learn which is East or which is West.

Suspense_1945-07-12_Footfalls_wJCarrollNaish (NO DELAY FOR NET ID).mp3
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1945-07-07 Harrisburg PA Telegraph


1945-07-12 Indianapolis IN Star
Note the now archaic spelling of "clue" as "clew"
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/23/2018, 8:07 am

Thanks greybelt
Best regards
Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by otrhead on 12/23/2018, 10:48 am

Greybelt,

My collection would not be as good as it is without your many contributions so if you are going to continue sharing your shows here at the club, please add my name and thanks to your list.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by Harlow Wilcox on 12/23/2018, 5:35 pm

Thank you greybelt! Smile
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/23/2018, 9:00 pm

Posting a few hours early to allow for Christmas disruptions -- like helping eat the cookies Smile

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The updated roll call, now alphabetized:
artatoldotr
BobbyP
bobh
chasedad
CRGibson
Ghemrats
Harlow Wilcox
hovea
JazzMan
jeffregan
Jim9
kdmarket
keilj_33
lasombra
mstevens90
Oday450
old timer
otrhead
Rearle1
Scooper
Tom-In-Ohio
Wildcat44

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Suspense_1945-11-22_NineteenDeaconStreet_wLloydNolan UPGRADE-3.mp3
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1945-11-22 Shreveport LA Times


Christine Miller's summary [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
"Nineteen Deacon Street" is a light-hearted ghost story/mystery in which a tie salesman is haunted by the ghost of a beautiful actress. Maury Schwartz is a wholesale tie salesman who has come to Chicago to find a place to live and to find a place to set up his new business. On a tip, he is told about a rooming house for actors that might be able to accommodate him. When he gets there, the landlady offers a room but only on a temporary basis. The room belongs to an actress named Laverne who is away. When Mr. Schwartz asks when Laverne will return, the landlady doesn't know. When he asks how long Laverne has been gone, the landlady tells him that it has been about...ten years since she went away.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Since it's been coming up so often as a way of identifying East and West coast recordings, I did some real grown-up serious research to figure out the marker for the East coast Suspense recordings. FBIiP&W followed Suspense in the East & Central time zones from August 23, 1945 to August 7, 1947. FBIiP&W did not have separate East and West performances in that period.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hey, it's Christmas Eve! I sent this letter to St Nick -- I hope it works!

Dear Santa: I hope I'm not sending this too late. I've been really good this year, and if I wasn't I really tried to be good. I don't know if you can do this, but I have a list of missing Suspense episodes that I would really like to hear, but no one knows where they are. When you're going around the world giving toys to boys and girls tonight, can you check to see if there are any of those discs around? They can be in attics, record stores, warehouses, and a lot of other places, even some homes of people who collect records. And if you find any of them, I promise to share so that everyone can hear them on the brand new smartphones and music players you'll be bringing so many of the good boys and girls. And, when you get back and Mrs. Claus makes that "special" hot chocolate, and you put your feet up, I'll make sure you can listen to the programs, too! Thank you, Santa. Say "hi" to Rudolph for all of us.
Sincerely,
Greybelt
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/24/2018, 9:43 am

Thanks greybelt

Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by Rearle1 on 12/24/2018, 4:31 pm

Thank you for all of these posts and I hope your Christmas wish comes true for both you and Santa!

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/25/2018, 2:33 am

Merry Christmas!
By the powers vested in me, I hereby declare all calories consumed today,
December 25, 2018, to be null and void.

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Suspense_1946-04-25_DarkJourney_wCLewis&NKelly UPGRADE-3.mp3
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1946-04-25 Cincinnati OH Enquirer

My Client Curly was on Columbia Workshop and became the 1944 movie Once Upon a Time.
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1946-04-25 Circleville OH Herald


1946-04-25 Indianapolis IN News
The News radio reviewer always had something irreverent to say

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As mentioned in the news clips above, today's posting is a Lucille Fletcher script. As best as I can tell, there were nine Fletcher scripts used on Suspense, with four having repeat performances:

  1. The Hitch-hiker (1 performance)
  2. Diary of Sophronia Winters (3)
  3. Sorry, Wrong Number (8)
  4. Fugue in C Minor (1)
  5. Search for Henri Lefevre (1)
  6. The Furnished Floor (1)
  7. Dark Journey (1)
  8. The Thing in the Window (2)
  9. Night Man (3)

Total performances: 21
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/25/2018, 8:29 am

Thanks greybelt and a very Christmas to you, your family, and all our fellow Cobaltians

Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/26/2018, 6:15 am

Suspense_1946-06-20_YourDevotedWife_wJuneDuprez (delayed network ID at end) UPGRADE.mp3
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A newspaper clipping was posted earlier with a different recording of this episode.

This recording has the network ID stated in a proper manner; the other one posted recently has a rushed ID to get it in on time. Unfortunately, neither recording has a mention of FBIiP&W or any other indicator of which is east or west.

The fresh eyes and ears of fellow Cobaltians in comparing these episodes would be greatly appreciated to detect other differences if there are any.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/26/2018, 10:22 am

Thanks Greybelt

Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/27/2018, 6:38 am

Suspense_1946-08-15_LastLetterOfDrBronson_wHenryDaniell UPGRADE-2.mp3
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1946-08-15 Circleville OH Herald
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

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