Suspense Upgrades

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 11/24/2016, 8:17 pm

The document about the series missing episodes has been updated, augmented, reorganized and edited! If you downloaded it before, this is a much better document and worth replacing the prior version. Download it at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

And in case you were expecting upgrades -- a few have been found -- still waiting for a few more before posting.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 11/25/2016, 10:45 am

I have known about the Springbok Suspense series for decades, but have wondered if some of the missing US episodes might have been produced in South Africa.

Some of the US scripts were used in Australia for a series called Tension and those recordings have recently become available -- and at least two of them are of US scripts for which there are no US recordings available. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] All 52 of the Tension series are on the set. Some Suspense scripts were used in the earlier series Theatre of Thrills. Unfortunately, none of the episodes of that series are in circulation. From looking at the episode log, none of those episodes correspond to the missing Suspense episodes.

My sense so far is that the Springbok productions only shared the series name and nothing else.

I tried to email the Springbok preservation folks and every email I could find bounced, even the ones that referred me to another person who was taking their place.

Does anyone have some insight into this series?
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/3/2016, 11:39 am

I have received my set of Tension and I have been greatly pleased! The performance of the missing Suspense "The Keenest Edge" is extremely well done, and "This Was a Hero" gets a good treatment (the underlying script is not as good though the story plot is a good one).

As I checked the episodes, it appears that 23 of the shows are from Suspense, and the others are from a variety of series. There is a missing Molle Mystery Theater in the set, "The Long Count" that is well done.

I will be posting more details about the Tension series soon. Of the others, most are from Skippy or the generic Hollywood Theater (syndicated by CP MacGregor) or Ziv's Your Movietown Radio Theater -- still tracking those down and there are a few episodes for which I cannot identify the US originating program.)

Tension has turned out to be quite nice listen, even some of the non-Suspense ones.

Re the Springbok Suspense I received word that they did not use US scripts for any of the series.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/3/2016, 6:15 pm

The "Missing Suspense" document has been updated and expanded
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by Tom-In-Ohio on 12/4/2016, 1:00 pm

Thank you for the information. I never heard of this series (not surprising) and could find little about it on the few sites I tend to habitate. Do they repackage the show, or create an all new version based on the original scripts. I also checked out the Grace Gibson link provided, a little rich for me.

I'm going to keep my nose to the ground on this series. - Tom

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/4/2016, 1:31 pm

I had not heard of "Tension" either, and Australian radio expert Ian Grieve had not found much information about it, even though he has access to lots of internal correspondence and cost accounting sheets for many of the Grace Gibson series. So he was surprised, too!

Prior to this set coming out, there were two circulating episodes, "On a Country Road" and "A Crime of Necessity." The latter was the same script as Suspense "A Murder of Necessity."

Grace Gibson Productions would just get a pile of scripts from the US, a transaction negotiated by Miss Gibson herself, and they would make only minor changes to them prior to production to adjust for differences in slang or perhaps geographical references.

The Molle Mystery Theater in the set had all of its New York City references intact, so they were rarely out to change everything; the scripts are essentially intact. There may have been some editing for timing, as the shows are 25 minutes, but since the Auto-lite or Roma commercials took up time in the US versions, and Tension is a sustained broadcast (or may have had a middle commercial that is not in these recordings) there may have actually been little reason to abridge the scripts.

Then you get into the different sound of the Australian actors -- in "The Keenest Edge" the actors were more American sounding than I expected, as I have heard many Australian shows that have a more distinct accent. It always depends on the cast, but Gibson did syndicate her shows to the US and other English speaking countries, so she was sensitive to how her programs would sound around the world.

I found the book about her to be really enjoyable, beyond the OTR implications, as a book about a woman entrepreneur who was an immigrant from Texas who made her way in a rapidly changing industry and country. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

And I've found the shows to be enjoyable, and I will get more at some point, especially their Night Beat episodes that went beyond the NBC run.

Remember -- The Aussie dollar is about 25% less than the US dollar right now -- and they do occasionally have sales on the site. The AU$15 (net about US$11.25) for shipping got that and the new Shadow set to me in just a week! I paid via Paypal.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/4/2016, 7:50 pm

If you are interested in an interview with Grace Gibson on the 70th Anniversary of Grace Gibson productions, please check the link below

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Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/4/2016, 9:12 pm

THANKS ART!
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/11/2016, 10:03 pm

The missing show "Fury and Sound" was also performed on the syndicated Ziv TV series, The Unexpected, and details can be found at IMDB [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The video of that series seems not to be available anywhere online.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 12/12/2016, 8:39 am

All of the Suspense Magazine short stories based on scripts are now at
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in PDF form
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by artatoldotr on 12/12/2016, 9:58 am

Thanks greybelt

Best regards

Art
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by jerry6 on 1/18/2017, 3:54 am

Thanks for all the upgrades !

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/22/2017, 10:18 am

I've been doing some more research about the hour-long Suspense. What chaos! In the span of 90 days, the new format starts, Montgomery asks for more money, Spier quits amidst a lot of other turmoil in CBS upper management, Spier marries June Havoc, then ends up at ABC producing the new Hollywood version of "The Clock" (and uses some Suspense scripts in the process, along with the Lewises and even Bill Conrad), Paley is courting Auto-Lite, Auto-Lite's ad agency is ticked off, Dick Haymes is probably upset because his show is rumored to be replaced by a half-hour Suspense, CBS is still negotiating with Montgomery while the Auto-Lite deal gets closer and closer, the ratings for the hour show are still bad, but CBS decides to do it for a few more weeks anyway even though they had announced its end until the Auto-Lite deal is finally signed, which is going so badly that the ad agency eventually ends up replaced because they keep messing up Auto-Lite's and CBS' intentions. Whew!!

It all turns out well in the end .... but it sounds like it could have been a Suspense episode of its own!

(still working to gather new versions and upgrades... so far there are 45 that will start posting once TiYFBI is done)
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by scooper on 2/22/2017, 12:26 pm

Please make it soon,especially if they are network upgrades. Enjoy Suspense ten times more than the FBI series. No suspense in them at all!

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/23/2017, 7:31 am

Stranger than... TRUTH!
I remember that little bit from Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In but this one got me yesterday. It's from the June 2, 1943 edition of Variety. It mentions the flub of Sorry, Wrong Number and that the show will be performed again in a couple of weeks (it wasn't... it was done in August, so I assume Ms. Moorehead was not available until then). In the very next line in the column, who is mentioned? A young Bruno Zirato, Jr., who, 18 years later, would direct Suspense when the show moved back to New York!
Stranger than... TRUTH!



Alas, this could have been even stranger had Bruno directed Ms. Moorehead in the eighth and final SW# performance, but that honor went to Mr. Robson.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/23/2017, 8:55 pm

Does anyone like Suspense's first episode? The reviewer in Variety did not -- and made all kinds of typos in the process. Suspense was not considered anything special -- barely got any press -- until it went to Hollywood, and even then it took a while. This episode, "The Burning Court" is not a favorite of mine, either.


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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by wich2 on 2/23/2017, 9:31 pm

No one likes the best of SUSPENSE more than me.

But I'd have to agree that - with rare exceptions - the early, "English Locked Room Mystery" phase is not it's best.

-Craig

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/24/2017, 10:43 am

How much did CBS pay for a Suspense script? The March 8. 1943 Variety reports that it was $100! That does not seem like a lot, but in 2017 money that's $1400! It's a pretty good living if you can keep it up and be steady about it, and work your way up to a regular gig. But it's tough work. I remember chatting with Ernest Kinoy in 1975 and to George Lefferts in 2011 -- they toiled together in 1950s NBC script department. There were many times when they were stuck for plotlines and would remember an opera they saw and adapted that, and they were ravenous readers of the morning newspapers looking for ideas. There were times that they were under deadline and one would write the first half of the show while the other was writing the second half at the same time. That required good planning and great knowledge and trust in each other's style, all under the tyranny of the clock. Note the comment about "single broadcast rights" -- which is why some scripts could appear in other programs.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/24/2017, 7:09 pm

Suspense! Brought to you by.... Colgate?

In mid-1943 CBS was still looking for a sponsor of Suspense. The search would not be over until October when Roma Wines signed on.

from the July 28, 1943 Variety
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by Tom-In-Ohio on 2/24/2017, 7:19 pm

Wow, that must have been great to talk to Earnest Kinoy. One of my favorite show(s) was X-1 and Dimension X. I didn't realize he just passed not to long ago. Thanks. - Tom

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/25/2017, 10:36 am

Roma to the rescue! From Variety of October 27, 1943:

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/25/2017, 5:30 pm

The separate day for the west coast performance of Suspense is noted in this Variety item from December 8, 1943. It was announced to listeners in November broadcasts. I've tried to figure out what the roadblock was in the Thursday Pacific CBS program schedule in terms of advertiser or other commitments. I can't figure it out!


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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/26/2017, 8:14 am

A review of Sorry, Wrong Number from the March 1, 1944 Variety:



It was the third performance, the first time with a sponsor, which typically meant a mid-show commercial. Writers would use that in their plotting for a mid-show cliffhanger or crisis point, but this script was not written in that manner. Because of the interest in the show, they probably felt it was good to leave well-enough alone, not disturb the storytelling, and that Roma would get their word in just as well with only the opening and closing commercials.

The Thursday East Coast program still eludes us. The Monday West Coast and AFRS program survive. I can't tell which recording AFRS used for theirs, but perhaps someone in Cobaltia can make the side-by-side listening effort to determine that. If it does not match the West performance in words, pronunciation, and pace, in any section of the broadcast, even just for a few seconds, then it was the East production. The production of Suspense is really good, and I've found EC/WC recordings that were from two different sets of discs, and differences are virtually zero.  Since AFRS edited out "join us next Thursday (or Monday)" and commercials, we have to rely on other aspects of the performance.
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/27/2017, 1:36 pm

Variety of 1944-08-23 reports that Frank Sinatra was originally  planned to star in 09-14's Man Who Couldn't Lose. Gene Kelly ended up with the part.


Then Sinatra finally ends up on Suspense for To Find Help with Ms. Moorehead only to have his performance panned in the 1945-01-12 Variety


Are there any volunteers re the prior SW# post?
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Re: Suspense Upgrades

Post by greybelt on 2/28/2017, 7:22 pm

The 1948-07-14 edition of Variety included a review of the first Auto-Lite episode, which is not circulating. We previously posted the review from Billboard, which was somewhat negative. This was a positive review.

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Re: Suspense Upgrades

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