Suspense 5: the final years, June 1954 to September 1962


Suspense was a long-running dramatic anthology on CBS from Summer of 1942 to what many consider final day of radio's golden age on September 30, 1962. It was one of radio's most successful series, with exceptional writing and high production standards. The series started slow, but the May 1943 broadcast of the play Sorry, Wrong Number brought the show great attention. In December 1943, Suspense finally had a national sponsor, Roma Wines. Their sponsorship ended in November 1947. The series continued without a sponsor for a few months, and experimented with an hour-long format. In July 1948, a new sponsor, Auto-Lite, returned the program to its half-hour format and produced much of its finest work. In June 1954, the sponsorship ended, and Suspense continued without a national sponsor until it went off the air on September 30, 1962. After Auto-Lite cancelled its sponsorship with a final broadcast in July, 1954, Elliott Lewis decided to pursue other interests. He believed that unsponsored radio programs was a "dead end" at a time when television was growing so robustly. Budgets for radio program productions were cut significantly. Norman Macdonnell took over for Lewis until the end of the year. Antony Ellis, also multitalented as an actor, writer, and director like Lewis, took over the program until Fall 1956. Famed producer William N. Robson took over the program and brought his own flair for the dramatic and subtle undertones to the program. He repeated many of the classic scripts of Suspense and Escape , not just to save money, but also because they were exceptional. The Hehn collection had very few programs of Suspense ' later years. Collectors of his era focused mainly on the big Hollywood star years of the series. It is only in the decades since that classic radio fans have a greater appreciation for Suspense and especially Bill Robson's tenure. In Summer 1959, CBS moved Suspense back to New York, and cut budgets even more. There are only two of such programs in the Hehn collection. Collectors of his time had little affection for those years of the series. It is understandable: most of the 1960s collectors were kids in the 1930s and 1940s... they collected the radio programs they remembered fondly. The late 1950s and 1960s programs were no match for the golden age productions they cherished so dearly. IMPORTANT NOTE: These recordings are part of the Joe Hehn Memorial Collection. Mr. Hehn (1931-2020) was a pioneering collector of radio recordings when the hobby emerged in the 1960s. Since the time of Mr. Hehn's collecting in the 1960s and 1970s, many Suspense recordings have been upgraded and are now in better sound. The recordings held in this collection at the Internet Archive are only those considered to be superior to the ones for that date and geography in common circulation among collectors at the time of this posting. A small number of the recordings have not been in general circulation in their particular format, and some of the recordings are more complete than others in common circulation . This is not intended to be a complete compilation of the Suspense series, but to be only the best sounding Suspense recordings of the Hehn collection . The Suspense recordings are in different categories: Suspense 1: the series early years, June 1942 to November 1943 Suspense 2: the Roma Wines years, December 1943 to November 1947 Suspense 3: the "after Roma" years, December 1947 to July 1950, including the first year of Auto-Lite's sponsorship Suspense 4: the Elliott Lewis years, August 1950 to July 1954 Suspense 5: the final years, July 1954 to September 1962 Important abbreviations and notations: LQ = low quality sound, but still better than what is currently in circulation VLQ = very low quality sound, but still better than what is currently in circulation AIRCHECK = recorded off the air by a service or a home recorder rather than an in-studio recording; airchecks may also be identified by the call letters of the radio station in the file name COMPLETE = previously circulating recordings had a clipped opening or a clipped closing AFRS = recording from an Armed Forces Radio Service transcription Digitizing Mr. Hehn's collection of reel tapes and discs is the effort of a wide range of North American volunteers, and includes assistance of some international collectors. The groups supporting this effort with their funds, time, technology and skills are the Old Time Radio Researchers and a small group of transcription disc preservationists who refer to themselves as the "The Knights of the Turning Table." There is a superb log and history of the Suspense series here at the Internet Archive. click here

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.