With a tiny brush, I am filling in every dimple on the office wall with black paint. And I’m listening to Escape, a CBS radio drama broadcast between 1947 – ‘54. Among the episodes are weird gems.
This Halloween, when you come home from work, take off your hat, step out of your loafers, mix yourself a dark and stormy and listen to the following until you either a) are eaten by piranha, b) asphyxiated by a boa constrictor, or c) swarmed over by thousands of rats:
“Pollock and the Porroh Man”; based on the story by H.G. Wells, about a cursed racist.
“Casting the Runes”; based on the story by M. R. James. About the importance of properly filing your paperwork.
“How Love Came to Professor Guilda”; based on the story by Robert Hitchens. If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with. A Catholic priest and an atheist become fast friends—a story set-up I love. The horror in the tale reminds me slightly of “The Thing On the Fourble Board”—maybe the greatest episode of Quiet, Please, a series broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System from ’47 – ’49. But it’s quite different. Vanishing Point, a Canadian radio series, also did an excellent production of “How Love Came…” in 1984.
“The Grove of Ashtaroth”; based on a story by John Buchan. An ancient goddess meets proper Scottish Christians in an Edenic, South American grove.
“Three Skeleton Key”; based on a story by George G. Toudouze. Lighthouse keeping is not easy. First adapted for Escape, then for the radio series Suspense.
“Evening Primrose”; based on a story by John Collier. There’s a terrific New York Review of Books edition of Collier’s stories I’d recommend—Fancies and Goodnights (although the glue that bound my copy failed, the stories hold up).
“Blood Bath”; written by David Poe for the series. It is what it is, man—everybody gets eaten alive.
“The Dark Wall”; written by Katherine Hite. The titular wall as a structure in the mind—a house in the middle of nowhere.
“The Birds”; based on a story by Daphne Du Murier. Maybe you know this one. But maybe not. Du Murier’s story is very different from Hitchcock’s (wonderful) film; Escape’s production hews close to the original.
Once I finish painting the office wall black, I intend to step through it. Anywhere but here, friend.