My first exposure to OTR was in the early 90s on Sunday night’s public radio broadcasts in Washington DC, but it was Suspense that cemented my love of the genre a few years later. When I drove back and forth to Fargo I would listen to “Suspense” episodes in the only way available at the time: cassette tapes. Alone in my car on the highway, the doleful theme moaning from the speakers - it was marvelous.

This remarkable show ran from the 40s to the end of radio drama in the early 60s. Radio’s Outstanding Theater of Thrills, it called itself, and it was high-class enough to get a parade of movie stars to appear in its taut, well-directed scripts. They’d often play against type, too - Gene Kelly as a menacing simpleton, Fibber McGee and Molly as a kidnapped couple - but the real strength was the writing, the production values, the guarantee of a mystery and the shock of the revelation.

You’ll want to know far more than I need say here; the wikipedia page is a good place to start. Buckets and buckets of the show can be downloaded for free here, at

As for the trailer: it uses the popularity of "Suspense" to pitch Ray Milland's new flick. The man who announces the show is Art Gilmore, who . . .never introduced "Suspense." But Anton Leader was the series' producer. Whether he controlled the orchestra by gesture, I don't know. I do know I've never heard those sound cues on any episode.





Trailer: "The Big Clock"

Orson Welles: "The Hitch Hiker."  
Sheldon Leanard: "Feast of the Furies."