Escape -- "How Love Came to Professor Guildea"

Saturday, 12 March 2016 16:00 Dave Truesdale

Escape (1947-54) aired "How Love Came to Professor Guildea" on February 22, 1948 as its 36th episode. Written by Robert S. Hichens and set in foggy London, this is the dramatic tale of an intellectually aloof psychologist who has divorced himself from almost everything having to do with people--including people themselves. He despises compassion, love, and physical attachment at any level (save for his annoying parrot). He seeks the counsel of a minister when he is convinced some "thing," some entity, essence is haunting him with its living but unseen presence. It gets complicated and quite intense as the story progresses, especially when the psychologist tells the minister (sometimes in an almost sexually graphic manner) how the creature is torturing him with its lurid, suggestive intimations. The acting is superb, the script top-notch, and we are left with a superior tale of the supernatural that has more to offer than just the surface story. A quite different scenario compared to some of Escape's more colorful tales of treasure and adventure, "How Love Came to Professor Guildea" shows the depth and variety of its material.

I found it slightly humorous that this episode was chosen to run a week and a day after Valentine's Day in February of 1948, when thoughts are turned to love and a formal appreciation of women to (like today) a virtual media overkill situation for at least some hapless men; and now comes this episode of a man who cannot stand love yet is haunted by it, and who wishes only to be left alone. Coincidence? Or a radio producer with a dark sense of humor?

In the world of science fiction, 1948 saw a number of the field's future practitioners brought into the world:  Mike Ashley, Robert P. Holdstock, Jonathan Fast, Vonda N. McIntyre, Marta Randall, Spider Robinson, Pamela Sargent, Brian Stableford, Robert Reginald, Steven Utley, Laurence Yep, and Joan Vinge.

In 1948 the first Westercon was held in September, while the sixth Worldcon was held for the first time outside of the United States in Toronto, Canada. In 1948 there were a whopping 1,000,000 Americans with televisions, and the McDonald brothers began offering franchises for those wishing to sell fast food. A few of the many other interesting events from 1948 included the Campbell Soup Company introducing its now famous "V-8" cocktail juice, and the Bell Telephone Laboratories would invent the transistor, which would change forever the world of electronics...and warfare.

Play Time: 29:31

{A trip to the corner newsstand in February of 1948 was a welcome change from being cooped up in the house due to the cold and snow, so our bundled up neighborhood gang soon found themselves ogling the many SF magazines from which they would choose carefully, then return home to lose themselves in stories of strange worlds and even stranger wonders while passing the winter hours. A few of their possible selections are shown below. Planet Stories was a quarterly in 1948, while both Thrilling Wonder Stories and Weird Tales were bi-monthly. Of note is that Ray Bradbury was off to a great start in early 1948 with stories featured on the cover of the first two magazines and his name on the last.}

[Left: Planet Stories, Spring 1948 - Center: Thrilling Wonder, Feb. 1948 - Right: Weird Tales, March 1948]


To view the entire list of weekly Old Time Radio episodes at Tangent Online, click here.