Suspense -- "And So Died Riabouchinska" by Ray Bradbury

Saturday, 20 October 2018 15:00 Dave Truesdale

Suspense (1942-1962) aired Ray Bradbury's "And So Died Riabouchinska" on November 13, 1947. Written for Suspense, Bradbury (1920-2012) would see it appear years later as a short story in The Saint Detective Magazine (1953-1967) for its second issue, cover dated June/July 1953. It would reappear in his 1964 collection The Machineries of Joy. (A tip of the hat to SF pulp magazine historian Mike Ashley for turning me on to--as far as anyone has been able to determine after all these years--the story's original print publication venue and date in The Saint Detective Magazine.)

As recounted in many of the 40+ episodes of Suspense presented here, it was one of the most well produced, written, acted, and critically acclaimed of all radio shows during the Golden Age of Radio, many a film star jumping at the chance to perform in an episode of Suspense, among them Cary Grant, Orson Welles, Jimmy Stewart, Susan Hayward, Vincent Price, Charles Laughton, Loretta Young, Peter Lorre, and Rita Hayworth. After many another radio show had gasped its last during the 1950s, Suspense finally closed shop in September of 1962 whereupon radio historians proclaimed the Golden Age of Radio dead, television having become the medium of choice in America.

As for "And So Died Riabouchinska," it's an example of what seemed to be almost a sub-genre of the murder, detective, horror story for a number of decades--the ventriloquist's dummy story. The ventriloquist's dummy story appeared in any number of guises and treatments and made it into a number of radio episodes, print magazines, and television shows. This one has the dummy coming to life and helping the authorities solve a ventriloquist's murder. It's a well done treatment with the musical score and veteran actors keeping the tension level high, making it definitely worth showcasing for this Halloween season. Next Saturday falls on October 27th, a few days before Halloween, where this year we get back to basics with a horror classic, also from Suspense.

Play Time: 29:35

{Anxious for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday to arrive and bored with homework, the young neghborhood pilgrims donned their Fall coats and hats and headed for the corner drugstore to pick up a few more of their favorite pulp magazines after listening to Ray Bradbury's harrowing tale on Suspense. Jungle Stories (1938-54), though not a regular buy, always ended up satisfying that exotic adventure and danger itch, especially when featuring a Ki-Gor, Jungle Lord story. In 1947 it was a quarterly. The Phantom Detective (1933-53) was a bi-monthly in 1947 and filled a gap between monthly and quarterly magazines. Since it featured a masked detective it was always a welcome addition to the detective pulp collections of several of the gang. Planet Stories (1939-55) was a no-brainer and had been a must-buy favorite for years, offering colorful, imaginative SF tales by some of the genres biggest names (though we must admit that none of the names on the cover below are familiar ones to us). In 1947 Planet Stories was a quarterly.}

     [Left: Jungle Stories, Fall 1947 - Center: The Phantom Detective, Nov. 1947 - Right: Planet Stories, Fall 1947}


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