Inner Sanctum — Elixir Number Four

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As part of Halloween month we present another chilling episode from Inner Sanctum. “Elixir Number Four” aired on February 12, 1946 and starred none other than Hollywood star to be, Richard Widmark. In fact, Widmark’s first film hit theater screens a year after this radio performance. His screen debut (Kiss of Death, 1947) garnered him an Academy Award nomination for his role as psychopathic killer Tommy Udo (at right). His maniacal laughter as he shoves a wheelchair bound old woman down a flight of stairs in this noir thriller is one of the cinema’s most memorable scenes of amoral brutality.

In “Elixir Number Four,” however, Widmark begins his performance as a nice guy, interested only in the affections of a scientist’s beautiful daughter. But when he learns that the scientist has stumbled on the secret of immortality…well, let’s just say his personality becomes driven by something other than love. How this tragic drama plays out is worthy of many a Robert Bloch story, where the cosmic (and sometimes capricious) scales of justice exert their ever-present influence. The fickle finger of fate makes the conclusion to this one worth the wait.

Play Time: 29:25