Monday, November 3, 2008

Back For Christmas

Halloween is over (sigh), but here's a little pre-Christmastime tale for you.

Escape's "Back for Christmas" was adapted from the short story of the same name by John Collier. Both Escape and Suspense presented this tale but without the gruesome elements of the original work. The radio dramatizations also added extra scenes to fill the half-hour format.

The story begins in England, inside the house of a professor of botany named Herbert Carpenter. He and his wife, Hermione, are soon to leave for an extended trip to America, where he will be lecturing.

Hermione is a shrew who keeps her husband under her constant control. She has planned every detail of their trip with precision and, to her annoyance, Herbert is not conforming with her plan. Instead, he is wasting time on a botanical project in their cellar. He is also lingering too long at the bookshop to chat with the bookseller, Miss Markham.

Hermione has promised all of their friends that they will be back for Christmas, but if Herbert has his way -- she won't be.

The radioplay performed on Escape had originally aired on Suspense on December 23, 1943. Peter Lorre played the role of the professor and his rendition of the hen-pecked husband gone mad is classic. The name of the actress who played Hermione is not given, but it was probably Jeanette Nolan.

Listen to "Back for Christmas".

The story was also produced as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1956. You can watch the full episode in a popout window by clicking on the picture below.

Source for radio broadcast: Escape and Suspense!

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