Double Down on Doom

Woolrich Audio week limps to a close with two adaptations from series we have not covered before.

I don’t know that Wardrobe Trunk was ever adapted into a film, but it’s an exemplary Woolrich short: fast-moving, arbitrary, frightening, and implausible. This Radio City Playhouse is also the first New York-based radio show we’ve covered. The difference between L.A. and New York radio drama is like Justice Stewart’s definition of pornography: it’s hard to say exactly what it is, but you know it when you hear it. Perhaps it’s the difference between the California actors also working in Hollywood movies, and the New Yorkers spending nights working in live theater.

Certainly, RCP, with its “theatre” setting and relatively somber acting by David Gothard and Joe DeSantis, allows Woolrich to unfold without the pervasive delirium that we’ve gotten used to.

1949-04-04 Radio City Playhouse Wardrobe Trunk

Now, this is a classic. Escape, radio’s great anthology of high adventure, presents Frank Lovejoy in a demented stew of voodoo curses and lunatic prejudices about jazz.
Lovejoy had a fine career as a Hollywood second lead, in In A Lonely Place and The Hitchhiker among others, but he seemed rather stolid much of the time. But on radio, he was possessed of a great gift of intimacy.

If you only listen to one Woolrich on radio, make it this one. If Edgar Ulmer had made radio shows…

Escape 1948-01-21 Papa Benjamin

Thanks for sticking around for my first blog project. Stay tuned. . . .

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