Sunday, October 12, 2014

31 Days of Suspense: "The Butcher's Wife"

You may chalk this up to Halloween-themed joshing but... there was a time when Kirk Douglas was young.

I know, you probably find it hard to believe even Michael Douglas was once young, yet I swear, it's true.

In the February 9, 1950 episode of Suspense - "The Butcher's Wife" - Douglas played a young supermarket clerk who fools around with another man's wife. The butcher's wife, as the title indicates. This proves fatal for more than one person! You may download the episode from archive.org here.

The highlight of the episode comes in the carefully constructed climax, the explosion of the slow-burn relationship dynamics. Douglas is ultimately caught in the supermarket after hours with the knife-wielding butcher pursuing him. This is radio at it's best - the simple sound effects do an excellent job of cranking up the terror so that when the grisly moments arrive it all seems inevitable. Perhaps we're all a little wiser about fooling around with butcher's wives now.

The script reappeared as "Never Steal a Butcher's Wife" on August 19, 1954 & December 29, 1957, but I prefer the Douglas performance.

Tomorrow: "Remember, I pick them old enough to have families, dignified jobs. Would they want to admit to chasing bobbysoxers?"

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