Sunday, December 11, 2016

100 Years of Kirk Douglas

Isn't it amazing that Kirk Douglas is still alive? He celebrated his 100th birthday two days ago. Douglas starred in one of my all-time favourite films, Paths of Glory.

I often comment when a star of old-time radio has passed away; how about we celebrate Douglas while he's still with us? When his career broke out post-World War II, old-time radio was beginning a decline as television ascended, but Douglas received a lot of attention for his early film roles (one of his best was The Bad and the Beautiful) and - with Burt Lancaster - was seen as quite the promising young turk. That being the case, Douglas made a few OTR appearances, including three visits to the greatest show of them all, Suspense!

Douglas made his first Suspense appearance in 1947 in the drama "Community Property." Douglas portrayed a husband who planned to inherit his wealthy uncle's fortune and wanted to cut his wife out of the deal, lest she claim part of the fortune via community property laws. After the uncle's sudden death, the nephew schemed to cut his wife out immediately!

That same year, Douglas appeared again on Suspense in "The Story of Markham's Death," a drama in which he played a hack mystery author who discovered a lost Edgar Allan Poe story which featured a new type of mystery tale (I love Edgar Allan Poe, but is it credible that after 100+ years of writers exploiting every possible angle there would be something Poe thought of first?). This being Suspense, Douglas must resort to murder to claim the lost Poe story for himself.

Three years later, Douglas struck again with "The Butcher's Wife," possibly the greatest of his appearances. In this episode, Douglas was a supermarket clerk who became involved in a triangle involving a butcher. A butcher who was immensely jealous and willing to bring his cleaver down on any piece of meat that got in his way. I featured this one on my blog two years ago as part of my '31 Days of Suspense' October feature.

Please do enjoy the programs!

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