Sunday, November 2, 2014

Presenting: the greatest snakes of Escape!

Over at, webmaster Christine A. Miller has occasionally had a little fun with the beloved Old-Time Radio program Escape and its propensity for using snakes; from her review of the missing episode "Pagosa":
"Still, we know that Escape's version would probably have had Ben Wright in the cast, it probably wasn't as focused on the romantic feelings of the characters, and that they probably tossed in a deadly snake somewhere, just to call it their own. (That's just a guess.)"

She says this because snakes would frequently cameo in programs such as "This Side of Nowhere," "The Red Forest," "Pollock and the Pooroh Man" and "Earth Abides." Moreover, snakes frequently held crucial roles in certain memorable episodes.

The years when Escape aired over CBS (1947-1954) were a veritable golden age for snakes, thanks largely to their powerful collective bargaining. Families planted victory snake gardens! Motorists carpooled with snakes! Snakes for president! Until the powerful lobbyist group controlled by Indiana Jones brought it all crumbling down...

Let's revisit our favourite scaly friends from the Escape series, shall we?

This dear fellow is the bushmaster, the world's longest viper, called by some "the mute rattlesnake" - but better to known to us as "mute fate!" In Escape's "A Shipment of Mute Fate," a ship at sea transporting a caged bushmaster must face the terror caused by the creature's accidental escape - and it climaxes with a terrible battle for life! You may download the episode from here!

Next we have the cottonmouth, the snake rendered famous by Rednex's song "Cotton Mouth Joe" (I'm sure I have that right). The cottonmouth is a semi-aquatic viper, which is part of the terror exploited by Escape when they employed the mere suggestion of a cottonmouth to horrify in "Snake Doctor." This is the story of a none-too-clever rural man who decides to murder the local "hoodoo" man, suspecting he's made a vast fortune from harvesting snake oil. You may download the episode from here.

Nobody likes the krait; being one of the Earth's most venomous serpents, he doesn't get invited to parties. Nor is the driving figure of Escape "Poison" quite fond of kraits when he awakens to find one has nestled up under his blanket! However, the title of the story refers not to the creature's venom, but poison of another kind (at least, so my grade 10 English teacher claimed). You may download "Poison" from here!

The infamous cobra got the V.I.P. treatment from Escape, earning his name in the title of "Serenade for a Cobra." This concerns an unscrupulous pilot who doesn't like the radio operator's penchant for snake charming. However, the snake charmer quickly finds a way to force the pilot listen to his music by leaving his pet in the cockpit; boy, what some artists won't do for an audience... You may download the episode from here!

The deadly python has retreated from public life over the stigma of being associated with both Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj. Seemingly an almost perpetually-shy snake, the muscular python appears only briefly in the Escape episode "Bloodbath," but it's quite memorable; and heck, if there isn't enough python for you then you should enjoy the electric eels, piranhas and vampire bats! You may download the episode from here!

Finally we have the... uh... gray snake? This fellow may not be identified but he's easily the most persistent snake in all of Escape as in the episode "The Footprint" he trails his victims through the desert with a single-mindedness the shark from Jaws would envy. Check it out at here!

Have a hissing good time!

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