The Lodger (Suspense, 22/Jul/1940)
In 1940, CBS Radio initiated a radio series called Forecast in which pilot episodes for other potential new series could be broadcast. The station intended to use audience feedback to decide which episodes to take forward in the future, hence they were known as "audition shows".
One of the early audition shows was named "Suspense" and the intention was for it to be a series of radio adaptations of Alfred Hitchcock films, hosted by the director. The show had involvement from producer Walter Wanger and Hitchcock, who had just directed Foreign Correspondent for Wanger. A deal was struck whereby Wanger provided actors Herbert Marshall and Edmund Gwenn in return for the film being plugged in the broadcast.
According to Marshall, it was he and Hitchcock who decided to record an adaptation of Marie Belloc Lowndes' popular novel, which Hitchcock had previously directed as The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927). Coincidentally, Gwenn played the role of the landlord which his brother Arthur Chesney had taken in the film. According to The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion (2001) by Martin Grams Jnr & Patrik Wikstrom, Hitchcock only lent his name to the programme and was not directly involved in the actual production. Instead, Hitchcock's appearance in the programme was voiced by actor Joseph Kearns.
The story ended rather abruptly and didn't reveal the true identity of the lodger, which led to some complaints from listeners who felt cheated by the episode.
The audition broadcast generated a small volume of mail to CBS Radio and they eventually commissioned Suspense as a series in the summer of 1942, although without Hitchcock as the host. It became highly popular and ran for twenty years.
Listen to the broadcast...
- broadcast as part of the eventual Suspense radio series
- date: 22/Jul/1940
- length: approx 30 minutes
- Noreen Gammill — Daisy Bunting
- Edmund Gwenn — Mr Bunting, The Landlord
- Joseph Kearns — Alfred Hitchcock
- Herbert Marshall — Mr Sleuth, The Lodger
- Lurene Tuttle — Mrs Bunting, The Landlady