Before Bond: Moscow correspondent faces Russian with steel teeth

Suspense (1955):

This script by John Dehner was timely Cold War radio about an American correspondent attempting to flee his Soviet interrogator, “The Man with Steel Teeth.”

It was produced twice, both times by Antony Ellis, for two of radios most popular anthology series, Suspense and Escape.

Dehner, who also starred as a newspaper reporter in the wild west series Frontier Gentleman, took the lead in the Suspense production in February 1955, but Escape was the first to broadcast the story, in March 1953, with Harry Bartell in the lead.

Other than presenting the reporter as brave, stubborn and resourceful, there is little about journalism here . . . No particular job of reporting gets him charged with espionage, the charges are entirely trumped up, and the toothy interrogator tries beatings and torture to extract a confession.

Both actors do a fine job, and the script reinforces the era’s assumptions about the Soviet Union. No spoilers here, just a good suspenseful attempted-escape story, as the names of the two series suggest.

One interesting twist in the radioplay — patches of dialogue are in Russian with no translation. . . or what sounds like Russian to an American who only knows a few words.

Escape (1953):

About Bob Stepno

mild-mannered reporter who found computers & the Web in grad school in the 1980s (Wesleyan) and '90s (UNC); taught journalism, media studies, Web production; retired to write, make music, photograph sunsets & walks in the woods.
This entry was posted in 1950s, cold war, international, reporters, Russia. Bookmark the permalink.

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