Old Time Radio Enthusiasts ID a mystery (longshot)

For a while I subscribed to satellite radio and spent a lot of time listening to Radio Classics. One afternoon I heard the scariest radio play I’d ever heard, but time has lapsed and I can’t remember what program it was.

The story begins with two elderly sisters being moved from their house into the home of a beloved nephew and his new bride. I forget quite how but one sister becomes convinced that the young couple has evil motives and are trying to poison them and other nefarious things in order to steal their fortune.

As the sisters become more terrified the devise a plan to escape.

They end up burning the house to the ground with the young couple locked inside. When they go to their lawyer to retrieve their trust fund they learn that they’d lost everything in “the crash” or some such, that they were penniless and the nephew and his wife insisted that they be protected from that knowledge and had been using their own money to support them.

Ring any bells? I just learned about Internet Archive in another thread and I think I might be able to find it with a little more to go on.

Thanks in advance.

Do you remember any names being credited as being part of the program?

Your description definitely rings a bell, but I can’t even tell you whether I’ve heard the radio play in question, or read a description of it somewhere, or read a story on which the radio play was based.

My very vague recollection is that the more paranoid sister was played by a “name” - but Beulah Bondi famous, not Loretta Young famous.

That was on the radio show The Sealed Book from April 15, 1945. The episode was called “Escape by Death”.

Online episodes of The Sealed Book.

That’s a great site, and I use software to convert the real media files to mp3s so that I can listen to them in my car.

Holy cow! Just listed to a couple of these shows.

The stories weren’t bad, but they had weird melodramatic organ music throughout the thing that just went on and on.

I wonder if they were padding the thing - stretching twenty minutes of writing into a half-hour show.

You really have to hear it to believe it.

As I understand it, the organ was used by shows that were too low-budget to have a full orchestra.

But ten minutes of it?

Did you just happen to know that, or are you a dilligent researcher? Thank you so much.

Thanks to Walloon too, for the link. I just listened to that episode, and plan to keep listening throughout the day. I find it easier to do some of the less intellectual tasks related to my work with something to listen to.

I listened to the show recently so I looked through my pile of listened-to OTR shows. I skimmed through about 40 Suspense shows before I gave up and looked at The Sealed Book and found it.

Hah nice. I knew I had heard that episode, but I couldn’t place which series. I took one look at my piles of OTR dvds and said “maybe later.” Luckily, you came in before I started and saved me all that listening.


Not that OTR fans should give a hoot in hell, but The Sealed Book was one of the first mystery series to be adapted for television - by the DuMont station in New York, in about 1945. DuMont’s program director later wrote a TV production manual that contained a partial script from the show.

Wow, that site’s amazing! I’ll have to take a few hours this weekend to listen. They’ve got tons of radio shows I never even heard of, as well as classics like “I Love a Mystery”, “Inner Sanctum” and “Lights Out”. There’s a show called “The Lives of Harry Lime”; was that based on the character in The Third Man?

Yes, same character, although Harry Lime was turned from a corrupt postwar black marketer to a prewar globe-hopping adventurer.