How Elliott Lewis Advanced the Radio Western When He Took Over Suspense


Manage episode 231574865 series 1286771
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In June of 1950, Elliott Lewis was named producer and director of Suspense, replacing William Spier. The program’s new sponsor Autolite preferred to keep its commercials humorous. The contention was that the very change of pace shocked the audience to attention. Each 30-minute episode required over 500 total hours of work from 50 people. Writers spent 80 hours on each story with Lewis spending 10 hours reviewing and editing. Sound technicians spent 20 weekly hours finding and rehearsing their effects. On December 14th, 1950 Suspense took a cue from Escape and aired one of its first western dramas, called “A Killing in Abilene,” with Alan Ladd. That month Suspense was Thursday night’s top rated program—heard by over 40 million people.

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