Currently this archive contains 34 of 34 plotlines and 8 reviews
The last complete poem written by Edgar Allan Poe... a few months before his death. A tale of two lovers whose love is so strong and intense that it makes the winged Seraphs of heaven jealous and spiteful. The lover's union on Earth is ripped asunder... but not the love that binds their souls.
It was many and many a year ago
in a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
by the name of Annabel Lee.
During an oppressive heat-wave, an artist is inspired to create his finest work—a hurried sketch of a criminal in the dock immediately after a judge has pronounced sentence. He is somewhat startled, later that day, to meet a man who looks exactly like the man in his sketch.
Other versions were produced for Suspense (x2) and Hallmark Playhouse.
Aunt Cassie is a little odd; she has imaginary conversations with people who have been dead for years. The rest of the family politely ignore this, but sometimes it's a trifle annoying.
Sir William Brent—former head of the CID, now retired—pursues the only murderer who ever evaded the long reach of his arm. With a steely-minded determination, Sir Brent sets a trap involving a dinner party, a derelict mansion, and a charming actress pretending to be the ghost of the murdered victim.
Three versions were produced for Suspense. A teleplay was also produced for Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1959).
At a party, one dark autumn night, a banker, a young lawyer, and several other guests discuss the relative merits of capital punishment versus life in prison. The young lawyer agrees with the others that both options are horrible, but claims he prefers life in prison as the more humane. The banker loses his temper and challenges the lawyer's wisdom by betting $2 million against the lawyer's ability to endure 15 years in solitary confinement.
Another version was produced for Favorite Story.
A writer, taking a quick break from what's shaping up to be the best book he's ever written, stumbles upon a very strange bookshop—a bookshop with titles such as: Agamemnon by William Shakespeare, King Arthur of Britain by John Milton, Darkling Mills by Jane Austen, The Gargoyle's Eye by Edgar Allan Poe, and The Troglodytes by Jules Verne.
Two men seeking a quiet retreat—one to finish writing a book and the other to while away his time fishing—rent a picturesque farm for an astonishing low rent. Astonishing, that is, until they learn the previous occupant died under mysterious circumstances...
A dedicated and loyal bank clerk, with no desire other than to perform his job well, unexpectedly falls in love with a customer whom he has never met. A fantasy relationship ensues.
A WWII bomber crew in the Pacific is forced down and find themselves on a remote island populated by an advanced race of mutants planning to take over the world.
Two versions were also produced for Escape.
Vicomte Gontran-Joseph de Signoles takes offence when a strange man rudely stares at his female companion. A cautionary word of advice triggers a sharp retort, followed by a slap across the face. Cards are exchanged and the conditions for a duel are agreed upon. And then... the Vicomte is left alone with his own thoughts as he contemplates for the first time his possible death at the hands of another.
At six o'clock one Saturday morning, Olivier Bécaille suffers a form of temporary paralysis so severe he is pronounced dead and, to his horror, subsequently buried. He effects an escape, however, and after several weeks is able to witness his wife's behaviour now that she thinks he is dead.
Ever since Mr Gannett was admitted to the insane asylum over a year ago, he has been pantomiming an odd set movements—measuring, drilling, cutting, filing, and placing the resultant imaginary objects in the corner of his cell. He's fed up with the madness and despair of the world—the wars, famines, floods, social injustice, political and social brutalities. He's fed up... and he's getting out.
The train that was transporting Mr Trimm—former president of the 13th National Bank—to prison overturns in a grisly crash. Mr Trimm is thrown clear, and in the confusion escapes into the woods. Now, if he can only get those pesky handcuffs removed...
See also: "Present Tense" (Escape and Suspense).
Ernie Mendenhall: 42 years old. Alone. Works as a secretary for a writer and collects antique furniture. Rarely interacts with people. One bright summer weekend the writer for whom Ernie works holds a house party and Ernie Mendenhall meets the woman of his dreams. A fantasy relationship ensues.
Fishhead, a native of Reelfoot Lake is a human monstrosity with a deformed head resembling that of a great catfish. The Baxter brothers, Jake and Joel, accuse him of running their trout line and stripping it of the hooked catch. When Fishhead refuses to deny the accusation, the brothers plan his murder.
[Aside: Reelfoot Lake is a shallow, swamp-like lake in N.W. Tennessee. In the early 1900s, a group of landowners purchased the entire shoreline in an attempt to control fishing rights on the lake. Many families, who for generations had survived by fishing the lake, were forced out and retaliated by forming various vigilante groups. So, the story-idea of 'murder to defend one's fishing rights', has some basis in historical fact.]
Another version was produced for Dr Demento. No, wait... I think that was something else.
Shy, lonely, ineffectual Winter Wedderburn spends most of his time pursuing his one passion—growing orchids. He recently had the good fortune to purchase an unidentified shrivelled rhizome from the Andamans or, possibly, the Indies. It might be a Palaeonophis... or it might not. It was one of the last specimens collected by poor old Batten before he was found dead in a mangrove swamp, every drop of blood let out of him by jungle leeches.
A man has vivid dreams of his friendship with Alexander Hamilton, and of his upcoming duel with Aaron Burr.
Three versions were produced for Suspense.
Ben has had it with Nan and Jim—Nan (his girlfriend) and Jim (his ex-friend who came home from Korea as a war hero and stole her away). For two years she'd been Benny's girl. Not anymore. But she will be again. She will be... if Benny has anything to say about it.
Eight days of severe fever push Marius Lindsay to the brink of death and result in his first out-of-body experience. Experimenting with the phenomenon, Marius discovers his wife, Mary Ann, is having an affair and is about to run off with her lover. Incensed, Marius concocts a plan to murder his wife's lover in his sleep.
"The Horsehair Trunk" also aired as a teleplay on Night Gallery, 1971 (as "The Last Laurel").
A sixty-seven year old man with no career, no outstanding achievements, never married, and never in love—by his own standards, a complete failure—develops the ability to glimpse future events.
A stream-of-consciousness tale in which a fiercely independent octogenarian, deathly ill, relives the events that forged her character... events she appears to have weathered despite suffering their psychological toll.
Harker Brayton—a bachelor of thirty-five, a scholar, idler, and something of an athlete, rich, popular, and of sound health—has returned to San Francisco after travelling throughout the world and has gladly accepted the hospitality of his friend, Dr. Druring, the distinguished scientist. Settling down to an evening's reading and musing, Brayton scoffs at what he has just read—a passage from Morryster's Marvells of Science, in which Morryster alleges that snakes have hypnotic powers...
It is of veritabyll report, and attested of so many that there be nowe of wyse and learned none to gaynsaye it, that ye serpente hys eye hath a magnetick propertie that whosoe falleth into its svasion is drawn forwards in despyte of his wille, and perisheth miserabyll by ye creature hys byte. --- Morryster's Marvells of Science
A man, down on his luck, passes a used car lot and notices a sign on a brand new $4,000 car which reads: "This Car Free! Enquire Upstairs." Enquiring upstairs, he meets a man in a black hat with a white goatee and grey, expressionless, eyes who informs him that, yes, the car is absolutely free...
A newspaper reporter is startled when a prospective informant, Mr Mergenthwirker, tells him the source of all his information is actually an invisible pair of 'lobblies' named Jakepeth and Henry.
The other night upon the stair
I saw a man who wasn't there,
He wasn't there again today;
How I wish he'd go away.
A man, trying to escape his endlessly nagging wife, lets his imagination run wild and ends up living in a fantasy world of his own making for three full days.
As the good ship Roundabout readies for departure from Shanghai to Bali, a stranger approaches Captain English and asks for passage. The stranger claims to be a Dutch missionary bringing Bibles and religion to the natives; he presents his passport, character references, and offers a healthy 'fee' to alleviate any misgivings the captain might have. The captain agrees... but once underway soon regrets his decision.
Versions were produced for Escape, Mercury Theatre on the Air, Mercury Summer Theatre of the Air and Sleep No More.
A storm rages. A woman unexpectedly returns home a week early from a visit to her sister's and finds her house cold and dark. Her husband is not home from work even though it is late, but when she tries to call him she discovers the phone lines are down. The storm continues to rage... and then she thinks she sees a face looking in the window...
Blake, a down-and-out reporter at a disreputable newspaper, is contemplating his misfortune when a mysterious late-night visitor knocks at his boarding-room door. The visitor claims to be acting as an agent for one of Blake's friends and has come to deliver $10,000 cash. Blake is suspicious... but not suspicious enough.
A husband, convinced of his wife's infidelity, decides to murder her by planting a bomb in their basement, but an unexpected home burglary turns the tables and now it looks like the husband will be the one to die...
Another version was produced for Suspense.
Three men tending a lighthouse off the coast of French Guiana are besieged when a ship wrecks on the shoal and releases a horde of starving rats.
Other versions were produced for Escape (x2), The Grip of Terror, and Suspense (x3). Also, a modern version was recently produced for One Act Audio.
A little boy, Small Simon, refuses to acknowledge to his father, Big Simon, that Mr Beelzy is nothing more than a daydream. The father attempts to reason with his son, laying forth his arguments in a logical and straight-forward manner, but then resorts to threats of violence when his son fails to heed him. Small Simon seems unconcerned—he claims that Mr Beelzy won't let anyone hurt him...
A classic man-versus-nature story by Jack London, recounting the adventures of a chechaquo (a Yukon-territory back-country greenhorn) who unwisely decides to travel solo during an extreme cold snap. Old-timers warn "He travels fastest who travels alone . . . but not after the frost has dropped below zero fifty degrees or more."
Reading Link: 'To Build a Fire', by Jack London, available at The World of Jack London.
An aspiring journalist, Raymond Hewson, seeks to make a name for himself by successfully spending the night amongst the wax murderer's at Mariner's Waxworks and publishing the account.
Versions were produced for Beyond Midnight, The Price of Fear, Sleep No More and Suspense (x3). A teleplay was also produced for Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1959).
See also: "The Mask of Medusa" (Mystery in the Air).
A man at a frightfully boring dinner party invents an invisible companion—a woman in grey—who he claims 'gets after' troublesome people he doesn't like, so he needn't to bother with them.