Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 277 – Escape: Finger of Doom

Harry Bartell Writer and critic Anthony Boucher was assembling short stories from current mystery writers in 1945 for a collection he was calling Great American Detective Stories and wanted to include one from mystery and noir writer Cornell Woolrich. Boucher chose for his collection, the Woolrich story called “Finger of Doom” which first appeared in Argosy magazine in 1940; one of only three the author provided to them that year. Woolrich biographer, Francis Nevins, referred to the story as one of the author’s “Annihilation classics,” by which he refers to a story involving someone appearing then disappearing unexplainably without a trace.

The radio adaptation was heard over both Suspense and Escape. The one from Escape is a much sparser adaptation of the story and one I liked much more. Some of the adaptation seems to have taken some parts from the original Suspense adaptation, but the characters are trimmed down and toned down. Harry Bartel stars as Kenny and also carries the burden of narration effectively.

Music under is “I’ll Be Seeing You” performed by the Sonny Stitt Quartet.

3 Responses to Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 277 – Escape: Finger of Doom

  1. Jos says:

    I couldn’t resist to also look up the Suspense version, titled “I won’t take a minute”. I actually enjoyed it as well, and it was interesting to notice how small differences in the story, for example the ‘wrong’ Steffi walking out of the building in the real Steffi’s clothes, impact the level of suspense. I might even disagree with you and say the Suspense version is better 😉 Anyway, great post once again, thanks!

  2. jwidner says:

    Normally, I am a big fan of Suspense, but lately William Spier’s productions have been grating on me with their over-hyped dramatic music. I won’t disagree that it is a good episode, just not in my favor at the moment versus the Escape episode. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Robert Bruce says:

    I loved Harry Bartell in Fort Laramie and in Finger of Doom there is an honesty and conviction in his voice It was the first time I’d heard this version I enjoyed it..

    As Always a great podcast a big fan thank you again Jim !

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