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.

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