Jul 1, 2017
Academy Award winner Charles Laughton, a legend of stage and screen, was born July 1, 1899. From Shakespeare to Agatha Christie, from the high seas to the courtroom, Laughton turned in many memorable performances, usually as pompous, larger than life characters (both heroes and villains). He played the title role in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and worked with Alfred Hitchcock in the director's last film made in England, Jamaica Inn. Laughton was married to actress Elsa Lanchester; the two appeared in several films together including Billy Wilder's Witness for the Prosecution. The classic courtroom mystery earned both Laughton and Lanchester nominations for Oscars. Today, Laughton is also fondly remembered for his one directorial outing - the engrossing, nightmarish noir The Night of the Hunter.
Charles Laughton made the first of his ten appearances on Suspense within a year of the launch of "radio's outstanding theater of thrills." We've heard a pair of his shows in Episode 19 of the podcast, but today in honor of his birthday here are a few more old time radio thrillers starring the great Charles Laughton.
"The ABC Murders" - Loosely adapted from the Agatha Christie story, this episode stars Laughton and his wife Elsa Lanchester in the tale of a mild-mannered man who may be a demented serial killer. (Originally aired May 18, 1943)
"Blind Date" - Laughton plays a creepy admirer keeping a showgirl in her dressing room with a knife in this tense outing co-starring June Havoc. (Originally aired September 29, 1949)
"Neil Cream, Doctor of Poison" - In this true crime tale from the pages of history, Laughton stars as one of the most infamous poisoners of all time. (Originally aired on September 17, 1951)
For more old time radio thrillers and legends of Hollywood, click here to subscribe to the "Stars On Suspense" podcast in iTunes.