Interesting sound fx fail on Suspense on East broadcast, gets it right on West


Joe Webb
 
Edited


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I recently stumbled on this news clip that relates two incidents where sound effects did not work on Suspense according to Bill Spier...

1947-04-13 Pittston PA Sunday Dispatch
Suspense Upgrades - Page 5 1947-322

This was one of those "evergreen" press releases that CBS would send out. It was published in newspapers around the country, surprisingly, with every word intact. The earliest it was published in a paper was April 3, 1947, and the latest I saw in some papers in June 1947.

The second incident in the clip is about Three Faces at Midnight from 1947-02-24 and it turns out it can be documented! The Cobalt Dialogue Difference Detection Squad (C3DS, aka lasombra and chasedad) were on it. Chasedad reported this back, and I have edited:
It occurred in the east coast version when the gun misfires at 16:44 when Wally Maher shoots Hans Conried, the gun "click" without firing is not audible but Conried plays for time and draws out his begging and pleading and starts to trail off a bit just before the gun finally fires;
in the west coast broadcast at 16:50 the gun fires on cue and Conried's pleading builds to a crescendo as the shot is fired

I listened to the programs and clipped the audio of the scene even further. This is the link to the file that has the clip of the scenes from East followed by West
https://icedrive.net/0/75A9Fx7gLe
If you click on the link you can download the little file or play it within Icedrive by clicking "open" and then the "play" arrow. It's about 10 seconds, of which 3-5 seconds is from the east broadcast of Conried buying time for one of the guns to finally do what it was supposed to.

Conried was such a pro. This is where his deep and broad stage experience really comes through to adapt to situations in performances as they happen without flailing about and in a very convincing way.

Back when I had a real job and I had hair and such, and it seemed that corporate life was my professional destiny, the company's ad manager told me he had pursued an acting career years earlier. One of his pleasures was a summer in a traveling play with Conried. Stupid stuff would happen on stage and the players would have to turn away from the audience to hide their laughter, but not Conried. Conried would get a knowing glint in his eye but he would hold his expression and not lose the moment... and then they'd all crack up about it when they got off stage. He said that summer was one of the most incredible times he had as a struggling actor... before he decided to become a struggling ad manager instead. Some might say that ad manager job was his best acting performance ever. Did I just say that? But I digress...

It is really amazing that we can find this news item and then actually verify it, almost 75 years later!

As far as the other story goes, with the missed gunshot and the line "I'll use a knife" is the kind often told by a party or a convention guest. It could be one of those "showbiz stories" that everyone tells each other decades later. But we have something to listen for in the pre-April 1947 shows now, don't we?! Lasombra remembers hearing it at a SPERDVAC meeting decades ago but does not remember where or when... yet...
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