The widely held belief is Suspense was the best drama ever to grace the airwaves. The show was broadcast on C.B.S. for 22 years and during that time over 900 episodes were aired. An audition show was broadcast on July 22, 1940. The title of the program was Forecast and it was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. He discusses the ending of the story with the cast at the close of the broadcast. The first episode to air under the program name Suspense occurred on June 17, 1942 and was called "The Burning Court". Most episodes were 30-minute long but from January to May 1948 the shows were an hour in length. The major stars of the time all sought to be the guest stars during the program's peak years.
Unlike today, there were only two or three commercial breaks during a program. From December 1943 through November 1947, Suspense was sponsored by Roma Wines. Suspense was sponsored by Auto-Lite from July 1948 until June 1954. After the Auto-Lite sponsorship ended, the program was sustained by the network or various other advertisers. The final radio broadcast of Suspense occurred on September 30, 1962.
The popularity of the radio show led to Suspense on television. The TV show ran from 1949-1964 and Auto-Lite continued its sponsorship of the program. A few of Auto-Lite television commercials from the Suspense TV program are below:
Listen to the introduction of a Suspense episode starring Jack Benny.
From the February 3, 1944 episode, The Sisters, this advertisement impresses upon the listener he will be a good host and will be in the company connoisseurs worldwide if he serves Roma Wine.
Another ad from the same show Roma Wines toasts the world with the tag line: Made in California for enjoyment throughout the world.
From the August 24, 1944 episode, Actor's Blood (which, by the way, is not one of the better episodes) asks you if you have discovered Roma Wines.
From the May 5, 1945 episode, Death at Live Oak, Roma describes how their wine is produced and why it "gives you more enjoyment for your money".
In some episodes of Suspense, Roma's Cresta Blanca sherry was promoted.
Auto-Lite spark plug radio advertisement. Auto-Lite would sponsor Suspense on television too.
Click on the image above to watch an Auto-Lite television advertisement featuring Lester the Limousine from the September 1951 Suspense TV episode "Merryman's Murder".
Auto-Lite TV commercials aired on the April 1953 Suspense episode "F.O.B. Vienna"
Click the image to launch Windows Media Player and watch the video.
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