In the Golden Days of Radio, back in the 1930s to the 1950s, most popular radio series had a set time for going out each week. Occasionally, there might be a change in the schedule, but on the whole a consistent time-slot was something that helped build a large audience and so was something the big networks aimed to achieve.
One exception to this rule was the dramatic adventure anthology series called Escape, whose time-slot shifted an incredible eighteen times in its seven-year run from 1947 through to 1954. To make matters even worse it had a habit of coming and going and sometimes disappearing off the schedules altogether at short notice for weeks on end only to resurface weeks later in a completely different timeslot.
The quite fragrant disregard CBS paid to having a regular timeslot for Escape could make you think that it was just a run-of-the-mill series that was nothing but a lightweight filler for those times when the regular show was off-the-air, such as during the quiet summer months. In my opinion, and that of many old radio aficionados, this couldn't be further from the truth. Escape is probably the best adventure anthology ever broadcast.
In my opinion, Escape brings together everything that was good about old-time radio drama rolled into one. The title itself almost sums up the very essence of what radio drama is all about. Each of the episodes was a micro drama carefully planned to capture the listeners attention for thirty minutes. Over two-hundred episodes were made and almost all of them are as good today as they were over half a century ago.
For the first few years the series was on air the announcement at the start of the show varied almost every week, but by the 1950s it had settled down to be the now famous:
Tired of the everyday grind? Ever dream of a life of romantic adventure? Want to get away from it all? We offer you ... ESCAPE!
This may give the wrong impression as Escape was far more than a swashbuckling adventure yarn. It was a brilliantly scripted and superbly produced series that brought to listeners adaptations of classic works by famous writers as well as brand new work by unknown talent. Many of the stories were later reused by more high profile shows such as Suspense, but on the whole the Escape versions were of equal quality and sometimes more dramatically focused and atmospheric.
When Radio Life wrote "These stories all possess many times the reality that most radio writing conveys" it hit the nail on the head. This is a quality show in every way.
If you've never listened to this wonderful series it's well worth taking the time to track it down. Whether you listen in the car on your daily commute, whilst doing the housework, relaxing in your favorite easy-chair, or snuggled up in bed - you really will be thrilled!