Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday's Favoirte OTR

Pursuit: "Pursuit of The Thames Pirates" 2/12/52


Pursuit had a short run on CBS in 1949-50 and then popped up against a few times after that as a replacement series for shows on hiatus. Both Elliot Lewis and William Robeson--both men masters of radio storytelling--had turns as producer/director of Pursuit, so it's not at all surprising that it was an expertly done and entertaining show.


The main character is Inspector Peter Blake of Scotland Yard, played in 1952 by Ben Wright. This episode starts off already at full speed. A gang of thieves has been active along the shores of the Thames River, using a high-speed boat for getaways. Blake joins the crew of a police boat to check out a suspicious craft.


This leads to an exchange of machine gun fire and a high speed chase along the fog-shrouded river. (This sequence can't help remind one of the classic river chase from the Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of the Four.) At first, it seems as if the crooks have made a clean getaway. But Blake and the police boat captain methodically track them down--only to get themselves captured.


Excellent sound effects are combined with narration and dialogue to make the chase scene truly exciting. The hostage drama part of the story is marred a little when the plot falls back on an overused cliche (the bad guys carelessly leave something sharp lying around with which Blake can cut the ropes binding him), but everything else is done so well that this is easy to forgive.

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