Classic TV: The 40s : Suspense - Dead Ernest 1949

Suspense - Dead Ernest 1949

Couple Ernest and Margaret, (Will Hart and Patricia Jenkins) are out on the town for the day. Hart to take in a ball game while Jenkins catches a double feature at the movie house. They kiss and she asks if he has his medical letter with him.

It seems that Hart suffers from narcolepsy when he gets over stressed. This puts him in to a coma like state that can be mistaken for death. So he keeps a letter in his jacket pocket explaining that his body should not be embalmed or autopsied for at least 8 hours. Jenkins hit the movies and Hart heads for the ball field.

Not 50 feet down the street he gets clipped by a car and down he goes in a heap. A cop is soon on the spot. He removes Hart's coat to use as a pillow for Hart's head. They then wait for the medical boys to show. Hart is soon pronounced dead and taken to the morgue.

His jacket is left lying on the sidewalk where a second hand clothes seller grabs it up. The man, Barry Macallum, is dusting off the jacket when a young couple, Tod Andrews and Marg Phillips, enter his shop. They are in the market for a man's jacket. Needless to say they end up with Hart's.

Back at their apartment they discover the letter. Andrews blows it off as a gag but Phillips is not so sure. She gets on the horn and starts making phone calls. Meanwhile Hart has been taken to the morgue for an exam. The morgue attendant, Joshua Shelly, is busy listening to the Dodgers and puts off starting.

Phillips gets a bee in her bonnet about the letter and heads back to the shop where they bought the jacket. Macallam comes clean on how he came into possession of said jacket. Phillips quickly calls the police who call the morgue. Shelley, still listening to the game, ignores the phone as he prepares his instruments.

Just as Shelley is about to start his first cut on Hart's neck his glasses fog up. "What the heck"? He looks closer at Hart and is given quite the start as Hart comes out of his fit. A close call!

A quick little half hour that holds up very well. The story is a television version of a radio play of the same name from the SUSPENSE radio program. The director was vet television man Robert Stevens. Stevens also directed THE BIG CAPER from 57.

This is probably the earliest show i've reviewed so far. It hit the airwaves on May 3rd 1949.