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The Hitch Hiker
By Alan King
Plus, A Perfectly Happy Life, The Signal Man, and The Duel

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The Mystery Theatre: The Hitch Hiker

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The Mystery Theatre: The Hitch Hiker, Perfectly Happy Life, the Signal Man, the Duel
By Alan King
Mystery Theatre, Volume Two
Scenario Productions
Vintage Radio on two audio cassettes
ISBN: 1-894003-06-3
Genre: Fiction

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - October 25, 2001

From the achieves of CBC Radio come four thrilling tales of mystery and suspense. The four stories contained in this, the second volume in the CBC's Mystery Theatre series, are The Hitch Hiker, A Perfectly Happy Life, The Signal Man, and The Duel. They are contained on two audio cassettes that run for a total of two hours.

The Hitch Hiker, written by Alan King, originally aired on CBC radio in June of 1967. In this tale of suspense, George Kirby accidentally runs over, and kills, a hitch hiker. At his trial, the death was ruled accidental. However, this is not the end of the story. A salesman tells Kirby a story about picking up a hitch hiker who just happens to be looking for the man that killed him! Will the hitch hiker get his vengeance? This wonderfully chilling tale features a full cast that includes Cecil Linder as George Kirby and John Vernon as Sam Henderson.

A Perfectly Happy Life was originally broadcasted in April of 1968 and was written by Ted Ferguson. This is a mysterious tale about a man who has a perfectly happy life. Jim Conrad played by Michael Kane, is, by all standards, a scoundrel. So it is understandable that he is mystified when a secret foundation offers to make all his dreams come true. In short order all his dreams do come true, he even marries Marie, played by Judith Wildman. Maria is the daughter of the head of the foundation, and she sees to it that he remains totally content. Despite all his happiness and success, Conrad is worried that all is not as it seems - and he is right to be worried. This is a wonderfully wrought tale - a riveting mystery infused with Aztec mythology.

The Signal Man is a story by Charles Dickens. It was adapted for radio by George Salverson and it originally aired in August of 1968. This is an archetypal Victorian tale of suspense. It revolves around Dickens, played by William Osler, talking to a signal man, played by Henry Comer, about his job. Throughout their discussion the railroad signal man is unduly concerned with his red signal light. But why? Listen and all your questions will be answered...

The Duel is a tale by Alexandre Dumas that was adapted for radio by Howard Griffin. It originally broadcast on CBC radio in November 1967. This take takes place in the Quebec of 1759. War rages between the English and the French - the price they fight over is Quebec itself. Into this mix, Dumas introduces us to two courageous and stubborn men, Andre (Robert Clothier) and Paul (Derek Hanson). They are instant rivals and in short order they are engaged in an unusual duel. It is fought with only one loaded pistol, and with the combatants standing only one pace apart. The conclusion of the duel is to have a lasting impact on many more people than just the two men involved. This is an engrossing tale that has been well adapted for the radio.

In total, these four stories offer a fair representation of the stories that aired on the CBC's Mystery Theatre, an eclectic mix of modern mysteries and classic tales of suspense. This is a wonderful collection. All the stories are performed by full casts which instantly transport the listener into the meat of the story.

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