It is the original story about people who dwell in department stores at night, as well as, the first story about mannequins actually being real people covered in wax. The author, John Collier (1901-1980) was a prolific writer, but "Evening Primrose" is his best known short story. The Twilight Zone episode "After-Hours" is reminiscent of "Evening Primrose".
The basic plot is that a poet named Charles Snell escapes from the harsh reality of the world by going to live in a department store. On his first night, he finds a society of creatures lives there as well. The only other human with them is a servant girl named Ella. Charles falls in love with Ella but from there trouble ensues.
So you might think that turning this story into a musical for television would be a bad idea -- but you would be wrong. A television musical version of this story was done for ABC Stage 67 in 1966. Written by Steven Sondheim and James Goldman, it starred Anthony Perkins as Charles. Charmian Carr (Liesl from the Sound of Music) played Ella. Unfortunately, this production is not commercially available at this time. The first professional stage presentation of this musical was performed in 2005.
What can one say about Escape's version of this story? I personally don't feel that Escape excelled at stories about poets. This wasn't the only one they did that came out with chuckle-worthy results. Their version of "Evening Primrose" is interesting only because of the greater success of the short story and of Sondheim's musical.
This episode was broadcast on November 5, 1947.
(Image from Morguefile.com)