"Leiningen vs. the Ants", a short story by Carl Stephenson published in Esquire magazine in 1938, was presented by Escape, Suspense, Mystery in the Air, and Lux Radio Theater. The story depicts the battle between the owner of a plantation in the Brazilian jungle and an attacking army of soldier ants.
You may already be familiar with this story from the movie version. In 1954 "Leiningen vs. the Ants" became The Naked Jungle starring Charleton Heston. In the film Leiningen has a love interest, a mail order bride played by the seductive Eleanor Parker. Leiningen spends the first half of the film grumbling because the new bride he ordered isn't a virgin - and he is. Then, in the second half, the ants come marching along to provide tension for the love story. William Conrad, who had previously played Leiningen on Escape, stars as the district commissioner. The movie went in a different direction but the radio versions stayed true to the original work.
The adaptation of this story for radio by Robert Ryf aired three times on Escape and twice on Suspense. For Escape, William Conrad played Leiningen on January 14, 1948 and May 23,1948. Tudor Owen played the role for Escape on August 4, 1949. William Conrad starred as Leiningen for Suspense on August 25, 1957. Luis Van Rooten played the role for Suspense on November 29, 1959.
Of the five different presentations of this same radio play, here are:
Tudor Owen as Leiningen: Download Escape.1949.08.04_Leiningen_vs_the_Ants.mp3
William Conrad as Leiningen: Download Suspense.08.25.1957.Leiningen vs the Ants.mp3
"Leiningen vs. the Ants" was also the inspiration for an episode called "Trumbo's World" on the ABC television show MacGyver.
See also: "Three Skeleton Key"