The true story of Dr. Neil Cream is so ghastly that it is surprising that Suspense tried to dramatize it. Bringing the Victorian horror story of the "Doctor of Poison" to the airwaves required that it be pared down considerably for a general audience. Their version does not mention the nightmarish botched abortions he performed nor the prostitutes he poisoned.
Suspense retained only the basic components that made the story unique and left the rest out. Their version is that of a man who had no remorse about poisoning women, but who is ultimately done in by his own manipulativeness and arrogance. The strength of this episode lies in the performances of the actors and the well written narrative.
Suspense also chose not to mention that Neil Cream is considered by some to have been Jack-the-Ripper. The problem with that theory is that Dr. Cream was serving time for murder in Joliet Prison in Illinois when the Ripper crimes occurred. After his release from Joliet in 1891, Dr. Cream left America for England and quickly took up his old ways. He was finally caught and sentenced to execution in 1892. Just before he was hanged, Dr. Cream is said to have admitted, "I am Jack..." One theory as to how this could be possible proposes that he had a double who committed the Ripper murders.
This story aired once on September 17, 1951, and starred Oscar winner Charles Laughton in one of his ten appearances on Suspense. Charles Davis, Jeannette Nolan, Joseph Kearns, Betty Hartford, Georgia Ellis, Alma Lawton and Herbert Butterfield also appear. The radioplay was written for Suspense by Antony Ellis. "Neil Cream, Doctor of Poison" was produced and directed by Elliott Lewis.
Suspense presented the same radioplay again in 1955 under the title, "A Story of Poison." This time Joseph Kearns played Dr. Cream and the show was produced and directed by Antony Ellis. This episode aired on September 13, 1955.