Long before Alfred Hitchcock chose to bring The Birds to theaters in 1963, Lux Radio Theater and Escape both presented it on the airwaves. Escape's adaptation was the one that remained the closest to the original story written by Daphne du Maurier.
"The Birds" explores a situation wherein creatures that would normally be harmless, suddenly group together and become frenzied and deadly. Escape had already presented this kind of nature horror story with great success in "Leiningin vs. the Ants" and "Three Skeleton Key."
The story is set in England on the Cornish coast sometime after WWII. The narrator is a man named Nat who lives in a farmhouse with his wife and two small children. One night he is awakened by a bird tapping on his bedroom window. He assumes that it is just trying to get in the house because it is confused, but soon there are more.
"The Birds" was adapted for radio by Robert Wright from the 1952 short story by Daphne du Maurier. It was directed by Norman MacDonnell and starred Ben Wright and Virginia Gregg. John Dehner, Ann Morrison, Ann Whitfield, and John Dodsworth also appeared. This episode aired on July 10, 1954.
Lux Radio Theater had presented "The Birds" a year earlier on July 20, 1953. Their version was an hour-long episode that starred Herbert Marshall in the lead role. Their longer format made it possible to add more story details and a wider range of sound effects. In some ways, Lux's was the better version because it had the time to fully demonstrate the clausterphobic mood of the story.
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