Suspense's "Post Mortem" was based on the Cornell Woolrich short story of the same name. It was first published in Black Mask magazine (April 1940) and it is currently available The Cornell Woolrich Omnibus.
The episode opens in the home of Josie and Stephen Archer as they go about their usual morning routine. After Stephen leaves for work, Josie is called from her bathtub by the clamoring of reporters at her front door. They inform her that she has just won $150,000 in the Irish Sweepstakes. Josie informs them that she didn't buy a ticket. So, how could she have won?
Frances M. Nevins, Woolrich's biographer, singles this episode out for abuse as the "worst of all of Suspense's Woolrich based plays." In his book, First You Dream, Then You Die, he states: "As Woolrich wrote it, the story was an uncomfortable mix of serious and grotesquely comic elements, but it wasn't improved by the Suspense adapter's decision to play the whole show for laughs." (Pg. 497)
Suspense didn't do that badly. They just added their own flair to it. Their presentation, with all of its unique sound effects, has more originality than the lackluster version done for television by Alfred Hitchcock Presents twelve years later.
The Suspense television show adapted Woolrich's story in 1949, but that episode is not currently available.
This episode aired on April 4, 1946.
See also: "Post Mortem" released last month on the Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Three collection.
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