"Backseat Driver" is a Suspense story that borrows from the urban legend, "The Killer in the Backseat." Radio comedians Fibber McGee & Molly appeared twice in this drama about a suburban couple held hostage by a killer.
According to the Encyclopedia of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand "The Killer in the Backseat" is a classic automobile horror legend in the United States. It is also a cautionary anecdote that has appeared in many articles on crime prevention. In it, the victim usually is a woman driving alone at night. Unbeknownst to her, a killer has slipped into the back seat of her car and is hiding there. The story ends with either a passing car on the road noticing the man in the backseat and following her, or with a gas station attendant noticing the man and asking the woman to step out of the car. Either way, the point of the story is to always check the backseat of your car before driving.
In Suspense's version, the intended victims are a husband and wife on their way home from a night out in Hollywood. As they are driving, they turn on the radio and hear a story about a murderer from New Hampshire who has been spotted in Los Angeles. Soon they discover that the murderer is in their backseat! The killer threatens that if they don't do as he says, he will kill the wife. As the three of them drive towards the San Fernando Valley, the husband tries to find a way to communicate their need for help to others on the road.
"Backseat Driver" was written for Suspense by Sally Thorson. Radio Hall-of-Famers Jim Jordan (a.k.a Fibber McGee) and Marion Jordan (a.k.a Molly) starred. Anton M. Leader produced/directed. This episode first aired on February 3, 1949 and it is probably the best version of the three.
Jim and Marion Jordan appeared in this story again on February 22, 1951. Elliott Lewis produced/directed.
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