"The Scarlet Plague" is a loose adaptation of a grim story by Jack London in which civilization collapses after the outbreak of a mysterious illness.
London's story is set in San Francisco in the year 2073, sixty years after the Scarlet Death broke out and destroyed civilization. The main character is an old man named James Howard Smith, who had once been a university professor. While he and his grandsons are sitting by a campfire on Cliff House Beach (Ocean Beach), he recounts to them the story of how the Scarlet Death came. His grandsons, however, are unable to grasp much of what he tries to describe to them because San Francisco has long since turned into a wilderness. In the end, there is hope and the professor is certain that the knowledge that was lost will be rediscovered. If you are interested in reading "The Scarlet Plague" (1912), it is available online here.
Escape's adaptation places the story in 1950's San Francisco and changes the tone into that of a tense disaster epic. The focus is primarily on the professor as he and other frenzied survivors try to escape the chaos of a civilization that is crumbling. The other parts of the original story weren't incorporated and Escape doesn't end the episode on a happy note. Still, their adaptation is an interesting one.
"The Scarlett Plague" was adapted for Escape by Les Crutchfield and directed by Norman MacDonnell. Vic Perrin starred. Also appearing were Parley Baer, Greg Dehner, John Dehner , Eleanor Tanin, John Larch, Barney Phillips, and Sam Edwards. This episode aired on April 8, 1954.
(Image from Wikimedia Commons )