Escape's "S.S. San Pedro" was adapted from the 1931 short novel about a doomed ship by James Gould Cozzens. The novel was loosely based on the true story of the S.S. Vestris in 1928, a preventable disaster that caused significant changes in safety at sea.
Cozzens' book doesn't retell the story of the S.S. Vestris, but adapts some of its elements for a story about duty and the puzzling way in which safety measures aren't taken on ship that is clearly in trouble.
Escape's episode is adapted from Cozzens' novel but with some further changes. They created a supernatural storyline by expanding the character of Dr. Percival, the corpse-like visitor who first notices the S.S. San Pedro has a problem.
This Escape episode is unusual because the two main characters don't escape the dying ship. As for the true identity of Dr. Percival, they leave that up to the listener.
As the episode opens, the S.S. San Pedro is about to sail from New York to Argentina. Mr. Bradell, the first officer, is called into the captain's cabin and introduced to Doctor Percival. The captain asks him to take the doctor on a quick tour of the ship before they sail. Doctor Percival takes an interest in the port cabins and then points out that ship is not floating level.
Mr. Bradell is disturbed by his guest and happy to say goodbye to him at the end of the tour. However, later one of the passengers claims to have seen Doctor Percival on board..after they set sail.
"S.S. San Pedro" was adapted for radio by Les Crutchfield and produced/directed by Norman MacDonnell. Featured in the cast were John Dehner and Charlotte Lawrence. Also appearing were Jeff Corey, Don Diamond, Harry Bartell, Lawrence Dobkin, and Jay Novello. This episode aired on August 22, 1948.
(Image of S.S. San Pedro 1968 paperback edition)