In "Around the World," four nations compete in a transcontinental automobile race from New York to Paris. This episode is based on the true events of an automobile competition held in 1908 and sponsored by the New York Times and the Parisian newspaper Le Matin.
The 1965 Blake Edwards' slapstick comedy, The Great Race, was very, very loosely based on the same event--and has a running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes. Suspense's adaptation is a more factual representation of the story and only takes about 29 minutes. (They did change some of the names.) There is also a recent historical documentary about the race that is available on DVD called The Greatest Auto Race on Earth.
The episode opens in Madison Square Garden as the Great Race of 1908 is about to start. Six cars from four countries are waiting to begin the first automobile race around the world! The drama is narrated by the American driver of the Thomas Flyer, who introduces us to his fellow competitors and to his automobile.
The race is supposed to follow a planned a route from New York to Paris by way of Siberia during the winter season, but with no highways, bad roads, limited gas supplies, and all the forces of nature....will the cars make it all the way to Paris?
"Around the World" was written by Morton Fine and David Friedkin. Elliott Lewis produced and directed. Van Johnson starred. Also appearing were Cameron Andrews, Larry Haines, Alan Hewitt, Dan Ocko, Ted Osborne, and Steve Roberts. This episode aired on April 6, 1953.
(Image of opening day ceremonies from the 1908 race from Wikimedia Commons )