Escape's "The Great Impersonation" was adapted from the popular novel by E. Phillips Oppenheim, which was first published in 1920. The original work is available online through Google Books, but there are also numerous copies of inexpensive older editions of this book on the market. The Great Impersonation was adapted for the screen in 1921, 1935, and 1942.
Escape's presentation of this story is different from the book, not only because they shortened it, but because the time period was changed. The book is set during the years before World War I, but in Escape's version it is set before the start of World War II.
The episode opens in Africa in 1939, as Dr. Schmidt and the Baron Leopold von Ragastein are arguing about a man who has suddenly appeared in their camp, Sir Everard Dominey. Baron von Ragastein explains that he went to school with Dominey in England years ago and knows him well. There is an incredible similarity in their appearance, but Dominey is well known to be a drunk. Von Ragastein explains that he can help the German cause by impersonating Dominey and taking his place in English society. Dr. Schmidt agrees to the plan.
A month later, Von Ragastein arrives in England as Sir Everard Dominey. He presents himself as a changed man who has made a fortune in Africa and is now ready to return to his place in society. In order to do so, he has to contend with the numerous problems that the drunken Dominey left behind on his estate and in his personal life.
Can Von Ragastein convince everyone that he is really Dominey? Will he be successful in his plans to help the German cause?
"The Great Impersonation" was adapted for radio by Walter Newman. Norman MacDonnell produced and directed. Ben Wright starred as Von Ragastein/Dominey. Also appearing were Jeanne Bates, John Dehner, Gabrielle Windsor, Theodore von Eltz, Edgar Barrier, Ann Morrison, Parley Baer, and Ramsay Hill. This episode aired on April 23, 1949.
This is an HQ episode of Escape from Tennesse Bill's OTR. It is a large file, so it may take longer to download.
(Image from the 1943 Pocket Books edition.)