Escape's "Earth Abides" was adapted from the 1949 novel by George R. Stewart, and it was their only two-part episode. Earth Abides is a novel that is an experience of its own, and you can't fully understand the book from the radio adaptation. Still, Escape deserves credit for attempting to present this complex story. The book is a classic that everyone should read.
The first part of Escape's version doesn't drift too far from the novel, but the second part is quite different. Escape's version shortens the story considerably and leaves out a number of characters. It also omits subjects like sex, bigamy, religion, spirituality, illiteracy, etc. The focus is on the horror of a "man-dead" world.
Most of the book takes place on the east side of San Francisco Bay, but not in Escape's version. The primary location was changed from Oakland to San Francisco. The most important monument in the book is the Bay Bridge, but Escape, changed that to the Golden Gate Bridge.
As the episode opens, Isherwood Williams is in a forest in Northern California. He is an ecologist who has been up in the woods collecting samples. As he is climbing a ridge, he is bitten by a snake. He treats the wound himself, but falls ill. Two men find him at the cabin, but when they see he is sick, they leave quickly.
When Ish feels well enough, he drives into the nearest town, there he finds...no one. What he does find are old newspapers that tell of a great epidemic virus that has struck and killed millions. Ish drives on in seach of people, but he finds none. The water still runs, the electricity works, but there are no people.
Civilization has been brought down by the virus, but there are other survivors. One by one, they find each other and band together in the lonely world they now inhabit.
"Earth Abides" was adapted for Escape by David Ellis and produced/directed by Norman MacDonnell. John Dehner starred. Also appearing were Lawrence Dobkin, Peggy Webber, Michael Ann Barrett, Parley Baer, Ron Brogan, Paul Frees, and Lou Krugman.
Part one aired on November 5, 1950, and part two aired on November 12th, 1950.
(Image of the 1949 first edition of Earth Abides --Wikipedia)