Suspense's "Frankie & Johnny" is a dramatic interpretation of the American popular ballad of the same name. The origin of the song is uncertain and it has no definitive set of lyrics, but the story is that of a woman named Frankie who catches her man, Johnny, fooling around. Frankie then shoots and kills Johnny, and in some versions, is executed for her crime. The song may or may not be based on a true crime. The first published version of the music appeared in 1904 and the lyrics now associated with the song were first published in 1912. The song has since been rewritten and performed by many artists.
As the episode opens, Frankie wants Johnny to pay attention to her, but he is more interested in playing his clarinet. Frankie wants to believe that he is really her man, BUT when she asks him where he goes by himself...Johnny tells her not to question him. Johnny tells her that she needs to to buy him a new suit, because that will make them both feel better.
Frankie buys him the new suit, but not long afterwards, he disappears with another woman. Then Frankie buys a gun...
"Frankie & Johnny" was adapted for radio by Morton Fine and David Friedkin. Elliot Lewis produced and directed. Dinah Shore starred. Also appearing were Harry Bartell, Lamont Johnson, Joseph Kearns, and Jack Kruschen. This episode aired on May 5, 1952.
Suspense presented this story a second time, with Margaret Whiting in the lead role, on February 3, 1957. Also appearing were Corny Anderson, Daws Butler, Roy Glenn, Shepard Menken, Shirley Mitchell, Jay Novello, Amanda Rudolph, and Joe De Santis.