At the center of Suspense's "Arctic Rescue" is the true story of the doomed British naval expedition led by Sir John Franklin in 1845. When the Franklin Expedition failed to return after several years, search parties were sent out by the British government to investigate the fate of his two lost ships, Erebus and Terror. Based upon their findings, the captain and the 128 member crew were officially determined as deceased in 1854.
The episode's introduction indicates the intent is to commemorate the 1852 search expedition led by Edward Belcher, but the story told appears to have been based on an 1857 expedition funded by Lady Franklin.
"Arctic Rescue" is a fictional story that does not represent the events of any of the search expeditions. Nor does it represent the current knowledge of the horrific fate of the Franklin Expedition. Nor, does it accurately explain the fate of the Erebus.
Instead, "Arctic Rescue" reminds us of the grueling conditions that nineteenth century explorers endured for the purpose of finding the Northwest Passage...and mixes that together with the magic of Christmas.
As the episode opens, two men are near death and lost in a world of ice and snow near the Arctic Circle. How did they get there?
It all began in June of 1852, on a New York waterfront when the ship Jessica set sail to investigate the mystery of the Franklin Expedition. Their plan was to survey the area and then return to Aberdeen in time for Christmas. Captain Blake and his first mate, Mister Stewart, assure Lady Franklin that everything will go smoothly, but that really depends on how well they navigate the Arctic Circle in the summer months...
"Arctic Rescue" was written by Gus C. Bayz and produced/directed by Elliott Lewis, Joseph Cotten starred as Mister Stewart. Also appearing were Joseph Kearns, Norma Varden, Lillian Buyeff, Frederic McKaye, Barney Phillips, Clayton Post, and Ben Wright.
This episode was presented a second time on January 31, 1956. Antony Ellis produced and directed. John Stevenson starred. Also appearing were Herb Butterfield, Norma Varden, Lillian Buyeff, Richard Peel, George Walsh, John Dodsworth, and Clayton Post.