Stories from Suspense Magazine #4 Winter 1952: “The Screaming Woman” by Ray Bradbury
Despite the announcement in Suspense Magazine #1, there were no Suspense radio scripts presented in issue #3 or #4. Bradbury’s piece here is a story, but it was first heard on radio (episode #316) as a script on November 25, 1948. The background on this popular story is conflicting. One source credits Sylvia Richards for adapting Bradbury’s tale for radio, yet its first record as a published story was in the Today magazine of the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 27, 1951, almost three years later. A second source credits Bradbury with the original script for Suspense, that he later adapted for print in Today, which seems more chrono-logical.
A young girl, through a neatly arranged set of circumstances, seems to be the only living person
to believe one of her neighbors has been buried alive. The story was dramatized for the EC comics line in Crime SuspenStories #15, Feb/ Mar 1953 and featured on The Ray Bradbury Theatre on television, on Feb. 22, 1986, with Drew Barrymore. On January 29, 1972, it aired as the ABC Movie of the Week, starring Olivia De Havilland in the title role—transformed from youngster to former mental patient— whom nobody believed either.
Dime Mystery Nov. 1946
Stories from Suspense Magazine #1 Spring 1951
The idea that a newborn, a tiny baby could be an assassin aiming his sights on his own caregivers, aka his parents, is absurd. Yet, that is the premise of “Small Assassin” by Ray Bradbury that was reprinted in the first edition of Suspense Magazine. The story’s first appeared in Dime Mystery (Nov. 1946).
Despite the premise, the story is well-written and has been reprinted in multiple anthologies, including one named for the story. It was adapted for an EC comic book and an episode of The Ray Bradbury Theater television series and even has a page on Wikipedia.
Here’s the opening paragraph:
“Just when the idea occurred to her that she was being murdered she could not tell. There had been little subtle signs, little suspicions for the past month; things as deep as sea tides in her, like looking at a perfectly calm stretch of cerulean water and liking it and wanting to bathe in it, and finding, just as the tide takes your body into it, that monsters dwell just under the surface, things unseen, bloated, many-armed, sharp-fanged, malignant and inescapable.”
Image from the Wikipedia page.
The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 Sept. 1952
“The Crowd” debuted in Weird Tales (May 1943) and was picked up for reprint by editor Robert Arthur for The Mysterious Traveler Mystery Reader #5 (Sept. 1952).
Here’s the macabre opening:
“After the accident, the crowd gathered swiftly. A ring of faces looking down at Spallner, stirring, shifting, gaping. Where they came from, he did not know. He had heard their hard heels clattering over the asphalt of the street, heard their shouts and tiny squeals and curses as they saw the new motor car crumpled against the brick wall.”
The gist of Bradbury’s story is an impossible notion. The idea that there’s something more than the obvious to the crowd that forms when accidents happen. But once the suggestion is made, the master storyteller thrusts his main character into a chilling chain of events, and it’s impossible to look away.
“The fireworks sizzled across the cool-tile square, banged against the adobe café walls, then rushed on hot wires to bash the high church tower, while a fiery bull ran about the plaza chasing boys and laughing men. It was a spring night in Mexico in the year 1938.”
“To The Future” by Ray Bradbury
The Mysterious Traveler Magazine #2, Jan. 1952
“The phone rang at six thirty that evening. It was December, already dark as Thompson picked up the phone.”
”The Wind” by Ray Bradbury
The Mysterious Traveler Magazine #1, Nov. 1951