The Clock

1946 - 1948 (USA)

1955 - 1956 (Australia)

The Clock was voiced by William Conrad, Charles Webster, and (in Australia) Hart McQuire.

The Clock was a suspense anthology that cast "time" as the narrator. William Conrad and Charles Webster voiced The Clock in the USA, and Tennessee born Harp McQuire loaned his throat to the character in Australia (Digital Deli Too). A total of 82 episodes were produced for the American version (Grams, 2000, 102). 52 episodes were taped for the Australian revival using the same scripts, but a different cast and crew (Digital Deli Too).

The character of The Clock made many observations about how he (time) affected people's lives. The gimmick seemed a little trite for my taste, and got a bit corny after a while. The writers take the clock analogy too far, and keep waving it in your face. (Then again, maybe they are just padding the script to help run out the clock.) Another funny thing about this show is the voice of "time" itself. The US version offered the distinctive baritone voice of William Conrad, but not so in the Australian version. Instead of using a deep or somber voice, the "down under" version was Harp McQuire, who sounded chirpy and upbeat. He sounded more like a stopwatch or Mickey Mouse clock, rather than a grandfather clock or Big Ben. Considering that the series dealt with life and death situations, one would expect a host with more gravitas. Then again, not every country has a William Conrad or Paul Frees around to provide authoritative voices of Fate. (It certainly doesn't help matters when many of the recordings play fast and speed up his pitch and delivery even more.) Most of the circulated recordings of the show are the Australian (McQuire) version, rather than the US (Conrad) show, yet they incorrectly list them with American air dates. Even though the announcer who introduces McQuire has a bit of an English accent, it still leaves many listeners with the false impression that they are hearing the earlier US show. True, they are the same scripts from the same series, but they are two different productions from different decades and opposite sides of the planet.

The plots usually involve people in some sort of trouble or danger, which is then milked for the maximum amount of suspense that each situation could deliver. It wasn't unusual for someone to be killed before the half hour ended.

William Conrad (and sometimes Charles Webster) voiced The Clock in the American version. Gene Kirby was the announcer.

According to Martin Grams, the series actually originated in England and then immigrated to New York after it "picked up the interest of ABC officials" (Grams, 2000, 102). It stayed in New York for most its run, and then moved to Hollywood for the last 13 shows (Grams, 2000, 102). Lawrence Klee was the writer and Clark Andrews was the director in New York. William Spier directed after the Hollywood move (Dunning, 160). John Saul was the director during the Australian years. Despite the somewhat trite clock theme, the actual plots created tension, and were very similar to Suspense in a lot of ways. That shouldn't be such a big surprise, considering that William Spier, "the master of suspense"(as the announcer describes him), directed the final stretch of shows. In fact, the last 13 episodes used scripts from Suspense and The Whistler. A good example was episode #72, "The House on Cypress Canyon." It was originally a Suspense show about a young couple who discover too late that their new home hides a deadly werewolf (Grams, 2000, 103).

Harp McQuire was the lighter sounding voice of The Clock in Australia.

The Standard Intro:

(Music: Strange music.)

Announcer: "Sunrise and sunset, promise and fulfillment, birth and death. The whole drama of life is written in the sands of time."

Announcer #2: "We present a new series of radio program, The Clock."

An Opening Narration:

(SFX: A clock briefly chimes. The ticking continues in the background.)

Host: "Am I disturbing on you? I hope not. I don't mean to intrude. I just stopped in for a half hour with a story. It's not an ordinary story, although it might easily happen to someone you know, someone you might have heard of. In any case, I'm pretty certain you'll be glad you listened. But perhaps I better introduce myself again, although we have met before. You don't remember? (CHUCKLES) Come now, we're old friends. You must have seen my face on your wrist, in your pocket, or on that steeple over there where I imagine I have more dignity but much less fun. Yes, we've met before, and we'll meet again, I'm sure of that. You see, I get around. Sooner or later, I run into everyone. Sooner or later, everyone runs into me. But I was telling you my story that has to do with Jeannie Claire..."


An Ending Narration:

SFX: Chimes rings.

Host: "And that's the story of Jeannie Claire as recorded by The Clock. Well, I see we've used up our allotted span, but the clock keeps running, and the hands keep moving around. So, good people, accept each minute with gratitude and joy. Time is good to you and most of you make good use of time. But remember, it's later than you think, so use your time well this week. And return again to listen to The Clock."

SFX: Bell Tolls.

Hear An Actual Episode!


Hear up to 49 different episodes of The Clock in RealPlayer courtesy of OTR. net!

(RealPlayer allows you to continue to browse other sites while you listen.)

Another site with a large free download collection is Calfkiller Otr downloads,

Some Sample Summaries

"Jeannie Claire" - A woman at a sales counter dreams of meeting the perfect man. When such a man begins to date her, her dream becomes a nightmare when she realizes his description and habits match those of a well sought serial murderer.

"The Jekyll and Hyde Gangster" - A ruthless gangster receives a blow to the head and becomes a cowardly yet sensative fellow. When his old gang competitors find him recently married, expecting a child, and running a small grocery store, they exploit his weaknesses.

"The One Eyed Cat" - A conniving nurse plots to take over a ill man's fortune.

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