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The One About the Wimp, the Witch, and the Wiseguy

By B. A. Peterson

The Man Who Wanted To Be Edward G. Robinson
(September 30, 1948)

Synopsis and critique

Written by Leslie Radditz

Homer J. Hubbard - Edward G. Robinson
Ada Hubbard - Eleanor Audley
Mr. Ryan -
Edward G. Robinson - himself

Homer J. Hubbard is a mild man, a meek man, who has been bullied by his shew of a wife for twenty years. When he sees the revival of a movie called Little Ceasar, he realizes how much he resembles that actor, Edward G. Robinson. And he realizes that if he were a tough guy, like Robinson, he'd be able to rid himself of his wife...forever. But if he's not, surely Robinson will do it for him?

In just a moment, Suspense, with Edward G. Robinson.


Billy, the voice of a young teenager. ‘’Boy, have I got the hic-hiccups. ‘’

Hap, the father, with the voice of an avuncular old man: ‘’I’ll say you have. And the way you’re sputtering, you sound like a car that needs a set of new Autolite spark plugs.’’

Mary, the mother, in a worried tone: ‘’Now, Hap, it isn’t funny. Billy, have you tried drinking a glass of water while you hold your breath?’’

‘’Mom, I’m so full of water now I feel – hic, I feel like an Autolite Stayfull battery.’’

Mary’s voice is full of an indulgent chuckle: ‘’Men, you never take anything seriously.’’

Hap: ‘’Say, maybe what Billy needs is a hiccup, I mean a checkup, at an autolite ignition service station.’’

Billy: ‘’Might help if I could get my mind on something else.’’

Hap: ‘’Say, I know what will make you forget those hiccups and give you a bunch of thrills to boot. Switch to Autolite, Mary. It’s time for Suspense.’’

The chimes and music of Suspense.

PAUL FREES: ‘’Suspense…..Autolite, and it’s 60,000 dealers and service stations bring you, radio’s outstanding theatre of thrills. Starring tonight, Mr. Edward G. Robinson, in Anton Leader’s production of ‘’The Man Who Wanted to Be Edward G. Robinson.’’ A tale well calculated to keep you in …suspense.’’

Sound of a man, unskilled on the typewriter, hunt and pecking away. His voice, though it sounds like Edward G. Robinson’s voice, is soft and uncertain, clearly that of a nervous little man, a little distraught. ‘’I…I…I’m making this statement in accordance with a promise to a very dear friend. It’s a complete statement, in every detail, even including those matters which are to me personally most incriminating, because my trust in my friend is such that I haven’t the slightest concern on that score, or any other. What follows concerns primarily two persons. Myself, Homer [with a name like that you know he’s got to be a wimp!] J. Hubbard and my wife, Ada Samseed Hubbard. Even when I was courting Ada I was aware that hers was a strong and dominating personality, to say the least, and after we were married, well, at first I put up with Ada’s constant nagging and petty persecutions as best I could. I put up with them for twenty long years. It wasn’t until a memorable evening a little over a year ago that the first dim outlines of an escape and finally a plan began to take shape in my mind. You see…I never was much of a one for movies, but Ada and I had gone to see a picture called Little Ceasar.. It was a re-issue, I think they call it. With an actor in it whom I’d never even heard of before….’’

The music from the film Little Ceasar,’’ with Edward G. Robinson’s cold, commanding voice: ‘’So you thought you’d rat on me, eh? Well, get this! Nobody rats on Little Ceasar, see?!’’ And the sound of machine gun fire over dramatic music.

‘’The moment I saw that face on the screen…the minute I heard that voice…the world of reality around me simply ceased to exist. I lived that picture. I was Little Ceasar. I was…Edward G. Robinson. I was dimly conscious that my voice was like his… that even my face without my spectacles and with my hair parted differently might have been mistaken for his, but, it was more than that. It was his personality that fascinated me. And that I assumed. Calm..assured…TOUGH! (Homer's voice gets deeper, more assured, more Little Ceasarish….) Kind of a man who made people do what he wanted done and the way he wanted it done. (His voice fades back to his Homerish softness). ‘’Walking out of the movie theater afterward I knew something had happened. It was going to change my whole life.’’

(His wife’s voice is very distinctive, rather hoarse, uncannily like that of the wicked witch Maleficent from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.)

‘’Well, there’s a man.’’ Her voice goes over Homer’s mumbled agreements. ‘’Little Caesar they call him, and well they may. And that Edward G. Robinson. I wager he’s no Caspar Milquetoast, either.

‘’Yes, dear. Heh heh.’’

‘’Is that all ya have to say?’’ she says contemptuously. ‘’Well…’’ ‘’Yes, dear,’’ she mimics him. ‘’What does it take to arouse a little enthusiasm in you, anyway? Here you’ve seen a fine performance, a picture that’d get anyone in the world excited, and all you can say is, ‘Yes dear.’ I wish you were half the man that Robinson is. ‘’

Cheery, not to say foreshadowing, music.

‘’And from that moment, I no longer really cared what Ada wished or thought. I’d begun my escape into a dream world of my own making. A world in which I was Edward G. Robinson. As the weeks went by I began to identify myself with him more and more. I imagined myself in countless dangerous situations, and when no one was looking I imitated him and I affected his mannerisms. I would start daydreaming at my desk, wondering what the other people in the office would think if I suddenly’’….his voice starts to fade …’’ exposed this hidden side of my personality.’’

Music, and then Homer’s voice again, sounding for all the world like Edward G. with a tommy gun in his arms: Sound of terrified people murmuring under his voice: ‘’Okay, everybody! Stay where you are, will you! Hold your hands over your head! I don’t want any monkey business, see? Now stand back there, Ryan. Any funny stuff from you and I’ll let you have it. ’’ ‘’This is preposterous,’’ says Ryan. ‘’What do you mean by such behavior? Is this your idea of a joke?’’ ‘’You’ll see whether it’s a joke or not if you make one false move! Now, this isn’t a water pistol I’m holding here, ya know!’’ More sounds of frightened people. ‘’Hubbard, you’re fired, leave this office immediately!’’ ‘’What? Oh, I’m getting out all right, but I’m not fired, see? I’m leaving well heeled and that’s where you come in, Mr. Ryan. ’’Please, please, Hubbard, be reasonable.’’ ‘’Shut up! And do what I tell you! Keep your hands in the air, will ya, and walk over to that safe! Open it up! Get all the money out of it and put it right here on the desk in front of me. Now get moving! I don’t’ want to have any trouble with you, Ryan. I’m going to count three…and if you’re not moving when I’ve finished you’ll never move again, see? One…two…three….’’


comes the voice of Mr. Ryan. ‘’What are you doing, daydreaming? You’d better get busy or I’ll be forced to report you to Mr. Pemberton again.’’

Homer mumbles, in his normal soft voice, ‘’Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr. Ryan. I’m terribly sorry. I can’t understand what could have come over me.’’


‘’That’s the way it went,’’ Homer continues. ‘’At the office, walking down the street, riding home on the bus, my life outwardly calm and well ordered, possibly even dull. It was actually twenty four hours of harrowing adventure, with myself as the center figure. I saw ever Edward G. Robinson picture that came out. It was the day after seeing Key Largo for the third time that Ada finally caught me. I was lathering my face and talking to myself….’’


‘’Okay, ya rats, you asked for it. You don’t come out, see, we’re coming in and get ya, see? And we’re coming in shooting, see….what’s that?….oh yeah? Well, only a dirty yellow rat would say that! Okay boys, let ‘em have it.’’

A door opens and ‘’Well, I never! Of all the fool performances I ever heard of this beats everything. What in the world are you jabbering about in here?’’

Homer’s voice has lost its self assurance, he’s mumbling and hemming and hawing.

‘’Well, it’s really nothing, dear Ada. I was just sort of trying to… imitate Edward G. Robinson.’’ He laughs lightly.

‘’You were…what?’’ She bursts out laughing, not a nice laugh. ‘’That’s rich. You….’’ She laughs, then starts clapping. ‘’Don’t let me interrupt the performance, Mr. Movie Star. C;mon, do your act for me!’’

‘’Well, dear, I, I, I don’t see anything so funny about it…’’ Homer says in hurt tones. ‘’Well, maybe you don’t, but you’re the only person in the world who wouldn’t! Oh, my…well, I’ll leave you to your rehearsing. Why don’t you imitate Eddie Bracken or Margaret O’Brien? I think you’ll find it easier!’’ And she laughs her way out of the room.

‘’It was right then,’’ Homer says in very hard tones, ‘’that I decided to kill her.’’

Dramatic and ominous music.

Time for the commercial. Go to The Man Who Wanted To Be Edward G. Robinson pt. 2 to continue enjoying this radio play.

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