This Week’s Radio Drama: Actor Becomes Invisible—On-Air and in Real Life

Larry Parks in a 1950 publicity photograph.

Larry Parks stars in “The Invisible Ape” on Monday night’s episode of “Suspense,” but the once-celebrated Hollywood actor had become virtually invisible in real life seven years earlier.

Parks, in a “Suspense” episode first broadcast over CBS radio June 8, 1958, discovers the secret of invisibility. Born Samuel Klausman Lawrence Parks, the actor began playing bit parts for Columbia Pictures in 1941. He gained fame in 1946 as the lead in “The Jolson Story,” earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. His career came to an end March 22, 1951 when he was the first Hollywood star to admit he had been a member of the Communist Party for four years when he was younger.

“Don’t present me with the choice of either being in contempt of this committee and going to jail or forcing me to really crawl through the mud to be an informer. For what purpose? I don’t think it is a choice at all. I don’t think this is really sportsmanlike. I don’t think this is American. I don’t think this is American justice,” Parks told the House Un-American Activities Committee.

EXTRA: Listen to an excerpt from the WHAV Archives.

He explained that being a communist in 1941 was about being “idealistic” and helping the underprivileged and the underdog. He called the times a decade later when the U.S. was engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union “an entirely different kettle of fish.” He was nonetheless blacklisted and eventually started a construction company. His appearance on “Suspense” was a rare return to acting.

“The Invisible Ape” is heard Monday night at 10 p.m., and 1 a.m. over 97.9 WHAV FM.

Saturday, Aug. 3

Gunsmoke: “Wild West,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Short Term Matter,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Suspense: “The Invisible Ape,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Dimension X: “No Contact,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Great Gildersleeve: Leila Comes Back to Town, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Our Miss Brooks: French Sadie Hawkins Day, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Couple Next Door: Trying to Lay Rug, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 10

Gunsmoke: “Sky,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Who’s Who Matter,” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

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