Lloyd Bridges on Monday’s ‘Suspense;’ Learn More About the ‘Airplane’ Actor

Lloyd Bridges in a 1966 publicity photograph.

Lloyd Bridges has murder on his mind when he stars Monday night in “Rub Down and Out” on “Suspense.”

While you may remember him for his portrayal of Steve McCroskey in the 1980 parody film, “Airplane,” you may be surprised to learn he was yet another actor blacklisted for communist connections during the 1950s, uttered a profanity while ad-libbing during a dramatic performance on live television in 1956 and almost was cast as the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise in “Star Trek.”

Father of Beau and Jeff Bridges, he began his career playing bit parts for Columbia Pictures during the 1940s. He gained lead roles for Universal after World War II and before being briefly blacklisted for his membership in the Actors’ Laboratory Theatre, which opposed racial segregation and was accused of having communist connections.

It seems an unlikely coincidence that a string of formerly blacklisted stars ended up appearing on CBS radio’s “Suspense” once William N. Robson took over as director of the series in 1956. Perhaps, it was because Robson, himself, was listed among 151 entertainment professionals listed as a communist sympathizer in the 1950 publication of “Red Channels.” Among the causes for the listing were simply a 1946 speech Robson made protesting limits on the freedom of expression and supporting Progressive Party presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Henry Wallace.

Bridges entered television during the early 1950s where he was both praised for his emotional performance and criticized for a slip of the tongue during the live telecast of “Tragedy in a Temporary Town” on “The Alcoa Hour.” He became the lead character, Mike Nelson, in the television series “Sea Hunt” in 1958.

“Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry offered Bridges both the roles of the U.S.S. Enterprise captain in the original pilot and as Gary Seven in a later episode called “Assignment: Earth.” He died in 1998.

Hear Bridges on “Suspense,” Monday night, at 10 p.m., with an encore performance at 1 a.m.

Saturday, Aug. 31

Gunsmoke: “Jesse,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


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


Suspense: “Rub Down and Out,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Dimension X: “To the Future,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Great Gildersleeve: Rivals Leila and Grace Meet At Peavy’s, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Our Miss Brooks: Dinner Party, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Couple Next Door: Not Enough Money for Trip, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

Saturday, Sept. 7

Gunsmoke: “The Sutler,” 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.


Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: “Ring of Death Matter,” Sunday, 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.

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