The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.

2Sep/150

EP1667: Philip Marlowe: The Angry Eagle

Gerald Mohr

Marlowe is called by a fight manager to keep his fighter from getting into trouble.

Original Air Date:April 18, 1950
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1Sep/150

EP1666: Ellery Queen: The Three Frogs

Howard Culver

Nikki hides a young gang member, trying to help him.

Original Air Date: April 29, 1948

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31Aug/150

EP1665: The Saint: Peter the Great

Tom Conway
The Saint is called in by a fifteen-year-old girl who needs his help with her father's horse.

Original Air Date: June 24, 1951

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30Aug/150

EP1664s: Lux Radio Theater: To the Ends of the Earth

Dick Powell

Narcotics Commissioner Michael Barrows (Dick Powell) witnesses a Japanese sea captain throwing 100 slaves overboard to cover up a narcotics ring. Barrows is determined to get justice and sets out on a globe trotting adventure to break the ring and capture the murderous captain.

Original Air Date: May 23, 1949

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29Aug/150

Movie Review: Smart Blonde

In the 1930s, a lot of detective movie series were made, particularly as "B" features. The Torchy Blane series was notable for featuring a female lead.

The first film in the series is Smart Blonde which was released in 1937 and introduced Torchy (played by Glenda Farrell) and her hotheaded boyfriend Police Lieutenant Steve McBride (Barton Maclane). It centers around the owner of a night club and several sports establishments wanting to sell out and live an honest life with his fiancee.  He's run his businesses honestly and called in a friend who'll keep them honest to buy his businesses. However, when the would-be buyer is killed, Torchy sets out to solve the case.

The beginning of the film is one of the best character introductions you'll see in a "B" movie. It used the era's trope of newspaper headlines to reveal Torchy Blane wrote big stories, hard news stories, front page stories, and then immediately we have Torchy speeding up in the back a cab which drives up near a moving train which she then jumps on to. Really, with her saying very little, the film establishes Torchy as this intrepid, no-nonsense reporter.

She's a fascinating character and Glenda Farrell plays her beautifully with a mix of charm and pure grit, determination, and energy. The film moves at a very fast clip.  Smart Blonde clocks in at fifty-nine minutes, so it's got a short time to unravel its mystery, but it does with snappy dialogue and a plot that doesn't slow down much at all.

The story isn't a screwball comedy, as so many early detective features were, but it is played for comedy and perhaps at times a bit overplayed. Steve McBride is a comic relief cop in the mold of Captain Street form the Mister Wong movies and he has an even more comical cop as his chauffeur and sidekick.  Some of the comedy is weak and there are unintentionally funny aspects of the film such as the costuming department had policemen in one scene wearing an entirely style of uniform from policemen in another. And of course, there's a little bit of underworld sentimentality mixed in.

Still, it's a fascinating bit of B-movie making that's a cut above most B-films, particularly in this era. It gives Farrell and Maclane the opportunity to play the leads and the result is a fun and pleasing hour of entertainment that should dispel the idea that a "B" movie automatically means a "bad" movie.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

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29Aug/150

EP1664: Dragnet: The Big Youngster

Jack Webb
Friday and Smith investigate a case of vandalism against a young lawyer.

Original Air Date: August 17, 1950

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28Aug/150

EP1663: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Ghost to Ghost Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny investigates a case of the ghost of a dead insured.

Original Air Date: May 18, 1958

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27Aug/150

EP1662: Nick Carter: The Case of the Littlest Gangster

Lon Clark

Nick tries to keep a twelve-year-old boy in a gang out of trouble but the boy becomes involved the murder of a retired police officer.

Original Air Date: May 30, 1948

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26Aug/150

EP1661: Philip Marlowe: The Anniversary Gift

William Conrad

Marlowe is sent by widower in search of his late wife's watch and finds it's tied up in a murder case and his client may be as well.

Original Air Date: April 11, 1950

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25Aug/150

EP1660: Ellery Queen: The Armchair Detective

Lawrence DobkinWhen an armchair detective is murdered on Ellery's radio show, he has to find out who did it.

Original Air Date: March 18, 1948

Support the show monthly at patreon.greatdetectives.net

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Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715

 

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