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

25Oct/140

Five Golden Age Radio Programs to Remember

Today, we finish up the first five years of the Great Detectives of Old Time Radio podcast

Over the course of five years, we've played a lot of programs. Beginning with a Monday-Friday lineup before expanding to Saturdays in January 2013, the Great Detectives of Old Time Radio had a lot of stability Wednesday-Friday with Let George Do It and Sherlock Holmes airing on Wednesday and Thursday for our first 3 1/2-4 years.

Beyond these two long time stables, there were several series that were fun and enjoyable. With new listeners coming along every month, and our RSS feeds limited, even though we've played these shows, it’s possible that some of our listeners have missed them. So we present a list five lesser known but still quite enjoyable shows that have marked these last five years.

1) The Adventures of the Abbots (1955)
Episodes Played: 18
What it’s about: Pat Abbott, a ritzy San Francisco private investigator solves cases with the aid of his lovely wife, Jean.
Features: Two different Pat Abbotts (Les Damon and Mandel Kramer) Good writing with a more mature bent. Also Claudia Morgan turns in a magnificent performance as Pet.
Best Episode: The Dead White Flame

2) A Life in Your Hands (1949-50, 1952)
Episodes Played: 13
What It’s About: A successful lawyer, who is set for life financially, dedicates his life to finding the truth in cases as an Amicus Curiae, a friend of the court who acts for neither prosecutor or defense to find the truth in legal proceeding including trials and coroner's juries.
Features: Two different Jonathan Keggs, the definition of Amicus Curiae (numerous times). The closest thing to a true legal mystery drama in Old time radio.
Best Episode: Carol Carson Murdered

3) The Fat Man (1946-51)
Episodes Played: 10
What It’s About: Rotund Private Investigator Solves crimes.
Features: A classic was extremely popular in its day. It was victimized by lost episode with 95% of its run lost. A great and human performance by J Scott Smart as Brad Runyon, a smart tough as nails private detective, with a big heart.
Best Episode: The Twice Told Secret. Also check out the Fat Man Movie.

4) Candy Matson (1949-51)
Episodes Played: 14
What it’s a bit about: The life and times of San Francisco’s best female hard boiled detective.
Features: Star Natalie Masters at her best. With all the flops and oddities that came out of San Francisco during the golden age of radio, this was a gem packed with local flavor and quirky writing. Clearly the best of several golden age detective programs featuring female protagonists.
Best Episode: Jack Frost

5) Pete Kelly's Blues (1951)
Episodes: 6 (+1 Audition)
What It's About: "This one's about Pete Kelly. It’s about the world he goes around in. It’s about the big music and the big troubles and the big twenties. So when they ask you tell ‘em this one’s about the blues. Pete Kelly’s Blues.”
Features: Best Jazz music in dramatic radio. So good that the crooks will stop to listen before doing their weekly quota of beatings and mayhem. In many ways, the program resembles Pat Novak for Hire or Johnny Madero only with jazz except Pete Kelly is a more sympathetic character as he's not out for money, he just wants to play his music but he keeps getting drawn into trouble. One of the more downbeat series we've played but so good.
Best Episode: June Gould

These are five of my favorite lesser known shows. Feel free to share yours in the comments.

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25Oct/140

EP1400: Dragnet: Myra the Redhead

Jack Webb

Friday and Romero investigate a series of auto burglaries committed by Juveniles.

Original Air Date: September 1, 1949

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24Oct/140

EP1399: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Felicity Feline Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny is called to protect a cat who inherited $65,000.

Original Air Date: July 7, 1956

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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23Oct/140

EP1398: Nick Carter: The Case of the Make Believe Robbery

Lon Clark

A staged robbery for a film becomes a real murder.

Original Air Date: June 18, 1946

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22Oct/140

EP1397: Philip Marlowe: The Cloak of Kamehameha

Gerald Mohr
Marlowe is sent to Hawaii to facilitate the sale of an all-feather cloak to find someone bordered his plane under Marlowe's name.

Original Air Date: April 23, 1949

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21Oct/140

EP1396: Easy Money: The Basketball Pool Racket

Larry Haines
When a basketball player is shot, Mike Trent blames the big basketball pool cartel and has a plan to bring it down by picking up all twelve games in the pool.

Original Air Date: January 6, 1955

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20Oct/140

EP1395: The Saint: The Case of the Unhappy Homicide

Vincent Price
The owner of a jewelry store wants the Saint to prove he murdered his partner.

Original Air Date: November 6,1949

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19Oct/140

Video Theater 057: Philip Marlowe: The Ugly Ducking

Marlowe pays off a wealthy young woman's husband's mistress, but she doublecrosses him and turns up dead.

Episode 1:

Original Air Date: October 6, 1959

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18Oct/140

EP1394: Dragnet: Police Academy

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero investigate a series of robberies while a friend tries to join the Police Academy.

Original Air Date: August 25, 1949

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18Oct/140

Book Review: The Little Sister

The Little Sister shows some features of some of the best Marlowe stories, but the fifth book in this series just doesn't stand up to its predecessors.

In The Little Sister it starts simply enough when a bored Marlowe is hired by the little sister of a man who moved to LA from Manhattan, Kansas and has stopped writing.

As is usual, Marlowe plunges into a case that gets him into the midst of a shady underworld, of Hollywood, and of course puts him on the bad side of police.

The story is worth reading once and has some classic Marlowe moments. Towards the end of the book, a couple of cops who've had to put up with Marlowe playing fast and loose with murders and bodies tell Marlowe off and it's a beautiful moment when the characters come to life.

It is a rare moment in this story. In 250 pages, I lost track of how many bodies were dropped and who killed them all. So many characters come and go, we really get no impression of them. There's no character in this book I really connected with in the same way I did with characters in, "Lady in the Lake," and "The Big Sleep."

Another thing that hurts the book is the focus. In the first four novels, Marlowe's scorn is directed at big city crime, crooked Los Angeles (and nearby communities) police forces. Marlowe's bile is justified because he knows of what he speaks. In the Little Sister, he uses a combination of a dirty mind and experience with two kids from Manhattan, Kansas as the basis for all sorts of psychological deductions about what a small town is like. It feels less like Marlowe's making street wise observations on life and more like he's expressing poorly informed prejudices.

Don't get me wrong. This isn't a bad book, but it doesn't measure up to Chandler's other works.

Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0

 

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