I recently came on a quite interesting discovery in my continuing journey to find the best old-time radio detectives: Australian Detective Series Carter Brown.
Carter Brown isn’t the name of a detective, rather its a pseudonym for an author, or actually several authors of detective fiction in Australia. The primary user of that pseudonym was Alan Geoffrey Yates. In the 1950s, according to the University of Queensland News, imported American cultural items were banned from Australia allowing them to produce many American-style dramas.
The Carter Brown Mystery serials were the Old Time Radio Detective equivalent of the Spaghetti Westerns. The two serials I listened to were set in the United States, featuring Australian actors playing Americans. Overall, in the two serials I’ve listened to so far the actors and writers were quite proficient giving few clues that this wasn’t really released from a big American city. The main thing that stood out was when one of actors referred to getting “Petro,” a term an American wouldn’t use. However, that’s somewhat nitpicky. I could imagine what an Englishman would say about some of our efforts to recreate Great Britain.
The theme music to the show is incredibly catchy with a great celtic beat. The dialogue is crisp and up to date. I had to do a couple searches to make sure this wasn’t one of those mis-labeled “old time radio shows” that was really performed in the 1980s. But it was written in the ’50s, which made it quite impressive. Unlike, most American detective shows that were half hour dramas, Carter Brown mysteries were four part serials, allowing for more complex plots to develop.
Regarding the suitability of the shows, I’ve never read the Carter Brown books, but the radio shows fall safely into PG-territory as most vintage radio detectives do.
While Carter Brown mysteries doesn’t easily lend itself to be included as one of our “Detective” shows given that they changed detectives every serial, it was still a worthwhile discovery.