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

30Nov/100

EP0287: Nero Wolfe: Stamped for Murder

Sidney Greenstreet

A woman comes to Wolfe to help her recover $10,000 from two swindlers who cheated her father. Wolfe becomes suspicious when the conmen return the money too eagerly.

Original Air Date: October 20, 1950

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29Nov/101

EP0286: Thin Man: The Case of the Glamorous Clue

Claudia Morgan

A man Nora brought home is murdered. When Nick refuses to believe her because she refuses to believe his story about him solving a crime with the help of an ex-girlfriend Broadway starlet, Nora sets out to solve the case alone.

Original Air Date: June 16, 1944

(Picture: Courtesy of Digital Deli.)

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27Nov/100

Movie Review: Going My Way

I'd never heard of Going My Way until I was searching through my instant watch queue on Netflix, though I'd heard of its sequel, The Bells of St. Mary.

Going My Way stars Bing Crosby as Father Chuck O'Malley, a young priest from St. Louis who has been given the task of setting in order a troubled New York City parish on the verge of bankruptcy and with many of its youth involved in crime. Father O'Malley must do so without hurting the feelings of elderly priest Father Fitzgibbons (platyed beautifully by Barry Fitzgerald.)

While Crosby was one of the most talented singers and showmen of his generation, his performance as Father O'Malley was anything but showy. Father O'Malley comes off as a "right guy" who is humble and graceful. While technically, he's been put "in charge" of the parish by the Bishop, he refuses to assert himself, but respects the work of Father Fitzgibbons.

Barry Fitzgerald was equally masterful with Father Fitzgibbons. His portrayal of Father Fitzgibbons is as a stubborn man set in his ways, but with a kind heart and dedication that has kept him at his parish for 45 years, seperated from his aging mother.

What makes the movie work is the chemistry between the two characters. In these type of films, it's often tempting to play up a sense of rivalry between the old minister and the young one. Yet, Going My Way takes an entirely different tact, as the old man the young one grow to love and respect each other.

It's a bit of a misnomer to call this film a musical, as the characters rarely sing in this two hour film. Crosby does sing a few times, and when he does, it's powerful. Perhaps one of the most informative scenes was when Father O'Malley was advising a young singer who was gesturing as she sang. Father O'Malley criticized the gesturing and suggested that she needed to was to put  more emotion into her singing.

And that's what made Crosby's singing is the film so memorable. Whether, it was, the soft and mellow title song or the debut, "Swinging on a Star," he delivered it with just the right emotion.

My favorite scene was the one in which Father O'Malley put Father Fitzgibbons to bed after the older priest to bed. They'd talked about their mothers and how Father Fitzgibbons hadn't seen his 90 year old mother in 45 years. Father Fitzgibbons asked if O'Malley knew "Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ra" and Crosby sang it beautifully:

The film wasn't perfect. At two hours, it could have been quite a bit shorter without some extraneous plot elements such as seeing the Metropolitan Opera perform one scene from Carmen, and the budding romance of the banker's son. However, the latter subplot did provide one of the film's best scenes.

However, these are very minor shortcomings in a great film, and the featured attraction is the warmth of Crosby and Fitzgerald to create a timeless classic.

Additional Information:

This film was featured on Screen Guild Theater in 1945 with Crosby and Fitzgerald reprising their starring roles.

Currently, it is available on Netflix Instant Watch for those who Netflix members. Click here for Netflix.

Also, it's available on Amazon:

Note: Sales made through the links in this post will result in small compensation to me at no additional cost to the consumer.

26Nov/100

EP0285: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Howard Caldwell Matter

 Edmond O'Brien

Johnny Dollar finds himself searching through low class San Francisco dives to find the missing son of a wealthy New England matron.

Original Air Date: September 30, 1950

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25Nov/100

EP0284: Sherlock Holmes: The Man With the Twisted Lip

Basil Rathbone

Sherlock Holmes is hired to find a missing husband who appears to either have met with foul play--or disappeared into thin air.

Original Air Date: May 6, 1946

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24Nov/100

Happy Thanksgiving

Enjoy a blessed and a happy Thanksgiving, and here's a little Thanksgiving Old Time Radio music. This is from the House of Squibb.  Original Air Date: November 24, 1943.

24Nov/100

EP0283: Let George Do It: Stranger than Fiction

Bob Bailey

George isn't interested when a woman wants to hire him to find out if her husband based a steamy protagonist in his novel on a real life mistress, but changes his mind when someone takes a shot at the husband/author.

Original Air Date: May 23, 1949

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23Nov/100

EP0282: The Amazing Nero Wolfe: The Shakespeare Folio

Francis X. Bushman

Archie and a cabbie are attacked by a car after the cabbie bought a book to sit on. Wolfe discovers the book is a first edition Shakespeare Folio.

Original Air Date: November 30, 1945

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22Nov/100

EP0281: Thin Man: The Case of the Wandering Corpse

Claudia Morgan

A corpse disappears along with a necklace, Nick bought for Nora as an anniversary present, and its place is another corpse.

Original Air Date: October 10, 1943

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19Nov/100

The Silver Age of Old Time Radio

Some folks refer to the entire period of radio history from 1929-1962 as the "Golden Age of Radio."  The term is a bit inprecise. I'd argue that the Golden Age of Radio actually ended in 1951, and that the Silver Age lasted until 1965 when Theater Five went off the air.

The year 1951 was the first that Television first turned a higher profit than radio. Seismic shifts were beginning to happen between television and radio, that would make TV ascendant. The comedy show. The long-running sitcom, The Life of Riley ended its radio run in 1951 to become a TV mainstay, a years George Burns and Gracie Allen left for television land. It became increasingly hard to launch successful new radio shows. Many shows that would have been hits five years before ended up serial oddities. Many existing franchises hung on for sometime, but by the time shows like Gangbusters, Counterspy, One Man's Family, Amos 'n Andy, and The Great Gildersleeve took their final bows, they'd long since lost the attention of the American people.

Stars and writers began to go where the money was. Thus radio began to lose a lot of its premier talent as grade-A actors became less likely Radio was changing dramatically.

The silver age of radio was different than the Golden one. First of all, most shows produced during this period such as Gunsmoke and Have Gun, Will Travel. really did seem to have an adult audience in mind, rather than a family audience as families were abandonning the radio for new black and white televisions.

Radio also tried to be more Avante-garde with shows like The CBS Radio Workshop. The Silver age contains most of the great Science Fiction of the radio era, with show, X Minus One and Exploring Tomorrow. As well, several anthology shows such as CBS Radio Workshop and Theater Five contains a ton of science fiction stories.

Radio gave way to television and lost audience as golden age radio actors migrated to television. There were some weak scripts that doubtless left some golden age aficionados pining for the good old days when writers like E. Jack Neuman, Gil Doud, and Blake Edwards created great scripts for Grade-A actors like Dick Powell, William Bendix, and Elliot Lewis. Yet, there were some scripts that were written so well that a listener had to smile at a great episode that most of America had missed.

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