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

21Mar/110

EP0366: The Abbotts: The Blue Rocket Express

Claudia Morgan

Pat and Jean find the body of a scientist specializing in biological warfare dead in their compartment. When Pat finds out a man identifying himself as the scientist is a passenger on a train to California, he and Jean enter a race against time to stop the train and the imposter aboard.

Original Air Date: April 17, 1955

1957 AFRTS Transcription

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19Mar/110

The Rathbone-Bruce Countdown, Part Two

Continuing on our list of Rathbone-Bruce Sherlock Holmes movies from best to worst (see Part One):

10) Pursuit to Algiers (1945):

This post-war picture takes Holmes and Watson on a ship-board adventure as they are tasked with guarding the heir to the throne of a fictional nation. The film featured some nice red herrings as well as Nigel Bruce singing . If the film had any weakness, it was its villains, who were no match for Holmes. I think the 3 stooges would have been a greater challenge.

9) Terror by Night (1946)

Immediately following, "Pursuit to Algiers," the Producers decided to put Holmes and Watson on a train. Other than the first two scenes, the action is all on the train. It's a taut thriller without a lot of fluff, but manges to get in a decent mystery, plenty of excitement, and a few nice twists at the end.

8 )The Spiderwoman (1944)

A series of suicides by men in their pajamas. Holmes however suspects that it's really a fiendish murder plot. This film features one of the best villains of the series in Gale Sondergaard who is the ultimate femme fatale as the mastermind of the plot. This film features deadly peril for both Holmes and Watson, and a suspenseful ending. Also, not to give away too much, you get to see what targets you'd find in a shooting gallery during World War II.

7) The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)

This was the first appearance by Rathbone and Bruce as Holmes and Watson and follows the classic mystery novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in a baffling whodunit as Holmes has to find out who is trying to use the myth of the Hound of the Baskerville to do in the young lord of the manor. Hound of  the Baskervilles is also noted for its haunting scenes of the Scottish Moors. Its very realistic and helps to set the mood of the film. These scenes alone make Hound of the Baskervilles a must-see.

18Mar/110

EP0365: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Byron Hayes Matter

Edmond O'Brien

The prime suspect in the murder of a beneficiary gets a secret meeting with Johnny that leads to Johnny uncovering infidelity and blackmail

Original Air Date: March 24, 1951

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17Mar/110

EP0364: Sherlock Holmes: The Darlington Substitution Case

Tom Conway

Early in his career and desperate for a case, Holmes accepts as a job as a bodyguard to an unlikable man who turns out to be blackmailer.

Original Air Date: January 4, 1947

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16Mar/110

EP0363: Let George Do It: Double Death

Bob Bailey

George is hired by a man to find his missing wife, but all the evidence George can find points to the man having murdered her.

Original Air Date: October 17, 1949

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15Mar/110

EP0362: Nero Wolfe: The Case of the Party for Death

Sidney Greenstreet

Nero Wolfe sends Archie to a party, advising him to call when the murder occurs, and occur it does.

Original Air Date: February 16, 1951

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14Mar/110

EP0361: The Abbotts: The Pink Elephant

Claudia Morgan

A mobster threatens the life of a reporter and then is shot while talking to him and the reporter insists he didn't do it.

Original Air Date: April 10, 1955

1957 AFRTS Transcription

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11Mar/110

The Rathbone-Bruce Countdown, Part One

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson. It doesn't get much better than that. From the late 1930s through the mid-1940s, they were Holmes and Watson.

I've seen all 14 films and they're a remarkable mix of detective stories, crime stories, spy thrillers, suspense, and a few touches of comedy. The films gave us the definitive Holmes for an entire generation of viewers. They were exciting, thrilling, and well-played. I should stay that because a film is listed low on my list (with the exception of the #14 film), it's not because it was a bad film. The series has so many good films in it, it was actually hard to make up my mind on the films between 2 and 14. 

14)  The Woman in Green (1945)

The weakest of the series. The Woman in Green was a film that struggled with its plot and villains. The character who ought to the primary villain lacked the personality of Holmes' female antogonists in The Spiderwoman and Dressed to Kill.  So, the writers brought Professor Moriarity back despite having killed him six movies prior.  The problem is that the plot they created was too small for Moriarity. In previous movies, he'd tried to steal the crown jewels and then been working for the Nazis. In this film, Moriarty's plot  amounts to is a fairly gruesome blackmail scheme. Hardly stuff for the Napoleon of Crime.

13)  The Pearl of Death (1944)

Holmes, while trying to illustrate the ineffectiveness of relying on an electronic burgular alarm to protect a valuable pearl, disconnects the alarm, allowing a thief to steal the pearl. From there, the story follows the premise of the Doyle story, "The Six Napoloeans." However, it adds in a gruesome monster of a killer and makes for a suspenseful chapter in the series.

12) Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943)

Not as exciting as the title might indicate, with a few rought spots. However, Holmes' investigation into a series of murders at a convalescent home has a fantastic final confrontation requiring a lot of guts from our hero to pull it off.

11) Dressed to Kill (1946)

This is a film that gets trashed by some fans for everything from the title to similarities in plot to Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon. The plot centers around three music boxes that were made in prison and purchased at an auction house and criminals desperate to receover them.  However, I love the use of music in this plot. Also, while this film features from Watson's goofiest moments as he's tricked by the villain into revealing the location of a music box with the help of a puerile ruse, Watson also gives Holmes the final clue that helps him solve the case.

11Mar/110

EP0360: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Stanley Springs Matter

Edmond O'Brien

Johnny Dollar is dispatched to a cotton ginning operation after an anonymous letter alleges a smuggling racket is operating there.

Original Air Date: March 10, 1951

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10Mar/110

EP0359: Sherlock Holmes: The Singular Affair of the White Cockerel

Tom Conway

While Sherlock Holmes is retired on his bee farm, he is asked to investigate a missing chicken. He finds the case is far more serious than first thought as a human life is at stake.

Original Air Date: December 28, 1946

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