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

30Jun/110

EP0439: Sherlock Holmes: The Island of Death

Tom Conway

A psychologist hires four circus sideshow performers to head to a desserted Island off of Scotland.

Original Air Date: April 28, 1947

Try Netflix for two weeks free of unlimited movie rentals... http://netflix.greatdetectives.net

Cast your vote at http://podcastalley.greatdetectives.net

Become of our friends on Facebook…http://facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take our listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

29Jun/110

EP0438: Let George Do It: The Old Style

Bob Bailey

George is called in by a murder memorabilia collector to investigate a mysterious music box which leads to murder.

Original Air Date: February 6, 1950

Take our listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.netCast your vote for the show at http://podcastalley.greatdetectives.netCall in at 208-991-GR8D (4783) Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to add to zune, click here to add to any other feed reader.

28Jun/110

EP0437: Rogue’s Gallery: Lovely Little Old Lady

Dick Powell

Rogue goes to help an elderly woman with a son in trouble with the law. The son's not there and Rogue wakes up to find he was given a Mickey Finn in his tea and has been framed for murder.

Original Air Date: November 29, 1945

Try Audible and get a free audio book: http://audibletrial.com/greatdetectives

.Become one of our friends on Facebook... http://www.facebook.com/radiodetectives

Call 208-991-4783 to leave a voicemail.

Take the listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader

27Jun/110

EP0436: Barrie Craig: The Case of the Borrowed Knife

William Gargan

Barrie Craig is hired by a woman to ensure her marriage goes forward.

Original Air Date: November 7, 1951

Become one of our friends on Facebook... http://www.facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take the listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader

26Jun/110

The Family Doctor: A Wholesome Radio Prescription

If you're looking for a wholesome Old Time Radio  for the whole family, Family Doctor could be just what the doctor ordered.

Over the years, many television series, books, and movies  have taken a longing look at the past in programs such as Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons which served as  a reminder of old fashioned values and a time when a sense of community was a reality. The quest for this sort of world continues in the 21st Century with the rise of Amish fiction stories.

Family Doctor is not taking a look back, but is set in the then-present which is widely believed to be 1932 when the shows were produced.  Like the other syndicated 15 minute shows we examined the last two weeks, Family Doctor's 39 episodes were syndicated to various radio stations and sold as a package. Unlike the other shows, Family Doctor had regular character and story archs.

The show follows the adventures of Grant Adams, the longtime physician of the small town of Cedarton. Cedarton is a three-dimensional town brimming with wonderful characters who Doc Adams tries to help and encourage including Pete who runs the drugstore and Griff, the workaholic boat renter who works too hard and always promises that he'll find a younger man to do his hard work.  Then there are two teenage girls who compete for the hear of a clerk at the drug store and then when he leaves, they fight for the next clerk hired.

The 39 episodes of Family Doctor range from the humorous to the exciting  , the heartbreaking and the inspirational:

"Pete May, the Ambulance Driver"

With Dr. Adams' car is in the shop so he asks Pete to drive him out on a house call)

"The Fire Alarm"

After talking about how nothing happens in Cedarton, Doc and the other volunteer firemen go to the scene of a fire where Doc risks his life to save a child.

"Enjoyment"

The town drunk is injured saving the life of a little girl and Doctor Adams works feverishly to save him.

Episodes 37-39

The 3-part series finale which requires Doc to make a difficult choice about his future and that of the town.

Doc Adams calls to mind generations of country doctors who were revered for their selfless giving of their lives for their patients.  Yes, this doctor does make house calls. He dispensed more common sense, wisdom, and kindness than any other prescription in the series.

Cedarton feels like a real place with real flaws: the program portrays Cedarton having incidents surrounding gossip, foolish competitions, suspicion of strangers, and even uncivil politics. At the same time,  Cedarton is also a  community where people are watching out for others. When Chic, who works at the drug store wants to rent a boat for a date, Griff makes it clear that he doesn't rent boats to unmarried young couples without parental consent. Family Doctor presents small town life at its best and its worse. The exact location of the fictional town is never disclosed, but based on clues from the show, it was probably in upstate New York or New England.

The show remains a little known treasure:. It captures a time and place in American history with well-written and well-performed stories. The actors remain anonymous, although some take guesses. David Goldin suggests Jane Morgan and John Gibson ("Ethelbert") appeared in the show, and I think I heard Agnes Moorhead, but identifying voice without credits s is always iffy.

The program pre-dates the similarly themed Dr. Christian radio series by five years and stands up well after nearly eighty years despite the lack of a named cast.

Click here to download episodes of the Family Doctor from the Internet Archive.

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically to your Kindle

25Jun/110

A Review of the Columbo Collection

[This was originally slated to be posted on July 9th but was moved to today due to the passing of the great Peter Falk. You may also enjoy our look at the top 10 1970s Columbo episodes in parts one, two, and three ]

It's been nearly eight and a half years since the last Columbo movie and with star Peter Falk's health issues assured there would be no sequel. Now Falk's death may have some folks wanting a little bit more Columbo.

Creator William Link, has returned to working on Columbo sans Peter Falk, writing a play, Columbo Takes the Rap. Last year, Link released The Columbo Collection, the first ever compilation of Columbo short stories, featuring twelve Columbo adventures.

The Columbo Collection is a must for any fan of the series. Usually, writing these sort of volumes falls to people who are not really associated with the series or whose affiliation is loose, and they can't get the character accurate. Link brings credibility to the stories and gets Columbo pretty close to right.

To truly enjoy the book, your expectations have to be properly set.  Reading the stories is not going to come close to replaciating the fun of watching Columbo on television or the depth of the stories.  Each story is between 15-26 pages long. Some of the preludes to the murder in TV episodes would take longer than that to tell.

Columbo's unique structure doesn't lend itself well to these sort of limitations, so it's no surprise that the book is a mixed bag.

On the positive side, as a master of mystery, Link created several memorable gems, some of which approached the level of being lik e a mini-Columbo episode (imagine Columbo as a half hour TV show):

"The Criminal Criminal Defense Attorney"- A lawyer gets his client acquitted of  rape and then kills him. This story does a good job portraying the mental duel between Columbo and the attorney, and the final clue is classic Columbo. Also, a high powered defense attorney is perhaps the closest any of the stories come to Columbo's usual battle against an elitest.  The only weak spot of this story is that the motive is hard to believe.

"The Blackest Mail"-The longest story in the book  and well-worth the read. An actress murders a man who is trying to blackmail her by trying to make it look like self-defense. Now she has to evade Columbo. This one did a great job with the cat and mouse chase.

"Trance"-In several stories, Link doesn't show us the murder, but it's clear from the beginning who Columbo thinks is "the guy" (to quote Monk.) Such as is the case with "Trance" as we know from the beginning that Columbo's suspicion lies firmly on a hypnotist that has an airtight alibi. The way that Columbo breaks the alibi is classic. Unfortunately, the way Columbo puts the murderer at the scene of the crime is not credible.

"Murder Allegro"-Another where we don't see the murder, but are relying on Columbo who is sure that a musician murdered his wife, who was also part of the band. This one is not only a howcatchem but a howdidit. On both points, this story works.

"Photo Finish"-This story was unique in staying in the viewpoint of the murderer from start to finish as she plots the murder of her philandering husband. This character has a very distinct voice as a woman scorned out for revenge at all costs and annoyed by her amateur mistakes in the murder game. Unfortunatley for her, Columbo basically walks into the solution.

Opposite the table of contents, The Columbo Collection also features a very nice sketch of Columbo drawn by Peter Falk.  Link also writes an introduction to his piece that contains much the same information as he's posted on his website but had a couple interesting added details.

One was about Bert Freed, who was the first actor to play Columbo as the first Columbo telepay was an episode of the Chevy Mystery Show. Link ran into Freed and found out that Freed had forgotten he'd ever played Columbo. Freed had want Link called actor's amnesia, and it's easy to forget one role on a forgotten TV show dcades before.  I found it amusing that if Freed had somehow landed on Celebrity Jeopardy, he would missed the question, "The first actor to play Columbo."

On the negative side,  the story Grief was the weakest of the lot. Everything about the story was tedious. And the story was made worse when Columbo tried to mitigate one elderly man running over another, because the driver thought the pedestrian had committed a hit and run on his dog.

Most of the other stories that aren't listed above are forgettable, with weak plots, weak conclusions, or weak characters. They don't possess all of these problems, but they're seriously handicapped by the short story format and trying to have Columbo have a battle of wits and solve a case in 20 pages.

Also, in many of these stories, Link does a poor job choosing his villains. Part of the appeal of Columbo is the every man again battling the rich, famous, and powerful. Putting Columbo up against other everymen as Link does when he puts Columbo against a Gardener-War Veteran, another cop of about equal rank, a retiree, and a man who lost his girlfriend to a would-be-assassn's ricochet does just that. Of course, that would be realistic, but Columbo has never been about realism.

The first five stories contain motives buried in psychobabble that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Thankfully, Link proceeds to a pattern of using more traditional motives like jealousy, greed, and revenge which work  far better in short story form.

One hopeful sign is that these stories do appear to be published in the order  in which Link wrote them and the last few attempts are far more refined, with the last three stories all making my list of the gems in the book., which means if he opts to do another Columbo collection, he may be in better form.

Personally, I would probably have much preferred a collection of three or four Columbo novellas which would have provided more time for the format to work.  Still, it was a worthy read, particularly for fans that miss that rumpled rain coat.

Rating:Three Stars out of Five.

If you enjoyed this post, you can have new posts about Detective stories and the golden age of radio and television delivered automatically delivered to your Kindle.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that items purchased from these links may result in a commission being paid to the author of this post at no extra cost to the purchaser.

24Jun/110

Columbo Meets Frank Sinatra

Filed under: Video No Comments
24Jun/110

EP0435: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Horace Lockhart Matter

Edmond O'Brien

Johnny searches for a missing witness who can tell which of two parents died first in a car accident. At stake? $200,000 in Life Insurance money.

Original Air Date: August 1, 1951

Next time you travel, check http://www.johnnydollarair.com first.Become one of our friends on Facebook...http://www.facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take the listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.netClick here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader

23Jun/110

EP0434: Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane

Tom Conway

While retired, Sherlock Holmes investigates the murder of a school teacher.

Original Air Date: April 21, 1947

Try Netflix for two weeks free of unlimited movie rentals... http://netflix.greatdetectives.net

Cast your vote at http://podcastalley.greatdetectives.net

Become of our friends on Facebook…http://facebook.com/radiodetectives

Take our listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe to this podcast on Zune, click here to subscribe to this feed using any other feed reader.

22Jun/110

EP0433: Let George Do It: The Ugly Duckling

Bob Bailey

A famous composer has died and his widow is hiding something. George has to find out what.

Original Air Date: January 30, 1950

Sample Tales of the Dim Knight... http://www.dimknight.comT

ake our listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

Cast your vote for the show at http://podcastalley.greatdetectives.netCall in at 208-991-GR8D (4783)

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to add to zune, click here to add to any other feed reader.

Tagged as: No Comments

Subscribers

Pages

Friends of the Show

GAR Links

Great OTR LInks

Other Old Time Radio Shows

Tags

Categories

Archives