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

11Apr/122

EP0643: Let George Do It: Knock on Wood

Ken Peters

A superstitious landlord brings George in to resolve a tenant dispute, but very quickly, George has three unsolved murders on his hands.

Original Air Date: January 22, 1951

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10Apr/120

EP0642: Hercule Poirot: Rendevous with Death

Harold Huber

When a love triangle leads to a ship-board murder, Poirot investigates.

Original Air Date: July 12, 1945

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9Apr/120

EP0641: Barrie Craig: Hay is for Homicide

William Gargan
Barrie Craig and his elevator man go to Vermont on a vacation. The peaceful rest is interrupted when they find a body in a hay wagon.

Original Air Date: August 31, 1954

Quote of the show: "Forgive me, you haven't got brains enough to be an idiot."

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8Apr/120

Book Review: The Secret of Father Brown

Have you wondered how the great detectives solved their cases? In The Secret of Father Brown, while visiting Flambeau's house Father Brown meets a curious American who has to know as some of his countrymen think Father Brown is using mystical powers. Father Brown offers his explanation:

"You see, I had murdered them all myself," explained Father Brown
patiently. "So, of course, I knew how it was done."

Grandison Chace had risen to his great height like a man lifted to the ceiling by a sort of slow explosion. Staring down at the other he
repeated his incredulous question.

"I had planned out each of the crimes very carefully," went on Father Brown, "I had thought out exactly how a thing like that could be done, and in what style or state of mind a man could really do it. And when I was quite sure that I felt exactly like the murderer myself, of course I knew who he was."

Even after further explanation, the American still doesn't quite get it, so Father Brown introduces the stories as case studies in his method.

The eight mysteries that followed are asolid group. While, I don't think the cases rise to the level of the brilliance of the Incredulity of Father Brown, there's not a bad story in the lot.  Probably the weakest stories in the volume  are The Song of the Flying Fish and The Red Moon of Meru and that's only because they seem similar similar to other attempted theft stories in other volumes.

Three of the cases were chosen for adaptation in the 1970s Father Brown TV series and are probably the best cases in the book:

"The Mirror of the Magistrate" finds Father Brown insisting that a revolutionary poet is innocent of murdering a judge. Father Brown's ability to see the events from the poet's perspective helps him avoid the assumptions the police fall into.

"The Man with Two Beards" finds police searching for a famous jewel thief who has emerged to rob again. He's apparently killed while committing another robbery, but is that what really happened?  Father Brown probably faces one of his most clever and surprising adversaries in this case.

"The Actor and the Alibi" tells the story of a theatre owner being murdered where everyone seems to have an alibi. This is a case where nothing is what it seems and Father Brown has to see through  a clever rouse.

In addition to this there are a couple other noteworthy stories: "The Vanishing of the Vaudrey" is perhaps the darkest Father Brown tale I've read yet, while "The Chief Mourner of Marne" is one of the more profound. A man has secluded himself and is in mourning. Rumor has it that Catholic monks have forced him to do it due to a duel he fought with his brother. Father Brown seeks to uncover the truth and clear the Church of scurrilousness charges. Along the way, the story provides enormous food for thought on forgiveness.

Overall, this is a great collection with eight mysteries that will appeal strongly to any Father Brown fan and also showcases some interesting developments and growth in Chesterton's philosophy.

Rating: 4.75 Stars out of 5.0

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8Apr/120

Video Theater 027: The Devil’s Party

Five friends who grew up in Hell's Kitchen have grown up to be two policemen, a gambling kingpin, a Catholic priest, and a lounge singer.  When two of the gambler's men botch a collections job and leave behind a dead body right before the group's annual reunion, their world is torn apart.

Release Date: June 2, 1938

 

7Apr/121

The Top 10 Perry Mason TV Movies, Part One

Having recently watched all 26 of the 1980s-90s Perry Mason Revival movies, I've decided to make a list of the best of them.

While these movies are not the equals of the original series, Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale's talents still made the films worthwhile and entertaining through each of the 26 installments.

Without any further adieu, here's my top 10 list:

10) Perry Mason and the Case of the Reckless Romeo (1992)

Geraldo Rivera is perfectly cast as a trashy TV host who releases a memoir detailing his past escapades and dishing dirt on all of his lovers. It's no surprise when he's killed and suspects abound.

The mystery takes several turns with some great misdirection when Ken Malansky stumbles into two suspects who are in the witness protection program, but everything wraps up quite nicely.

 9) Perry Mason and the Case of the Maligned Mobster (1991)

Perry usually doesn't take the case of hardcore criminals, but finds himself defending reformed mobster Johnny Sorento (Michael Nader) who has apparently settled down in legitimate business. There are quite a few red herring in this one that throw the viewer off the truth, but the ending  has an incredible twist as the outcome can't be exactly what Perry's client was hoping for.

 8) Perry Mason and the Case of the Ruthless Reporter (1991)

The movie begins with Perry giving an interview with a news co-anchor. The news anchor is on a power trip and kills the story, prompting an angry confrontation with his co-anchor. When the anchor turns up dead and the co-anchor is charged, Perry leads in the defense.

If there's one theme that does recur in these movies, it's talented people who become the top dog and step on everyone else around them. It's rarely more plainly shown than in this installment.

This telefilm also includes more than your average bit of action as Ken Malansky has to go to more extreme measures than usual to corral a key witness.

 7) Perry Mason and the Case of the Lethal Lesson (1989)

Speaking of Ken Malansky, The Lethal Lesson was where his involvement with Mason began. In this episode, he ends up Mason's client after he's accused of murdering a fellow law school student.

This particular installment has a fun love triangle between Ken's girlfriend (Karen Kopins) and his an ex-girlfriend (Alexandra Paul) who is telling everyone that she's Ken's intended. For the first half of the movie you think Paul's character is bonkers, but by the end of the film you're given a surprise whammy in the payoff.

The story is solid with the usual tension between Perry's friendships and his duty to his clinets. But the introduction of Malansky makes this a fascinating study. With Malansky on-board, the series was on its way to capturing some real magic in the chemistry between the cast and that alone makes this a worthwhile film.

To be Continued...Next Week

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6Apr/120

EP0640: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Emil Carter Matter

John Lund

Johnny is called by a woman accused of murdering an insured who wants his help to clear her name.

Original Air Date: June 16, 1953

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5Apr/120

EP0639: Sherlock Holmes: The Case of The Very Best Butter

A wealthy and overweight woman turns to Holmes when she fears her young French husband will kill her.

Original Air Date: April 18, 1948

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4Apr/120

EP0638: Let George Do It: Tune on a Triangle

Bob Bailey
George is suckered into a publicity stunt for an acrobat and quickly finds himself in the middle of a love triangle that's headed toward murder.

Original Air Date: January 15, 1951

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3Apr/120

EP0637: Hercule Poirot: Death in the Golden Gate

While attending a peace conference in San Francisco, Poirot witnesses a kidnapping and finds himself involved in International intrigue with the fate of the world at stake.

Original Air Date: May 17, 1945

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