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

31Aug/120

EP0745: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Monopoly Matter

John Lund

Johnny investigates an arson fire that destroyed a club for Monopoly players.

Original Air Date: December 1, 1953

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30Aug/120

EP0744: Sherlock Holmes: The Island of the Dead

Holmes and Watson search for missing wealthy young newlyweds.

Original Air Date: December 5, 1948

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29Aug/120

EP0743: Let George Do It: Stolen Goods

Bob Bailey

Brooksie is sent some hot goods and then disappears. George searches desperately for her.

Original Air: December 17, 1951

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28Aug/120

EP0742: Leonidas Witherall: The Corpse Meets a Deadline

Walter Hampden
Leonidas investigates the death of a newspaper editor who was not wanting for enemies.

Original Air Date: April 22, 1945

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27Aug/120

EP0741: Frank Race: The Adventure of the Vanishing President

Tom Collins

Race is hired to find out why ships have been disappearing. He goes undercover aboard a boat to South America to investigate and finds himself involved in international intrigue.

Original Air Date: April 9,1949

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26Aug/122

Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown: #100-#96

As I listen to radio in a wide variety of forms, I've noted that some people are essential. If they had not been involved, the Golden Age of radio would not have been the same. To me the 100 people on this list best defined this virtue.

Some of these are  lead actors, others are character actors-men and women who played (in some cases) Thousands of Roles with poise and professionalism, and others were hardly heard at all as their work was behind the scenes. Yet, they were all part of making the golden age of radio sparkle. They each brought something unique and wonderful to the table that made the golden age unforgettably.

Of course, any time you make a list like this, names get left off and in a few years, I may see some others who may be promoted to a higher spot, but based on what I've learned of radio over the last few years, this is a solid list. I hope you enjoy this series as we work our way to the top.

100) Vic Perrin

Vic Perrin's first radio appearance was in 1943 for Free World Theater. He'd quickly become one of radio's most vital character actors. He was a regular stock player for Jack Webb who was used constantly. He also appeared on programs such as Family Theater and Suspense. He continued to make radio appearances as the Golden Age headed to the twilight of its existence appearing regularly on Gunsmoke, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, and Have Gun Will Travel. He also took on a rare recurring role as Sgt. Goerss on Fort Laramie. He also played a key role in Radio Revival attempts in the 1970s appearing on Rod Serling's Zero Hour and the Sears Radio Theater. His voice work was also prominent in cartoons. He served a whole new generation of fans with his performance as Sinesto in the Super Friends, along with voicework for the 1978 Fantastic Four and 1983 Incredible Hulk animated programs

99) Jock McGregor

One of radio's great behind the scenes men:  Macgregor's writing, producing, and directing were behind some of radio's most significant programs from the early 1940s to the mid-1950s including Murder Clinic, Nick Carter, The Sealed Book, X Minus One, and most famously Mysterious Traveler

98) Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey BogartBogart was first and foremost, a movie star.and one of the greatest of his or any other time. However, he showed time and time again that he was able to perform with the best of them on radio when his busy film schedule allowed. He adapted several of his movies to radio including The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen,  and To Have or Have Not as well as many of his Gangster roles such as Petrified Forest and Bullets or Ballots. These radio films are a rare treat for fans. Beyond these appearances, Bogart also starred in Bold Venture. Bold Venture was far from the best written radio drama with the oft-recurring plot of Bogart's character Slade Shannon being played for a royal sucker by the underworld guest star of the week. That the show is so well-loved sixty years later is a testament to the sheer power of Bogart and Becall to overcome all odds, including those imposed by the writers.  

97) Dennis Day

Dennis Day made his first appearance on Jack Benny's show in 1939 with the character of a naive young tenor. A character he played throughout an association with Benny that would extend for more than 30 years. In addition to his association with  Benny, the charismatic Irish singer had his own comedy show, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day.

96) Barton Yarborough

Barton Yarborough had several key recurring roles he was remembered for: Clifford Barbour on Carlton Morse's long-running soap opera. One Man's Family, Doc Long in I Love a Mystery, and Joe Friday's first partner Ben Romero in Dragnet. Yarborough was the only person other than Jack Webb to narrate on Dragnet in the episode, The Big Ben which features Joe Friday being shot. At that point, Ben Romero takes over the narration. In addition to these feature recurring roles, Yarborough played countless character roles on radio. Most frequently he used his Texas twang to create a wide variety of characters who ranged from the amusing to the sinister.  Yarborough offered his services to equally wide variety shows ensuring his place as one of radio's most essential performers. Yarborough died all too soon at the age of 51 after filming the first two television episodes of Dragnet.

Next week: #91-#95

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25Aug/120

Book Review: Triple Jeopardy

Triple Jeopardy contains three Nero Wolfe novellas originally published in 1951 and 1952. Without any further adieu, let's take a look at them: 

Home to Roost: 

A young man suspected of being a Communist but who had told his Aunt he was really an undercover FBI agent was murdered and his Aunt and Uncle believe Communist agents did it and want Wolfe to find out the truth. A less engaging story that still manages to pack a punch with a surprising ending.

Rating: Satisfactory

Cop Killer:

A classic Wolfe story that finds two refugees from the Soviet Union who are in the country illegally suspected of murder after fleeing the crime scene which is the shop of Wolfe and Archie's barber.  They take refuge in Wolfe's home without Wolfe fully understanding the police want them. Wolfe's sense of hospitality won't allow him to turn them over to the police and Wolfe and Archie have to find out who the real killers are.

This is a story with a lot of fascinating features with us seeing their Barber shop. Some great interactions, including the police entreating Archie for a help with a difficult manicurist and Wolfe and Archie snowing Inspector Cramer by telling him that the suspects were there but in such a way he wouldn't believe them. Archie explained to the frightened migrants, "They (Hitler and Stalin) tell barefaced lies to have them taken for the truth, and we told the barefaced truth to have it taken for a lie."

Rating: Very Satisfactory

The Squirt and the Monkey:

This one begins with some strained credibility. For once, Wolfe is willing to take a job and Archie doesn't want him to. A big shot on the Comic Strip, Dazzle Dan wants to use Archie's gun to help recover his own stolen gun. He's willing to pay Archie $500 for the use of his gun. Despite Archie pointing out that the most Wolfe could clear after taxes and expenses was $45, he's off to the strange house that produces Dazzle Dan complete with monkey and an unusual cast of characters.

Through a complex series of events, a man is murdered with Archie's gun, the client lies about why he'd hired Wolfe, and Cramer informs Wolfe that his license will be suspended. Once again you have to suspend disbelief as we've seen Wolfe insist on getting in writing what he's being hired for multiple times.

However, this is when the story gets interesting. Wolfe goes to work in earnest and has his lawyer file a lawsuit against the client for a million dollars and begins an earnest study of the Dazzle Dan comic to unravel the mystery of what goes in the house that created him. 

Overall, there is much about this story that makes it unique. Unfortunately, Stout, has a lot in here that's hard to buy, so I can only rate it:

Rating: Satisfactory

The stories vary in quality but solidly clever solutions and some great settings in the last two stories make this a solid read.

Collection Rating: Satisfactory

You can find all the Nero Wolfe books in Kindle, Audiobook, and book form on our Nero Wolfe page.

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24Aug/120

EP0740: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Independent Diamond Traders Matter

John Lund

Johnny investigates smugglers who are putting small-time diamond sellers out of business.

Original Air Date: November 24, 1953

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23Aug/120

EP0739: Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Well-Advertised Murder

A doctor comes to Holmes after a woman has threatened to murder her husband but did the doctor come too late?

Original Air Date: November 28, 1948

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22Aug/120

EP0738: Let George Do It: The Last Payoff

 Bob Bailey

An ex-con turns to George when he suspects  some is trying to hinder his efforts to go straight. George comes across a web of intrigue that includes blackmail---and murder.

Original Air Date: December 10, 1951

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