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

21Nov/120

Count Your Blessings

Jimmy Durante and Annie Lennon duet from the 1970s.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our listeners in the U.S.A.

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21Nov/120

EP0803: Let George Do It: The Greystone Ghost

Bob Bailey

George is hired by a frightened elderly woman to find "a living ghost."

Original Air Date: March 24, 1952

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20Nov/120

EP0802: Call the Police: The Case of the Kidnapped Killers

Joseph Julian

Bill Grant investigates the case of a murdered boxer.

Original Air Date: June 10, 1947

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19Nov/122

EP0801: Frank Race: The Adventure of the General’s Lady

Tom Collins
Race tries to save a general whose marked for assassination but is following a beautiful woman into danger.

Original Air Date: July 2, 1949

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18Nov/120

Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown #48-#46

Previous: 51-4954-5257-5560-5865-6170-66,  71-7576-8081-8586-9091-9596-100

Claudia Morgan48) Claudia Morgan

Claudia Morgan was the definitive  radio Nora Charles. She played the role from 1941-50. What made this remarkable was that the program seven different runs over four different networks with four different leads. Through it all, she was the indispensable ingredient in this long-running series, maintaining a unique play on Mrs. Charles that was in many ways, stronger and more forceful than Myrna Loy's screen-presentation.  Morgan's portrayal of Mrs. Charles was so good that when NBC decided to start another husband-wife detective show, she was picked to play Mrs. Abbott on The Adventures of the Abbotts. The new series ran only one season but Morgan's history with co-stars hadn't. She played Jean Abbott the whole season while three actors portrayed husband and official lead Pat.

47) Eddie "Rochester"Anderson

There were not many great roles for black actors, mostly stereotypical domestic roles. Most black actors got these kind of royals and couldn't do anything with them. Anderson was a different case thanks to some help from Jack Benny.  The humor of the Rochester character moved away from racial jokes and Anderson became Benny's most popular sidekick. When recording or filming before an audience, when Benny calls home and Anderson answers, "This is Rochester," the audience roared. Anderson took his Rochester character to guest star on other shows including Eddie Cantor and Fred Allen and was very popular with GIs as evidenced by his numerous appearances on Command Performance. Anderson's remarkable charm, personality, and comic timing make him one of radio's most beloved actors decades later.

46) Jean Hersholt

The most noted chapter in Hersholt's career began when he played Dr. John Luke, who was based on the doctor who cared for the Dionne Quintuplets. What followed was a radio series featuring  a country doctor, a series named Dr. Christian. Dr. Christian's radio run was one of the longest, running from 1937-54 and spawning six films between 1939-41. Dr. Christian was a kindly and humane character who cared for the citizens of River's End and anyone else in need of help. The show took on greater heights and depths when scriptwriting became a contest that listeners could write. The show's genre could change from week to week but the kindly character of Paul Christian didn't. Hersholt engrossed himself in the character and according to John Dunning refused roles that would take him too far out of character. In addition to his on-radio kindness, he was an off-radio humanitarian as well. He worked tirelessly for the Motion Picture Relief Fund for eightteen years to help down on their luck entertainers (of which there were many in the early days of Hollywood) and under his watch The Screen Guild Theatre began to help support this effort.

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17Nov/120

Radio Review: Bold Venture

Becall and Bogart
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall followed other stars including Alan Ladd to the radio in their own syndicated program.In Bold Venture, radio offers us a performances from one of Hollywood's most celebrated couples in Hollywood History.

The show's premise called to mind, their early appearance together in To Have or Have Not with Bogart playing Slade Shannon, a rough and rugged man of the world running a hotel called, "Shannon's Place" and also a boat called, "The Bold Venture.". Becall plays the sassy Sailor Duvall whose father was a friend of Slade. Slade was asked to take care of her. However, their relationship is far from father-daughter.

The program has several strong points:

1) Guest Stars: Among them were  Larry Thor (Broadway Is My Beat), Barton Yarborough (Dragnet, One Man's Family),  William Conrad (Gunsmoke), Tony Barrett, Jackson Beck (Superman, Philo Vance), and of course Sheldon Leonard.

2) Solid supporting cast: Jester Hairston is superb as the kind-hearted Calypso composing King Moses and Nestor Paiva is great as the often befuddled police force nemesis of Shannon, Inspector LaSalle.

3) The Dialogue-Characters in this show deliver great dialogue ranging from wisecracking to merely sardonic.  Sailor Duvall has to rank right up near the top when it comes to wise-cracking radio characters with Becall playing the character with plenty of spunk.

4) The Chemistry-Clearly the Becall-Bogie chemistry is on full display here. They play off each other very well throughout each point in the episode right up to the signature sultry love scene at the end of each show.

The one problem with Bold Venture is the plots. The story lines quickly become predictable with someone trying to scam Slate Shannon or involve him in a crime. Shannon good-naturedly falls for the villain's scheme with the lights only going on in the last few minutes of the program. In between the opening theme and the closing love scene, they'll be about three or four dead bodies, with little question about whodunit. To be fair, in the latter programs, the plots improve as writers David Fine and Mort Friedkin cannabalize some Broadway's My Beat plots to make for more interesting stories.

Despite the weak early plots, Bold Venture remains one of radio's most entertaining programs. It was recorded in 1951-52 by Becall and Bogart for legendary syndicator Frederick Ziv. Fifty-seven of the seventy-eight episodes are in circulation. (Episodes 1-56 and 60.) Most are available in High Quality at Archive.org. The rest are available in decent sound quality in another section.

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17Nov/120

EP0800s: Suspense: Deadline at Dawn

Helen Walker

A couple has until dawn to find out who killed a rich socialite or one of them will have to answer to the police.

Original Air Date: May 15, 1948

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16Nov/120

EP0800: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Classified Killer Matter

John Lund

Johnny investigates the death of an insurance agent who appears to have been killed for a car he was selling in a classified ad.

Original Air Date: February 23, 1954

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15Nov/120

EP0799: Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the East End Strangler

Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of mysterious stranglings of wealthy woemn.

Original Air Date: February 28, 1949

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14Nov/120

EP0798: Let George Do It: Three Times and Out

Bob Bailey
George is hired by a wealthy man who fears being murdered.

Original Air Date: March 17, 1952

 

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