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

31Dec/120

EP0831: Frank Race: The Adventure of the Sobbing Bodyguard

Frank Race
Donovan finds a dead man in his cab-a dead man he had a motive to murder. He turns to Frank Race for help.

Original Air Date: August 13, 1949

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

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

Give us a call 208-991-4783

Follow us on Twitter @radiodetectives

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.

 

30Dec/120

Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown: #30 and #29

Previous Posts: 33-3136-3439-3742-4045-4348-4651-4954-5257-5560-5865-6170-66,  71-7576-8081-8586-9091-9596-100

30) William Spier

William Spier was one of radio's best and most prolific producers. His work on the legendary radio newsreel program the March of Time in the 1930s was only a beginning to what would be ahead. In the early 1940s, he became the first producer of Suspense and also produced Duffy's Tavern. His presence was also felt on the series Columbia Workshop. In 1946, he became producer/director of The Adventures of Sam Spade, a series that he would help make a ratings hit. He went on to have great success in television, but it was on radio that he made his greatness impact.

29) Paul Frees

Paul FreesFrees was a master voice actor and radio was his greatest showcase. His pure talent as a voice actor made him much sought after. He appeared on nearly every major radio drama imaginable. Let George Do It, Columbia Workshop, Suspense, Family Theater, Box 13, The Edgar Bergen Show. The full range of his flexibility was shown in two programs, The Player and Studio X where he played all of the characters. Of course, many of his radio characterizations carried over to cartoons where he would provide the voice of Boris Badenov. In addition to all of his character work, Frees was given several programs of his own including Crime Correspondent, The Green Lama, and The Croupier.

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.
29Dec/120

Rex Stout’s Other Detective Series: Tecumseh Fox

Agatha Christie is highly regarded and remembered more than her individual characters because of the fact that her mysteries were not limited to a single famous detective unlike Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle. She had not only Hercule Poirot, but Miss Marple is almost equally beloved. In addition, other characters such as Parker Pyne and Tommy and Tuppence are well-regarded by mystery fans.

Beyond Agatha Christie, many other mystery writers understood the importance of having more than one detective series going.  The point was not lost on Rex Stout. With several Nero Wolfe novels under his belt, Stout tried to branch out with limited success. He wrote one novel featuring lady private eye Dol Bonner and another featuring lawyer Alphabet Hicks. And there were a couple others without a lead detective. None were particularly well-regarded.

One detective did get more than one book-Tecumseh Fox who appeared in three books published between 1939-41. In Tecumseh Fox, Stout had a lot of potential to write a series that departed from Wolfe but still was high quality. In the first book, Double for Death, we're introduced to Fox. He's part Native American, he's resourceful, intelligent, and unlike Wolfe or Bonner, he doesn't loath the opposite sex. He lives in Westchester County in a country place where he plays host to a variety of eccentrics. He's not alone in his detective work with an organization behind him including officers in his organization such as a vice-president.

The series had potential to provide another Stoutian detective, with his own unique characterization and background. The setting of his country home seemed to offer rich opportunities to flesh out interesting characters. Sadly, it was not to be.

In Double for Death, like in Dol Bonner's sole novel, the novel started strong but the life was sucked out of the story by interminable pages of bland questioning of suspects by the official police at a setting that was completely boring. When finally, the murderer was revealed, there was more relief that the affair was over than impression with the intelligence of the solution.

In the next two novels, Stout would ditch most of the distinctive characteristics as Fox would work in New York City away from home and away from any compatriots or Lieutenants. This basically made him just another private detective. But that's not to say the novels didn't have features of interest.

Bad for Business may have been the best of the lot as Fox tries to discover who poisoned some candy and killed the owner of the candy company. Indeed, Stout would recycle much of the plot for the Nero Wolfe novella "Bitter End." The story like the one to follow it The Broken Vase was enjoyable but at the same point, maddening. Both books were good and could have been great if only...

The closest to greatness was when Bad for Business featured Fox trying to solve a case involving one of Dol Bonner's operatives. Fox and Bonner clashed twice and the story had a feeling of electricity in those moments, but Bonner disappears from the book and the opportunity for greatness passes. Yes, the series had potential but Stout couldn't bring it to fruition.

The series also exposed and emphasized Stout's weaknesses as an author. The Wolfe stories all were written from a first person perspective in the memorable voice of Archie Goodwin. It seems as if Stout tried to avoid the first person to prevent the book's narrator from sounding like Archie. What was used throughout the series was Omniscient narration at its worst: unfocused and uninteresting.

In addition to this, it becomes painfully clear from all of these non-Wolfe novels that Stout was incapable of writing about the romantic relationships in any way that's not farcical. His romantic angles are strained and his characters' love affairs are unrealistic and not in a way that appeals to readers.

In the Nero Wolfe book, Stout's genius is how he negates these deficiencies. Archie Goodwin adds not only flavor to the narrative but focus as well. In the two main protagonists, you have a womanhater and a man whose flirty and flip demeanor towards the opposite sex balances against Stout's weakness for romance. None of this helped out in the Fox books.

The last Tecumseh Fox book was published in 1941 and then came the War and Stout's war work limited his output to a precious few Nero Wolfe novellas. The war made people re-calibrate and consider what really mattered, and perhaps War did that for Stout as well. He'd missed writing Nero Wolfe during the war years and when he could, he got right back at it and continued to write Nero Wolfe stories and only Nero Wolfe stories for fiction for the next thirty years. His days of literary flirtation were over.

And readers can be thankful for it. The more time Stout wasted on failed mystery experiments, the less time he had to craft masterful stories like The Silent Speaker, The Golden Spiders, The Next Witness, and The Final Deduction.

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.

28Dec/120

EP0830: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Nathan Swing Matter

John Lund
Johnny investigates the death of a small time crook and how a crusading prosecutor might be involved.

Original Air Date: April 20, 1954

 

Save more and combine hotel and airline fare at http://www.johnnydollarair.com

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

27Dec/120

EP0829: Sherlock Holmes: The Elusive Agent, Part One

Sherlock Holmes investigates a case of stolen plans on the eve of World War I.

Original Air Date: March 21, 1949

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

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

Click here to download, click here to add this podcast to your Itunes, click here to subscribe.

26Dec/120

EP0828: Let George Do It: Come to the Casbah

Bob Bailey

George tries to recover some papers for the French Government in order to stop their loss from creating an international incident.

Original Air Date: May 5, 1952

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

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

Call 208-991-4783 to leave a voicemail.

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.

25Dec/120

EP0827: A Life in Your Hands: The Rooming House Murder

A blackmailing boarder is murdered at Mrs. O'Malley's boarding house.

Original Air Date: September 13, 1949

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

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

Follow us on http://www.twitter.com/radiodetectives

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.

24Dec/120

Silver Bells

Bob Hope singing Silver Bells was a favorite Christmas time highlight growing up. Here's the clip that started it all from The Lemon Drop Kid.

Filed under: Video No Comments
24Dec/120

EP0826:Frank Race: The Adventure of the Green Doubloon

Paul Dubov

Frank Race goes to Panama in search of a man who embezzled $300,000.

Original Air Date: August 6, 1949

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

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

Give us a call 208-991-4783

Follow us on Twitter @radiodetectives

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.

23Dec/120

Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown: #33-#31

Previous Posts: 36-3439-3742-4045-4348-4651-4954-5257-5560-5865-6170-66,  71-7576-8081-8586-9091-9596-100

33) Jimmy Durante

Jimmy Durante's first radio program was 1935. In Texaco's Jumbo Fire Chief program, Durante brought his broadway show, Jumbo to radio. However, the 1940s would be the zenith of Durante's radio career. It began in 1943, when at age 50 he teamed with a comedian nearly half his age named in Garry Moore for the Camel Comedy Caravan. Their partnership lasted for 4 years for Camel and Rexall during which he coined his sign off phrase, "Good night, Mrs. Calabash." The two made a wonderful team, playing off each other brilliantly with classic skits that were hits with audience across America, including their hilarious tongue twister performances. Durante then continued on for three years with his own show and then became a regular on radio's The Big Show. Durante was a much sought after guest on other programs from Bob Hope to Eddie Cantor. His charisma, personality, and trademark mannerisms made him a perfect match for anyone from Bing Crosby to Eddie Cantor, Bob Hope, and Al Jolson. Durante's appearances with these and other stars always produced memorable moments.

32) Carlton Morse

Carlton Morse was a pioner in the creation of the Soap Opera for radio. He produced the series One Man's Family  in 1932 and it continued for twenty-seven years and 3,256 episodes under his guidance , the longest uninterrupted run in radio history. His ability to create continuity within the trials and tribulations of this Barbour family made the show a success. Morse branched out into mystery. He also created the series, "I Love a Mystery" which followed the serialized adventures of three detectives. The series ran from 1939-44 and again from 1949-52. Morse's radio work also included the series I Love Adventure and Adventure by Morse. Decades after the end of the golden age of radio, Morse continues to have a solid following.

31) Dick Powell

Dick PowellDick Powell's career had two phases. He was a song and dance man before taking on a series fo tough dramatic parts beginning with Murder My Sweet and continuing through gritty films such as Johnny O'Clock and Pitfall .Radio captured both of these stages due not only to Powell's many performances on the Lux Radio Theater but through the radio programs he appeared in. Dick Powell through the 1930s and 40s sang on programs such as Hollywood Hotel.

Murder, My Sweet combined with 1941's Maltese Falcon and other films established Film Noir and gave a place to the Hard Boiled Detective. Radio was a different matter. Radio mysteries prior to the Summer of 1945 were dominated by mastermind detectives like Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe and Charlie Chan as well as romantic couples such as the Thin Man and Mr. and Mrs. North (Powell himself had appeared in a romantic mystery series called Miss Pinkerton Icc.)

In early 1945, Powell hosted a music program for Fitch called the Fitch Bandwagon. As if to illustrate the movement in his career, Fitch sponsored a Summer show this time starring Powell as Private Detective Richard Rogue, the first of radio's hard boiled private eyes. Many more would follow over the next six years and Powell and Richard Rogue began it. He left the Rogue role in the Summer of 1946 and would focus on films and go 2 1/2 years until he had another regular radio series.

In April 1949, he took on his most famous radio roll as Richard Diamond Private Detective. The program was his most memorable vehicle and allowed him to showcase his full range of talent. The program called for lots of tough guy acting and could be one of the more violent private eye shows, but also had a lot of comedy, and even gave Powell a chance to sing nearly every week. It's hard to think of the golden age of radio without Richard Diamond and even harder to think of it without the great work of Dick Powell.

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.

Subscribers

Pages

Friends of the Show

GAR Links

Great OTR LInks

Other Old Time Radio Shows

December 2012
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Tags

Categories

Archives