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

13Dec/120

EP0819: Sherlock Holmes: The Burmese Goddess

Sherlock Holmes tries to find out who is behind the murder of the owner of a Burmese Idol and why they are willing to kill over it.

Original Air Date: April 18, 1949

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12Dec/120

EP0818: Let George Do It: Operation Europa

Bob Bailey

George Valentine goes to Paris and Instanbul to recover $250,000 in stolen diamonds.

Original Air Date: April 28, 1952

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11Dec/120

EP0817: Call the Police: The Case of the Unknown Strangler

George PetrieBill Grant is confronted by a series of psychotic murders.

Original Air Date: July 20, 1948

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10Dec/120

EP0816: Frank Race: Three on a Match

Tom Collins
Race investigates the disappearance of millions of dollars from a charity.

Original Air Date: July 23, 1949

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9Dec/120

Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown: #39-#37

Previous Posts: 42-4045-4348-4651-4954-5257-5560-5865-6170-66,  71-7576-8081-8586-9091-9596-100

39) Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy

One of the Golden Age of Radio's most iconic figures was made of wood-Charlie McCarthy. Edgar Bergen was the Ventriloquist behind the world's most famous dummy. The duo began their work with an appearance on Rudy Valee's show in 1936 and continued on radio for twenty years on their own program, most famously on the Chase and Sanborn hour. Bergen was both straight man and comic and Charlie was a great radio character in his own right, famously matching wits the great W.C. Fields. In addition to Charlie McCarthy, Bergen introduced characters such as Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker to the program's successful formula. The long term success and enduring popularity of Bergen and McCarthy make the one man comedy an appropriate entry on this list.

38) Alan Reed

Known to generations as Fred Flintstone, long before he cried, "Yabba Dabba Doo!," Reed made a great impression on radio. He first hit big on Fred Allen's program as Allen's Alley regular and poet extraordinaire Falstaff Openshaw. Reed took the characterization if not the character onto other programs including the Jimmy Durante Show and even own series of five minute programs for ABC called Falstaff's Fable. Reed hit gold in another radio show. His characterization of the scheming Pasquale on Life with Luigi helped to make the show a ratings hit. In addition, Reed was versatile and could turn up anywhere. He could be Chester Riley's boss on the Life of Riley, a practical joker who decided to get the last laugh with his will on Philip Marlowe, a barkeep on Box 13 or the good friend of a man who fears his housekeeper is a poisoner in an episode of Suspense. Reed remains one of the greatest of all voice characters and his radio work showcases this amazing legacy.

37) Meredith Willson

Meredith WillsonOn shows ranging from Maxwell's Good News program in the late 1930s to the Burns and Allen in the late 40s, and the Big Show in the 1950, Willson portrayed an on-air character who was a little stupid and a bit of a bore. This merely shows what a great actor Willson was. Willson remains one of the underappreciated musical masters of the era. As an orchestra leader and composer, his arrangement were often brilliant and thoughtful. In late 1938, he sought opinions from a wide variety of people asking them if all the music in the world were to be destroyed, what one composition might they save and then had his orchestra play the piece. Willson's arrangement of music for special occassions and his takes on popular songs were often breathtaking. On the Big Show, he introduced, "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You" as the closing anthem to The Big Show, sung by all of the stars line by line in what would be a classy and often duplicated closure.  The song itself became a standard that would be recorded by a wide variety of actors from Tennessee Ernie Ford to Kate Smith and Johnny Mathis.  Willson continued to be a standout as a composer and band leader while at the same time possessing solid comic timing as an actor.

Willson also wrote the standard, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." In addition to music, Willson tried his hand fiction, writing a novel that was previewed on an episode of the Big Show in 1952 and after radio he wrote the music and co-wrote the story for the Broadway Musical, "The Music Man."

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8Dec/120

You Ought to be on DVD: This Looks Like a Job for a DVD Release

Previous, Unreleased TV DetectivesThe Ziv Properties, Vintage Detective Movie SerialsI Heard it on RadioNero WolfeMark VII Limited Productions, and Beloved Radio Characters Comedy,

With the recent craze of superhero movies, is it time for some TV shows to reveal themselves once again to the world?

The most requested TV show that fans most want to see according to TVShowsonDVD.com is, the 1967 Batman TV series. It's somewhat remarkable that the series, still well-beloved, popular, and fun for its campy comedy has not yet received a DVD release. The problem comes down to rights issues between Fox (the producer of the program) and Warner Brothers and DC comics, the current owners of the Batman character.

This series remains an inconic television classic that remains popular in reruns to this day and it's astonishing that these sides can't get together. Of course, it's far from the only superhero program to have difficulty getting to DVD.

There's a similar problem with Superboy. The character of Superman as a a boy in Smallville has been put on hold due to a dispute between DC Comics and the families of the character's creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Only those properties specifically calling the character Superboy, so the TV series Smallville has had no problems. However, the 1960s Cartoon Superboy has been stuck in limbo as has the latter seasons of the 1980s and 1990s Superboy Television show. (Update: After I wrote this piece but before I published it, Season 2 of Superboy was cleared for release.)

However, other than these exceptions, DC has been good about getting most of their superheroes to DVD. The only other exceptions is a 1960s Batman Animated shorts that aired as part of the Batman-Superman Adventure hour.

Marvel has quite a few programs not released on DVD. Among them are five 1960s Cartoon Series featuring the Fantastic Four, Captain America, Thor, The Incrediblue Hulk, and Submariner. In addition, the live action Amazing Spider-man Television series from the 1970s was not released. The list of programs spans more decades with the 1970s Spider-woman cartoon and Fantastic Four programs not being on DVD. Also missing are the 1980s Incredible Hulk program along with two separate Spider-man programs along with the highly acclaimed 1990s Spider-man television series being limited to four collections of scattered episodes , in addition the Spider-man Unlimited TV series has not been released.

The major Marvel Series facing any legal issue is the 1960s Fantastic Four Series which has its rights owned by Hanna-Barbera which is a rival to Disney. This is a shame as the series features two well-known radio actors in prominent roles. Mr. Fantastic was voiced by Gerald Mohr (Philip Marlowe) and The Thing is played by radio jack of all trades Paul Frees.

To be fair, some of these Marvel programs have enjoyed streaming time on Netflix. However, that's not the same as an actual DVD release that anyone with a DVD player can enjoy and own.

Each of these programs in their own way took a unique look at these men and women in tights, and most have a different spin than modern incarnations. Based on the fact that comic book companies have realized that their original Golden and Silver Age books have strong demand, it seems bizarre that they would practically abandon the sales of these older television shows to black and gray marketers. By releasing these programs particularly with the current popularity of superhero movies, all companies involved can make money while allowing these programs to be enjoyed by new generations.

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7Dec/120

EP0815: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Piney Corners Matter

John Lund
Johnny investigates the first murder in a small town in decades.

Original Air Date: March 23, 1954

 

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6Dec/120

EP0814: Sherlock Holmes: The Mad Miners of Cardiff

What's horrific site is causing seasoned miners to go mad as soon as they see it.

Original Air Date: April 11, 1949

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5Dec/120

EP0813: Let George Do It: War Maneuver

Bob Bailey
George is brought in by a landlady who believes an innocent boarder has been framed for a hit and run. Once George clears him, Lieutenant Johnson insists George stay in until the case is solved.

Original Air Date: April 21, 1952

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4Dec/120

EP0812: Call the Police: The Case of the Suntower Mystery Mansion

George Petrie

Bill Grant investigates the death of a wealthy rich woman who became obsessed with the occult.

Original Air Date: July 6, 1948

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