Month: December 2012

EP0821: Frank Race: The Adventure of the Roughneck’s Will

Tom Collins
An old man creates will that invites murder.

Original Air Date: July 30, 1949

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Video Theater 035: Decoy: Stranglehold

Casey Jones (Beverly Garland) is called in to befriend a young woman when police suspect that her boyfriend is behind a strangulation.

Originally Aired: 1957 (Episode 1)

Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown: #36-#34

Previous Posts: 39-3742-4045-4348-4651-4954-5257-5560-5865-6170-66,  71-7576-8081-8586-9091-9596-100

36) Red Skelton-

Red SkeltonThe comedian best known for creating characters such as The Mean Widdle Kid and Clem Kadiddlehopper began first on radio before he hit television.  He was discovered by Rudy Valee and his first major starring role in radio came on Avalon Time in 1939, and then in 1941 he landed his own titular program which he would maintain until 1953 (with the exception of service in World War II before leaving radio for good for the new frontier of television. Skelton’s comedy affected the wider culture as character catch phrases like, “We dood it” entered the popular lexicon. Skelton at times was a challenger to Bob Hope in the ratings numbers, as he remained popular at radio’s zenith. In addition to his legendary style of comedy, Skelton’s program served as a launching pad for the career of two promising younger named Ozzie and Harriet.


35) Glenn Miller

The great band leader was responsible for such hits such as, “Midnight Serenade” and “Chatanooga Choo Choo” made a great impact on radio in his all too short life. Miller was just beginning to enjoy his success. In 1938, his career took a turn and for four years he was a rising star in music. However, in 1942, the war hit  Miller could have avoided military service. At 38, he was too old to be taken to the draft. However, he opted to enter the Army with the full time passion of bringing the highest quality music to American Servicemen. He led the AAF orchestra and the fruits of his efforts can be heard in the program I Sustain the Wings. He performed more than 800 times in England in 1944.  Tragically, Major Glenn Miller’s plane disappeared over the English channel and music and radio lost one of its truly great stars.

34) Norman Corwin

Corwin wrote some of the most important and memorable radio writers. He was known for great stories written around the time of World War II such as We Hold These Truths and On a Note of Triumph but he was more versatile than that. He could be whimsical as in his pla The Plot to Overthrow Christmas” and downright absurd as he was in “Murder at Studio One.”  He could turn write epic adaptations of Old Testaments stories or muse on the foibles of modern man. He was a poet and one of those who utilized the medium of radio in ways that were unique to medium. Corwin touched the hearts and souls of Americans in ways that no other radio writer did.

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Telefilm Review: Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

In Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, The patriarch of a wealthy family  named Simeon Lee calls the whole family together again for Christmas. Most of the family are suspicious of the wicked old man and of each other. He also calls for Poirot  for help, which comes in handy as the old scoundrel is murdered.

The mystery by Agatha Christie remains exquisite. It’s a classic locked room case with the requisite number of surprises and twists and turns around every corner, and of course more than one person who isn’t quite what they seem. Performances by David Suchet and Phillip Jackson  great chemistry anchor great performances all around.

However, the telefilm’s greatness as art comes from its brilliant ability to juxtapose the beauty of a traditional English Christmas with the ugliness of Simeon Lee and his warring family, as well as the ugliness of the murder. It makes for a wonderful contrast, which when taken with the great mystery makes it a must-view for fans of Poirot.

Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

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EP0820: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Sulfur and Brimstone Matter

John Lund

Johnny investigates sabotage and murder at the construction site of a hydro electric dam in Venezuela.

Original Air Date: April 6, 1954

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