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

31Jan/130

EP0858: Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Three Garridebs

A man left a will leaving his fortune to men who share his unusual last name of Garrideb.

Original Air Date: May 9, 1949

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30Jan/130

EP0857: Let George Do It: Seed of Destruction

Bob Bailey
George investigates the case of a man whose been missing for three weeks.

Original Air Date: August 18, 1952

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29Jan/132

EP0856: A Life in Your Hands: Gangster Murdered

Carlton Kadell

Jonathan Kegg tries to take a vacation on a quiet Caribbean Island, but finds himself serving as amicus curiae in the case of the murder of a notorious gangster.

Original Air Date: July 10, 1952

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28Jan/131

EP0855: Frank Race: The Adventure of the Six Week Cure

Paul Dubov

Frank Race is in Nevada where divorcees are waiting for their divorces to come through including an old friend. When one is murdered, Race investigates.

Original Air Date: September 10, 1949

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27Jan/130

EP0854s: Murder Clinic: The Holloway Flat Tragedy

Alfred Shirley
Max Carrados doesn't buy an obvious explanation that a man was murdered by the boyfriend of his lover.

Original Air Date: August 18, 1942

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27Jan/130

Radio’s Most Essential People Countdown: #22-#21

Previous Posts: 24-2326-2528-2730-2933-3136-3439-3742-4045-4348-4651-4954-5257-5560-5865-6170-66,  71-7576-8081-8586-9091-9596-100

22) Fred Allen

Fred AllenFred Allen was one of radio's most remembered and most beloved satirists, and most successful personalities. Beginning in 1929, Allen embarked on a 20 year career in radio beginning with the Little Show and proceeding through a wide variety of sponsors from Hellman's Mayonaise to Texaco Fire Chief Gasoline. Allen famously "feuded" with fellow-comedian Jack Benny for years creating some of radio's most memorable comedy moments. Allen also original Allen's Alley which had a small town of hilarious characters offer their witty comments on the news of the day with the most famous citizen being Alan Reed's Falstaff Openshaw. Allen often ran into difficulty with network censors over the issues that would seem trivial today. In one instance, censors objected to his wife Portland Hoffa saying she'd wasted a day at the rodeo for fear of offending rodeo fans. Thankfully for everyone, Allen was talented enough to work around the network's pettiness and most Americans had a far better sense of humor than the networks as evidence by Allen's long-term radio success.

21) Mel Blanc

Mel BlancMel Blanc is perhaps the greatest voice in Warner Brother's golden age of animation but he was just as vital to comedy on radio. He's radio credit list reads like a Who's Who of radio comedy with him appearing of the programs of such stars as Abbott and Costello, Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, Danny Kaye, the Great Gildersleeve, and Bob Hope. He also had a show of his own from 1946-47. He had many notable characters including the "Happy Postman" for many years on the Burns and Allen show. Of course, his cartoon work came into play. During one episode of Abbott and Costello, Bugs Bunny actually appeared in the day's story. And for the Armed Forces Radio Services programs such as GI Journal, Blanc took the stuttering of his Porky Pig characted and amped it up to create the create the character of Private Sad Sack. For both civilian and military audiences, Blanc provided unforgetable characterization and great comic timing that has made him an indispensable part of radio's golden age.

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26Jan/131

Book Review: Archie Meets Nero Wolfe

When Rex Stout took paper to pen to write the first Nero Wolfe story, the house hold at the old Brownstone was all ready mostly established. On the heels of the Maltese Falcon prequel Spade and Archer, Robert Goldsborough, author of seven Nero Wolfe books from the 1980s and 90s sets down the account of the first meeting between Wolfe and Goodwin guided by clues Stout left in his novels.

Goldsborough anchors the story in the 1920s which is a departure as Wolfe stories have always been set in the "present" but a story of a beginning requires a certain timeframe.  The book begins when Archie arrives in New York, gets a night watchman's job and has no choice but to shoot two thugs. Even though, his decision was appropriate, he was fired by upper management concerned about trigger-happy guards. However, Archie finds his ideal career when he snags a job at the Bascom detective agency.

Bascom is brought on a kidnapping case along with some other operatives including the ever-familiar Orrie Cather, Fred Durkin, and Saul Panzer. The initial goal is to merely ensure the safe return of the boy, who is the son of a wealthy New Yorker. But having done that, Wolfe is determined to catch the kidnappers. To facilitate this, Archie goes to undercover as the boy's bodyguard in hopes of uncovering some information that Wolfe can use to solve the case.

The book's strong point is its overall narrative that tells of the beginning of Archie Goodwin's legendary career and his first encounters with some of his best known associates and foils include Cramer, Stebbins, and the the detectives who worked with Wolfe and Goodwin the most including the teers as well as the less used Bill Gore and Del Bascom. We get to see them a bit more than we would in a typical Wolfe yarn.  While the mystery is not earth-shattering, it's fair and the resolution is handled well in typical Wolfe fashion.

The weak point in the story is that Nero Wolfe doesn't sound quite sound like himself and Archie sounds nothing like himself. Usually, Goldsborough's portrayal of Wolfe was close enough usually but a few times sounded dissonant. Perhaps, the most jarring section was when Wolfe made the statement that prohibition laws were wrong because they were attempting to "legislate morality." However, you feel about "legislating morality," it's become a modern cliche and Nero Wolfe certainly never spoke in cliches.   In addition, one Amazon review points out that Wolfe used "infer" as a synonym for "imply," something that Wolfe would never do.

It's even worse with Archie Goodwin. It would be unreasonable to expect a 19 year old fresh out of Ohio to sound the veteran New York Private eye Rex Stout wrote about for 40 years. However, there wasn't even a hint. This Archie Goodwin is a completely serious and respectful young man who helps to teach the father of the kidnapped the importance of spending time with this boy. To imagine this character developing into a wise cracking lady's man seems almost beyond belief. Whatever can be said of the corrupting influence of a big city or a big city changing someone, the change necessary in Goodwin is too incredible.

Overall, the story lacked the fun of the Stout Wolfe books. However, it answers a lot of questions fans have had about the characters particularly the lesser known ones and provides some satisfaction and Nero Wolfe is still mostly himself. Overall, this could have been a great book if Goldsborough had done a better job of capturing the essence of Stout's characters particularly young Archie Goodwin. As it was, it was only a fair-to-good one.

Rating: Barely Satisfactory

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26Jan/130

EP0854: The Line Up: The Supermarket Murders

William Johnstone
Guthrie and Groebs try to catch a gang that's been holding up local all-night stores and gas stations. The chase intensifies when they commit a murder.

Original Air Date: September 23, 1950

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25Jan/130

EP0853: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Punctilious Firebug Matter

John LundJohnny is dispatched to look into a series of arsons and suspicion begins to fall on head of the local insurance company office.

Original Air Date: May 25, 1954

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24Jan/130

EP0852: Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Blood-Soaked Wagon

Holmes and Watson pursue a murderer who has made off with a fortune in invalid currency.

Original Air Date: May 2, 1949

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