Day: May 18, 2013

Radio Drama Review: The History of Harry Niles, Box Set 2

The Adventures Harry Nile is a radio detective series recorded out of Seattle. It first began recording in 1977 and then resumed in the 1990s and continues to produce new episodes to this. Include in the second set of “The History of Harry Niles” are the last of the 1970s episodes episodes starring Phil Harper and some of the 1990s episodes and cover Harry Nile stories between 1942 and 1950.

There are two double length stories including the , “Blood Ties” which provides some crucial background on Harry’s life in Chicago before moving to Los Angeles. “Hair of the Dog” sees the case of missing dog turning into a murder investigation. And as the title implies, “Aloha Means Goodbye” sees Harry traveling to Hawaii on a blackmail case. There’s also two Christmas specials, the most heart-warming of which was, “Maybe, there is a Santa Claus” which finds Harry looking for a discharged soldier in Christmas 1945.

This block of episodes also features Harry’s move from LA to Seattle, though in the Audible download version the order of episode was somewhat out of order, but that’s the main point against this collection and it’s a small one.

Producer Jim French really captured the spirit of the 1940s and 50s in these dramas. As well as capturing the history and period in Seattle history, which was definitely not covered in the golden age of radio.  Harry Nile becomes to Seattle what Pat Novak is to San Francisco and what Philip Marlowe is to Los Angeles.

This set also sees Murphy (played by French’s wife Pat) begin to assume a regular role on the show. First, as a librarian that Harry plugged for free advice and then growing into a regular associate of Harry’s firm.

In addition, I noticed a big improvement from the first set. Early on, French seemed to struggle with Harry as a hard luck hero. In some of those early episodes, the stories crossed a thin line into making Harry look like a loser. However, in this second volume, French clearly has the character down as a much more Marlowesque sort of character, though a little bit less violent.

Overall, this is another great Harry Nile set that shows development in this great character and series.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.0

Purchasing Information:

The set is available at French’s website for $49.95 on CD or as a digital download for $25.

The History of Harry Niles, Set 2  (along with Sets 1 and 3-6) are available on Audible for $19.95 for members or 1 Credit. I bought this set with my an Audible listener Credit ($14.95).

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EP0950: The Line Up: The Pointless Pierson Polemic Polarity

William Johnstone
Guthrie investigates the murder of a man who ran a fraudulent acting school racket.

Original Air Date: September 7, 1951

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