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

30Jun/131

Our Ten Funniest Episodes

Last week, I wrote about our Ten Most Exciting Episodes. This week as we approach the big 1000 number, we continue the celebration with a look back at our most humorous episodes:

10) Pat Novak: Wendy Morris

Really, I could have put any episode of Pat Novak for Hire on this list (with one exception we'll talk about next week.) and it'd fit. Pat Novak had the best line of patter and some of cleverest lines in all of radio, and a unique style of Novak-speak. This may have been the best in my memory, however, any episode could go on this list.

9) Leonidas Witherall: The State Fair Murder Case

A predictable murder of an unpleasant woman at the state fair is punched by clever deduction and light comedy.

8) Let George Do It: The Brooksdale Orphanage

Early episodes of Let George Do It were trying to be funny as a detective comedy complete with laugh track. Usually, the humor came up lame such as in the awful Cousin Jeff and the Pig. In this one, it works. It's not George's greatest moment, and I actually received a complaint from a new listener who thought I'd snookered him by advertising this as a detective's podcast. Still, if you keep an open mind, it's a pretty good show.

7) LuRadio Theater: The Thin Man

Cecil B. Demille brings together William Powell and Mryna Loy to perform their roles from the classic detective comedy.

6) Jeff Regan: She's Lovely, She's Engaged, She Eats Soybeans 

After Jack Webb left Jeff Regan, the show retooled with Frank Graham taking the lead role of Jeff Regan and comic character actor Frank Nelson took over as the boss Anthony J Lyon and turned the character into a lovable scoundrel. The result was a new series with some hard boiled elements, but also a few lighter comedic touches as illustrated in this story of Regan trying to guard a beautiful model on a health food kick.

5) Candy Matson: Devil in the Deep Freeze

A classically quirky Candy Matson story that finds Candy hired to find out who killed a man in a devil costume found in a theater. A hilarious solution follows with some pretty good action

4) Columbia Worshop: Murder in Studio One

We paid tribute to the late great Norman Corwin when he died in 2011 when playing this episode of the Columbia Workshop. Corwin was known for his powerful poetry, not his skill as a mystery writer, but this is a pretty good satirical comedy mystery as Helen Hayes investigates the murder of a man who may have deserved his fate as he was a traitor.

3) Barrie Craig; A Very Odd Job

Barrie Craig is hired to deliver a puppet to a showgirl in one of the oddest adventures of his career.

2) X Minus One: Protective Mimicry

Veteran radio character actor Mandell Kramer plays a futuristic T-man in search of a counterfeiter. The story is played relatively straight-laced which makes its humorous funny, and the denouement of the case is a classic.

1) Sherlock Holmes: The Second Generation

Does being able to fool Sherlock Holmes run in the family? The daughter of Irene Adler sure hopes so in this Rathbone-Bruce Holmes story.

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29Jun/130

Telefilm Review: Evil Under The Sun

Poirot's Eight series in 2001 began with the telefilm of Evil Under the Sun. Poirot has an apparent heart attack after eating at Captain Hastings Argentinian restaurant, so on doctor's orders he goes to an island to rest and to eat a healthier, blander diet. When he arrives, he finds actress Arlena Marshall has a large number of enemies on the island, thanks to her obvious stepping out on her husband with a man whose married to another woman, who is also on the island and witnessing this.

When the actress is murdered, there are plenty of suspects, though the wronged woman has an airtight alibi. With multiple suspects, Poirot seeks to find the truth with the help of Captain Hastings, Inspector Japp, and Miss Lemon.

This episode like Lord Edgeware Dies had been adapted as a film starring Peter Ustinov. Both the motion picture and this release made changes from the book. In this case, I think the changes made by the telefilm version were detrimental to the story. They changed the gender of the murdered woman's stepchild which took a clue that was mostly unremarkable and made it stick out like a sore thumb. My wife, never a fan of mysteries had her hackles raised by a fact that would not have gone on her radar had the character been female as in the book.

In addition, attempts to keep the original Poirot family in the story were really awkward in this production and the part about Captain Hasting restaurant was especially problematic. It all seemed rather forced. It was with good reason that none of these characters have appeared since the eighth series despite how well they were liked through the first six and how much I look forward to the return of Hastings in the final one.

It's a bit better than okay adaptation, but it could have been better and Ustinov's take was far a far stronger version.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.00

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29Jun/130

EP0986: The Line Up: The Pixie Picker Pickle Case

William JohnstoneGuthrie searches for a man who has been stabbing young women late at night with an icepick.

Original Air Date: November 8, 1951

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28Jun/130

EP0985: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Forbes Matter, Part Five and the Widow is Willing

Bob Bailey

 

Johnny knows all except why Sheldon Forbes through his life away on a woman who didn't want him.

Original Air Date: December 30, 1955

The first heir is dead as an insurance investigator cuts through lies to find the truth about the existence of alleged photos of a murder.

Original Air Date: 1958 or 59

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27Jun/130

EP0984: Sherlock Holmes: The Empty House

John GielgudSherlock Holmes returns from the dead to solve a locked room murder.

Original Air Date: April 17, 1955

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26Jun/130

EP0983: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Forbes Matter, Parts Three and Four

Bob Bailey
Johnny's investigation into an embezzler struggles to find where the money went.

Original Air Date: December 28 and 29, 1955

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25Jun/130

EP0982: Mr. Moto: Blackmail

An old friend calls Mr. Moto  in after her son steals a valuable necklace.

Original Air Date: June 10, 1951

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24Jun/130

EP0981: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Forbes Matter, Parts One and Two

Bob Bailey

Johnny catches an embezzler who refuses to reveal where he spent the money.

Original Air Date: December 26  and 27, 1955

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23Jun/130

Our Ten Most Exciting Episodes

As we approach our 1000th regular episode, we'll be taking a look back at some of the best episodes we've brought you over the last 3 1/2 years. I decided it'd be best to do this by category beginning with the most exciting. Next week we'll discuss the most humorous.

10) Let George Do It: High Card

In this episode, four men have been implicated in the murder of a beautiful woman and there's not proof on any of them. So, they come up with a desperate gambit. They decide to draw and the person who gets high card will write a confession and commit suicide. George arrives and discovers the game and finds out the draw was rigged. Now, George has to prevent the suicide and reveal the guilty party.

9) Sherlock Holmes: The Elusive Agent, Parts One, Two, and Three

While the John Stanley Sherlock  Holmes series wasn't among my favorites, this three part spy serial was definitely a highlight of the show's run with plenty of twists and turns in search of missing submarine plans.

8)  Studio One: The Thirty-Nine Steps

This radio retelling of the Alfred Hitchcok movie version of the Graham Greene classic finds Glenn Ford playing a Canadian caught in a web of intrigue and espionage in the Scottish countryside.  So suspenseful and fun.

7) Nero Wolfe: The Case of the Calculated Risk:

The radio incarnation of Wolfe was notorious for its deviation from portrayals of Wolfe in the corpus. This worked to some advantage in this episode which begins with a man who claims to have been framed for murder and involves a crooked card game. It ends with one of the most exciting gambits between Wolfe, Goodwin (Mohr), and the murderer.

6) Box 13: Find Me, Find Death:

Dan Holiday got plenty of crazy letters, but this one took the cake. The letter writer informed Holiday that he would kill him in 4 days and that if he went to the police, he'd kill Holiday sooner.  Holiday's challenge is to find the madman--without finding deat

5) Let George Do It: The Hearst Was Painted Pink:

George is  told to court the girlfriend  of a dangerous mobster by another dangerous mobster who threatens his life and that of Miss Brooks. He quickly finds himself int he crossfire.

4) Sherlock Holmes: The Paradol Chamber

Has a female scientist in the 19th century discovered the secret to teleportation?  When Watson and Holmes investigate in this Rathbone-Bruce episodes, they find themselves up against a most deadly foe.

3) Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Yankee Pride Matter

Johnny Dollar (Edmund O'Brien) goes to Singapore to investigate some constantly delayed cargo. It builds up to a challenge that requires Dollar to get tougher than he's ever gotten before.

2)  Box 13: Hare and Hounds

This is a very tense and suspenseful story as Holiday finds himself framed for murder, with the local police hunting for him, along with the real killer. His job is to stay alive. It's one of Holiday's cleverest adventures.

1) Lux Radio Theater: To the Ends of the Earth:

The Lux Radio Theater of this underrated Dick Powell classic was our 500th episode special was a stunner.  Powell reprises his screen role as Narcotics Commissioner Michael Barrows who witnesses a Japanese sea captain throwing 100 slaves overboard to cover up a narcotics ring. Barrows is determined to get justice and sets out on a globe trotting adventure to break the ring and capture the murderous captain.

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22Jun/130

EP0980: The Line Up: The Nicely Nixed Nixon Case

William Johnstone
Guthrie investigates a series of loan company robberies that has left one clerk dead.

Original Air Date: October 18, 1951

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