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

30Nov/130

EP1118: The Line Up: The Fresno Break Case

William Johnstone
A paroled convict  who committed a parole violation offers to help the police catch a long time racketeer who is at the head of a heroin ring.

Original Air Date: September 17, 1952

 

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30Nov/130

Audio Drama: The History of Harry Nile, Set Six

The History of Harry Nile Set 6 covers 24 cases in which the late Phil Harper portrayed the Seattle Private Detective, set between May of 1956 and Summer of 1958.

At this point, it’s tough to add much to what I’ve written in the previous five reviews. The series while produced in the 1990s and early 21st century sounded just like a vintage detective series from radio’s golden age.

Both Harry (Phil Harper) and his red-headed assistant Murphy (Pat French) were well-established in their roles and had them down to a tee. And producer/writer Jim French really knew how to do a 19-23 minute radio drama and make it shine.

The stories are mostly typical PI fare but with a few surprises thrown in such as, “Submarine Warfare” which has the owner of a new subshop asking for Harry’s help with vandals while his wife is sending Harry notes that her husband wants to kill her. Harry’s cases take him to New Orleans, to California, and to three different western cities where a salesman is keeping different girls and runs into predictable problems. There’s a theft at a mission around Christmastime. And the story of a missing fire extinguisher salesman where Harry has to live up to the bill of one of America’s top ten private investigators.

These are well-done tales with no real clunkers, but consistent quality from episode to episode. The only downside is that on occassion, the motive may be a little thin. Some listeners may be bothered by the relationship between Harry and Murphy with Harry, with Murphy pining for Harry but Harry showing no interest whatsoever. However, this too is a throwback to some golden age programs like Let George Do It.

Overall, this set lives up to the high standards of its predecessors and is a must for fans of Phil Harper’s Harry Nile.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

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

The History of Harry Nile, Set 6  (along with Sets 1-5) 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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29Nov/130

EP1117: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Shady Lane Matter, Part Five, and Bella Donna Was Poison

Bob Bailey

The woman who gave the insurance tip that brought him to Shady Lane, Vermont asks to meet with Johnny with a confession.

Original Air Date: July 13, 1956

Rock gets help on the case from an unexpected source.

Original Air Date: 1958

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28Nov/130

EP1116: Nick Carter: Death in the Pines

Lon Clark

Nick and Stubbie investigate a series of truck hijackings.

Original Air Date: March 4, 1944

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27Nov/131

EP1115: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Shady Lane Matter, Parts Three and Four

Bob Bailey

Johnny encounters a waitress who was acquitted of murder and is in loved with the murdered woman's husband.

Original Air Dates: July 11 and 12, 1956

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26Nov/131

EP1114: Old Gold Comedy Theater: Having Wonderful Crime

Pat O'Brien

Michael Malone is constantly getting into trouble thanks to his friends Jack and Helene and finds a murder while on their honeymoon.

Original Air Date: June 3, 1945

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25Nov/131

EP1113: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Shady Lane Matter, Parts One and Two

Bob Bailey
Johnny investigates the death of a woman in a small Vermont town.

Original Air Dates: July 9 and 10, 1956

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23Nov/130

EP1112: The Line Up: The Jane Doe Case

William Johnstone
Guthrie investigates an anonymous murder victim.

Original Air Date: September 10, 1952

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23Nov/130

Movie Review: The Brasher Doubloon

This 1947 adaptation of the Philip Marlowe novel, The High Window is an illustration both of how not to adapt a book and how not to do a detective movie.

As soon as I saw the Mustached George Montgomery, I knew I'd had trouble buying him in the role of Philip Marlowe. Philip Marlowe with a mustache? He couldn't carry it off and it was more than the facial hair.

To be clear, Montgomery does give the best performance in this movie, but that's not saying much. Every performance in this movie is either extremely wooden or hammy.

The movie was also incredibly inconsistent with Marlowe narrating, with it being present at the early part of the film and then disappearing later on. In addition, the voice overs he did were pointless. A good voice over should communicate something we didn't or show off the hard boiled nature of the private eye or the setting. The narration here did nothing other than say things that we could see on the screen or were just plain bland. In addition, while this is supposed to be a hard boiled private eye movie, it ends with a gathering of the suspects and Marlowe revealing whodunit like it's Charlie Chan or the Thin Man.

The biggest problem with this movie is that it's a story of the greatest hard boiled eye of them all, Philip Marlowe and the "romance" angle in this movie is so hard to swallow. In the novel High Window, Marlowe recognizes that the timid secretary of his client is emotionally wounded and needs helped. He gallantly works to help her with no idea of doing anything romantic with her. Here, George Montgomery's Marlowe is downright creepy in his attempts to seduce Merle Davis (Nancy Guild). It just felt icky and my feeling has nothing to do with our politically correct times. Chandler recognized this was not the way a hero should act and that a man who has to hit on an emotionally traumatized woman is not only a cad, but a loser.

The movie does have a chase scene that's half way decent. In some way screenwriter Dorothy Bennett did manage to pare down Chandler's more convoluted story line and eliminate character like Leslie Murdoch's wife. The story features a young Conrad Janis who looks a lot like Leonardo DiCaprio in this film. Finally, the DVD release is long overdue, and it's worth watching once for Philip Marlowe completists.

In the end, this is just a poor film, and it's poor for a B-film. It'd be understandable if this came from a studio like Monogram, but Fox made this and they showed in both Charlie Chan and Mr. Moto that they could make entertaining B detective movies, for whatever reason, they didn't here.

Rating: 3.0 out of 10

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22Nov/130

EP1111: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Tears of Night Matter, Part Five and Bella Donna Was Poison

Bob Bailey
Who killed Toby, Feeley, and Costigan.

Original Air Date: May 25, 1956

Rock Stone sets about trying to find who murdered his guest star.

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