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

4May/150

EP1563: The Saint: Tuba or Not Tuba, That is the Question

Vincent Price

A friend who is a bad tuba player is hired in a night club, but when Simon arrives, he finds his friend missing.

Original Air Date: January 21, 1951

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2May/150

EP1562: Dragnet: The Big Trial

Jack Webb

Joe Friday and Ben Romero search for a hit and run driver.

Original Air Date: April 20, 1950

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2May/150

Telefilm Review: The Labours of Hercules


A few years back
The first thing to understand about the ITV telefilm, The Labours of Hercules is that it really couldn’t be faithful to the book as a whole the way it was produced.

The Labours of Hercules wasn’t really an Agatha Christie novel (see my review here.). It was a short story collection with an overarching theme. Where Poirot, prior to retirement, sought out to cap his career by re-enacting the Labours of Hercules. In truth, this should have been adapted as another season of hour-long adventures, as that’s how previous Christie short stories were handled.

But instead we have a ninty minute telefilm that must be evaluated on its own merits. After failing to catch a jewel thief who also commits murders for the sheer pleasure of it, Poirot is not well. He’d promised a young woman she’d been safe, but instead she’d fallen victim to the jewel thief along with a man who had been attending the same party.

Poirot is depressed, but decides to do something positive by helping his hired driver find his true love, and goes to Switzerland to do so and finds himself in the same hotel as the thief and murderer who defeated him in London. Poirot seeks to catch the killer, but finds more than his usual share of red herrings as the hotel is full of people hiding things and mysteries. In the book, Poirot solves these mysteries across Great Britain and the Continent, but the production is pretty clever in putting as many of these cases from the as possible, literally “under one roof.”

The direction in the film is fantastic, and the Chateau setting is gorgeous and atmospheric. It’s a very well-told and engaging mystery that borrows from the book, but has its own tale to tell.

The one thing that bothers me about is the tonal shift from the book. As a book, The Labours of Hercules is a fun collection of tales about Poirot deciding to cap his amazing career by replicating the original Labors of Hercules. It’s eccentric and light reading. This telefilm  is much darker, and it’s about Poirot’s failure and his struggle for redemption and the fact that his life can often be quite lonely. In many ways, this film serves sets the tone for the final story, Curtain.

Overall, even though this isn’t the Labours of Hercules as I’d really like to have it made (and I doubt, given the increasingly dark tone of our entertainment, such a production will ever be made), it’s good for what it is: an atmospheric mystery that sets up the series finale and Poirot’s last case.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

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1May/150

EP1561: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Boron 112 Matter

Bob Bailey
An insurance agent calls Johnny when he feels that an inventor whose work they've ensured is a political radical hostile to the United States.

Original Air Date: January 12, 1958

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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30Apr/150

EP1560: Nick Carter: The Case of the Invisible Treasure

Lon Clark

Nick investigates why everybody wants Heavenly sin perfume.

Original Air Date: January 25, 1948

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29Apr/150

EP1559: Philip Marlowe: Birds on the Wing

Gerald Mohr

When a wealthy playboy falls in with some aerialists and gets a threatening letter, Marlowe is hired by the boy's aunt to get him out of trouble.

Original Air Date: November 26, 1949

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28Apr/150

EP1558: Line Up: The Hiccuping Hamster Hemostatic Case

William Johnstone

Guthrie and Groeb try to bring down a local racketeer and find themselves in the crossfire

Original Air Date: May 29, 1951

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27Apr/151

EP1557: The Saint: Simon Takes a Curtain Call

Vincent Price

Simon is called in by an actor who fears he's acting out his on-stage roles and in his latest play he plays a murderer.

Original Air Date: January 14, 1951

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26Apr/150

EP1556s: That’s Rich: Income Tax

Stan Freberg

Rich (Stan Freberg) loses his glasses and accidentally throws away Cousin Howie's income tax receipts.

Original Air Date: March 1954

Dedicated to Stan Freberg (1926-2015)

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25Apr/150

EP1556: Dragnet: The Big Watch

Jack Webb
Friday and Romero search for a gang that's robbing and beating army officers.

Original Air Date: April 13, 1950

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