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

Barrie Craig

Barrie Craig was a different kind of detective show and Craig as played by Gargan was a different type of detective: a big gentle easy going guy who always believed his clients until evidence proved otherwise.

In some ways, it poked fun at the private detective genre by giving Craig police-type powers and duties such as filling out making arrests and filling out paperwork. This played off the wide variety of functions and investigations that other PIs took on that were really police functions.  Another time, Craig began his voice over narration by saying, "Manhattan's my beat," a clear reference to CBS' Broadway's My Beat.

Other episodes took a serious turn such as Craig's poignant caper with a mentally ill young woman.

Gargan's light and easy going style make each episode of Barrie Craig is like a visit with an old friend talking about his detective adventures. Listeners were more than happy to visit for four years.

William Gargan William Gargan (1905-79): The Brooklyn-born Gargan was actually a detective and store investigator in real life for about a year, and that carried over to his roles on the big screen, television, and radio, often being called on to play cops and detectives. His acting career began on the stage in the 1920s with a one line role, "Mr. Bob, heap big coconuts."  In 1932, he made his first major motion picture appearance with Leslie Howard in, "The Animal Kingdom" in which he played the role of Red Regan which he had performed on Broadway.  Gargan was nominated for the best supporting actor in 1941 for his role in They Knew What They Wanted. During World War II, he worked with a group of actors entertaining the troop. After the war, as movie work dried up, Gargan took a radio and later television, starring in the Mystery Gameshow, Murder Will Out, as well as the detective shows, I Deal in Crime, Martin Kane, and Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator.

Gargan eased to retirement after Barrie Craig ended in 1955 and he completed a new Martin Kane series filmed in Europe. In 1960, while playing a dying ex-President in The Best Man, Gargan was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx.  He had to make a quick decision to save his life and had his larynx removed, forever silencing his signature voice.

Gargan's acting career effectively ended with the exception of one non-speaking appearance  in the syndicated TV show, The King of Diamonds as a mute clown. However, Gargan found new purpose in life by learning how to practice esophageal speech.  He spent the rest of his days as a volunteer spokesman for the American Cancer Society: raising funds, encouraging and challenging cancer patients, and raising awareness about the causes of cancer: including smoking. Gargan also remained active in the work of the Bohemians and the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher. In 1967, he was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actor's Guild.

Episode Log:

End of Log.

Log information courtesy of the Old Time Radio Researchers.

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