Let George Do It

Let George Do It may be the Rodney Dangerfield of Old Time Radio Detectives. Rarely is the show mentioned in the same breath as star Bob Bailey’s other show Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, Dragnet, Sam Spade, or Philip Marlowe.

Yet, there are more episodes of Let George Do it in existence than there are of Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe or even Sherlock Holmes. Why is this show so enduring and how did it stay on the air for eight seasons?

In 1946  the show began following George Valentine, a man out of the service who had an idea for a business, “Personal notice: Danger’s my stock in trade. If the job’s too tough for you to handle, you’ve got a job for me. George Valentine.”

The show was uncertain of its own identity, struggling between being a sitcom or being a serious detective story. Initial shows leaned towards the former, but it became the latter. In listening to Let George Do It, you get the feeling of seeing a shabby rookie become an all-star.

The show is carried by the peformance of George Valentine by Bob Bailey.  Valentine doesn’t easily fit in with gruff hard boiled detectives like Marlowe and Spade, nor is he a self-assured intellectual like Sherlock Holmes or Nero Wolfe. Valentine is good natured and personable, but he carries himself like a poker player. Valentine plays it close to the vest, and then at the end of the episode when he comes up with the solution, you realize he’s been holding a full house.

The mysteries are well-crafted with surprising solutions that rarely fail to entertain.  Let George Do It is more than Bob Bailey warming up to play Johnny Dollar, it’s a truly entertaining and underrated show in its own right.

Original Run: October 18, 1946-September 27, 1954

Numbers of Episodes: 416 (episodes missing: 225)

Network: Mutual Broadcasting System

About the Characters:

George Valentine:  A serious but amiable detective with relatively good relations with the police. While he’ll use force if he has to, Valentine uses his wits far more than he does his first. Valentine avoids hasty allegations and  waits until the right moment to reveal the crooks.

Claire Brooks: Referred to as Claire in early episodes, later as “Brooksie,” Brooks is initally skeptical of her new boss. Over time, they grow into a respectful working relationship with her assisting him with his investigations as a “Girl Friday.”

About the Stars:

Bob Bailey (1913-1983): On television and in the movies, he was a bit player, with his biggest role in film being as a straight man in the Laurel and Hardy Film, Jitterbugs.

It was on radio that Bailey had his greatest success. In addition to Let George Do It, Bailey led the remarkable revival of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. While most radio dramas were bowing to television and cashing in their chips, Bailey touched off a revival of Johnny Dollar that would ensure that Old Time Radio went off the air with a bang rather than a whimper.  CBS moved its radio production to New York City and left Bob Bailey behind in 1960. In 1962, he played a bit part in the Bird Man of Alcatraz.

Frances Robinson (1916-1971): The first “Brooksie”, Robinson was yet another veteran character in this cast, with 79 roles to her credit.

See Also:

Bob Bailey IMDB Profile

Frances Robinson IMDB Profile

Let George Do It Episodes with Bob Bailey:

Olan Soule Episodes:

Christmas Episodes (played out of order):

Thanksgiving Episode (plays out of order):

* indicates played out of ot of order.

Log Source: Digital Deli and OTRSite

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