Rocky Jordan

Jack Moyles

Rocky Jordan is a series many see as evocative of Casablanca as both featured American café owners facing adventure and intrigue in Middle Eastern cities. The film became a sensation in the 1940s and A Man Named Jordan was introduced over the West Coast CBS network towards the end of World War II. Jack Moyles, played Rocky, the no-nonsense owner of the Instanbul-based Café Tambourine. For the first six months, A Man Named Jordan was a daily serial in which Rocky matched wits with Axis powers in the waning days of the war and made a tidy profit along with the way. After the war A Man Name Jordan became a weekly half hour series that bounced around the schedule until 1947. According to John Dunning’s Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio, the series gave Rocky a pretty good supporting cast of characters including a girlfriend, a best friend, and a “man Friday.” Unfortunately, only two unconnected serialized episodes and no half hour episodes of A Man Named Jordan are in circulation.

Thus when Rocky Jordan premiered over the West Coast CBS network on October 31, 1948 it was a revival of a series that was quite popular at the time but which has been lost to the ages. In this series, Rocky has relocated from Istanbul to Cairo and outside of his restaurant staff, he’s alone. Although when trouble calls coming, a visit from Captain Sam Sabaaya of the Cairo Police would be in order. The writers of the series used the Army’s Pocket Guide to Egypt as a guide to writing the series which gives the show a flavor of authenticity, even if the knowledge is occasionally a bit shallow. The series often reused scripts and ideas from other programs and made mainly cosmetic changes to move a story that’s set in Los Angeles to Cairo.

Still, at it’s best Rocky Jordan manages to make good use of its setting and atmosphere, with solid performances from Moyles, and well-written mysteries. The series ended in 1950, but saw in revival in 1951 when famed Hollywood tough guy actor George Raft (who turned down the leading role in Casablanca) taking over the role of Rocky Jordan in a Summer replacement series that was broadcast over the entire CBS network. The series was considered for another revival when CBS decided to produced a serialized detective show in the mid-1950s. Jack Moyles recorded an audition for the series, but unlike the Mister Keen, Tracer of Lost Person and Mr. and Mrs. North serialized programs, the new serialized Rocky Jordan never aired. CBS would find success in the serialized format with Yours Truly Johnny Dollar instead.

Star Bio:

Jack Moyles (1913-73): Moyles began his radio career in San Francisco over station KGO before moving to Hollywood in 1944. Moyles is best remember for playing Rocky Jordan in two separate series over CBS, but he also starred the American Forces Radio series Douglas of the World while also having regular roles as Sergeant Pete Karger on The Line Up and Major Daggett on Fort Laramie. In addition, Moyles was a talented character actor who appeared frequently on programs such as Suspense, the Whistler, Gunsmoke, and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.

Starring Jack Moyles: