Bob Bailey & Virginia Gregg in front of an old Microphone

Bob Bailey & Virginia Gregg

Welcome to the Great Detectives of Old Time Radio! A podcast featuring the best vintage detective radio programs. Each week from Monday through Saturday, we feature six of Old Time Radio's great detective series from the beginning of the show to its very last episode. And as a bonus, twice a month we also post a public domain movie or TV mystery or detective show video.

Along the way, I'll provide you my commentary and offer you opportunities to interact.

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- Your host, Adam Graham

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EP3446: The Silent Men: Visas for Sale

An immigration agent goes undercover to break a ring that’s smuggling illegal aliens cross the Southern Border.

Original Air Date: January 6, 1952

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Book Review: Pat Savage: Six Scarlet Scorpions

Doc Savage’s cousin Pat travels to Oklahoma along with one of Doc’s lieutenants, Monk Mayfair, to try her luck in oil speculation. Before she can get to the field, she has to deal with a ruthless competitor. But that’s nothing compared to the mess she and Monk find themselves in when they stumble into a conspiracy involving a paralyzing poison, murder, and an offshoot of the Ossage Indian tribes led by Chief Standing Scorpion. Pat and Monk find themselves framed for the murder, and on the run from the law while pursuing the real culprits to clear their names. How will they cope with Doc Savage out of the picture at his Fortress of Solitude?

As pulp fiction, this is a fun read. The adventure itself has a lot of opportunities for derring-do and has quite a few mysteries that keep the reader curious from start to finish, in particular the question of who Standing Scorpion is. The villainous plot is essentially, “First Oklahoma…and then the world,” and seems a bit unlikely, perhaps even silly. But, it definitely works in the context of a pulp adventure set in the 1930s.

While Doc Savage novels tend to have a big cast involving many of Doc’s men, Pat and Monk are the sole protagonists of the book. Monk’s best frenemy Ham is the only other member of Doc’s team to make an appearance and he’s only in a few chapters. Monk is my favorite character in the Doc Savage world and this book shows how well he can carry the book and he plays well off of Pat. They make a superb duo. If there’s a downside, it’s that Monk plays such a big role in this story, it’s hard to see how an ongoing series with Pat would be like, although several sites have labeled this book 1 in the Wild Adventures of Pat Savage. Even though there’s not been a second book in five years. Pat does hint toward the end of the book, if she does go on another adventure, she’ll go alone. Six Scarlet Scorpions does enough to make me intrigued to find out what that would be like.

The other characters in this story are a forgettable bunch of tough guys and overlords, plus a damsel in distress and a few other supporting characters. However, this is typical of Doc Savage stories, where the personalities of the lead characters carry the book.

The book also suffers from the malady most of the Wild Adventures of Doc Savage tend to. Like the Wild Adventures of Doc Savage, this is a modern book writtne in the style of the original stories, but at a much longer length as fits a modern day novel. As such, there’s a lot of our heroes being caught and released repeatedly. It’s the biggest source of padding in these books and this novel is no exception.

Still, this is an interesting book that does a great job recreating the world of Doc Savage and giving a couple characters from that world a chance to shine on their own. It succeeds and if you enjoyed the original Doc Savages books or the other Wild Adventures, this is worth checking out.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

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EP3445: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Youngstown Credit Matter

Edmond O'Brien

Johnny investigates a $48,000 payroll robbery that’s left one guard dead and another hospitalized.

Original Air Date: December 8, 1951

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EP3444: Mystery is My Hobby: The Case of 65 Women

Drake and Danot investigate the poisoning of multiple women.

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EP3443: The Man Called X: Rendezvouz with Death

Herbert Marshall

Ken travels to Burma when a telegraph operator is shot in Rangoon to prevent him from sending a message.

Original AIr Date: November 11, 1950

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EP3442: The Fat Man: Murder Makes Music (AU)

A man asks Brad to confront his wife with her music teacher lover. They arrive to find the music teacher murdered.’

Original Air Date: April 21, 1955

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EP3441: Casey, Crime Photographer: Bright New Star

Stats Cotsworth

A rising theater starlet is threatened by her mobster ex-boyfriend and then found murdered in her hotel room.

Original Air Date: July 31, 1947

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