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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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Bulldog Drummond: Blind Man’s Bluff (EP4402)

Santos Ortega

Today’s Mystery:

Bulldog Drummond investigates a series of murders of blind men situated outside government buildings.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: September 14, 1942

Originating in New York

Starring: Santos Ortega as Bulldog Drummond; Luis van Rooten as Denny

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Join us again tomorrow for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.

The Falcon: The Case of the Bellicose Boxer (EP4401)

Les Damon

Today’s Mystery:

A boxer, who won the championship after doublecrossing multiple people, is murdered.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: January 28, 1951

Originating from New York

Starring: Les Damon as the Falcon; Ken Paxton as Sergeant Corbett; Larry Haines; Ralph Bell

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Patreon Supporter of the Day: Mark, Partreon Supporter since July 2015

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Join us again tomorrow for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.

Lux Radio Theater: Thunder on the Hill (EP4400s)

Claudette Colbert
Today’s Mystery:

A nun becomes convinced that a condemned woman stranded at her Norfolk convent in the midst of torrential rains is innocent. Can the nun save her before her looming execution?

Original Radio Broadcast Date: November 9, 1953

Originating in Hollywood

Starring: Claudette Colbert as Sister Mary; Barbara Rush as Valerie Carns; Norma Varden; Paul Frees; Mary Flynn; Herb Butterfield; Ottola Nesmith; Dan O’Herlihy; Joseph Kearns; Leo Britt; Jeanne Wood; Lois Corbett; Yvonne Peattie

My review of Thunder on the Hill

Purchase link for Thunder on the Hill DVD. (Affiliate link)

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Join us again tomorrow for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.

Dragnet: The Big Watch (EP4400)

Today’s Mystery:

Sergeant Joe Friday and his partner Ben Romero are on the trail of a vicious gang of robbers targeting military officers.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: April 13, 1950

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Jack Webb as Sergeant Joe Friday; Barton Yarborough as Sergeant Ben Romero; Herb Butterfield

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Patreon Supporter of the Day: Bruce, Patreon Supporter since March 2024

Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715

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Join us again on Monday for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.

Telefilm Review: Dragnet: The Big Bed

For around a decade, the number of episodes of the 1950s Dragnet TV series circulating out there have remained consistent, with no new episodes to be found, and more than 200 of the 276 TV episodes still missing. Then, a few weeks ago, three of them dropped on YouTube, on the channel of a company named Movie Craft. I decided to review one of those episodes, “The Big Bed”.

“The Big Bed” was broadcast on June 5, 1958, and it was the thirty-sixth episode of Dragnet’s 7th season. In it, a woman reports her brother missing. Joe Friday (Jack Webb) and Frank Smith (Ben Alexander) investigate and find him in a scene that’s a bit intense by the standards of other existing episodes of the 1950s series. They then set about the work of finding the killer.

It has to be said that even in its seventh season, the original Dragnet TV series was still a very good television. True, it didn’t have the innovative edge of the early radio or TV series, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to say the quality of the series had declined from what we saw in season four. It managed to tell a sharp, realistic police investigation in twenty-six minutes of airtime. It had evolved to be a reliably good program and would remain so until the eighth season.

The episode did include a nod to Dragnet‘s only big attempt to build an ongoing storyline into the season, as Smith was studying for his Sergeant’s exam. The next season, Friday would become a Lieutenant and Smith a Sergeant, and it wouldn’t change much other than the opening logo. In isolation, the scene is amusing, but it’s tough to imagine anyone cared about this storyline even back then.

The episode features a guest appearance from William Boyett as Lt. Mort Geer, which is an Easter Egg, as Boyett is probably best remembered for his major role in the 1960s Dragnet spin-off Adam-12, as Sergeant MacDonald. This certainly calls to mind Webb’s 1960s productions. Yet, it wasn’t the only thing. While the series was just as good as an episode of three seasons prior, the series had changed stylistically. In many ways, Dragnet seemed to have evolved in the direction of what it would be like when it returned to TV in 1967,after a seven-and-a-half-year absence.

It really would be fascinating to see more episodes from these later seasons become available, so we can really get a feel for the evolution of the series during this era. Overall, this episode was a welcome addition to the ranks of circulating Dragnet episodes.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Blooming Blossom Matter (EP4399)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery:

When a precious emerald known as the Green Eye of Calcutta vanishes, along with its owner Albert W. Winkler, Johnny is plunged into the bizarre home of Wilbert Kenworthy Blossom. As he navigates through the cluttered abode filled with treasures and trash, can Johnny recover the priceless gem and bring a killer to justice?

Original Radio Broadcast Date: January 20, 1957

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar; Howard McNear; Herb Ellis; Herb Vigran; Junius Matthews; Herb Butterfield; Frank Gerstle; Johnny Jacobs

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

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Join us again tomorrow for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.

Mr. Chameleon: The Bought and Paid For Murder Case (EP4398)

Karl Swenson

Today’s Mystery: A wealthy fifty-nine year-old woman, married to a man twenty-five years her junior, is poisoned.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: July 20, 1949

Originating from New York City

Starring: Karl Swenson as Mister Chameleon

Support the show monthly at https://patreon.greatdetectives.net

Patreon Supporter of the Day: Ronnie, Patreon Supporter since May 2021

Support the show on a one-time basis at http://support.greatdetectives.net.

Mail a donation to: Adam Graham, PO Box 15913, Boise, Idaho 83715

Take the listener survey at http://survey.greatdetectives.net

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Join us again tomorrow for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.