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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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Amazing World of Radio

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Detective Video Theater

Recent Posts

Dangerous Assignment: The Mine Story (Video Theater 269)

Join Steve Mitchell as he embarks on a perilous journey behind the Iron Curtain, infiltrating a slave labor camp to extract vital intelligence. With time running against him and danger at every turn, will Steve secure the information and make it out alive, or will this assignment prove too deadly?

Season 1, Episode 39

Original Air Date: Spring 1952

 

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Dragnet: The Big Kill (EP4364)

Today’s Mystery:

Friday and Romero investigate the murder of a police officer in his home.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: March 2, 1950

Originating from Hollywood

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

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

Audio Drama Review: CBS Radio Mystery Theatre: Your Move, Mr. Ellers

“Your Move, Mr. Ellers” aired over the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre on December 30, 1976. In the episode, an insurance investigator (Bob Readick) is investigating a series of thefts that have occurred over several years from a respected jeweler. He’s concluded it must be an inside job and his suspicions appear to have fallen on the firm’s most respected employee, the chess-loving Mister Ellers (Roger De Koven), who has a friend (Jackson Beck) with a shady past and maybe a shady present. And the young man (Jack Grimes) Ellers mentored seems to have found himself in the middle.

For today’s old-time radio fans, the casting of this episode includes some wonderful Easter egs. Readick was the immediate successor to Bob Bailey as radio’s most well-known insurance investigator. In addition, the other three members of the cast were all veterans of the Golden Age of Radio. Grimes had voiced Jimmy Olsen on “The Adventures of Superman”, where he also worked with Beck, who served as announcer and was the star of several old-time radio series, including “Philo Vance”. DeKoven was no star, but a consumate character actor who was perfect for a role like Ellers’.

While Readick’s presence evokes Johnny Dollar, I actually think the episode has undertones that evoke a more contemporary influence: Columbo. At one point, the insurance investigator states that he had Ellers convinced he was an incompetent bungler: the exact sort of situation that Columbo thrived on. And while we don’t “see” (or hear) the crime committed beforehand, and it’s not a strict inverted mystery, it definitely isn’t exactly a traditional whodunit either.

The story uses chess as a theme, and weaves through the narrative right up to a satisfying and insightful conclusion. It’s a carefully plotted and well-produced play performed by four pros who know their business. There are certain plots that are a bit predictable, but more than enough surprises and good drama to make this a very satisfying forty-five minutes of listening.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Royal Street Matter (EP4363)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery:

Johnny goes to New Orleans to investigate why the owner of an insured, burnt-out antique shop hasn’t filed a claim, and has expressed no interest in doing so.

Original Radio Broadcast Dates: November 25, 1956

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar; Virginia Gregg; Forrest Lewis, Lou Merrill; Lawrence Dobkin; Frank Gerstle

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

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Mr. Chameleon: The Organ Grinder Murder Case (EP4362)

Karl Swenson

Today’s Mystery:

A young man is shot to death after trying to quit stealing jewelry.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: June 8, 1949

Originating from New York City

Starring: Karl Swenson as Mister Chameleon

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Dangerous Assignment: Boy Is Used as Courier (EP4355)


Today’s Mystery:

Steve is hired as tutor to a French boy with a near photographic memory whose father believes his current tutor is using him to smuggle top secret information.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: April 8, 1953

Originating in Hollywood

Starring: Brian Donlevy as Steve Mitchell; Herb Butterfield as the Commissioner; Jeanne Bates; Paul Frees; Larry Dobkin; Jay Novello

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Patreon Supporter of the Day: Laura, Patreon Supporter supporter Since September 2023

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Ellery Queen: The Adventure of the Wounded Lieutenant (EP4360)

Today’s Mystery:

A former police detective is disabled while serving overseas and his battallion members are killed after a native waiter reports their planned attack. But how did the spy know?

Original Radio Broadcast Date: November 18, 1943

Originating in New York from the Office of War Information, taken from the network broadcast of a 30 minute episode

Starring: Sydney Smith as Ellery Queen, Marian Shockley, Santos Ortega, Ted de Corsia

Armchair Detectives: Virginia Fields and Ed Sullivan

Website Referenced: Ellery Queen, A Website of Deduction

Support the show monthly at patreon.greatdetectives.net

Patreon Supporter of the Day: Kerry, Patreon Supporter since November 2018

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

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