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.

Subscribe to the show by clicking your favorite podcatcher in the sidebar.

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- Your host, Adam Graham

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EP3771: Casey, Crime Photographer: Source of Information

Stats Cotsworth

A great reporter who became an alcoholic is killed after telling Casey about his tell-all memoir.

Original Air Date: January 20, 1954

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EP3770: Tales of the Texas Rangers: Breakdown

An elderly constable is murdered by a fugitive cop killer.

Original Air Date: March 25, 1951

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

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Audio Drama Review: The Avengers: The Comic Strip Adaptations Volume 06: Steed & Mrs Peel

Big Finish’s latest release of the Avengers features three different comic strips from the Steed and Peel era of the 1960s television series starring Julian Wadham as Steed and Olivia Poulet as Emma Peel.

In “Seven Deadly…Assassins”, Steed and Peel are sent on a ship where they are charged with guarding a valuable jewel. However, they find themselves amidst a group of assassins themed around the seven deadly sins and with a grudge against them.

This is very much a typical Avengers story with themed villains, a fun location, the quips, etc. It does lack some of the punch other comic adaptations. As writer Roland Moore points out, this was from a holiday special without cliffhangers. Still, it’s a fun story, and it’s written with a good understanding of what to expect. The performances are good even with the archest and most on-the-nose characters. It’s a fun time, and hits the right marks, but doesn’t quite have the pizazz of the better stories.

In “Stand and Deliver,” Steed and Peel are invited to a Highwayman’s Ball at the house of a nobleman/scientist. It turns out the ball is a set up to find out who is a spy within the British Secret Service, and Steed is a suspect.

In the case of many stories with this sort of plot, it might be fair to complain about how convoluted the story is, but this is the Avengers, and no villain ever cares about doing anything in a simple, direct way. This story is a fun listen that has a lot of twists and turns, and combines elements of a few different genres to make for a good romp.

“You Won’t Believe Your Eyes” is a hard one to evaluate, owing mainly to the comic strip used, which writer John Dorney admits goes in some directions that are atypical for the Avengers. The beginning of the story is quite strong with the sudden appearance of polar bears and T-Rexes. Then, after we find out the source of these apparitions, the story loses some momentum. We’re given two very stereotypical Soviet spy villains that are far from the typical over-the-top Avengers villains we’re used to. The story picks up in the last few minutes when we get the final plot twist and the denouement. It’s helped by a good acting performance from Dorney.

It’s not a bad script but doesn’t quite deliver the level of fun you expect from an Avengers script, particularly with an opening like this one had.

I couldn’t help but wonder whether Big Finish is running out of good source material, particularly for the Steed and Peel era.
The stories in the six volumes have all been based on storylines from comic strips in TV and TV Action magazine, with Big Finish writers adapting the scripts and expanding on their ideas and concepts. In addition to the atypical finale, the opening story wasn’t a serialized story like all the others, but a self-contained story from an annual.
Overall, this box set was still a fun time. The production team at Big Finish does a great job making these as good as possible. I just sensed that due to the quality of the source material, there was more work needed to put out higher-quality episodes than on previous sets.If you love the TV Avengers or the previous box sets, it’s still worth checking out.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
The Avengers: The Comic Strip Adaptations, Volume 6 is available on the Big Finish website.

EP3769: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Independent Diamond Traders Matter

John Lund

Johnny is called in to investigate the smuggling of illegal diamonds that are undercutting legitimate diamond traders and driving them out of business.

Original Air Date: November 24, 1953

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EP3768: Philo Vance: The Cardinal Murder Case

The girlfriend of an ex-racketeer is murdered.

Original Air Date: April 19, 1949

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

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EP3767: Man Called X: The Desert of Death

Herbert Marshall

Ken goes to Afghanistan to prevent the Soviets from acquiring the hydrogen bomb.

Original Air Date: May 6, 1952

Support the show monthly at patreon.greatdetectives.net

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

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EP3766: Mr. Chameleon: The Dusty Room Murder Case

Karl Swenson

An inventor is found dead in a room completely covered with dust…except for the gun.

Original Air Date: April 5, 1950

Support the show monthly at patreon.greatdetectives.net

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

Give us a call 208-991-4783

Follow us on Instagram at http://instagram.com/greatdetectives

Follow us on Twitter@radiodetectives