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.

And don't forget to follow me on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

- Your host, Adam Graham

Listen to "The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio" on Spreaker.

Amazing World of Radio

The War

OTR Superman Show

Detective Video Theater

Recent Posts

Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Sulphur and Brimstone Matter (EP3883)

John Lund

Today’s Mystery:

Johnny goes to Venezuela to investigate the sabotage of an insured hydro electric dam project after the sabotage turns deadly.

Original Radio Broadcast Date:April 6, 1954

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

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Join us back here tomorrow for another old time radio detective audio drama.

Philo Vance: The Blue Penny Murder Case (EP3882)

Today’s Mystery:

A woman is found murdered at her piano in her home.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: August 23, 1949

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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 at 208-991-4783

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Follow us on Twitter @radiodetectives

Join us back here tomorrow for another old time radio detective audio drama.

Dangerous Assignment: Investigate Flying Saucers (EP3881)

Today’s Mystery:

Steve goes to Ecuador to look into crashes by a small cargo airline that are apparently caused by UFOs.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: April 17, 1950

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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 at 208-991-4783

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Join us back here tomorrow for another old time radio detective audio drama.

I Hate Crime: Episode 19 (EP3880)

Today’s Mystery:

A man wanted for murdering his business partner hides in Larry Kent’s office and asks Larry to prove his innocence.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: 1949 or 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 at 208-991-4783

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

Follow us on Twitter @radiodetectives

Join us back here tomorrow for another old time radio detective audio drama.

Sam Spade: The Mad Scientist Caper (EP3879)

Today’s Mystery:

Sam is hired by an inventor who believes a wealthy industrialist has ripped off his invention.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: July 25, 1948

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 at 208-991-4783

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

Follow us on Twitter @radiodetectives

Join us back here on Monday for another old time radio detective audio drama.

Video Theater 234: U.S. Marshal: Pursuit

An imprisoned soldier (Charles Bronson) kills a guard and escapes from custody, kidnapping a corporal and his girlfriend.

Season 1, Episode 16

Original Air Date: January 24, 1959

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

Radio Detective Story Recommendations

Recently, I saw a Tweet asking podcasters when was the last time that they recommended another episode of their podcast that listeners might enjoy based on the episode they were listening to. This specific activity isn’t something I do often with our podcast, since we’re working through different detective series and honestly, I can’t remember all the details of more than 3,800 episodes enough to be handing out 1:1 plot recommendations.

However, what did occur to me is that listeners who like the programs that we’re currently playing may enjoy another series from our archives that’s similar. I’ll be making specific recommendations for our current programs in podcast episodes next week. In this article, I’ll not only cover those series that we’re currently featuring, but those we’ve started, going back to Season Eleven. Note: I’m only going to do series that we did for a long time (apologies to so many of the short programs we’ve done).

Mondays:

If listeners enjoyed Dan Holiday’s adventures in Box 13, they might also like Night Beat. Box 13 is tough to find a match for and the characters’ motivation does differ. Dan Holiday needs to write novels and gets inspiration from the adventures that he’s sent on by people who mail Box 13, while Randy Stone spends his nights prowling around for a story that goes into the next edition of his newspaper, The Star. What both have in common is that not only do they each have a journalism background, but their methods lead to them investigating mysteries that you don’t really hear on other mystery programs.

Another tough program to match is Casey, Crime Photographer. No one’s going to match the exact quirkiness of Casey, Crime Photographer with the presence of unique characters like Ethelbert the bartender and the Blue Note (which is a character in and of itself), or Casey’s unique code of honor and role. However, if you want a similar style of mystery, you might enjoy Nick Carter, which was also produced in New York and has a similar style of crime fiction.

For people who love Spade, I’d suggest checking out Richard Diamond. This hard-boiled detective series starring Dick Powell, like Sam Spade, has plenty of humor, and like Spade it also has some romantic interludes. Diamond is a bit of a lady’s man and can spout a line of well-timed sarcasm. As a program, Richard Diamond has more violence than Sam Spade, and more and better singing.

Tuesday:

If you enjoyed the Australian version of It’s a Crime, Mr. Collins, you might also like The Adventures of the Abbotts, a 1955 NBC series whose scripts were later reused on It’s a Crime, Mr. Collins. The Abbotts generally features better quality acting and sound quality vs. It’s a Crime, Mr. Collins. 

If you liked the serialized radio adventures of Dick Tracy, unfortunately, we don’t have a detective program quite like that. However, you may enjoy our Old Time Radio Superman podcast.

For lovers of the Australian version of The Fat Man, I’d recommend checking out Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator. While not advertised based on weight, Barrie is established to be a big guy who gets into and out of lots of trouble.

If you were delighted by our extended revisit to Jeff Regan, I’d suggest listening to our dedicated Jeff Regan feed where you can find all the episodes we did of the series going back to our first season. Regan is another tough series to match very well: Regan’s status as an employee, his crazy uncle boss Anthony Lyons getting him involved in weird cases because of greed isn’t something you’ll find in other series. Richard Diamond may have the most in common as on this series, as some truly silly set-ups can lead to some genuine moments of hard-boiled action and peril.

Mister Chameleon was a a bit of an acquired taste for many people. If you enjoyed it, then you might also enjoy the other programs created by Anne and Frank Hummer, including Hearthstone of the Death Squad, Inspector Throne and the longest-running detective series of all-time, Mister Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons. We created a “Keen and Company” feed with all of those programs.

Several good matches for our current Tuesday series I Hate Crime are available. That Hammer Guy (the radio adventures of Mike Hammer), That Strong Guy (AU), and The Man From Homicide all feature more violent, rough-edged protagonists. They were among the series that some listeners complained about at the time, but if you like I Hate Crime, they may be worth checking out on my Hated Detectives feed.

Wednesdays:

Our last two Wednesday series, The Man Called X and Dangerous Assignment, featured stories of international troubleshooting and intrigue. If you enjoyed either of those series, you might want to check out The Adventures of Frank Race. In addition, we did another espionage-based series starring James Monks as I.A. Moto. The series is included with another James Monks-led series, The Avenger, in a combined podcast feed. In addition, even though it’s not in the detective genre, you might like Top Secret, starring Ilona Massey as a World War II/Cold War Secret Agent. We did the entire series for The Amazing World of Radio.

Thursdays 

Our last two Thursday series, Mystery is My Hobby and Philo Vance, have some similarities to each other. Both feature genius detectives solving cases with the glowing admiration of minions of the law. Fans of Philo Vance might enjoy Boston Blackie, a series that was also produced by Ziv Productions, features an organ-based theme and also utilized New York character actors. Fans of both series might also enjoy more famous genius detectives like Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, and Hercule Poirot

Fridays

Yours Truly Johnny Dollar is our Friday mainstay and each era is a little different in terms of what the show is most like.

With Edmond O’Brien as star, the series was one of the bleakest old time radio detective programs.The closest series to the tone and feel of O’Brien’s take on Johnny Dollar would be the Jack Webb episodes of Jeff Regan. If you’re into downbeat mysteries, you might also enjoy another short Webb-led series, Pete Kelly’s Blues, which is part of our Forgotten Detectives feed.

The John Lund version of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar was a big mix of different types of stories, including a lot of script reuse from series such as Richard Diamond. Overall the type of stories being featured were quite a bit different than the hard-boiled tales of the late 1940s and early 1950s. There are some very rich and multi-layered stories that reflect evolving listener tastes. Other programs from the mid-1940s, such as Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator and The Abbotts, are most comparable.

Saturday 

We’ve featured several Saturday procedural programs including The Silent Men and Tales of the Texas Rangers along with several shorter series. One program that procedural fans would do well to remember is our first Saturday series The Line Upa series focused on realistic police cases, with each episode featuring a lineup scene. If you’ve enjoyed our other Saturday offerings, The Line Up is a must-listen.

If you have any recommendations or favorite golden age detective series that I’ve not discussed, feel to mention it in the comments.