Author: Yours Truly Johnny Blogger

Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Alvin Summers Matter Omnibus (Encore) (EP4441)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery:Johnny goes to Mexico in search of a man who embezzled $75,000

Original Radio Broadcast Dates:October 24-28, 1955

Originated from Hollywood

Stars: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar, Virginia Gregg, Marvin Miller, Don Diamond, Tony Barrett, Parley Baer

Includes portion of interview with John Abbott. Listen to the full interview here.

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Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Valentine Matter Omnibus (Encore) (EP4440)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery: Johnny initially comes to New Orleans to investigate a hotel theft but becomes involved in finding out who’s making attempts on life of a retired Prohibition-era Racketeer

Original Radio Broadcast Dates: October 31-November 4, 1955

Originated from Hollywood

Stars: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar, Lillian Buyeff, Betty Lou Gerson, Barney Phillips, Will Wright, Forrest Lewis, Marvin Miller, Jay Novello, Jack Moyles

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Forecast: Deductions Deluxe: The Problem of the Painted Poddle (Encore) (EP4439)

Private Detective Roger Boon is called in to find out why a wealthy woman’s poodle was painted green.

Originated in Hollywood

Starring: Adolphe Menjou, Verree Teasdale,

Original Air Date: July 28, 1941

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Suspense: On A Country Road (AWR0252)

Batman Villains of Old Time Radio

We continue our look at actors who played villains in the 1966 Batman TV series. This time we turn to Ida Lupino, who played Cassandra Spellcraft, alongside her then-husband Howard Duff, who played her bumbling sidekick Cabala in the 1968 episode, “The Enchanting Doctor Cassandra”.

We begin by featuring an episode of Suspense in which they appeared together.

A wife and her husband (Lupino and Duff) take a shortcut down a country road where a deranged woman has escaped from a mental institution and already killed. They then run out of gas and find a woman screamning at them demanding to be let in their car.

Original Radio Brodcast Date: May 10, 1959

We then take a look at the Season 3 Batman Episode, “The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra”, where Lupino plays the titular alchemist who has figured out the secret of invisibility and has a daring plan to take care of the Terrific Trio and rule Gotham City.

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The Thin Man: Nora’s Night Out (Encore) (EP4438)

Claudia Morgan

Nora is out all night, breaks a mirror, and asks another man to marry her. Nick suspects she’s been drugged.  Things get even more serious when they find a corpse.

Original Air Date: October 6, 1944

Originating in New York

Starring David Gothard as Nick Charles, Claudia Morgan as Nora Charles

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The Thin Man: The Case of the Wandering Corpse (Encore) (EP4437)

Claudia Morgan

A corpse disappears along with a necklace, Nick bought for Nora as an anniversary present, and its place is another corpse.

Original Air Date: October 10, 1943

Originating in New York

Starred: Les Damon as Nick Charles, Claudia Morgan as Nora Charles

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Lux Radio Theater: The Thin Man (Encore) (EP4436e)

The Thin Man

Nick Charles, a retired private detective, is drawn back to detection with the insistence of his wife, Nora, when a former client is suspected of several murders.

Original Air Date: June 8, 1936

Originating in Hollywood

Starring: William Powell as Nick Charles; Myrna Loy as Nora Charles

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Telefilm Review: Friday, the Rabbi Slept Late

We continue our reviews that focus on Batman actors in other detective and mystery programs as part of our Amazing World of Radio Summer Series, focusing on their old-time radio work. This week, we take a look at Art Carney’s performance in one of two leads in a 1976 TV movie that was a pilot for a short-lived TV series called Lanigan’s Rabbi. The film was based on the first of Harry Kemelman’s Rabbi Small novels.

In a small California town, the local rabbi, David Small (Stuart Margolin, The Rockford Files), is facing problems from within his own congregation, from board members who want the synagogue to build a bowling alley, rather than actually doing the sort of youth work Rabbi Small thinks is important. Things get far worse for the already besieged rabbi when the body of a secretly pregnant maid who worked for a woman in his congregation is found murdered in his car after a rainstorm. He ends up getting drawn into the mystery despite Chief of Police Paul Lanigan (Carney) trying to get him to leave the case alone.

Rabbi Small is a likable character who is very well realized by Margolin. If you, like me, are most familiar with his work playing Jim Rockford’s Shady friend, Angel, this character is a huge change of pace. Rabbi Small has a cunning intellect that makes him a great amateur sleuth, but he also has the right mix of eccentricity, constantly losing his keys, even forgetting that he’s on his way to a wedding when he stops in to visit Chief Lanigan. It’s reminiscent of Columbo with Margolin’s own unique spin.

Carney’s Chief Lanigan strikes a really neat balance. The police foils for amateur detectives are usually belligerent idiots, arrogant know it-alls, or bumbling fools. Lanigan is a good cop and nobody’s fool. He initially tries to dissuade Rabbi Small from his investigation for sensible reasons; normal cops don’t usually want local clergymen going out and trying to solve crimes. However, Lanigan relents as he comes to like and respect Rabbi Small. He has his own eccentricities, as illustrated by his comic battle against his wife’s desire to buy a new suit. The rabbi and the chief bond throughout the episode and the great chemistry between Margolin and Carney helps to sell the relationship.

There are some really strong guest performers, including Lorraine Gary (Jaws) and Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch). Janet Margolin (no relation to Stuart) has some very strong performances as Miriam Small and delivers a key clue that helps lead to the solution.

One thing I really liked was the open credits sequence that tied into the motif of the murder happening during a rainstorm. It was really a great way to add atmosphere.

The mystery itself offers a lot of twists and clues, and just the right number of suspects, all of whom have surprisingly sordid interrelated motives. Given the way, the movie plays out, the solution is a bit of a surprise. However, it borrows from one of the great classic clerical detectives, Father Brown.

Overall, this is a very good production with two likable leads and an engaging storyline. And if you like TV mystery films, this is worth checking out. Currently, it is only available on YouTube, as a 1980s replay of the TV film as a late movie (complete with 80s commercials).

Rating: 4 out of 5

Dragnet: The Big Key (EP4436)

Todays Mystery:

The big clue to who left a woman’s body in a churchyard is a key found near her body.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: May 25, 1950

Originating from Hollywood

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

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Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Clever Chemist Matter (EP4435)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery:

Johnny is sent to New Jersey to investigate an allegation by an insured’s daughter that her father, a famous chemist, was pressured into changing his beneficiary to his research partner.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: March 17, 1957

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar; Virginia Gregg; Harry Bartell; Howard McNear; Forrest Lewis; Jack Kruschen; Russell Thorson; Frank Gerstle; Bob Bruce

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Mr. Chameleon: The Mistreated Wife Murder Case (EP4434)

Karl Swenson

Today’s Mystery:

Mr. Chameleon investigates the murder of a wealthy abusive husband.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: August 31, 1941

Originating from New York City

Starring: Karl Swenson as Mister Chameleon; Frank Butler as Sergeant Dave Arnold

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Broadway’s My Beat: A Fixed Prize Fight (EP4433)

Anthony Ross

Today’s Mystery:

Danny suspects a prize fight involving a promising young boxer is going to be fixed.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: March 27, 1949

Originating in New York City

Starring: Anthony Ross as Lieutenant Danny Clover; Gilbert Mack; Jean Carson; Julie Stevens; William Quinn; James Goss; Peter Capell; Paul Luther; Ted Jewett

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The Magnificient Montague: Montague’s Father (AWR0251)

Batman Villains of Old Time Radio

We continue our look at actors who played villains in the 1966 Batman TV series. This time, we turn to Art Carney who played the Robin Hood-inspired criminal the Archer in the Season 2 opener, “Shook a Crook Arrow” and “Walk the Straight and Narrow.”

We take a look at an episode of the 1950s NBC Sitcom The Magnificient Montague, a sitcom about an out-of-work Shakespearean actor forced to secretly take a job as the lead in a radio soap opera.

In this episode, plans for the celebration of the Magnificient Montague’s (Montey Wooley) silver jubilee in the theater are complicated by the arrival of his father, the Great Montague (Carney). Things get even worse when Montague’s Father learns of Montague working anonymously on a soap opera and threatens to expose him if he doesn’t quit.

Original Radio Braodcast: January 5, 1951

Starring: Montey Wooley as the Magnificient Montague, Art Carney as the Great Montague, Anne Seymour as Lily, Pert Skelton as Agnes,  John Gibson, John Griggs

After the podcast, I talk about the Season 2, Two-Parter “Shook a Crook Arrow” and “Walk the Straight and Narrow.” from 1966.

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Bulldog Drummond: The Dinner of Death (EP4432)


Today’s Mystery:

The District Attorney is poisoned with a cocktail before a banquet honoring a crusading reporter.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: April 23, 1945

Today’s program was provided by Radio Archives. Email detectives@radioarchives.com to get a free audiobook, a free ebook, and free old time radio collection.

Originating in New York

Starring: Ned Wever as Bulldog Drummond; Luis Van Rooten as Denny; Larry Haines

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The Falcon: The Case of the Gangster’s Girl (EP4431)

Les Damon

Today’s Mystery:

The girlfriend of a man in the numbers racket hires The Falcon to get her boyfriend sent to prison so she can get away from him.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: March 4, 1951

Originating from New York

Starring: Les Damon as The Falcon; Jan Miner; Larry Haines; Bill Zuckert

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