Author: Yours Truly Johnny Blogger

Dragnet: The Child Killer (EP4346)

Today’s Mystery:

Friday and Romero search for two missing girls.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: February 2, 1950

Originating from Hollywood

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

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Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Silent Queen Matter, Episodes Three, Four, and Five (EP4345)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery:

It turns out a murdered penny arcade owner was the long-thought-dead husband of a silent movie queen. That’s the first of many lies Johnny has to sort through to find the truth.

Original Radio Broadcast Dates: October 31, November 1 and 2, 1956

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar; Paula Winslowe; Virginia Gregg; Vic Perrin; Paul Dubov; Frank Gerstle; John Dehner; Lawrence Dobkin; Chester Stratton

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Mr. Chameleon: The Forbidden Marriage Murder Case (EP4344)

Karl Swenson

Today’s Mystery:

Mr. Chameleon investigates the murder of a young actress who was forbidden by her aunt and uncle to marry her older, scandal-plagued leading man.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: May 18, 1949

Originating from New York City

Starring: Karl Swenson as Mister Chameleon

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Gallant American Women: Women, the Providers (AWR0242)

Amazing World of Radio

Today’s Episode:

A look at the role women played in nutrition and providing quality food from the time of the pilgrims to the then-modern time.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: November 21, 1939

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Dangerous Assignment: Stolen Information Group (EP4343)


Today’s Mystery:

Steve goes to Norway to impersonate a captured courier who was about to collect a payoff from a gang that dealt in stolen information. Steve arrives to find someone’s beaten him to the punch – and got murdered for his effort.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: March 18, 1953

Originating in Hollywood

Starring: Brian Donlevy as Steve Mitchell; Herb Butterfield as the Commissioner; Betty Lou Gerson; Dan O’Herlihy; GeGe Pearson; Paul Frees

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Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Silent Queen Matter, Episodes One and Two (EP4342)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery:

Johnny Dollar goes to Venice, California to investigate the murder of a penny arcade operator who named a silent movie star as his beneficiary.

Original Radio Broadcast Dates: October 29 and 30, 1956

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar; Paula Winslowe; Virginia Gregg; Vic Perrin; Paul Dubov; Frank Gerstle; John Dehner; Lawrence Dobkin; Chester Stratton

Also a discussion of all the possible origins of the phrase, “The Real McCoy”

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The Falcon: The Case of the Rich Racketeer (EP4341)

Les Damon

Today’s Mystery:

A racketeer hires The Falcon to protect him in a forest cabin, but is killed before Waring arrives from New York.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: November 5, 1950

Originating from New York

Starring: Les Damon as the Falcon

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Dangerous Assignment: The Missing Diplomat Story (Video Theater 267)

Steve Mitchell embarks on a high-stakes mission to locate a missing European diplomat and recover top-secret records. As tensions rise and loyalties are questioned, join Mitchell in the bustling streets of Barcelona, where every corner could hold a clue or a deadly trap.

Season 1, Episode 17

Original Air Date: December 1951

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Dragnet: The Big Man, Part Two (EP4340)

Today’s Mystery:

Having gotten key information, Joe Friday and Ben Romero join an interdepartment task force to bring down the top narcotics dealer.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: January 19, 1950

Originating from Hollywood

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

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DVD Review: I Wake Up Screaming

In 1941’s I Wake Up Screaming (also known by the title Hot Spot), a waitress-turned-rising star (Carole Landis) is murdered just before she was set to travel from New York to Hollywood to begin a film career. She had used at least four men to get where she wanted to go but the suspicions of the man in charge of the case, police detective Ed Cornell (Laird Cregar), fall on Frankie Christopher (Victor Mature), a sports and entertainment promoter who’d plucked her from obscurity but had been left high and dry by her latest career move. Betty Grable stars as the dead woman’s sister, who knows more than she lets on.

I Wake Up Screaming is a must-see for fans of classic film noir, with a moody atmosphere backed up by its clever lighting and blocking. The mystery is engaging and is a cut above typical plots. There are many suspects and secrets that make it hard to know who we’re even supposed to be rooting for, let alone who did it.

The cast is outstanding. Grable was a top performer known for musical comedy roles, stretching herself into film noir and turning in a believable and relatable performance. Mature was at the beginning of a long-successful career as a leading man. Landis was perfect as the woman on the make. The supporting cast is great, with Elisha Cook, Jr. (best known for playing Wilmer in The Maltese Falcon, which was released the same month as I Wake Up Screaming) playing the desk clerk alongside such reliable supporting players as Alan Mowbray, Allyn Joslyn, and William Gargan.

Yet, what makes this film stand out from the pack is Laird Cregar’s performance as Ed Cornell. Cregar was only 28 when the film was made but is absolutely believable as a veteran cop who always gets his man. Yet, he’s hardly a comforting figure. In fact, the murdered woman’s sister identifies Cornell as a man whom she’d seen looking at her sister from outside the restaurant window back when she was a waitress, something that Cornell shrugs off, and is easily dismissed, as he had an airtight alibi and claimed that he just liked to keep an eye on what was going on in the area where he lived. Cornell is also unshakable in his declaration that Frankie Christopher committed the murder which makes you wonder if he did it. At the same time, you wonder if his judgment is clouded somehow. More than anything else, even though he represents the law, there’s something sinister about him. The movie gives Cornell an ability to show up out of nowhere that would make Batman envious. There’s also an underlying sadism about the character that’s unnerving. In one particularly chilling scene, Cornell gets Christopher to give him a ride home and passes the time in the car cheerfully talking about Christopher’s inevitable execution.

Cregar’s performance is mesmerizing, and one for the ages. It’s Oscar-worthy, although the competition for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award that year was tough. Sydney Greenstreet got nominated for his iconic role as Kasper Gutman and lost.

It’s worth noting that both Kregar and Landis’s careers and lives were tragically cut short, so seeing them in the same film is both a treat and adds some poignancy to the viewing experience.

The film has a few weak points. As the ostensible male lead, Victor Mature is merely competent, but he doesn’t have to be any better than that, with the script and the supporting cast he’s given. While Landis and Grable turn in good performances, their level of glamour does require a bit of suspension of disbelief to buy into them as “just ordinary working girls.” But this wasn’t sort of portrayal wasn’t uncommon for the time.

It should be noted that the DVD includes some decent extras, including a deleted scene that has Grable singing, which reflects a previous version of the script that had Grable working as a song plugger – a person working in a department or music store singing songs to demonstrate to customers interested in purchasing sheet music. The scene would have been so discordant in the final cut. As a preserved deleted scene, it’s an interesting curiosity featuring Grable singing and also highlighting a forgotten way that people make a living.

All in all, I Wake Up Screaming is an underrated classic of the noir genre and a must-see for Laird Cregar’s performance alone.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5

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Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Phantom Chase Matter, Episodes Eight and Nine (EP4339)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery:

Johnny and the wife of the man he’s pursuing find themselves stranded on an isolated island by fugitive embezzler.

Original Radio Broadcast Dates: October 25 and 26, 1956

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar; Michael Ann Barrett; Jack Edwards; Ben Wright; Virginia Gregg; Don Diamond; Forrest Lewis; Richard Crenna

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Mr. Chameleon: The Picture on the Wall Murder Case (EP4338)

Karl Swenson

Today’s Mystery:

A philandering portrait painter is murdered.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: May 11, 1949

Originating from New York City

Starring: Karl Swenson as Mister Chameleon

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This is the Story: Remember Anna Zenger (AWR0241)

Amazing World of Radio

Today’s Story:

In the early 18th Century in colonial New York, Anna Zenger tries to save her husband, printer Peter Zenger, while also trying to safeguard the freedom of the press.

Original Air Date: October 18, 1949

Originating in Hollywood

Starring: Rosalind Russell as Anna Zenger

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Dangerous Assignment: Ghost Ship (EP4337)


Today’s Mystery:

Steve is sent to locate a phantom ship that’s smuggling supplies to guerillas in the Philippines and attacking local fishing boats.

Original Radio Broadcast Date: March 11, 1953

Originating in Hollywood

Starring: Brian Donlevy as Steve Mitchell; Herb Butterfield as the Commissioner

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Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Phantom Chase Matter, Episodes Six and Seven (EP4336)

Bob Bailey

Today’s Mystery:

Johnny wakes up in Barbados after being knocked out, and finds himself no closer to apprehending the junior partner of a New York investment firm who is accused of embezzling $120,000.

Original Radio Broadcast Dates: October 22 and 24, 1956

Originating from Hollywood

Starring: Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar; Michael Ann Barrett; Jack Edwards; Ben Wright; Virginia Gregg; Don Diamond; Forrest Lewis; Richard Crenna

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