Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 228 – The Adventures of the Thin Man

Les Damon In celebration of the 73rd anniversary of the premier of the Adventures of the Thin Man on radio, a rarely heard episode from 1942 – the earliest available. This one is from an Armed Forces Radio disc as part of their “Frontline Theater.”

While the radio series was not as good as the films, they are still enjoyable to listen to. This early episode was while they were still getting the series to flow well. Les Damon and Claudia Morgan star as Nick & Nora Charles.

Music under is Suzanne Vega singing “The Thin Man” along with Fred Astaire on two from one of his album compilations.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 227 – The Adventures of Christopher London

Glenn Ford A little heard series since only 3 episodes exist of actor Glenn Ford starring as detective for hire Christopher London. This was on the air briefly at the height of his popularity in film. The first episode of this short-lived series.

Music under is Nicholas Payton with the theme from the film Chinatown.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 226 – Matthew Slade, Private Investigator

William WintersoleBy 1963 all dramatic radio had abandoned American radio broadcasting going the way of music and talk programs. With the rise of television, the networks and sponsors didn’t want to invest in radio drama. The model in this country called for dollars coming in from sponsors to support dramatic radio.

Pacifica Radio, a West Coast network of Public Radio stations produced at least one series beginning in 1964. Produced in Berkely, California, the series was called Mathew Slade, Private Investigator and starred William Wintersole.

Music under is “My Ideal” performed by Art Tatum.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 225 – Murder By Experts

Joseph Ruscoll - scriptwriter In 1949, writers/producers approached John Dickson Carr, to host a new series they were creating called Murder By Experts. Carr agreed to host this unique mystery series in which then-famous authors of classic mystery would select a drama to be aired. The episode for this podcast was written by Joseph Ruscoll (left) and was a more lighthearted approach to classic murder with a twist.

Music under is the Edmund Hall Trio.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 224 – Suspense: A Murderous Revision

Howard DuffWhen Howard Duff was blacklisted briefly in the early fifties his series, The Adventures of Sam Spade was dropped by the Columbia Broadcasting System. At that time, he had already recorded an episode for Suspense called “A Murderous Revision.” But fearing repercussions CBS decided to shelve the completed recording and broadcast another episode instead. The episode with Duff was never broadcast, though a newly re-created version of the script was aired starring Richard Widmark in the role of Chris Turner in December of 1951. The Duff version was thought lost until it turned up via an Armed Forces Radio disc a few years ago. Though in circulation, it rarely is heard since it isn’t officially attached to the Suspense broadcast canon.

Music under is “Benny Rides Again” performed by Benny Goodman Quintet.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 223 – Will You Make a Bet with Death?

John Dickson Carr A look at one of radio finest radio dramatists for the Mystery genre – expert in locked room mysteries. Born in America, but spent a lifetime in the United Kingdom, Carr wrote scripts for the Suspense radio program including this one which features an ending with a twist. This episode stars Michael Fitzmaurice and Lesley Woods, who you will recognize as Mary Wesley in the Boston Black radio series.

Music under is Ruby performed by Yorgui Loeffler.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 222 – Dead on Arrival

Gene RaymondA program series appearing on a Saturday morning called Stars Over Hollywood presented generally lighter fare geared mostly to women. However, occasionally they would present an episode that was a little darker in tone. This time you will hear a detective thriller called “Dead on Arrival” starring blonde, blue-eyed actor Gene Raymond (husband of Jeanette MacDonald) whose gritty voice was perfect as Detective Joe Greeley.

Though not as hard-hitting as some of the drama presented on this podcast, it is still a good story.

Music under is the Edmond Hall Trio.

Photo courtesy of the “My Love of Hollywood Blog.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 221 – Murder Without Crime

J. Lee ThompsonGuns of Navarone director J. Lee Thompson began as a playwright and sometime radio writer. This podcast I am featuring a radio play based upon his stage play and which was heard on the Molle Mystery Theater. This is an excellent example of a radio drama which uses full dialogue and vocal spacing to present an effectively chilling thriller.

Music under is Stardust performed by John Coltrane.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 220 – No Man of Her Own

Barbara Stanwyck A look at the roman noir or black fiction adapted for radio. Specifically, the Cornell Woolrich wrote a number of short stories he later expanded into novels; a move for the better with much improved storylines. In 1946, he wrote “They Call Me Patrice” which he expanded into his last great novel in 1948 under the title I Married A Dead Man. It was then made into a film in the early fifties starring Barbara Stanwyck and called “No Man of Her Own.”

It is a fine example of Woolrich’s roman noir. I’ll also touch briefly on other roman noir authors including James M. Cain, Horace McCoy, David Goodis and others.

Music under is Chet Baker performing “Tenderly.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 219 – Four Hours to Kill

Howard DuffA look at some of actor Howard Duff’s radio work outside of his star turn as Sam Spade. Duff was a fine vocal actor who could make the difference between a good or bad program from a bad script. “Four Hours to Kill” from the Phillip Morris Playhouse is not a bad script, but Duff’s characterization of Ted Pomeroy boosts the script presenting a sympathetic and somewhat pathetic man with murder on his mind. The script is well-written and creates some taut suspense as the story unfolds.

Music under is “I Can’t Get Started” performed by Warren Vache from an album Jazz for a Rainy Afternoon. The song was written by Vernon Duke and Ira Gershwin.

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