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.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 218 – Mystery of Edwin Drood

Charles Dickens With this podcast, a look at a classic work of fiction by Charles Dickens. While not normally identified with crime fiction, his Mystery of Edwin Drood certainly fits that category. The book was never finished in Dickens’ lifetime, but others have speculated an ending. The story of both the unfinished book and Dickens own life are both studies in detective fiction. This Elliot Lewis production from Suspense in January 1953 is a two part that I have joined together.

Music under is “The Hours” by Philip Glass.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 217 – Philip Marlowe

Raymond ChandlerA look at the writer, Raymond Chandler. He is considered one of several innovators of the hardboiled American detective story. Most readers know Chandler from his iconic detective – Philip Marlowe. However, the author wrote a number of other stories using other detectives living on hard times. While Dashiell Hammett was a big influence on the writer, Frederick Nebel, another pulp writer possibly shares equal credit as an influence.

The radioplay is “The King in Yellow” from the first run of the Adventures of Philip Marlowe.

Music under is “Angel Eyes” performed by the Eddie Higgins Trio.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 216 – Meridian 7-1212

Irving Reis Something a little different this time from the Radio Detective Story Hour. While this drama involves crime and deception, it is more about the excellent drama it presents. The story is one in which in the late thirties Americans were connected to each other through the “wired” device of the telephone. With the coming of radio, listeners shared a collective experience via a wireless device. Despite this radical change from wired to wireless, time still plays an important element in how we experience even though then we all experienced it simultaneously. Today, as a society we are no longer bound by time each experiencing films, news and so on within our own time given devices such as TiVo and Tablets, Computers, etc.

The drama was written in the late thirties by Irving Reis and speaks to the collective experience at that time. Tension and suspense builds around the constant intrusion of the time keepers.

Music under is “Old Folks” performed by the Ron Helman Jazz Ensemble.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 215 – Laura

Dana AndrewsIn a mood of serendipity, we honor of Dana Andrews January 1st birthday and the completion in late December 1941 of Vera Caspary’s novel of crime and romance – Laura. Dana Andrews was born Carver Dana Andrews in Mississippi. He headed west to try to make his mark as a singer in popular and operatic music.  In Laura he portrayed detective Mark McPherson, who was in love in Laura Hunt.  This version is from the Screen Guild Theater from 1945.  I’ll also look at the life and times of author Vera Caspary.

Music under is Chet Baker performing the Laura theme.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 214 – Casey, Crime Photographer Christmas Special

Staats Cotsworth In the spirit of Christmas, I offer this Christmas episode of Casey, Crime Photographer from 1947 starring Staats Cotsworth as Casey. The introduction is brief and if you want more history on the show, look for podcasts 41 and 110 or search for “Crime Photographer.”

Have a very Merry Christmas and New Year. We’ll be back right after the New Year.

Music under is Doug Boldt with Deck the Halls

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 213 – Radio City Playhouse

Charles Lee Hutchings, scriptwriter A very powerful moral tale reminiscent of our society even today. The place is the room of the Night Editor of a tabloid newspaper as we meet young Dr. Lundgren and what has happened to his career due to a piece in the newspaper. I found this to be very engrossing and surprisingly violent for the period of production – 1949. Written by an advertising executive, Charles Lee Hutchings, this riveting story is one for our own time.

Music under is “Chelsea Bridge” by Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington and performed by Gerry Mulligan and Ben Webster.

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