Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 248 – Sorry, Wrong Number

Agnes Moorehead at microphoneFor fans of old time radio, Sorry, Wrong Number with Agnes Moorehead (right) is one of the best dramas to listen to. After all, it was repeated on Suspense due to popular demand eight times; but as a radio drama, it is also a finely crafted, well executed piece of radio production ever heard and perhaps a lesson to those who want to produce audio drama.  While she is essentially, the only character (there are other voices in small roles), there is also a hidden character in the sound effects.  What will be immediately apparent is the lack of musical bridges as the sound effects carry this production heightening the tension instead of the music.

I examine this production and also mention the blooper that occurs at the end of this particular broadcast. It is an episode worth a listen.

Music under is Matthew Stone playing solo sax on Cry Me a River.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 247 – Rocky Jordan

Jack MoylesThe character of Rocky Jordan went through a transformation of sorts over the history of its run. For all, but the third run, actor Jack Moyles (left) portrayed Rocky.

It began its life as A Man Named Jordan in 1945 as a 5-times-a-week 15 minute serial running at one point during the so-called “Children’s Hour.”  This series while very good, was more fashioned after Casablanca where Rocky owned the Café Tambourine in Istanbul. Rocky, like Rick Blaine from Casablanca was a patriot who ran his café during the war, but seemed involved in nefarious businesses and get-rich schemes.

Then the series left the air and returned with new writers as a one-time-a-week 30 minute series.  The Café Tambourine was now in Egypt in Cairo and Rocky seemed more involved in crime solving helping his police friend Sam Sabaaya.  I have two episodes this time, one from each series which illustrate both the writing as well as the nuances of the character.

Music under is Dream by Mohamed Rouane.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 246 – Dragnet

Jack Webb Love or hate the radio series Dragnet, there were moments of brilliance in the series. Often Webb was a master of production, especially sound effects. The early Dragnet episodes were some of the best with much action and excellent sound effects.

Sound effects could make some of the episodes positively sizzle and I present one here that has some great audio portions in which the sound patterns make the episode rise above the others.

Music under is Ron Helman Jazz Ensemble playing “Old Folks”

Website Woes

I am a victim of my own success, I guess.

When I began this podcast in 2005, I was posting regular episodes weekly. I had no problems with my Internet Service Provider as people downloaded or listened online.

Then I started advertising on Twitter alerting listeners to new episodes. And fairly quickly the number of downloads increased exponentially and suddenly I was running up against bandwidth issues that I was told should not be an issue. Over the past couple of years, my ISP has ramped up advertising their services and are seeking more users to sign up. I think this is when the bandwidth changes began. In fairness, they are not a site like Libsyn, which is oriented to podcasters and not simply individuals and businesses who want to have a web presence.

At certain times when a new podcast comes out, I have surges of people downloading and the bandwidth usage begins to slow down their servers, or so I am told.

So I am in the process of moving the audio to libsyn while retaining the web site interface on my current ISP, who I do like (despite my concerns). Only recently I started adding a few ads on the main page which does bring some revenue, but for the most part my site is ad free. Consequently, I rely on both the few ads from Google and any donations. Running these sites do cost and adding libsyn increases my costs. And so all of this switchover will take time, so that means the episodes will slow down for a while due to some of the restrictions I am running into.

Thanks for listening and staying nearby.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 245 – Adventures of Mike Shayne

Wally MaherDuring the decade of the 1940s Private Detectives on radio made a decided turn from the lighter, somewhat cozy fictional character such as Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe and Sherlock Holmes to the more hardboiled versions of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe and others. Just why this occurred is examined in this podcast along with an episode of Michael Shayne BEFORE the switch.

Music under is Kenny Barron performing “Little Niles.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 244 – Johnny Dollar – Stripped Bare

Edmund O'BrienWithin the world of radio detectives, including those based upon fictional detectives, we rarely got to know much about the detective himself. When you think about those you might have heard, you could ask yourself the question – just who is Sam Spade, or Philip Marlowe, or Richard Diamond and others? We hear them think through monologue as they work, sometimes we get a sense of interest in others, but rarely anything that touches their personal lives. Just who are these people?

A look at Johnny Dollar stripped bare and exposed as a human being.

Music under is Blood Count by Billy Strayhorn and performed by Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 243 – A Crime to Fit the Punishment

Clayton CollyerThis time we hear again from the script writer voice of Ken Crossen who wrote many scripts for a number of suspense and mystery thriller series including this one from the Molle’ Mystery Theater in 1944. Crossen was also a well-known pulp and mystery fiction writer under the name of M.E. Chaber, whose Milo March series were best sellers.
This episode stars Clayton Collyer, who was portraying radio’s Superman at the time while performing in other series. Collyer portrays Jonathan Pierce, and antiques dealer and amateur criminologist who is called in to help solve a crime. All in all, a lighter mystery but a good plot with well-developed characters.

Music under is Sonny Criss playing Billy Strayhorn’s “Day Dream.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 242 – Candy Matson

Natalie Parks Masters Originally conceived as a series with a male Private Eye, creator Monte Masters switched it to a female private cop starring his wife, Natalie Masters, in the role. This San Francisco-based series was possibly the best female radio cop series, though there are some close contenders. I look at this plus women as radio P.I.’s in general. Natalie Masters voice even sounded like a “Candy” when she talked. Included are some clips from an interview with Jack French, author of Private Eyelashes, from 2005.

Music under is Lou McDonald playing “Candy.”


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 241 – Fly by Night

Joseph Cotten A thrill-packed story written by George and Gertrude Fass and adapted by Mort Fine and David Friedkin with Elliott Lewis directing. A convergence of talent that also stars screen actor, Joseph Cotten (right) in a well acted understated role as Micky Manning. Manning is trying to clear his name but finds himself a scapegoat in a crime with some interesting twists and turns.

Also stars Cathy Lewis in an excellent portrayal of Manning’s wife Mary. Elliott Lewis knows how to take an audio only production and make you cringe at the violence against Manning. An excellent example of audio producing I would recommend to any aspiring radio drama producer.

Music under is George Benson performing “Fly by Night.”


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 240 – Police Line-Up

Bill JohnstoneWelcome back to another new year of the Radio Detective Story Hour now beginning ten years.

As promised from the previous podcast, I am presenting a rarely heard audition of what became a three-year radio police procedural called The Line-Up. This audition is identified in the drama as Police Line-Up though that was a working title. The series was one of the best procedurals on radio and I would place it up with – and possibly above – Dragnet, which, while I like it, is almost too dry. The Line-Up had more drama over its run than Dragnet did.

The starring role was held by Bill Johnstone (seen on the left) who for a while portrayed the Shadow in the eponymous series. While Joseph Kearns is heard in the audition (and he is very good), Wally Maher appeared for the first year or so in the actual series as Sgt. Matt Greb.

Music under is the Sonny Stitt Quartet performing “I’ll Be Seeing You.”


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