Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 268 – Rocky Jordan

Jack Moyles Recently, I’ve found myself drawn at night to listening to episodes of Rocky Jordan. I’m sort of in conflict with myself about this series. It’s an interesting listen, but it got me thinking about just what is it that I find attractive about this series? What I determined at least for me is an explanation of just what makes good audio drama.

Radio writer Gerald Nachman wrote that “radio created its own visual language through sound effects, vocal theatrics and music.” I think this applies quite well to the Rocky Jordan series. Rocky Jordan was created by Gomer Cool and Larry Roman and their stories are punchy and succinct. The structure of the Jordan scripts with a balance of narration and action with well-crafted dialogue between characters makes these episodes a joy to listen to. Moyles like Bob Bailey in Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar was made for the role and naturally falls into character. His chief protagonist, Sam Sabaaya, played by Jay Novello does an equally excellent job in portraying his character.

So listen and enjoy “The Return of Dr. Piru” as heard on Rocky Jordan from February 1950.

Music under is from Voices of the Night.

5 Responses to Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 268 – Rocky Jordan

  1. Cameron Estep says:

    Dear Jim,
    Glad to see you’re still doing your radio podcasts. I always keep on the lookout for the latest podcast you have on Radio Detective Story Hour. I have an intriguing idea for a new podcast on this site. When one hears the name Robert Bloch not too many people seem to know his name but he was the author of Psycho(later turned into the classic film shocker directed by Alfred Hitchcock). Bloch apparently wrote stories that combine horror with fantasy and sometimes wrote stories that have a detective solving the case. One of his stories called “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper”. It was published in the 1940’s in Weird Tales magazine. The story tells of an Englishman named Sir Guy Hollis who believes the infamous killer is still alive and committing more murders in present-day Chicago and plans to catch the Ripper with the aid of a psychiatrist named Dr. Carmody and they roam the dark seedy streets in pursuit of the maniac but the story ends with a unexpected twist ending. The original story has elements of the supernatural as well as detective elements in the form of the Englishman and the psychiatrist. The story was broadcasted on the Molle Mystery Theatre in 1945. It was presented on the Mystery Playhouse hosted by Peter Lorre who introduce the episode and at the conclusion makes the closing remarks. The story was also featured on the TV series Thriller hosted by Boris Karloff in the 1950’s. I know I may have suggested this idea to you before but I thought it would be interesting to hear a story by the man who terrified film audiences with Psycho. If you like this idea please let me know and hopefully you can use this.

  2. Jos says:

    Nice post! I hadn’t heard of this series, but found the archive online. I totally understand the confusion about the show’s quality: great episodes, but also very straightforward in terms of setting and characters. Overall I think the thing that (sort of) sets it apart is the actor playing Rocky Jordan. Some other details, like the running gags between Rocky and Sam also add to it (it reminded me of sergeant Otis in another famous series ;)).
    Anyway, thanks for the post and keep up this great work!
    Regards,
    Jos

  3. Stewart Wright says:

    The following are some excerpts from an article I wrote on Rocky Jordan which appeared in the September, 2015 issue of the Radiogram, the newsletter of The Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama Variety and Comedy. They explain the appeal that the Rocky Jordan series had for me.

    . . . . The production standards displayed in the broadcasts of Rocky Jordan were definitely a cut above most regional network produced series and, in fact, were better than many of those that were aired nationally. From the surviving broadcasts, it is obvious that the crew and cast worked hard to make the series a quality listening experience. . . .

    . . . . During the run of Rocky Jordan there were several variations of the opening narrative spoken by the announcer that focused on the adventurous and potentially dangerous nature of the exotic locale and set the mood and gave the audience the impression that this was not your normal dramatic series. . . .

    . . . . Moyles also ably performed the role of narrator when he was the lead. Rocky’s first-person narration passages were an important element of each episode, often providing insights into his motivations and describing action sequences such as fights. . . .

    . . . . Moyles as Rocky Jordan and Jay Novello, who played Cairo Police Captain Sam Sabaaya, attained the kind of chemistry between characters that was often attempted but was seldom achieved. Their characters were two men who came from very different worlds, who were never quite sure if they could totally trust each other, and yet at times had to place their life into the other man’s hands. The private conversations between the two lead characters were one of the highlights of the series. These conversations drew the audi¬ence into the complex relationship of Jordan and Sabaaya and made the listeners feel that they were a part of the world of these two men. . . .

  4. jwidner says:

    Thanks, Jos

  5. jwidner says:

    Stewart doesn’t mention it, but he has a very informative extensive log on this series located at http://old-time.com/otrlogs2/rj_sw.log.pdf

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