Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 270 – The Man in the Velvet Hat

Bernard Lenrow In the introduction to Jerome and Harold Prince’s first detective short story, editors Ellery Queen called the piece a “strange, strange story.” The story was called “The Man in the Velvet Hat” and it became the best known of the writing duo who continued to publish occasionally in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

In the introduction, the authors wrote to the editor: “…we think we owe a good deal to the motion picture. For the motion picture is able to create a mood of unreal reality by means of quick, sharp, shifting images (rapid cross-cutting). We have utilized the same technique.”
Ellery Queen added “Slowly, increasingly, inexorably, this frankly experimental technique will get under your skin, and in the end you will possess and be possessed with such a long lingering memory of the man in the velvet hat.”

In 1944, the story was adapted for radio for the Molle’ Mystery Theater via the Mutual Broadcasting System. That original episode is not available, but it was captured via the Armed Forces Service for its Mystery Playhouse. The version attempts to catch some of the style created by the authors by being rather fast paced trying to squeeze the overall plot within a 30 minute timeframe. The host of the Molle Mystery Theater was Bernard Lenrow (left) who portrayed Geoffrey Barnes. You won’t hear him in this episode, but he remained host for a few years.

Music under is “Blind” performed by Train.

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