Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 159 – Hot Copy Revisited

Fern Persons

Fern Persons

A revisit to the early forties female detective series Hot Copy which premiered in October 1941 and carried through the war years until November 1944. With the initial lead of Anne Rogers, columnist and detective, starring Fern Persons, a Chicago area radio actress. The series featured mostly crimes committed that seem to have a war theme including black market sales of Silk Stockings, Nazi spies and the standard robbers and felons. Later scripter featured the well-known Science Fiction writer, Nelson Bond, who wrote mostly the 1944 series.

Music under is Cotton Tail played by Andre Previn Trio.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 158 – Crime on the Waterfront

Myron "Mike" Wallace

Myron Wallace

Often pilot episodes never make it to broadcast. Crime on the Waterfront starring Myron Wallace is one of those detective series that never saw the light of airtime. Coming before potential sponsors in 1949 just when television was getting wind in its sail, and given the plethora of radio detectives already on, Crime on the Waterfront never had a chance.

Myron Wallace was good though he sounded a lot like Charles Russell in Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar but Wallace’s Lt. Cagle was a real detective working for a police department.  Who knows if the shows failure was why Myron Wallace soon became Mike Wallace leading to his long stint on CBS Television’s 60 Minutes!

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 157 – Appointment With Fear

Valentine Dyall - Man in Black

Valentine Dyall

This week, a Suspense clone suggested by and scripted by John Dickson Carr, who was also the creator of the Man In Black on Suspense. Appointment With Fear was JD Carr’s bringing of Suspense to the British public in the mid-1940s. Their Man in Black looked and sounded the part – Valentine Dyall, a man with a sonorous voice.

This episode is a Dr. Gideon Fell mystery. Fell was one of Carr’s creations – a detective who was both pompous and portly and the actor in this episode certainly fits the description aurally!  This is an episode called “The Clock Strikes Eight.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 156 – Orient Express

E.G. Marshall

EG Marshall

This week a completely different radio play for the Radio Detective Story Hour. Not so much mystery as spy thriller. And not so much old time radio as new radio drama. The story involves a mystery on a train during Cold War Europe.  The train is another route of the Orient Express and involves murder, documents and a bit of a chase. Not as much a detective story as one I think you will enjoy anyway. The play was heard over the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre in 1977.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 155 – Trent’s Last Case

E.C. Bentley

E.C. Bentley

This week you’ll hear from a detective who is not well known, yet, the novel on which it is based is considered very influential to the modern detective story. E.C. Bentley originally wrote his novel, Trent’s Last Case, on a challenge from his life-long friend, G.K. Chesterton. Bentley wrote this after becoming exasperated with the “perfection” Conan Doyle built into his detective, Sherlock Holmes. Bentley’s Trent is more human like the rest of us and makes mistakes.

This episode is from Suspense and is a satisfactory, though not perfect adaptation of the novel.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 154 – Love’s Lovely Counterfeit

Author James M. Cain

James M. Cain

James M. Cain is considered by many as one of the creators of the roman noir or “dark fiction” along with Cornell Woolrich, Jim Thompson, Dorothy Hughes and others. Some describe his stories as “hardboiled” though I don’t feel they are in the strict sense other than if one considers noir fiction as a sub-genre of the “hardboiled” school.

The radio drama included with this podcast is Love’s Lovely Counterfeit, in the broadcast from 1945 starring Humphrey Bogart. There was a second broadcast in 1948 starring James Cagney, which I consider a lesser version. The original novel was published between his two great novels, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. This radio drama is perhaps grittier than the Cagney version and also starred Lurene Tuttle and Wally Maher.

Music under “Midnight in Chicago” by jjo.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 153 – Drive-in

Judy Garland

Judy Garland

This week, one of most thrilling episodes, for me, from the series Suspense. The best radio drama is when the acting is top-notch, the sound effects are well-tuned to enhance the dialogue and the music is designed to increase tension and a sense of thrill. This happens when a good producer and director can pull it all together to positively produce goosebumps as you listen and imagine the terror the character or characters feel. Suspense often could do that. It had both the budget and the talent to create drama that was emotionally involving for the listener. Judy Garland stars in this week’s podcast drama, “Drive-in,” at the upswing in her young career. Though she was primarily a singer, she does a very good job. But it is the addition of one of the best radio actors, Elliott Lewis, to bring it all home.

Music under is the theme from Body Heat performed by Jazz At the Movies.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 152 – Suspicion

Sam Jaffe

Sam Jaffe

This week, a return to mystery writer, Dorothy L. Sayers. Sayers is best known for her detective character Lord Peter Wimsey, but this British writer also wrote many short stories in which there was no specific professional detective. In this week’s episode, you’ll hear Suspicion, an episode from the Suspense radio series based on the short story, Mr. Mummery’s Suspicion, a much more descriptive title. The episode stars noted theater, film and television character actor, Sam Jaffe, who was constantly on television in the fifties and sixties.  His best known film role was either Ben-Hur or The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Suspicion is an excellent example of a common man as detective and follows The Detection Club’s commandments for good mystery writing.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 151 – Murders in the Rue Morgue

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

This week, something a little different. The genesis of many of the detectives in fiction began with Edgar Allan Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue. His detective creation was one C. Auguste Dupin, and his method of solving a crime was as Poe referred to it – ratiocination.  Dupin was the inspiration for detectives whose deductive reasoning methods became famous including Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Christie’s Hercule Poirot. This particular radio play comes from The Weird Circle better known for being a horror program. But the horror is really downplayed here and the deductive reasoning is in high gear.

Music under is Coyote Moon by Ben Tavera King

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 150 – The ABC Murders

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

This time I present an example of taking an excellent fictional story and trying to squeeze it into a one half-hour suspense play. Agatha Christie’s story The ABC Murders is a fine Hercule Poirot mystery, but when handled by a normally excellent scriptwriter turning it into a radio drama, something has to give. The radio play as pure radio drama is not bad, but if you compare it to the book or expect good things in a half-hour, think again. This version is from a 1943 Suspense radio episode starring Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester.

Music under is My Suppressed Desire by the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks.

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