Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 131 – Philip Marlowe

Van HeflinA somewhat lengthy examination of the hard-boiled detective in radio and other media. I look at Carroll John Daly’s Race Williams, Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op/Sam Spade, and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe in the evolution of what a hard-boiled detective is.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 130 – The Big Guy

Henry CalvinThis week a rather obscure radio detective series from the very early fifties called The Big Guy. The series starred Henry Calvin (right) who is best known as Sgt. Garcia from television’s Zorro. While the opening of the episode makes the show sound light, the subject matter is very radio detective and for the most part enjoyable.

Music under is called “Grace” by the Shapiro Project.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 129 – Riabouchinska

Ray Bradbury“Riabouchinska” is an unusual tale from the pen of Ray Bradbury. Not a name normally associated with the detective genre. However, this tale published in 1953 in The Saint Detective Magazine was first heard in 1947 on the radio program Suspense when the script was created from the original Bradbury story outline. The author had not even actually written the story yet! That would come six years later. Even though Ray Bradbury is one of America’s best fantasy and science fiction writers, this tale with its theme of the ventriloquist haunted by his own dummy’s personality involved murder and a detective who wanted to get to the bottom of the reasons behind the killing. From radio then to print and finally to television, first on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and later re-written by the author himself for his Ray Bradbury Theatre, the theme is one later played out in the Hollywood film Magic starring Anthony Hopkins in an early role.

You can view the Hitchcock version at Hulu.com.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 128 – Dime A Dance

Cornell WoolrichAnother visit with Cornell Woolrich, considered the father of noir fiction. I’ll look at one of his short novellas, Dime A Dance, published in 1938 and its adaptation on radio’s Suspense on January 13, 1944 starring Lucille Ball. The adaptation works for the most part and has the twists and turns of a good noirish suspense story.

Music under is Sonny Rollin’s rendition of “Poor Butterfly.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 127 – The White Rose Murders

Cornell WoolrichThis week, I begin looking at the noirish radio dramas based on the stories of Cornell Woolrich. First off is The White Rose Murders from the radio series Suspense. It is based on a story by Woolrich called The Death Rose and is one of the best examples of a taut noir radio drama.

Music under is first: Blind Spot by 3rd Man followed by Soothe Me by Shea Breaux Wells.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 126 – The Lost Special

Orson WellesA year and a half ago, I featured a radio version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, “The Lost Special” which aired over Escape in 1949. At that time, the Suspense version starring Orson Welles was considered lost. Recently, the audio for that 1943 Suspense version has surfaced thanks to Randy Riddle.

And so, I am taking another look at this version of the story, which is much closer to the original short story. I have mixed feelings about the adaptation as you will hear.

Background music is Grover’s Tune by Excellent Adventure

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 125 – Criminal At Large

Edgar WallaceFrom the fecund mind of mystery/thriller writer, Edgar Wallace, best known as the first screenwriter of the film King Kong. His better known mystery series include the J.G. Reeder and Green Archer series. Wallace’s stories were so well accepted over 160 films were made from them. This week I’ll look at Wallace and the radio play “Criminal At Large” from the Molle’ Mystery Theatre from April 1944. The radio play was based upon a stage play and film called The Frightened Lady.

Music under is Deep Purple played by Art Tatum.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 124 – Mask of Dimitrios

Eric AmblerEric Ambler is mostly known as a writer of spy related novels. Mask of Dimitrios (published in the U.S. as A Coffin for Dimitrios) is about a writer of detective stories who bargains for more than he can handle as he researches the mysterious Dimitrios. He is pulled farther and farther into a web of deceit. The book was made into a film and the film into a radio play as presented on the Screen Guild Theatre in 1945.

A look at the story and Ambler.

Music under is Blind Spot by 3rd Man from the Podshow Music Network.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 123 – The Cave of Ali Baba

Dorothy L. SayersFrom the pen of Dorothy L. Sayers, a different kind of detective story involving her detective, Lord Peter Wimsey. “The Cave of Ali Baba” was heard over Suspense in 1942 based on her original short story “The Adventurous Exploits of the Cave of Ali Baba” published in 1928.

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Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 122 – Campbell Playhouse: Who Murdered Roger Ackroyd

Agatha ChristieOne of Agatha Christie’s most successful stories with her Belgian detective Hercule Poirot was in itself controversial and a number of books have been written about the detective story. Her fellow writers at the time felt she had crossed the line in their “rules of the game” when creating a tidy cozy mystery. I’ll look briefly at the controversy and you’ll hear Orson Welles disappointing creation of her Belgian detective in the Mercury Theater’s production of this well-known detective story.

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