Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 176 – Challenge To the Listener

Hugh Pentecost

Hugh Pentecost

Hugh Pentecost was a pseudonym for Mystery writer Judson Phillips. He was one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America. This podcast features a script he wrote called “Challenge to the Listener” and starred Richard Widmark and Everett Sloane – both intense actors and excellent in these roles.

The story appeared on the Molle Mystery Theater and begins with the murder of a woman who is in radio broadcasting. The last half of the script is just a two way dialogue between the Widmark and Sloane characters leaving us scratching our heads each time as to just who is the killer.

Music under was a jazz composition by an artist named Moss. The song is called Fall.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 175 – Molle Mystery Theater

Cornell Woolrich as William Irish

Cornell Woolrich

Cornell Woolrich was one of the most dominant authors whose stories appeared on the many mystery series of the forties. In this episode of Leg Man from the Molle Mystery Theater based on the short story of the same name, we find Burgess, a tenacious reporter who is seeking out not only a story, but wants to figure out a crime at great personal risk to himself.

The story was not one of Woolrich (as William Irish) best though the adapted radio play is a good listen nonetheless.

Music under is “Passion Flower” performed by the Charlie Haden Quartet.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 174 – Ellery Queen

Ellery Queen

Dannay & Lee

In 1928, two young men decided to enter a Mystery Novel writing contest. Their book resulted in publication and thus began the career of one of America’s deductive solving detectives – Ellery Queen. Ultimately, the authors turned to radio and one of the more popular and long running series both on radio and television began. The stories of Ellery Queen were lighter in tone than the later hardboiled influenced radio detectives, but both Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee knew the power of the radio script and wrote some good ones.

Music under is “Happy Feet” performed by Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra, “Puttin’ On the Ritz” sung by Fred Astaire, and “If I Had A Picture of You” performed by Jack Hylton & Orchestra.

Sorry for the silence!

Things have been pretty hectic here recently taking my time away from any new podcasts. Hopefully, I will have another one shortly.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 173 – Two Men In a Furnished Room

John Beal

John Beal

This week a rare story from the pen of William Irish, aka Cornell Woolrich, that as a radio drama is pure audio noir. The series on which it appeared was the Mollé Mystery Theater in 1946 starring John Beal (right) and Sam Wanamaker. It is an example of what biographer Francis Nevins calls Wollrich’s oscillation thriller. All the elements of noir are heard in the story as the suspense builds on who is the killer after a murder appears to be committed when a girl goes missing. Classic Woolrich!

The music under is Blood Count written by Billy Strayhorn and performed by Stan Getz.

The Complete Smiley

BBC Radio 4 Extra is now repeating the Complete Smiley series they ran last year. Though more spy that detective thriller, this is a very well done set of productions of John LeCarre’s novels of his spymaster George Smiley. They recently began the first of the novels – Call For the Dead.

The series stars Simon Russell Beale as Smiley and I recommend them if you are a fan of the genre. As of this day’s post, there are six days left to hear the first one.

You can find it at


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 172 – Pearls Are a Nuisance

William Bendix

William Bendix

An unusual Raymond Chandler story this time as heard over Suspense. “Pearls Are a Nuisance” was a Chandlerian spoof on the detective genre. Sounding almost Damon Runyon in structure, the story starred William Bendix and Alan Joslyn. This version is very faithful to the original fictional story. It is definitely not what you might expect from Chandler, yet it has all the elements of much of his detective fiction including the seedy bars and hotels, some violence, and even elements of noir despite how light this story is.

Music under is “Dickie’s Dream” by Dick Hyman.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 171 – Philip Marlowe

Raymond Chandler

Raymond Chandler

A more indepth look at Raymond Chandler’s iconic private detective, Philip Marlowe. Rising from the pulps of miscellaneous detectives, Chandler hewed his image of his private detective into a Knight Errant, who remained tough, but intelligent. The author’s writings adapted very well to radio as in this radio drama, “The Persian Slippers.”

Music under is Night Town from Joni Janak’s album, The Wind.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 170 – Suspense: Nightmare

Eddie Bracken

Eddie Bracken

This episode presents what I think is one of the best audio noir productions ever produced. Adapted from the Cornell Woolrich (as William Irish) short story – “And So to Death” – it is one of Woolrich’s best – pure noir. The adaptation preserves much of that aurally through the fabulous performances of Eddie Bracken and veteran radio actor William Conrad. Under the direction of Anton M. Leader and adapted by Alfred Palker, it oozes with noirish detail. From March 13, 1948.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 169 – The Purloined Letter

Adolph Menjou

Adolph Menjou

This time a re-visit to the father of detective story – Edgar Allan Poe in perhaps his greatest detective story. Poe was the creator of the intuitive approach to detection through his character C. Auguste Dupin. His stories influenced Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and other early detective writers. The Purloined Letter was probably his best example of pure detection.

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