Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 135 – Women as Detectives

Detective fiction is full of examples of the woman-as-detective theme throughout its history. While the majority of the fictional detectives were men, there are flattering examples in which female sleuths regularly sought out clues and ultimately solved crimes.

In radio, on the other hand, female detectives were usually somewhat vacuous or treated with little respect. Radio did have its share of female sleuths, though many were either regional broadcasts or never really succeeded.

A look at one specific example of a woman in a detective role unintentionally as based on a Cornell Woolrich (right) story, “The Book That Squealed.”

Music under is Andre Previn/Joe Pass/Ray Brown: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar Premiers

On February 18th, 1949 – fifty years ago – one of the best loved radio detective series premiered over NBC starring Charles Russell as Johnny Dollar.  Russell only lasted a year and the series took a different tone with the next Dollar actor – Edmund O’Brien. That was a much darker tone with the sullen O’Brien seeming to find himself involved with murder more often. After O’Brien left to a growing film career, another future film actor, John Lund, stepped into the role.

It was Lund’s successor who really expanded the popularity when radio actor Bob Bailey became Johnny Dollar fresh from his role as George Valentine in Let George Do It.  Bailey stayed with the series until the early sixties when the series left Hollywood and moved back to New York.

You can hear more about the Johnny Dollar series in a podcast I did in Episode #68.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 133 – Night Beat

Frank LovejoyNight Beat was one of those radio series that came over the networks in the early fifties just as the medium was beginning to toll its death knell for dramatic network drama. Yet the quality of many of the shows from this period were some of the best produced by radio. This journalist as detective serial starring Frank Lovejoy, whose somewhat gravely, reedy voice was perfect as Randy Stone, ran for several years and evoked noirish themes as he traveled the big city of Chicago in search of stories of the lost souls who survived living in the dark. Well written, well acted, the series still retains its attractiveness as reporter Stone found himself embroiled in the lives of these lost souls and often crossed beyond the role of reporter into that of detective as he helped resolve the events which he encountered.

Music under is “Midnight in Chicago” by jjo.

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 109 – Nick Carter, Master Detective

Nick Carter PublicationThis week begins a short series on radio detectives who come from the pulps. This includes pulps such as the early publications like the one on the right and Black Mask Magazine. I’ll start with one of the earliest pulp detectives who appeared on radio, Nick Carter. A look at the history of these pulps, some of the early detectives, and an early Nick Carter, Master Detective episode from 1943.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 108 – Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Anthony BoucherFrom John Dickson Carr to Ellery Queen, we now move to the last of our look at the scientific detectives on radio – the master himself, Sherlock Holmes, as written by Anthony Boucher (right) and Denis Green. I’ll do a little comparing to the Edith Meiser version of Holmes too.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 107 – Adventures of Ellery Queen

Hugh MarloweContinuing the examination of the detectives using the deductive process, a look at the authors Fred Dannay and Manfred Lee, aka Ellery Queen and their famous detective. We’ll follow their connection to last week’s author John Dickson Carr and hear an episode that while not from the first year (the hour long series) reflects the hour long series since the originals are lost to time. This is from The Ford Theatre and stars the original Ellery Queen Hugh Marlowe (right).


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 106 – Suspense: Five Canaries in a Room

Ona MunsonThis week concludes my focus on John Dickson Carr. A look at a radio play based upon his Colonel March detective stories (written under the pseudonym Carter Dickson) without, unfortunately, the Colonel. “Five Canaries in a Room” starring Ona Munson (right) is based upon his Colonel March short story “The Crime in Nobody’s Room.” This version has been Americanized and was written by Carr himself but without Colonel March. Instead we have an Inspector Braddock.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 105 – Suspense: John Dickson Carr

John Dickson CarrThis week, a look at the detective Dr. Gideon Fell created by mystery writer John Dickson Carr. Carr was an American who spent much of his life in England writing “locked room” mysteries and crime involving his several detectives. Dr. Gideon Fell was one his most popular. We’ll also look at the writing of John Dickson Carr and listen to a partial episode of his famous detective on Suspense plus a complete episode with the detective written out, but other characters serving up the detection!

Music under is Oscar Peterson and a “Waltz for Debby”.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 104 – Adventures of Sam Spade

Howard DuffThis week I bring to a close the look at the influence of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade on radio detectives. You’ll hear a rarer heard Adventures of Sam Spade from the first season ABC Radio network run in 1946. This series also starred Howard Duff (right) and is the only existing audio copy known from that season. These were generally superior versions thanks to the writing talent of Bob Tallman and Jo Eisinger and though no copies exist, eight of Hammett’s actual works are adapted into stories from Hammett’s own publication also called The Adventures of Sam Spade.

Music under is from the Tony Marino Project called “Take Me Tonight” from the Podshow Music Network.


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