Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 144 – Encore Theater

Mutual Broadcasting microphone


A slightly different crime story this week.  Encore Theater was a program the Mutual Broadcasting System sustained in the late forties to provide an opportunity for listeners to hear again dramatic episodes they heard on other programs and according to Mutual were the “best liked radio plays selected” by listeners. This episode is called “Balzac Murder” and was heard originally on the Carrington Playhouse in 1946. Elaine Carrington, called “Queen” Carrington for her “reign” as one of soap operas better known scripters created the series. However, these were not “soap” type programs. “Balzac Murder” is actually a very well written court room drama with flashbacks  by Joseph Cochran.  I think you’ll find the play fascinating (if you can get past the rather melodramatic organ bridge pieces). This play stars Raymond Edward Johnson as the Prosecutor.

Music under is the Nocturne in E Minor from the Grand Polonaise for Piano and Orchestra by Frederic Chopin.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 143 – Hot Copy

Betty Lou Gerson

Betty Lou Gerson

This time I look at a little known and rare radio program from 1942-1944 which focused on the newspaper reporter as detective. In this case, a female detective, Anne Rogers, who writes a column for a reputable newspaper. Anne finds herself involved in crime solving with the help of her foil Sgt. Flannigan. Scriptwriter was the noted Science Fiction writer, Nelson Bond. This episode of Hot Copy is called “Death Studies in Angles” from February 27th, 1944.  Though there were 3 actresses who played Anne Rogers, this episode features Betty Lou Gerson (right) in the role.

Music under is Andre Previn Trio: the tune is “One For Bunz.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 142 – “After Dinner Story”

Otto Kruger

Otto Kruger

This week a visit with Cornell Woolrich and the radio adaptation of his noirish horror story “After Dinner Story” as heard over the radio series Suspense. Woolrich was the master of creating tension out of the commonplace and while not completely faithful to the original story, this is still a very well done adaptation with script by Robert L. Richards. Otto Kruger (right) starred in the role and is positively scary as the man who holds life and death in his hands.

Music under is Coyote Moon by Ben Tavera King.

Special thanks to Cameron Estepp

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 141 – Tales of Fatima

Basil Rathbone

Basil Rathbone

Having decided not to renew his contracts for Sherlock Holmes, Basil Rathbone longed to be on the legitimate stage. He and his wife left Hollywood behind and moved to New York. While he did achieve some success initially, he also began to falter in his career. To supplement his income he starred in a short-lived radio series called Tales of Fatima. In this radio series, he played himself as an actor who gets involved in solving murder mysteries. But the series was coming late to radio and as television was gradually pulling revenues away from radio, the series faltered and left the air by the end of the summer of 1949.

Music under is by Phillip Glass and Michael Riesman.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 140 – Inspector Mark Saber

Robert CarrollThe series Inspector Mark Saber is in a sense the grand-child of the original Molle’ Mystery Theater.  In this podcast, you’ll meet Inspector Mark Saber, portrayed on radio by actor Robert Carroll (at right as he appeared as Patrick Henry). Saber is a somewhat aloof, seemingly all-known detective of a large city homicide division. The series appeared on radio in its waning dramatic days and came to the medium in a rather circuitous way from the original Mystery Theater.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 139 – Suspense

Edmund O'Brien

Edmund O'Brien

We’re back with an all new podcast. This one is a good one featuring Edmund O’Brien in a well layered role as Eric Strange, an author of help books about people who seem to suffer from “blind spots” in their lives. Blind spots are those areas where an individual fails to see or understand some event in their lives. Strange finds himself becoming a detective as he attempts to find a serial killer without himself being killed. A one hour Suspense program from 1948. Listen!

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 138 – Crime Classics

Elliott LewisFinally, I am back for a new podcast! Expanding the genre a bit to include crime in general, this week, a look at one of the better, but not so well known crime series in the fifties: Crime Classics. The series ran for 52 episodes only, but had the talents of Elliott Lewis (right) as producer/director, David Friedkin and Mort Fine, writers, and Bernard Herrmann as composer-conductor with live in studio musicians!

Music under is “Morning Passages” by Philip Glass and Michael Riesman from the film The Hours.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 137 – Cabin B-13

On June 23rd, 1948, CBS released a press statement entitled “Mysteries Circle the Globe: Cabin B-13 New Series by John Dickson Carr.” The location for the mysteries was built around the sailings of the passenger ship S.S. Maurevania. Each episode would be introduced by a Dr. Fabian, a world traveler and collector of strange and terrible tales of mystery and terror, as the opening described him. Events would occur at the port cities to which the ship sailed and at each one, Dr. Fabian would tell a mysterious story related to that city.

Music under is “All the Things You Are” performed by Andre Previn, Joe Pass and Ray Brown.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 136 – Devil in the Summer House

John Dickson CarrWhile in England, one of John Dickson Carr’s earliest plays was one called “Devil in the Summer House” which was originally envisioned as a two-parter, but eventually reduced to a one hour play. When Carr came back to the United States due to the war and his need to register for the draft, he re-wrote his one hour play into a half hour version for the Suspense radio series. “Devil in the Summer House”, even re-written into a half-hour play is very well produced, probably due to Dickson Carr’s desire to always create good radio.

Devil in the Summer House originally featured Carr’s private detective Gideon Fell, but he was excluded in this version. The role of Captain Burke fills Gideon’s shoes.

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.

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