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.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 103 – Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: Who Took the Taxis

Charles RussellA look at a sort of a six degrees of separation around Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and various radio programs which seemed directly or indirectly influenced by the hardboiled detective. By early 1949, Gil Doud and Bob Tallman left the Adventures of Sam Spade. Doud became the writer for a new radio detective series – Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar starring Charles Russell. Doud created some radio scripts that bore distinct Sam Spade themes in the creation of his new radio detective character. Portions of the characterizations in this podcast radio play were almost a steal from Hammett’s Maltese Falcon.

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Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 102 – Suspense: Two Sharp Knives

Stuart ErwinA continued look at our twisted six degrees of separation as I look at radio detectives connected to Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. This week a look at Hammett’s own short story adapted for radio on Suspense. Stuart Erwin (right) plays a police lieutenant who like Hammett’s Continental Op rises above the corruption of police authority to solve the crime. A well written play by the great mystery writer, John Dickson Carr.

Music under is “Grover’s Tune” by Excellent Adventure from the Podshow Music Network.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 101 – Suspense: The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Keenan WynnI return from my recent hiatus with a look over the next few weeks at radio detectives that have some connection to Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. This podcast begins with a look at a story from writer and scripter Jo Eisinger, whose book The Walls Came Tumbling Down was adapted into a radio play for the radio series Suspense. Listen to the podcast to find out what the connection is to Sam Spade! This episode starred a young and upcoming Keenan Wynn (right).

Music under is by Oscar Peterson.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 100 – Night Beat & Broadway Is My Beat

Frank Lovejoy100th podcast of this series! This week I want to return to two series with detective elements as well as what I call radio noir aspects in their productions. A special double-header focusing on the writing, the darkness and the pulse of two of the better radio series with crime detection themes. Night Beat with its gravel-voiced character played by Frank Lovejoy (right) and its use of darkness through the writing and images and Broadway Is My Beat with its haiku-style narration, dark jazzy undertones and layered sound effects both combine to create a sizzingly summertime and dark feel to the big city “beat.” Both of these series were excellent examples of evoking the dark side of city life.

The two series were both from the early fifties, a time when film noir was at its height. It was the beginning of the cold war; it was a time of spies and communists under every rock. People were edgy – after all, they had survived a world war and were now in an undeclared one – Korea. Yet it was also a time of great prosperity for the United States.

This will be my last podcast for a few weeks as I take a break to recharge!

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 99 – The Big Story

Ernest ChappellThe reporter as investigator! This series was based upon real-life incidents in which a newspaper reporter played an important part in solving a crime. The reporter was presented with the Pall Mall Award at the end of the show. These reporters showed the best side of their investigative skills – something shared by the radio detectives featured in this podcast series. The series began in April 1947 sponsored by the American Tobacco Company, which made Lucky Strike and Pall Mall Cigarettes. While the series was anthologized with no single starring actor, it did feature a regular announcer – Ernest Chappell (right) who would later be heard on the Wyllis Cooper series, Quiet, Please.

The idea developed from an article written in Newsweek and read by producer Bernard Prockter. He envisioned a program in which real stories would be dramatized and star an actor portraying the reporter who helped solve the crime he was reporting. It would follow a more real approach, though truncated, on the reporter looking at bits and pieces of evidence from the crime and doing some investigative reporting and ultimately coming up with some fact that helps break the case or solves it.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 98 – Tales of the Texas Rangers

Joel McCreaA detective serial of the modern southwest. What Dragnet was to Los Angeles, this serial is to Texas. Starring Joel McCrea as Ranger Pearson, the series takes place in the thirties and focuses on the CSI style investigations of crimes as Pearson guides his men and himself through the maze of investigation of crime. When I first heard of the radio series Tales of the Texas Rangers years ago, I thought it was a western series based in the historic old west. Obviously, never having heard it, I soon discovered it was in fact a modern detective series that mostly took its queue from Jack Webb’s Dragnet series.

Historically, the Texas Rangers were a policing organization formed by Stephen Austin in the 1800’s to mostly protect the land from Indians and outlaws. Their “beat” was 260,000 square miles of Texas and as the opening of the radio series describes, they were “the oldest law enforcement body in North America.”

Music under is Coyote Moon by Ben Tavera King.

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