Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 25 – Defense Attorney

Mercedes McCambridgeThis week’s podcast will present a character from radio whose primary job was not an investigator, but rather an attorney who helped put criminals away. But radio audiences were already listening to Perry Mason. Yet even in that series, the element of investigation was paramount. This week I will present a woman, Martha Ellis Bryant, who was by vocation an attorney, but by reluctant circumstance, an investigator solving crimes.

The series as heard over ABC did not have its genesis there. It actually began on the NBC radio network under the title of “The Defense Rests.” The star of the both series was Mercedes McCambridge who had a very distinctive voice in radio.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 24 – True Detective Mysteries

True Detective MagazineBesides all the fictional private eye radio serials over the years, there were also dramatic series devoted to the real thing. Series such as Gang Busters and Dragnet focused on the lives of the cop. In 1929, there was a radio series that began over CBS that was based on one of the bigger pulp magazines of the day – True Detective Magazine.

The 1929 radio series was sponsored by the magazine and ran as a 30 minute once-a-week serial about real life crimes and the men who solved them. There followed several more runs of the series at different times either sponsored by True Detective Magazine or Listerine and O’Henry candy bar. The story I’ll be playing this week comes from a syndicated version of the radio drama transcribed by a company called TransAmerican for Radio Program Associates. These recordings though from the late thirties, are in excellent condition.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 23 – Philo Vance

Jackson Beck as Philo VanceBroke and without work, former art critic and journalist S.S. Van Dine burst onto the fictional detective scene with the publication “The Benson Murder Case” which featured wealthy connoisseur and man about town Philo Vance who was called in to solve the crime. The book, part one of a trilogy, was an instant hit.

Not to be left out radio soon began to cash in on the Philo Vance popularity. The first series on radio appeared around 1943 starring John Emery as Vance. In 1948, syndication king Frederic Ziv began producing a new series starting in July. This final series starred one of radio’s great voices – Jackson Beck.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 22 – The Abbotts

Claudia Morgan as Jean Abbott

In 1941, authoress Frances Crane wrote a mystery called “The Turquoise Shop.” In the course of the novel, private investigator, Patrick Abbott, enters the shop of Jean Holly. By the end of the novel the two had fallen in love. In future books involving the couple, they married and continued to solve crimes encountered as part of the plot.

In 1945, the novels found radio. Abbott Mysteries debuted in June of that year over the Mutual network. Jean Abbott, who had a primary position in the novels was moved to second class in the radio plays. Unfortunately, no copies of the first series run have surfaced. In January, 1955, “The Adventures of the Abbotts” premiered over the NBC network. Claudia Morgan played Jean in the second series.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 21 – Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock HolmesThis week – a look at probably the most well-known “media” detective – film, radio, fiction – Sherlock Holmes. You’ll hear some of the history of the radio programs over the years it was broadcast and a rarer episode from the earliest known copy – 1933 with Richard Gordon as Holmes and Leigh Lovell as Dr. Watson.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 20 – Box 13

Box 13A look at radio detective Dan Holiday – Alan Ladd – from Box 13. “Adventure Wanted. Will go anywhere. Do anything. Box 13.” The series was produced by Ladd’s Mayfair Productions.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 19 – Richard Diamond, Private Investigator

Dick PowellFinishing up our look at the radio detective career of Dick Powell I turn to his role as Richard Diamond, “the singing gumshoe.” By this time Powell had reinvented himself from “boy crooner” to tough detective both in film and radio.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 18 – Rogue’s Gallery

Dick PowellThe first of a two podcast look at how Dick Powell began to reinvent his image from boy crooner into movie and radio tough guy. Tonight I look at the first of his radio series in his new image – Richard Rogue in Rogue’s Gallery.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 17 – Pat Novak For Hire

Jack WebbContinuing our look at the radio career of Jack Webb, I look at an earlier series in which Webb starred – Pat Novak For Hire.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 16 – The Thin Man

Les DamonA return to detective author, Dashiell Hammett, and his last fictional creations – Nick and Nora Charles in The Adventures of the Thin Man. The series starred Les Damon (see photo) and Claudia Morgan. The duo starred together once more in a detective series call The Adventures of the Abbotts.

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