Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 215 – Laura

Dana AndrewsIn a mood of serendipity, we honor of Dana Andrews January 1st birthday and the completion in late December 1941 of Vera Caspary’s novel of crime and romance – Laura. Dana Andrews was born Carver Dana Andrews in Mississippi. He headed west to try to make his mark as a singer in popular and operatic music.  In Laura he portrayed detective Mark McPherson, who was in love in Laura Hunt.  This version is from the Screen Guild Theater from 1945.  I’ll also look at the life and times of author Vera Caspary.

Music under is Chet Baker performing the Laura theme.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 214 – Casey, Crime Photographer Christmas Special

Staats Cotsworth In the spirit of Christmas, I offer this Christmas episode of Casey, Crime Photographer from 1947 starring Staats Cotsworth as Casey. The introduction is brief and if you want more history on the show, look for podcasts 41 and 110 or search for “Crime Photographer.”

Have a very Merry Christmas and New Year. We’ll be back right after the New Year.

Music under is Doug Boldt with Deck the Halls

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 213 – Radio City Playhouse

Charles Lee Hutchings, scriptwriter A very powerful moral tale reminiscent of our society even today. The place is the room of the Night Editor of a tabloid newspaper as we meet young Dr. Lundgren and what has happened to his career due to a piece in the newspaper. I found this to be very engrossing and surprisingly violent for the period of production – 1949. Written by an advertising executive, Charles Lee Hutchings, this riveting story is one for our own time.

Music under is “Chelsea Bridge” by Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington and performed by Gerry Mulligan and Ben Webster.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 212 – The Crime Club

Vera Kelsey Though there are some who think the Eno Crime Club from 1931 is related, there is no connection between the Doubleday Crime Club imprint and that radio program. In 1946, the Mutual Broadcasting Company purchased a radio package from Doubleday given them permission to adapt certain Crime Club imprint books for radio drama and to use its name for new dramas not based on the books.

In 1947, one of the book selections – Vera Kelsey’s (pictured at right) Fear Came First was adapted into a half hour episode. Though rather compressed, the story is a good detective yarn featuring one Sheriff LaRue investigating two murders.

Music under is Prisoner of Love performed by Art Tatum.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 211 – Molle’ Mystery Theater – Killer Come Back to Me!

Ray Bradbury One usually does not think of Ray Bradbury as a writer of crime stories, but in his early writing career when he was trying to sell stories to various pulp magazines, he gave crime fiction a chance. One such story was called “Autopsy” on his manuscript, but was published in Detective Tales magazine and the title was changed to “Killer Come Back to Me!” by the magazine. The result was an interesting but somewhat lackluster story.

With the help of a radio adaptation by Joseph Ruscoll for the Molle’ Mystery Theater, it was turned into a very good noirish play for radio. An unusually good story by the Bradbury/Ruscoll creation and starring a young Richard Widmark before he became a film star. In fact you will hear the beginnings of Tommy Udo, his character in his film career debut from Kiss of Death.

Music under is by Angelo Badalamenti called Fire Walk With Me (Theme from Twin Peaks).

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 210 – Adventures of Sam Spade

Dashiell Hammett A previously uncirculated copy of an episode from the radio series, The Adventures of Sam Spade, has surfaced. The copy appears to have been hiding right in front of most eyes but was not in general circulation. It is called “The Dead Duck Caper” from February 2, 1947 and stars Howard Duff as Spade and Lurene Tuttle as Effie. Back story about Effie comes from this episode.

I look briefly at Hammett in detective literature and the impact of the Red Scare upon the radio series.

Music under is John Coltrane performing Stardust.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 209 – Cornell Woolrich and the Avenging Angel

Cornell WoolrichOne of author Cornell Woolrich’s dominant noir themes was that of the avenging angel or “l’ange noir.” In this podcast, I look at that theme, how the author came to it and offer a selection from the radio series Suspense called “Angel Face” in which the theme emerges.

Many of Woolrich’s noir stories feature some variation of this “black angel” of death or destruction and serve as his femme fatale in many of the short stories.

Music under is called “Prowler” by Bohren & der Club of Gore.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 208 – The Man Who Knew How

Writer Dorothy L. Sayers Normally known for her “Lord Peter Wimsey” detective novels, Sayers was an expert in creating short stories which could touch our psyches and take a “whodunit” and find us asking ourselves, “Who Is It?” She also wrote a series of short stories about a salesman cum detective whose name is Montague Egg. These stories came after the story presented in this podcast – “The Man Who Knew How.”

This is a story about a man who is intrigued when he meets a stranger on a train who tells him about how to create the perfect murder…

Music under is Ruby performed by Yorgui Loeffler

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 207 – Escape: Confidential Agent

Ken Crossen This time we escape to another adaptation of a novel by mystery writer Ken Crossen, who takes on Graham Greene’s novel of a “between the wars” thriller – The Confidential Agent. This adaptation was for the radio program Escape and is well adapted maintaining an exciting, fast-paced ride as a man tries to meet up with his contact without being murdered. I also look briefly at the scripter, Crossen, who himself was an accomplished mystery and science fiction writer.

Music under is Palermo Snow written and performed by John Renbourn.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 206 – Fifty Candles

earl_derr_biggersThough he is known for his Charlie Chan mysteries, Biggers was a prolific writer of other mystery stories, several of which were based in Hawaii and/or San Francisco.

This time a look at one of his shorter novels involving Detective Sergeant Barnes of the San Francisco police department. This is a classic whodunit with a number of suspects. Biggers often wrote in a realist style and with a prominent minority such as Charlie Chan. This novel features a Chinese servant though the detective, unlike Chan, are Anglo. The adaptation could have been written by Ken Crossen, though we don’t know for sure.

Music under is Stardust performed by John Coltrane

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