Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 231 – The McCoy

Howard Duff is Sam Spade.In 1947, the House Committee for UnAmerican Activities held nine days of hearings into alleged communist influence within Hollywood. Soon this expanded into other entertainment media including radio. Soon, more than 300 artists were boycotted by the studios.

On the list was Dashiell Hammett. When this expanded to the McCarthy Hearings in the early fifties, Howard Duff also appeared on the list.

Both of these events would spell doom for the radio detective series, The Adventures of Sam Spade, but listeners loved Duff in the roll. Though his film career was beginning to get some traction, there were others who still wanted him to come back to radio in something similar to Sam Spade. An audition that never made it to radio was created by David Friedkin and Morton Fine called The McCoy in an obvious Spade like roll for the actor.

Thanks to Martin Grams Jr’s book The Radio Adventures of Sam Spade.

Music under is Art Tatum playing “My Ideal.”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 230 – Deadline at Dawn

Helen Walker Though there are not always good examples, “Deadline at Dawn” as heard over Suspense in 1948 was a shining example of radio noir. Taking a story from the father of noir fiction, Cornell Woolrich (William Irish), and adaptation by one of the best noirish scriptwriters, Irving Ravetch, it was the perfect marriage of true audio noir. One must also not take anything away from director Anton Leader, whose Suspense credits always prove worthy.

The excellent, but sadly forgotten, Helen Walker, film noir actress extraordinare, stars in this along with John Beal. But Walker is the star and this appearance is after her early Hollywood career was tumbling, but seemingly in some recovery mode.

Ravetch’s writing is simply superb, tense, taut and some of his best radio scripting. He went on to screenwrite, “The Long, Hot Summer,” “Hud,” “Hombre,” and “Norma Rae” among others.

A look at how the production works as a fine example of radio noir.

Music under is “Almost Blue” by the great Chet Baker.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 229 – The Saint

Denis Green A rare audition recording of the radio series The Saint which was made prior to the NBC version starring Edgar Barrier. This particular audition instead stars actor and writer, Denis Green, in the role of Simon Templar. Green is best known as part of the duo of Anthony Boucher and Denis Green, who wrote many non-canonical Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as well as The Casebook of Gregory Hood for radio.

This audition is a story called “The Miracle Tea Party” (long before the current “tea parties.”) and features Leslie Charteris, the Saint/Simon Templer creator/author on the recording.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 228 – The Adventures of the Thin Man

Les Damon In celebration of the 73rd anniversary of the premier of the Adventures of the Thin Man on radio, a rarely heard episode from 1942 – the earliest available. This one is from an Armed Forces Radio disc as part of their “Frontline Theater.”

While the radio series was not as good as the films, they are still enjoyable to listen to. This early episode was while they were still getting the series to flow well. Les Damon and Claudia Morgan star as Nick & Nora Charles.

Music under is Suzanne Vega singing “The Thin Man” along with Fred Astaire on two from one of his album compilations.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 227 – The Adventures of Christopher London

Glenn Ford A little heard series since only 3 episodes exist of actor Glenn Ford starring as detective for hire Christopher London. This was on the air briefly at the height of his popularity in film. The first episode of this short-lived series.

Music under is Nicholas Payton with the theme from the film Chinatown.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 226 – Matthew Slade, Private Investigator

William WintersoleBy 1963 all dramatic radio had abandoned American radio broadcasting going the way of music and talk programs. With the rise of television, the networks and sponsors didn’t want to invest in radio drama. The model in this country called for dollars coming in from sponsors to support dramatic radio.

Pacifica Radio, a West Coast network of Public Radio stations produced at least one series beginning in 1964. Produced in Berkely, California, the series was called Mathew Slade, Private Investigator and starred William Wintersole.

Music under is “My Ideal” performed by Art Tatum.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 225 – Murder By Experts

Joseph Ruscoll - scriptwriter In 1949, writers/producers approached John Dickson Carr, to host a new series they were creating called Murder By Experts. Carr agreed to host this unique mystery series in which then-famous authors of classic mystery would select a drama to be aired. The episode for this podcast was written by Joseph Ruscoll (left) and was a more lighthearted approach to classic murder with a twist.

Music under is the Edmund Hall Trio.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 224 – Suspense: A Murderous Revision

Howard DuffWhen Howard Duff was blacklisted briefly in the early fifties his series, The Adventures of Sam Spade was dropped by the Columbia Broadcasting System. At that time, he had already recorded an episode for Suspense called “A Murderous Revision.” But fearing repercussions CBS decided to shelve the completed recording and broadcast another episode instead. The episode with Duff was never broadcast, though a newly re-created version of the script was aired starring Richard Widmark in the role of Chris Turner in December of 1951. The Duff version was thought lost until it turned up via an Armed Forces Radio disc a few years ago. Though in circulation, it rarely is heard since it isn’t officially attached to the Suspense broadcast canon.

Music under is “Benny Rides Again” performed by Benny Goodman Quintet.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 223 – Will You Make a Bet with Death?

John Dickson Carr A look at one of radio finest radio dramatists for the Mystery genre – expert in locked room mysteries. Born in America, but spent a lifetime in the United Kingdom, Carr wrote scripts for the Suspense radio program including this one which features an ending with a twist. This episode stars Michael Fitzmaurice and Lesley Woods, who you will recognize as Mary Wesley in the Boston Black radio series.

Music under is Ruby performed by Yorgui Loeffler.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 222 – Dead on Arrival

Gene RaymondA program series appearing on a Saturday morning called Stars Over Hollywood presented generally lighter fare geared mostly to women. However, occasionally they would present an episode that was a little darker in tone. This time you will hear a detective thriller called “Dead on Arrival” starring blonde, blue-eyed actor Gene Raymond (husband of Jeanette MacDonald) whose gritty voice was perfect as Detective Joe Greeley.

Though not as hard-hitting as some of the drama presented on this podcast, it is still a good story.

Music under is the Edmond Hall Trio.

Photo courtesy of the “My Love of Hollywood Blog.”

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