Under the Big Top Ted Drake, Guardian of the Big Top

The series, sometimes called Circus Detective, was a 30 min juvenile adventure show on Mutual which was the 1949 summer replacement for Adventures of Superman airing from June through September, when it went off the air. Vince Harding played the title lead and Fred Rains portrayed his circus sidekick, Eddie Roth. To date, no audio copies or scripts have ever surfaced.

Now, thanks to the diligent research of Metro Washington Old Time Radio Club member, Bob Slate, who is an OTR researcher and collector in Exeter, CA, the OTR community will soon have access to audio copies of this series. Slate was able to locate Fred Rains, who still had some 16 inch disks of the show, and arrangements are being made to have them converted to CDs. Some are already in Slate's possession. One of the episodes is available for download or streaming via this web site.

Mutual produced this show out of their affiliate in Nashville, TN under the title of Monogram Radio Productions. However, the series is part of the Brown Radio Production which also produced another series, Hospitality Time also from Nashville. This half hour show was on three times weekly, alternating with Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-Bar Riders. Fred McCue directed the series and most of the scripts were by Cliff Thomas and/or Patricia Mahan. Bob Larrimore was the announcer and narrator.

Vince Harding Photo

Vince Harding's career is not well documented. He did appear in one film at least - The Group - based on the Mary McCarthy novel back in the mid-sixties.

The first three episodes of the series include: "The Chariot Race," "The Case of the Invisible Thief," and a story about a giant spitting Cobra.

Download the complete show: The Case of the Invisible Thief (mp3: 14 MB)

If you are interested in a WAV version, contact me privately.


Thanks to Jack French for his words and Bob Slate for his research!


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Created: Monday, December 11, 2003