Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 180 – Broadway’s My Beat

Larry ThorI find myself regularly coming back to this early 1950s noirish detective series. There’s something about the complete production of this series including the writing, the acting, the producer/director and the sound effects that keep me coming back to listen.

A more in-depth look at a single episode and how it ties into the whole scope of this wonderful detective series.

Music under is Johnny Hodges playing the Ellington/Strayhorn tune “Come Sunday”

Lady Detectives on BBC Radio 4 Extra

BBC Radio 4 Extra is running a series of Lady Detective dramas that feature early female detectives. First up was Loveday Brooke, a Victorian detective created by Catherine Louisa Pirkis. The initial episode has played, but is being repeated today and should be on listen again for a week.  Also featured is Anna Katharine Green‘s 1915 detective Violet Strange and Wilkie Collin’s Valeria Woodville.

This is the second go-round for this series, and all can be heard now or soon on the BBC iPlayer if you can’t get to the site on the broadcast day.

The Lady Detectives

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 179 – The Crowd (Suspense)

Dana Andrews

Dana Andrews

This podcast takes a story from a well known Science Fiction writer – a fantasy horror story – which has been adapted by two veteran radio detective scriptwriters. The result is to take Ray Bradbury’s horror story and have Mort Fine and David Friedkin turn it into a detective thriller. Unusual perhaps, but it seems to hold up well.

The story and radio play heard on Suspense is called “The Crowd” and appeared originally in Weird Tales pulp magazine in 1943. It is well adapted though Andrews is a little weak in the role of the detective.

Music under are two songs written by Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington. The first is called “Day Dream” and is performed by Sonny Criss. The second is “Solitude” and is performed by Stephane Grappelli. Both are from the Jazz Round Midnight compilation.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 178 – Frightened City (Suspense)

Frank Lovejoy

Frank Lovejoy

This podcast looks at a rare event in radio when a number of elements coalesce with a brilliant actor, producer, director, writer all creating an excellent production. This Suspense episode called “Frightened City” stars Frank Lovejoy, with his gritty cynical way of speaking and is written by the dual experience radio script writing team of Morton Fine & David Friedkin. Finally, topping it out is producer, director extraordinaire – Elliott Lewis.

“Frightened City” is a taut suspenseful ride that is full of exciting gripping scenes.

Music under is Poor Butterfly performed by Sonny Rollins.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 177 – John Lund

John Lund

John Lund

After doing a re-evaluation of my opinion of John Lund as Johnny Dollar, I have decided my original thinking was flawed. After listening to more of his portrayal as Johnny Dollar in the early fifties, have led me to raise the bar on his performance. Lund’s Dollar, while dark, is much warmer than Edmund O’Brien who preceded him and quite credible. It was a time when the Johnny Dollar franchise was in a much more realistic and more noirish phase than the Bob Bailey years under producer Jack Johnstone. Jaime de Valle’s productions are really quite good.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 176 – Challenge To the Listener

Hugh Pentecost

Hugh Pentecost

Hugh Pentecost was a pseudonym for Mystery writer Judson Phillips. He was one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America. This podcast features a script he wrote called “Challenge to the Listener” and starred Richard Widmark and Everett Sloane – both intense actors and excellent in these roles.

The story appeared on the Molle Mystery Theater and begins with the murder of a woman who is in radio broadcasting. The last half of the script is just a two way dialogue between the Widmark and Sloane characters leaving us scratching our heads each time as to just who is the killer.

Music under was a jazz composition by an artist named Moss. The song is called Fall.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 175 – Molle Mystery Theater

Cornell Woolrich as William Irish

Cornell Woolrich

Cornell Woolrich was one of the most dominant authors whose stories appeared on the many mystery series of the forties. In this episode of Leg Man from the Molle Mystery Theater based on the short story of the same name, we find Burgess, a tenacious reporter who is seeking out not only a story, but wants to figure out a crime at great personal risk to himself.

The story was not one of Woolrich (as William Irish) best though the adapted radio play is a good listen nonetheless.

Music under is “Passion Flower” performed by the Charlie Haden Quartet.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 174 – Ellery Queen

Ellery Queen

Dannay & Lee

In 1928, two young men decided to enter a Mystery Novel writing contest. Their book resulted in publication and thus began the career of one of America’s deductive solving detectives – Ellery Queen. Ultimately, the authors turned to radio and one of the more popular and long running series both on radio and television began. The stories of Ellery Queen were lighter in tone than the later hardboiled influenced radio detectives, but both Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee knew the power of the radio script and wrote some good ones.

Music under is “Happy Feet” performed by Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra, “Puttin’ On the Ritz” sung by Fred Astaire, and “If I Had A Picture of You” performed by Jack Hylton & Orchestra.

Sorry for the silence!

Things have been pretty hectic here recently taking my time away from any new podcasts. Hopefully, I will have another one shortly.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 173 – Two Men In a Furnished Room

John Beal

John Beal

This week a rare story from the pen of William Irish, aka Cornell Woolrich, that as a radio drama is pure audio noir. The series on which it appeared was the Mollé Mystery Theater in 1946 starring John Beal (right) and Sam Wanamaker. It is an example of what biographer Francis Nevins calls Wollrich’s oscillation thriller. All the elements of noir are heard in the story as the suspense builds on who is the killer after a murder appears to be committed when a girl goes missing. Classic Woolrich!

The music under is Blood Count written by Billy Strayhorn and performed by Stan Getz.