Down These Mean Streets (Old Time Radio Detectives)

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Before his death in 1951 at age 43, Wally Maher made a name for himself as a versatile, in-demand radio actor. Equally adept at comedy and drama, Maher could be heard in regular roles on shows all over the dial. We’ll hear him as Sgt. Matt Grebb in “Eddie Gaynor Framed for Murder” from The Line-Up (originally aired on CBS on July 20, 1950) and as Michael Shayne, Private Detective in “Judge Thorman Shot” (originally aired on Mutual on January 14, 1947).


Philip Marlowe made his way from the pen of Raymond Chandler to the big screen and then to radio in some of the best private eye crime drama of the era. In honor of Chandler’s birthday, we’ll hear his legendary shamus in two radio mysteries voiced by Gerald Mohr. First, Marlowe tackles the case of “The Eager Witness” (originally aired on CBS on August 27, 1949), and then “The Deep Shadow” (originally aired on CBS on March 21, 1950).


Long before Dragnet, Gang Busters brought true crime to radio. Over its two decade run, the series presented stories of dangerous criminals and the determined police officers who brought them to justice. Producer Phillips H. Lord pulled cases from state and local law enforcement agencies and presented them in one of radio’s most down to earth crime dramas. Its memorable introduction - with the wail of sirens and a hail of bullets - gave rise to the expression “coming on like Gang Busters.” We’ll hear “The Case of the Incorrigible Killer,” first aired on ABC on October 9,  1948.

Direct download: Episode_122_-_Coming_On_Like_You_Know_What_Gang_Busters.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

William Gargan wasn't a great private eye in real life, but he played a mean one on radio. Years after he supported himself checking credit and shadowing suspects, Gargan starred as several radio detectives including Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator. We'll hear the actor as Craig in "The Lost Lady" (originally aired on NBC on June 14, 1953) and "Ghosts Don't Die in Bed" (originally aired on NBC on September 7, 1954).


Nick and Nora Charles - Dashiell Hammett’s husband and wife detective duo from The Thin Man - charmed readers and later moviegoers with their flirtatious and funny approach to cracking a case of murder. In 1941, Nick and Nora moved radio in The Adventures of The Thin Man. This blend of comedic banter and crime-solving was a long-running hit with listeners, and it ran on radio for nearly a decade. We’ll hear Les Damon as Nick and Claudia Morgan as Nora in “The Case of the Wandering Corpse,” originally aired on CBS on October 10, 1943.

Direct download: Episode_120_-_Casa_Del_Charles_Adventures_of_The_Thin_Man.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

One of radio’s men of a thousand voices, Paul Frees was heard all over the dial during the Golden Age of Radio, as Boris Badenov on television, and as the ghostly host at Disney’s Haunted Mansion. In honor of this versatile, talented actor’s birthday, we’ll hear him in two episodes as The Green Lama, the pulp hero who came to the airwaves in his own detective series. Frees stars as the Lama, aka Jethro Dumont, in “The Million Dollar Chopsticks” (originally aired on CBS on June 26, 1949) and “The Adventure of the Perfect Prisoner” (originally aired on CBS on August 21, 1949).

Direct download: Episode_119_-_Frees_as_a_Bird_Green_Lama.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Reformed jewel thief Boston Blackie was a debonair detective in his years on radio. Along with his girlfriend Mary Wesley and sidekick Shorty, Blackie used his underworld know-how to catch more unscrupulous thieves and scoundrels. Racing against Blackie to crack the case first was Inspector Farraday of the police, always unsure of Blackie’s conversion to the side of law and order. To celebrate the anniversary of his radio debut, we’ll hear him in a pair of radio mysteries: “The Star of the Nile” starring Chester Morris (originally aired on NBC on July 14, 1944), and “Blackie Steals a Necklace for Charity,” a syndicated episode starring Richard Kollmar.

Direct download: Episode_118_-_That_Old_Blackie_Magic_Boston_Blackie.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

When Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar came back to the airwaves in 1955 after a brief hiatus, it was reenergized by a new nightly serialized format and a new star in Bob Bailey. Bailey made the role of “the man with the action-packed expense account” his own in rich, complex scripts that could play out five nights a week in a combined hour of airtime. We’ll hear Bailey as Dollar  in all five parts of “The Laughing Matter” (first aired on CBS from June 11 to June 15, 1956).

Direct download: Episode_117_-_Bailey_on_the_Beat_Yours_Truly_Johnny_Dollar.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Jack Webb is back as Sgt. Joe Friday in a two-part episode of Dragnet. Join Friday and his partner Frank Smith (Ben Alexander) as they pursue criminals and try and keep the streets of Los Angeles safe in this king-sized story from official police files. We’ll hear “The Big Mask” (Part 1 originally aired on NBC on December 28, 1952; Part 2 originally aired on January 4, 1953).

Direct download: Episode_116_-_Youre_a_Detective_Sergeant_Dragnet.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Dashiell Hammett is widely regarded as the father of the hard-boiled school of crime fiction. After his days as a Pinkerton detective, he turned to writing mysteries, and he gave the genre some of its best loved stories, including The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man, and The Dain Curse. In honor of his birthday, we’ll hear radio adventures of two of his private eyes - Brad Runyon, aka The Fat Man, in “Murder Plays Hide and Seek” (originally aired on ABC on January 2, 1948); and Sam Spade in “The Lawless Caper” (originally aired on CBS on August 29, 1948).

Direct download: Episode_115_-_Hammett_Heroics_Fat_Man__Sam_Spade.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM