Down These Mean Streets (Old Time Radio Detectives)

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Dick Powell lends his pipes to the role of Richard Diamond, radio’s singing detective. But don’t let his post-crime solving crooning fool you - he can throw a punch and wield a .38 with the best of them. Along the way, he’ll flirt with his girlfriend and frustrate the police a few times before the case is wrapped up. We’ll hear him star in “The Bloody Hat Case” (first aired on NBC on July 2, 1949) and “The Caspary Case” (first aired on ABC on February 2, 1951).


CBS wanted a “Philip Marlowe of the Old West,” and they got that and more in Gunsmoke. One of radio’s finest dramas, Gunsmoke helped to usher in the era of the “adult Western” with mature scripts, unflinching realism, and legendary performances from William Conrad and the rest of the cast. For nearly a decade on radio - and twenty years on television - US Marshal Matt Dillon faced down the violence of the West to keep the streets of Dodge City safe. We’ll hear Dillon fight for law and order in “Shakespeare,” first aired on CBS on August 23, 1952.

Direct download: Episode_109_-_Killers_and_Spoilers_Gunsmoke.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

In honor of the late Stan Freberg, “Down These Mean Streets” presents a bonus episode showcasing some of the radio work of this legendary comedian. First, he presents “An Analysis of Satire” – featuring several of his signature routines – on The CBS Radio Workshop (originally aired on August 31, 1956). Then, Freberg takes a dramatic starring turn in “Alibi Me” from Suspense (an Armed Forces Radio Service rebroadcast of an episode from April 20, 1958).

Direct download: Episode_108_-_Stan_the_Man_CBS_Radio_Workshop__Suspense.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI agents captured headlines with their daring pursuits of bank robbers and enemy spies, and their exploits made for thrilling radio adventures. Several radio programs brought the cases of the Bureau to listeners and featured dramatizations of actual FBI case files. We’ll hear special agents on the job in “The Traveling Man” from The FBI in Peace and War (originally aired on CBS on June 10, 1953), and “The Hollywood Frame-Up” from This is Your FBI (originally aired on ABC on February 10, 1950).


Before he protected the innocent on Dragnet, Jack Webb made a name for himself in a pair of hard-boiled detective dramas. The characters he played were miles away from the straight arrow Sgt. Joe Friday. They were down-on-their-heels working stiffs out for a buck and usually getting cheated out of it, working their way through cases full of deceitful dames, angry gunsels, and impatient cops. We’ll hear Webb as Pat Novak For Hire in “Reuben Calloway’s Pictures” (originally aired on ABC on March 13, 1949) and as Jeff Regan, Investigator in “The Man with the Key” (originally aired on CBS on October 2, 1948).

Direct download: Episode_106_-_Jack_of_All_Trades_Pat_Novak__Jeff_Regan.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

In 1944, Michael Shayne came to radio. Brett Halliday’s red-headed shamus had thrilled readers and moviegoers, and Wally Maher was tapped to bring the character to the airwaves. Maher starred as Shayne (with Cathy Lewis as Shayne’s secretary Phyllis Knight) for the next three years. Maher’s Shayne was cocky and glib, and he liked to use his brains instead of his brawn to crack a case. We’ll hear him in “The Return to Huxley College,” originally aired on Mutual on November 5, 1946.


The radio success of Mr. and Mrs. North convinced CBS to bring the adventures of the crime-solving couple to television. Richard Denning and Barbara Britton starred as Jerry and Pam and moved to take over the radio roles after a year on the small screen. Denning and Britton continued the program’s trademark balance of crime with light comedy simultaneously over radio and on television. We’ll hear the Norths in “The Comic,” an Armed Forces Radio Service rebroadcast of an episode originally aired on CBS on July 7, 1953.

Direct download: Episode_104_-_Norths_by_Northwest_Mr_and_Mrs_North.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

Hercule Poirot, the diminutive, eccentric, and brilliant Belgian detective, has thrilled mystery fans since his first appearances in the novels of Agatha Christie. In 1945, he came to American radio in a series that boasted an introduction by Christie herself. Harold Huber starred as the mustachioed master of deduction in Agatha Christie’s Poirot, and he was perfect as the fastidious investigator. We’ll hear him in “The Case of the Careless Victim,” originally aired on Mutual on February 22, 1945.

Direct download: Episode_103_-_Little_Grey_Cells_Agatha_Christies_Poirot.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 4:00 AM

We raise a glass to Mickey Spillane, the hard-boiled wordsmith born March 9, 1918. Spillane introduced the world to Mike Hammer, one of fiction’s toughest gumshoes, in 1947, and detective fiction was never the same. The unique blend of sex and violence, powered by Spillane’s terse prose, enthralled readers and led to adaptations on television, the big screen, and on radio. We’ll hear Larry Haines as Mike Hammer in That Hammer Guy in “There’s Something About a Dame” (first aired on Mutual on March 31, 1953) and “What You Don’t Know About Dames” (first aired on Mutual on April 28, 1953).

Direct download: Episode_102_-_Slipped_a_Mickey_That_Hammer_Guy.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 5:00 AM

Craig Rice’s crafty criminal lawyer John J. Malone, a wisecracking counsellor at law, sprang from the pages of mystery novels to radio in The Amazing Mr. Malone. Malone takes tough cases in Chicago, where he does his own leg work to clear his wrongfully accused clients. He’s more of a Paul Drake than a Perry Mason in the way he tackles his cases. We’ll hear George Petrie star as Malone in “Hard Work Never Killed Anyone,” originally aired on NBC on June 1, 1951.

Direct download: Episode_101_-_Amazing_Esquire_Amazing_Mr_Malone.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 5:00 AM