Down These Mean Streets (Old Time Radio Detectives)

Just in time for trick-or-treating, we’re bound for Transylvania with Orson Welles and The Mercury Theatre On the Air in a special bonus episode. Welles and his talented troupe of radio players present a chilling and atmospheric radio adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Welles plays both Arthur Seward and the titular count in a story that’s sure to get you in the Halloween spirit. Featuring supporting performances by Agnes Moorehead, George Coulouris, Ray Collins, and Martin Gabel, Dracula originally aired on CBS on July 11, 1938.

The game is afoot with three old time radio mysteries starring the master detective of Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s immortal character made his debut as a radio sleuth on October 20, 1932, and we’re celebrating his anniversary with radio adventures starring three different actors as Holmes. First, Basil Rathbone is Holmes, with Nigel Bruce as Watson, in “The Case of the Limping Ghost” (originally aired on Mutual on September 3, 1945). Next, John Stanley and Alfred Shirley are Holmes and Watson in “The Sussex Vampire” (originally aired on Mutual on December 14, 1947). Finally, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson star in “The Final Problem” (originally aired on NBC on April 17, 1955), featuring special guest star Orson Welles as Professor Moriarty.

Private detective Michael Shayne came to radio on October 16, 1944 and we’re celebrating the anniversary of “the reckless, red-headed Irishman” with two of his radio mysteries. Two of radio’s most talented stars – Wally Maher and Cathy Lewis – headline as Shayne and his loyal secretary Phyllis Knight. From 1944 until 1947, the pair starred in stories that blended crime-solving with witty banter. We’ll hear “The Murder Trial of Jack Holmes” (originally aired on Mutual on May 21, 1945) and “Dr. Grant’s Dilemma” (from August 13, 1945).

Direct download: Episode_192_-_Shayne_On_You_Michael_Shayne_Private_Detective.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

William Gargan starred as Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator – “America’s number one detective” – from 1951 to 1955. The actor had a long resume of detective roles on the big and small screens, as well as on radio, but his best on-air work may have been as Craig, the New York-based confidential investigator. We’ll hear him in a pair of his radio mysteries: “Death of a Private Eye” (originally aired on NBC on January 2, 1952) and “Fog Over Murder” (originally aired on NBC on October 13, 1953).

For the first two and half years of Dragnet, Sgt. Joe Friday was partnered with Ben Romero, an older mentor and family man voiced by radio veteran Barton Yarborough. With his friendly Texas drawl, Yarborough created a memorable character and a good counterpart to Friday’s terse, no-nonsense style. We’ll hear Yarborough in action as Ben Romero, alongside Jack Webb as Joe Friday, in “The Big Picture” (originally aired on NBC on December 7, 1950) and “The Big In-Laws” (originally aired on NBC on August 23, 1951).

Direct download: Episode_190_-_Fridays_Man_Friday_Dragnet.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Pam and Jerry North are the happy couple who can’t help but find trouble. Whether it’s a corpse or a caper, Mr. and Mrs. North will stumble onto the scene and thwart the plans of evildoers everywhere. We’ll hear a pair of adventures starring old time radio’s most popular husband and wife detective duos. First, Alice Frost is Pam and Joseph Curtin is Jerry in “The Contagious Confession” (originally aired on NBC on September 22, 1943). Then, the Norths are played by Barbara Britton and Richard Denning in “The Diamond Noose” (a broadcast from the Armed Forces Radio Service).

Direct download: Episode_189_-_His_Hers__the_Hangmans_Mr_and_Mrs_North.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

John Huston’s classic cinematic adaptation of Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon comes to radio in this production of The Lux Radio Theatre. Though none of the film’s stars appear to recreate their roles, a terrific Hollywood cast is assembled to bring the story to life. Laird Cregar is the Fat Man, Gail Patrick is Brigid O’Shaughnessy, and Edward G. Robinson is Sam Spade – with Cecil B. DeMille as master of ceremonies – in this episode originally aired on CBS on February 8, 1943.

Direct download: Episode_188_-_Bye-bye_Black_Bird_Lux_Radio_Theatre.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Edmond O’Brien puts the “action” in the “action-packed expense account” of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. The Academy Award-winning actor starred as the freelance insurance investigator from 1950 until 1952. O’Brien’s tough style – honed in film noir performances – brought a hard edge to Dollar, a character that had been decidedly lighter in the hands of Charles Russell. His run as Johnny Dollar has cemented Edmond O’Brien as a fan favorite of the many actors to play the gumshoe. We’ll hear O’Brien as Dollar in “The Caligio Diamond Matter” (originally aired on CBS on June 8, 1950) and “The Calgary Matter” (originally aired on CBS on July 13, 1950).

Direct download: Episode_187_-_Edmonds_Expenses_Yours_Truly_Johnny_Dollar.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Looking for mystery? Just dial YUkon 2-8209 and ask for Candy Matson. The gorgeous San Francisco private eye works out of her Telegraph Hill apartment and finds more than her share of trouble in the city of the Golden Gate. Natalie Masters stars as Candy in "The Cable Car Case" (originally aired on NBC on July 7, 1949) and "The Movie Company" originally aired on NBC on August 29, 1950).

Direct download: Episode_186_-_Candys_Land_Candy_Matson.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Alan Ladd is Dan Holiday, the mystery writer who plays detective to get story material, in Box 13. The syndicated series found Holiday soliciting danger with an ad offering himself as an adventurer for hire – one who would “go anywhere, do anything.” Answering those letters addressed to Box 13 meant Holiday could be volunteering to put a target on his back or to solve an impossible crime. We’ll hear Ladd in “Much Too Lucky" and "The Perfect Crime."

Direct download: Episode_185_-_Mail_Call_Box_13.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT