Down These Mean Streets (Old Time Radio Detectives)

When it comes to hard-boiled crime fiction, fewer did wrote it better than Raymond Chandler. One of the titans of the genre, Chandler penned dozens of pulp stories before he introduced his signature character of private eye Philip Marlowe. We’ll hear a pair of Marlowe’s radio adventures starring Gerald Mohr – “The Baton Sinister” (originally aired on CBS on September 17, 1949) and “The Long Way Home” (originally aired on CBS on August 4, 1951). Then we’ll hear “Pearls are a Nuisance,” an adaptation of a Chandler short story and originally aired on Suspense (originally aired on CBS on April 19, 1945).

Direct download: Episode_179_-_Famous_Rays_Philip_Marlowe__Suspense.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

On July 12, 1946, Dashiell Hammett’s famous private eye Sam Spade came to radio in what became one of the greatest detective shows of the era. With witty scripts and a dynamic lead performance from Howard Duff, the series thrilled listeners and kept a smile on their faces in a program that stands out from the crowd of hard-boiled gumshoes and cops. In honor of the seventieth anniversary of its radio debut, we’ll hear four episodes of The Adventures of Sam Spade. Howard Duff stars in “Sam and Psyche” (originally aired on ABC on August 2, 1946); “The Rushlight Diamond Caper” (originally aired on CBS on July 4, 1948); and “The Dick Foley Caper” (originally aired on CBS on September 26, 1948). We’ll also hear Stephen Dunne as Spade in “The Dog Bed Caper” (originally aired on NBC on December 1, 1950).

Direct download: Episode_178_-_Seventy_Years_of_Sam_Adventures_of_Sam_Spade.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:30pm EDT

Staats Cotsworth is on the scene and on the job as Casey, Crime Photographer – ace cameraman and amateur sleuth. Casey gets the pictures of crime stories of the big city and he works to bring the criminals to justice. It’s all in a day’s work, and he’s usually done in time to enjoy a drink at the Blue Note Café with his friends. We’ll hear Casey in “The Red Raincoat” (originally aired on CBS on August 29, 1946) and “The Gentle Strangler” (originally aired on CBS on April 24, 1947).

Direct download: Episode_177_-_Flashbulbs_and_Felonies_Casey_Crime_Photographer.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Brilliant, handsome, and foppish, amateur sleuth Philo Vance went through some character makeovers as he jumped from the pages of S.S. Van Dine’s detective novels to the big screen and later to radio. Jackson Beck played Vance as a nearly hard-boiled private eye, but his two earliest radio incarnations stuck a bit closer to the character from the source material. We’ll hear two of Philo Vance’s first on-air adventures. First, John Emery plays Vance in “The Case of the Cellini Cup” (originally aired on NBC on April 29, 1943). Then, Jose Ferrer is Philo in “The Case of the Strange Music” (originally aired on NBC on August 9, 1945).

Direct download: Episode_176_-_Philo_Philes_Philo_Vance.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

A gifted mimic and dynamic actor, Jack Moyles was a key component of several classic radio shows. Whether he was in supporting roles or in the lead, Moyles brought an always engaging, entertaining presence to the microphone. In honor of his birthday, we’ll salute Mr. Moyles on this week's episode of “Down These Mean Streets.” First, we’ll hear him as American ex-pat, club owner, and amateur sleuth Rocky Jordan in “The Nile Runs High” (originally aired on CBS on September 18, 1949). Then, Moyles is foreign correspondent O’Hara in “The Judas Face” (originally aired on CBS on July 22, 1951).

Direct download: Episode_175_-_I_Can_See_for_Moyles_Rocky_Jordan__OHara.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 11:29am EDT

To an entire generation of fans, Basil Rathbone was Sherlock Holmes. On the big screen and on radio, Rathbone brought the master detective of Baker Street to life and left a lasting impression on the character. He became closely identified with the role - eventually to the point where he wanted to distance himself from Holmes’ deerstalker. We’ll hear Rathbone as Holmes in “The Manor House Case” (originally broadcast on Mutual on October 15, 1945) and as himself in the quirky mystery series Tales of Fatima in a story called “A Much Expected Murder” (originally aired on CBS on May 21, 1949).

Radio sleuthing didn’t get much sweeter than when Bob Bailey voiced Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. Bailey starred as Dollar for five years, but he was never better than 1955 to 1956 when the series aired as a nightly fifteen-minute serial. In those five-part stories, Bailey gave listeners a detective who was tough, determined, funny, and who wore his heart on his sleeve. Combined with sharp direction and writing, this run of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar stands apart from other radio dramas. We’ll hear Bob Bailey in the complete five-part story “The Lansing Fraud Matter,” originally aired on CBS between December 12 and 16, 1955.

Direct download: Episode_173_-_Bobs_Your_Uncle_Yours_Truly_Johnny_Dollar.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

With his powerful voice, Gerald Mohr was equally effective as both hero and heel on radio. Listeners may know him best as Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled shamus Philip Marlowe, but Mohr logged nearly five hundred performances during the Golden Age of Radio playing everything from slapstick comedy to high adventure. We’ll hear him as Archie Goodwin – opposite Sydney Greenstreet’s Nero Wolfe – in “The Case of the Phantom Fingers” (originally aired on NBC on January 26, 1951). Then, Mohr is a mob boss with a secret in “Caesar’s Wife” from The Whistler (originally aired on CBS on June 2, 1947). Finally, Mohr is Marlowe in “The Grim Hunters” (originally aired on CBS on March 12, 1949).

In honor of what would have been his 115th birthday, we tip our hat to Vincent Price, the legendary star of stage, screen, and television. Price was a polished radio performer in the years before he became best known as a big screen horror star. From 1947 to 1951, he starred as Simon Templar - “the Robin Hood of modern crime” - in The Saint. We’ll celebrate this wonderful actor with one of his turns as Templar - “The Big Swindle” (originally aired on NBC on February 25, 1951). Then Vincent Price plays…Vincent Price in “The Price of Fame Matter,” an Armed Forces Radio Service rebroadcast of an adventure of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar – a story that finds Price partnering with Bob Bailey’s fabulous freelance insurance investigator.

Direct download: Episode_171_-_A_Thrill_at_Any_Price_The_Saint__Johnny_Dollar.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

For fifteen years on radio, America and her secrets were kept safe by David Harding – Counterspy. The espionage mystery drama starred Don McLaughlin as Harding, the chief of the counterspies and a man always ready to thwart a dastardly Axis plot or hunt down swindlers and hijackers. Aided by right-hand man Harry Peters (Mandel Kramer), Harding did battle with enemies foreign and domestic to keep the U.S. of A intact through World War II and the Cold War. We’ll hear “The Case of the Bouncing Bank Robber” (originally aired on ABC on August 23, 1949).

Direct download: Episode_170_-_Secret_Agent_Man_Counterspy.mp3
Category:Old Time Radio -- posted at: 9:00am EDT