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Welcome to Down These Mean Streets, a weekly trip back to the Golden Age of Radio where we rub elbows with the era's greatest private eyes, cops, and crime-fighters. Since 2013, I've been podcasting everything from cozy mysteries to police procedurals, spotlighting characters ranging from hard boiled gumshoes to amateur sleuths. 

Be sure to tune in each Sunday for adventures of a radio detective and the behind-the-scenes stories of their shows. Join me as we spend time with Sam Spade, Johnny Dollar, Sgt. Joe Friday, and more!

Christmas Crimes and Capers

Dec 24, 2020

Happy Holidays!

As you wait for Santa’s sleigh to touch down on your roof tonight, enjoy these yuletide adventures of some of our favorite old time radio detectives!

“The Night Before Christmas” – A pair of Santas leads Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to a Christmas caper perpetrated by their old enemy Professor Moriarty. Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce star in this episode, originally aired on Mutual on December 24, 1945.

“Jack Frost” – Candy Matson (Natalie Master) is on the case when one of Santa’s helpers disappears. The beautiful and brilliant private eye uncovers a holiday murder in this episode originally aired on NBC on December 10, 1949.

“The Department Store Swindle (How I Played Santa Claus and Almost Got Left Holding the Bag” – Charles Russell plays Johnny Dollar in this early adventure of “the man with the action-packed expense account.” Johnny heads to the department store to fight the crowds. But he’s also there to find a gang of thieves that may resort to murder to stay a step ahead of the law in this episode originally aired on CBS on December 24, 1949.

“Santa Claus is No Saint” – Simon Templar puts on padding to play Santa at a charity event, but before he can make merry, he has to solve a murder. Vincent Price is “the Robin Hood of modern crime” in this episode originally aired on NBC on December 20, 1950.

“The Case of the Slaughtered Santas” – Someone is bumping off sidewalk St. Nicks, and one of the scared Santas hires Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin to get him safely home for the holidays. Sydney Greenstreet is Wolfe and Larry Dobkin is Archie in this episode originally aired on NBC on December 22, 1950.

“The Big Little Jesus” – The cops of Dragnet are on the hunt for a figurine of the Christ child stolen from a poor church’s nativity scene. It’s a heartfelt story with a wonderful ending – and a far cry from the other Dragnet holiday episode about the dangers of giving a child a gun for Christmas. Jack Webb is Sgt. Joe Friday and Ben Alexander is Officer Frank Smith in this episode originally aired on NBC on December 22, 1953.

“The Plot to Murder Santa Claus” – Frank Sinatra stars as Rocky Fortune in this tale of holiday homicide. Rocky’s latest job is playing Santa in a crowded department store just before Christmas. He tries to make a little girl’s holiday wish come true (and win over her beautiful older sister in the process), but a gun-toting gang may keep the season from looking bright in this episode originally aired on NBC on December 22, 1953.