The Silent Witness (Aired July 14, 1957)
Beginning with CBS' Columbia Workshop from 1936 to 1947, CBS set out to experiment with Radio--to push that invisible envelope of the speed of sound, the speed of light, and to capitalize on the human listeners' comparitively narrow band of audible sound. Not so much experiment in terms of hardware technology, as in Radio's earliest efforts in 'broad casting' radio transmissions, but in concept, engineering, scoring and production technique. The most well-known and widely acclaimed proponent of these techniques was Norman Corwin. Corwin was so critically and popularly successful in experimental broadcasts that CBS gave him virtual carte blanche to produce whatever projects he deemed of possible interest--at least until the HUAC years anyway. Corwin's well-deserved acclaim aside, the various other CBS experimental programming efforts over the years very much set the bar for other networks.
July 14, 1957. CBS network. "The Silent Witness". Sustaining. An excellent tour-de-force trial drama. Done with only one voice, that of the only performer on the show, Raymond Burr. All other roles on this courtroom drama are played by the listener's imagination. This was what radio was all about! Raymond Burr. 24:09. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.
"The Shadow" - One of the most popular radio shows in history. The show went on the air in August of 1930. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" The opening lines of the "Detective Story" program captivated listeners and are instantly recognizable even today. Originally the narrator of the series of macabre tales, the eerie voice known as The Shadow became so popular to listeners that "Detective Story" was soon renamed "The Shadow," and the narrator became the star of the old-time mystery radio series, which ran until 1954.
Agnes Moorehead, the first Margot LaneA figure never seen, only heard, the Shadow was an invincible crime fighter. He possessed many gifts which enabled him to overcome any enemy. Besides his tremendous strength, he could defy gravity, speak any language, unravel any code, and become invisible with his famous ability to "cloud men's minds." Along with his team of operatives, the Shadow battled adversaries with chilling names like The Black Master, Kings of Crime, The Five Chameleons, and, of course, The Red Menace.
The Shadow's exploits were also avidly followed by readers in The Shadow magazine, which began in 1931 following the huge success of the old-time mystery radio program. The magazine was published by Street & Smith, who had also sponsored the old-time mystery radio program. Over the course of 18 years, Street & Smith published 325 issues of The Shadow, each one containing a novel about the sinister crime fighter. These stories were written by Maxwell Grant, a fictional name created by the publishing company. Although several different people wrote under the pseudonym, Walter B. Gibson wrote most of the stories, 282 in all. Most of the novels published have been reprinted in paperback and The Shadow adventures remain popular today, with Shadow comic books, magazines, toys, games, cds and cassettes of old-time radio shows, and books bringing top dollar among collectors the world over.
The Shadow. September 26, 1937. Mutual Network. "The Death House Rescue". Blue Coal. The first show of the series with "The Shadow" as a force against crime and not just a phantom announcer. Just before an innocent man is to be executed for murder, The Shadow uses mental telepathy to get the goods on the real killers. A good show with an intelligent plot. Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead, William Johnstone, Jeanette Nolan, Ray Collins (triples), Paul Stewart, Elia Kazan, Everett Sloane (quadruples), Paul Huber (commercial spokesman), Frank Readick (opening and closing voice), Arthur Whiteside (announcer), Edward Hale Bierstadt (writer), Elsie Thompson (organist), Clark Andrews (producer), Martin Gabel (director), Edith Meiser (story editor), Walter B. Gibson (story consultant), J. R. Poppele (sound engineer), Thomas Coffin Cooke (commercial spokesman, as "John Barclay"), Walter Gibson (writer). 29:12. Episode Notes From "The Radio Gold Index".
The Big Drifter
Dragnet was an American radio series, enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show took its name from the police term "dragnet", meaning a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects. Dragnet is perhaps the most famous and influential police procedural drama in media history. The series gave audience members a feel for the boredom and drudgery, as well as the danger and heroism, of police work. Dragnet earned praise for improving the public opinion of police officers.
Actor and producer Jack Webb's aims in Dragnet were for realism and unpretentious acting. He achieved both goals, and Dragnet remains a key influence on subsequent police dramas in many media. The show's cultural impact is such that after seven decades, elements of Dragnet are familiar to those who have never seen or heard the program. The ominous, four-note introduction to the brass and tympani theme music (titled "Danger Ahead"), composed by Walter Schumann, is instantly recognizable. It is derived from Miklós Rózsa's score for the 1946 film version of The Killers. Another Dragnet trademark is the show's opening narration: "Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." This underwent minor revisions over time. The "only" and "ladies and gentlemen" were dropped at some point. Variations on this narration have been featured in subsequent crime dramas, and in parodies of the dramas (e.g. "Only the facts have been changed to protect the guilty").
The radio series was the first entry in a Dragnet media franchise encompassing film, television, books and comics.
February 23, 1950. Program #37. NBC network. "The Big Drifter". Fatima. "Gentleman Wallace," a born con-man, takes advantage of two used-car dealers, and many others. Jack Webb, Barton Yarborough. 29:33. Show Notes From The Rado Gold Index.
Fibber McGee and Molly
Fibber McGee and Molly was a 1935–1959 American radio comedy series. The situation comedy was a staple of the NBC Red Network from 1936 on, after originating on NBC Blue in 1935. One of the most popular and enduring radio series of its time, it ran as a stand-alone series from 1935 to 1956, and then continued as a short-form series as part of the weekend Monitor from 1957 to 1959. The title characters were created and portrayed by Jim and Marian Jordan, a husband-and-wife team that had been working in radio since the 1920s.
Fibber McGee and Molly, which followed up the Jordans' previous radio sitcom Smackout, followed the adventures of a working-class couple, the habitual storyteller Fibber McGee and his sometimes terse but always loving wife Molly, living among their numerous neighbors and acquaintances in the community of Wistful Vista. As with most radio comedies of the era, Fibber McGee and Molly featured an announcer, house band and vocal quartet for interludes. At the peak of the show's success in the 1940s, it was adapted into a string of feature films. A 1959 attempt to adapt the series to television with a different cast and new writers was both a critical and commercial failure, which, coupled with Marian Jordan's death shortly thereafter, brought the series to a finish.
Five days after the wedding, Jim received his draft notice. He was sent to France, and became part of a military touring group which entertained the armed forces after World War I. When Jim came home from France, he and Marian decided to try their luck with a vaudeville act. They had 2 children, Kathryn Therese Jordan (1920–2007) and James Carroll Jordan (1923–1998).
Fibber McGee and Molly. January 25, 1944. NBC net. Johnson's Wax. First appearance of Marlin Hurt as "Beulah." The closet is heard. Fibber and Molly celebrate the return of their laundry with a night out on the town. Wistful Vista night life leaves much to be desired!. Jim Jordan, Marian Jordan, Marlin Hurt, Shirley Mitchell, Ransom Sherman, Arthur Q. Bryan, Harlow Wilcox, Billy Mills and His Orchestra, The King's Men, Don Quinn (writer), Phil Leslie (writer). 29:30. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.
The Adventures Of Sam Spade
The Fairly-Bright Caper (Aired October 31, 1948) The Adventures of Sam Spade was a radio series based loosely on the private detective character Sam Spade, created by writer Dashiell Hammett for The Maltese Falcon. The show ran for 13 episodes on ABC in 1946, for 157 episodes on CBS in 1946-1949, and finally for 51 episodes on NBC in 1949-1951. The series starred Howard Duff (and later, Steve Dunne) as Sam Spade and Lurene Tuttle as his secretary Effie, and took a considerably more tongue-in-cheek approach to the character than the novel or movie. In 1947, scriptwriters Jason James and Bob Tallman received an Edgar Award for Best Radio Drama from the Mystery Writers of America. Before the series, Sam Spade had been played in radio adaptations of The Maltese Falcon by both Edward G. Robinson (in a 1943 Lux Radio Theater production) and by Bogart himself (in a 1946 Academy Award Theater production), both on CBS.
October 31, 1948. CBS network. "The Fairly Bright Caper". Sponsored by: Wildroot Cream Oil. Spade is hired to protect a Halloween party, which is only slightly complicated by a witch and a murder! Howard Duff, Lurene Tuttle, Dick Joy (announcer), Dashiell Hammett (creator). 29:28. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.
(A Humphrey/Camardella Production)
By Jim Widner
The opening is familiar among fans of Old Time Radio: "the man with the action-packed expense account...America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator." And if we still weren't sure, he always told us himself: "Yours truly, Johnny Dollar."
Opening on a Friday night, February 18, 1949 (The Paricoff Policy Matter), right at the start of television's golden age, this radio show brought us a high-powered insurance investigator who worked chiefly for the Universal Adjustment Bureau, a clearinghouse for the many insurance companies. The series starred Charles Russell as Johnny Dollar, the smart and tough detective, whose trademark it was to toss silver dollars as tips to busboys and bellhops.
Appearing on CBS Radio, Johnny Dollar was heard each week flying off to a different town filled with danger and possibly murder as he tried to get to the bottom of insurance fraud. There were rarely any recurring characters except Dollar; despite sometimes romance and friends, the character was generally a loner. These early episodes, however, tended to be flat and the character of Dollar too dry. So at the start of the 1950 season, Charles Russell was out and veteran film actor Edmund O'Brien stepped in as the second Johnny Dollar. The series during the O'Brien years improved with scripts by expert crime writer such as E. Jack Neumann, John Michael Hayes, Sidney Marshall and Blake Edwards. The character took on the stereotype of the American detective developed by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Dollar was more hardboiled; his softer side rarely appeared. O'Brien left in 1952 and John Lund became Dollar number three. With Lund in the role, the character as developed by O'Brien remained.
And Bailey's depiction of Dollar had shades of a gritty street fighter, yet bright and sensitive. With a strong cast (many of the same veteran radio actors appearing in different roles) and excellent directing, the portrayals were much more real. And exciting; listen to such serials as "The Open Town Matter" or "The MacCormack Matter." Even while radio drama was already declining, this was radio acting at its best. The sound effects, some of which were canned, fit into the scripts so well as to produce some very exciting adventure/mystery.
But doing a daily show live was taxing, so by the end of 1956, the series reverted to thirty minute, once-a-week episodes. But the power of the show continued, due a lot to the continued presence of both Bailey and Johnstone. Gradually, however, toward the end of the 1950's, the show began to sound tired - some of the scripts were weak and even Bailey did not always seem excited.
Bailey left the show when it moved to New York production studios and initially Bob Readick filled Johnny Dollar's shows. However, that was only a transistion that lasted six months. In June, 1961, Mandel Kramer came to the role. He was perhaps the second best of the Dollar portrayals. Kramer's Dollar displayed more cynical humor than Bailey's. Johnny Dollar remained sensitive yet tough and with Jack Johnstone continuing as producer, the series remained poignant right up to its demise.
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar has the distinction of being the last dramatic radio series from the golden age of radio. As with the close of Suspense, radio drama sounded its death throes. Among many old time radio fans, Johnny Dollar is usually viewed as the division between original radio drama and the resurgence of nostalgia which began in the seventies.
"Who's on First?"
Using Your Favorite Player
"Who's On First?" is a comedy routine made famous by American comedy duo Abbott and Costello. The premise of the sketch is that Abbott is identifying the players on a baseball team for Costello, but their names and nicknames can be interpreted as non-responsive answers to Costello's questions. For example, the first baseman is named "Who"; thus, the utterance "Who's on first" is ambiguous between the question ("Which person is the first baseman?") and the answer ("The name of the first baseman is 'Who'").
Who's on First?" is descended from turn-of-the-century burlesque sketches that used plays on words and names. Examples are "The Baker Scene" (the shop is located on Watt Street) and "Who Dyed" (the owner is named "Who"). In the 1930 movie Cracked Nuts, comedians Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey examine a map of a mythical kingdom with dialogue like this: "What is next to Which." "What is the name of the town next to Which?" "Yes." In British music halls, comedian Will Hay performed a routine in the early 1930s (and possibly earlier) as a schoolmaster interviewing a schoolboy named Howe who came from Ware but now lives in Wye. By the early 1930s, a "Baseball Routine" had become a standard bit for burlesque comics across the United States. Abbott's wife recalled him performing the routine with another comedian before teaming with Costello.
Bud Abbott stated that it was taken from an older routine called "Who's The Boss?", a performance of which can be heard in an episode of the radio comedy program It Pays to Be Ignorant from the 1940s. After they formally teamed up in burlesque in 1936, he and Costello continued to hone the sketch. It was a big hit in the fall of 1937, when they performed the routine in a touring vaudeville revue called Hollywood Bandwagon.
In February 1938, Abbott and Costello joined the cast of The Kate Smith Hour radio program, and the sketch was first performed for a national radio audience on March 24 of that year.
The Satellite Of Death Pt.1 & 2 COMPLETE (06-10-52)
Tom Corbett is the main character in a series of Tom Corbett — Space Cadet stories that were depicted in television, radio, books, comic books, comic strips, coloring books, punch-out books and View-Master reels in the 1950s. The stories followed the adventures of Tom Corbett, Astro, and Roger Manning, cadets at the Space Academy as they train to become members of the elite Solar Guard. The action takes place at the Academy in classrooms and bunkroom, aboard their training ship the rocket cruiser Polaris, and on alien worlds, both within our solar system and in orbit around nearby stars. The Tom Corbett universe partook of pseudo-science, not equal to the standards of accuracy set by John W. Campbell in the pages of Astounding. And yet, by the standards of the day, it was much more accurate than most media science fiction.
June 10, 1952. ABC network, WJZ, New York aircheck. <B><I>"Satellite Of Death Part One & Two COMPLETE)</B></I>". Sponsored by: Kellogg's Pep, Kellogg's Raisin Bran. A gang is trying to take over Rhea, a moon of Saturn, to get a monopoly of Viricide F-3. Drex Hines (director), Frank Thomas Jr., Jackson Beck (announcer), Jan Merlin, Neal O'Malley, Don Hughes (writer), Jon Gart (organist). 24:01.
Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index
Big Town - I Remember Murder (11-30-48)
I Remember Murder (Aired November 30, 1948)
The stories were well written and directed by William N. Robson as well as McGill. The skill of this group shows in making the series very good radio. The show was a big promoter of the free press and the first amendment with its opening sequence: "Freedom of the press is a flaming sword! Use it justly...hold it high...guard it well!" The second series began immediately in the 1943 season when the production moved from Hollywood to New York. Robinson left (Trevor left two years earlier as her career starting taking off) and McGill reorganized the series placing Edward Pawley in the role of Wilson opposite Fran Carlon as Lorelei. Pawley's Wilson was more mellifluous compared to the rather nasty Robinson. The series' success continued on radio until 1952 leaving only the television version (which began in 1950). (Thanks to Robert G. Corder, author of a new biography of Edward Pawley.)
November 30, 1948. NBC network. "I Remember Murder". Sponsored by: Lifebuoy, Rinso. A band-leader steals $50,000 from The High Hatters Club and leaves town in a hurry. After he's "taken for a ride," the girl singer who was with him developes amnesia. "Harry The Hack" finds her...and the murder victim too. Edward Pawley, Fran Carlon, Mason Adams, Jerry McGill (writer, director). 29:26. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.