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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Casebook of Gregory Hood


The Casebook of Gregory Hood was heard from 06/03/46 to 12/25/49 over the MUTUAL radio network. Gale Gordon played the title role until 03/01/48 when Elliott Lewis (picture on right) took over the role. Several additional actor also appeared as Hood. In 1949 Jackson Beck, followed by Paul McGrath and Martin Gabel. The series also had a brief run on ABC from 01/25/50 until 08/31/50.

Anthony Boucher (1911-1968) and Denis Green (1905-1954) created one of the finest detective dramas ever to be broadcast during radio s Golden Age. The Casebook of Gregory Hood features a wealthy San Francisco importer and man-about-town who is drawn into mysterious cases as an amateur sleuth. Each of the cases, whether involving a beeswax candle, or a red capsule, or a sad clown, or an elusive violin, is meticulously plotted so that the listener can, if he or she is clever enough, deduce the solution.

Hood specialized in finding and acquiring extremely rare and valuable antiquities. This was the twist for this series. During the course of the finding, quite early in each episode, he became involved in solving some current-day mystery or crime. Usually these mysteries or crime are directly related to the item(s) he is trying to acquire. Definitely a tough guy character; once on a case, he didn't back off. The bulk of the show is spent solving the crime or mystery. Hood is disliked by the police who consider him a meddling amateur in their affairs. The actual reason, and the quite common one for licensed P.I.s', is that he solved cases that they can't. The police frequently stated they hoped to be able to put Hood in jail.

The Casebook of Gregory Hood was initially a summer replacement for Sherlock Holmes in 1946 and had much in common with the series for which it was a temporary replacement. It shared the same writers (Boucher and Green) and the curious feature of the announcer discussing the case with one or more of the lead actors. Only a very few episodes of "The Casebook of Gregory Hood" survive.


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References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group

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