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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

True Adventures of Junior G-Men


Junior G-Men was a boys club and popular culture phenomenon during the late 1930s and early 1940s that began with a radio program and culminated with films featuring the Dead End Kids.

After leaving the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a brief stint in Hollywood, Melvin Purvis hosted a children’s radio program called “Junior G-Men” in 1936. Purvis had become a national hero for his record as an FBI agent during the so-called "war on crime" in the early 1930s, most notably for leading the manhunt that ended with the death of John Dillinger. As a result of this fame, Purvis was seen as a real-life counterpart to the fictional detectives, such as Dick Tracy, that proliferated in the popular culture targeting boys during this period. As part of the radio program, listeners could join a "Junior G-Men" club and receive badges, manuals, and secret agent props. Shortly thereafter, Purvis became the face of breakfast cereal Post Toasties promotional detective club. The cereal company’s fictional “Inspector Post” and his “Junior Detective Corps” metamorphosed into an image of Purvis inviting boys and girls to become “secret operators” in his “Law and Order Patrols.”

As a result of this mass exposure, Junior G-Men clubs sprouted up throughout the United States and Canada as a "law and order" themed alternative to the Boy Scouts. Junior G-Men clubs found support from police departments and non-profit organizations that saw them as a means of combating juvenile delinquency. The clubs structured children's time with activities designed to instill law-abiding attitudes, as reflected in their slogan "It's easier to build boys than to mend men."

Junior G-Men was part of the larger “war on crime” campaign being waged through the mass media, which included movies, comic books and strips, radio programs, and pulp books, all of which was encouraged by the FBI and especially its director, J. Edgar Hoover prior to World War II. Most of these featured adult "G-Men" even when marketed to children. The difference with the Junior G-Men was that it was designed to give boys a sense of participating in the exciting adult world of crime-fighting. That said, aside from the original radio program, a book, Junior ‘G’ Men’s Own Mystery Stories (by Gilbert Lathrop, Edward O’Connor, and Norton Hughs Jonathan) was published in 1936 and a big little book by Morrell Massey and Henry E. Vallely the following year. Eventually they also appeared on the big screen.

To bring the Junior G-Men to life on the big screen, Universal Studios enlisted the Little Tough Guys and the Dead End Kids, a group of on-screen street toughs that later became known as The Bowery Boys. Two serials were made: Junior G-Men in 1940 and Junior G-Men of the Air in 1942.

In Junior G-Men, a 12-chapter serial, a gang of street kids work with the FBI and the Junior G-Men to find and rescue their leader's father, a scientist who has been kidnapped by "The Flaming Torches," a group of saboteurs in league with a sinister foreign power.

The second film is a 12-chapter serial, Junior G-Men of the Air, in which the Junior G-Men thwart the “Order of the Black Dragonfly,” a Japanese fifth column organization planning to destroy America's oil wells.

In Let's Get Tough! the Eastside kids call themselves "Junior G-Men" when investigating sabotage.


Junior G-Men (serial) 1940

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Junior G-Men: Chapter 1 - Enemies Within (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 2 - The Blast of Doom (1940)

Junior G-Men: Chapter 3 - Human Dynamite (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 4 - Blazing Danger (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 5 - Trapped by Traitors (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 6 - Traitors' Treachery (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 7 - Flaming Death (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 8 - Hurled Through Space (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 9 - The Plunge of Peril (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 10 - The Toll of Treason (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 11 - Descending Doom (1940)
Junior G-Men: Chapter 12 - The Power of Patriotism (1940)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Exploring Tomorrow


Beginning as a replacement for "Gangbusters" and "Counterspy" this series premiered on December 11, 1957 and ran until June 13, 1958 on Mutual stations. According to Astounding Magazine, the series was billed as the "first science fiction radio show of science-fictioneers, by science-fictioneers, and for science-fictioneers...".
The shows, running approximately 25 minutes each, aired on Wednesdays at 8:05 PM. Twenty eight of the twenty nine shows in the series survived and are available to collectors.

The series was narrated by the editor of Astounding Magazine, John W. Cambell, Jr., with scripts written by some of the best writers of science fiction including Gordon Dickson, Robert Silverberg and others.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Fat Man, The


The Fat Man, a popular radio show during the 1940s and early 1950s was a detective drama based on characters by Dashiell Hammett. It starred J. Scott Smart in the title role.

Broadcast from the studios of WJZ in New York, the series premiered on the ABC Radio Network on Monday, January 21, 1946, at 8:30pm, as part of a block of four new programs (I Deal in Crime, Forever Tops, and Jimmy Gleason's Diner). Based on Dashiell Hammett's fiction, The Fat Man was further developed by producer, E.J. ("Mannie") Rosenberg. The program was directed by Clark Andrews, creator of Big Town, and Charles Powers. The main writer was Richard Ellington, with other scripts by Robert Sloane and Lawrence Klee.

The veteran character actor Ed Begley co-starred as Sgt. O'Hara, and the supporting cast included Betty Garde, Paul Stewart, Linda Watkins, Mary Patton as Lila North and Vicki Vola, who was also the female lead in Mr. District Attorney. Amzie Strickland played Runyon's girlfriend Cathy Evans, and Nell Harrison was Runyon's mother during the early episodes. The cast also included Dan Ocko, Rolly Bester (wife of science fiction writer Alfred Bester) and Robert Dryden. An 11-piece orchestra was directed by Bernard Green, who also wrote the program's theme. The sound effects were by Ed Blaney, and the announcers were Charles Irving and sportscaster Gene Kirby (1909-1985).

The success of the radio series led to a movie, The Fat Man (1951), directed by William Castle with a flashback-within-a-flashback storyline. Smart retained his role as detective Brad Runyon, investigating the murder of a Los Angeles dentist with an assist from Bill Norton (Clinton Sundberg). One of the suspects is portrayed by famed Barnum & Bailey clown Emmett Kelly in his screen debut as an actor. Also in the cast are Rock Hudson, Julie London, Parley Baer (uncredited) and Jayne Meadows.

There was also a version made in Australia, syndicated on the Artansa label in 1954 - 1955. The Australian Fat Man was played by Lloyd Burrell.

All US Shows

All Australian Shows


Murder Plays the Horses 1 19/08/1954
Murder Sends a Xmas Card 2 26/08/1954
Murder Runs a Want Ad 3 2/09/1954
Murder Runs A Want Ad 4 9/09/1954
Murder Wears a False Face 5 16/09/1954
Murder Stalks the Dead 6 23/09/1954
Murder Meets an Agent 7 30/09/1954
Murder Missed Out 8 7/10/1954
Murder Takes A Train Journey 9 14/10/1954
Murder In Triplicate 10 21/10/1954
Murder Throough A Crystal 11 28/10/1954
Murder Makes A Hum 12 4/11/1954
Murder Plays A Double 13 11/11/1954
Murder Moves In Circles 14 18/11/1954
Murder And The Peacock 15 25/11/1954
Murder Calls The undertaker 16 2/12/1954
Murder Seeks A Lost Penny 17 9/12/1954
Murder Makes A Statue 18 16/12/1954
Murder Meets A Con Man 19 23/12/1954
Murder Finds Twins 20 30/12/1954
Murder Rings a Bell 21 6/01/1955
Murder Repeats Itself 22 13/01/1955
Murder Rides A Wheelchair 23 20/01/1955
Murder Finds A Coffin 24 27/01/1955
Murder For Sale 25 3/02/1955
Murder By Mail 26 10/02/1955
Murder Makes Am Alibi 27 17/02/1955
Murder in Close 28 24/02/1955
Murder Shows An Unfamiliar Face 29 3/03/1955
Murder Makes The Kings Coffin 30 10/03/1955
Murder Makes the Highest Bid 31 17/03/1955
Murder Finds A Devils Drum 32 24/03/1955
Murder Makes A Black Moon 33 31/03/1955
Murder Blows A Phantom Face 34 7/04/1955
Murder Makes A Silent Partner 35 14/04/1955
Murder Makes Music 36 21/04/1955
Murder Writes A Story 37 28/04/1955
Murder Meets An Uncertain Lady 38 5/05/1955
Murder Shows A Card 39 12/05/1955
Murder Makes The Payoff 40 19/05/1955
Murder Sends A Warning 41 26/05/1955
Murder Calls At Eventide 42 2/06/1955
Murder Seeks A Thousand Dollar Bill 43 9/06/1955
Murder Tells A secret 44 16/06/1955
Murder In The Dark 45 23/06/1955
Murder Shows Eyes In The Dark 46 30/06/1955
Murder Shows A Stolen Heart 47 7/07/1955
Murder Pays A Dividend 48 14/07/1955
Murder Appears Out Of The Pst 49 21/07/1955
Murder Made Stylish 50 28/07/1955
Murder Takes A Picture 51 4/08/1955
Murder Bait 51 18/08/1955
Murder Forecasts Death 52 11/08/1955

Monday, January 18, 2010

Teahouse Detective, The (BBC)


Teahouse Detective was broadcast on BBC Radio 4, starring Bernard Hepton as The Man in the Corner and Suzanne Burdon as journalist Polly Burton. The stories in the series were adapted for radio by Michael Butt and included:


* The York Murder
* The Metropolitan Line Murder (The Mysterious Death on the Underground Railway)
* The Body in the Barge (The Fenchurch Street Mystery)
* The De Genneville Peerage


* The Dublin Mystery
* The Edinburgh Mystery
* The Brighton Mystery
* The London Mystery (The Regent's Park Murder)

Recorded From Radio Broadcast

Download:   Teahouse Detective, The.zip 

Eight stories, in two series of four, featuring Suzanne Burden, Bernard Hepton, Jessica Turner
and Jonathan Tafler. Director: John Taylor.

01 The Metropolitan Line Murder (44:30)

Journalist Polly Burton seeks the help of an enigmatic old customer at the ABC teahouse,
on The Strand.

02 The York Mystery (43:55)

In a London ABC Cornerhouse in the twenties, few would guess that the ragged old man sitting over
a cup of warm tea and a doughnut is Britain's most astute detective, or that he is on the
brink of solving the country's most scandalous and intriguing murder mystery.

03 The Body in the Barge (44:33)

When a rotting body is found on a potato barge on the Thames, a blackmail victim appears to
have the motive - but the truth is more complex and sinister.

04 The de Genneville Peerage (44:32)

Polly is shattered by an appalling murder, but the man in the corner's efforts to shed light
on the mystery meet with her furious resistance.

05 The Dublin Mystery (44:20)

The Teahouse Detective is drawn into the case of a dying father, two sons and three wills.

06 The Edinburgh Mystery (44:04)

When an attractive woman is hired to take care of Lady Donaldson's ingenuous son, events
lead to betrayal and murder.

07 The Brighton Mystery (44:24)

An American heiress begins to get blackmail letters from the husband she thought was dead.

08 The London Mystery (43:45)

The mysterious man in the corner helps Polly when a gambler accused of murder seems to have
the perfect alibi.


Author's Playhouse


Authors' Playhouse was an anthology radio drama series, created by Wynn Wright, that aired on the NBC Blue Network from March 5, 1941 until October 1941. It then moved to the NBC Red Network where it was heard until June 4, 1945. Philip Morris was the sponsor in 1942-43.

Premiering with "Elementals" by Stephen Vincent BenĂ©t, the series featured adaptations of stories by famous authors, such as “Mr. Mergenthwirker’s Lobbies” by Nelson Bond, "The Snow Goose" by Paul Gallico, "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs, "The Piano" by William Saroyan and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" by James Thurber.

Cast members included Curley Bradley, John Hodiak, Marvin Miller, Nelson Olmsted, Fern Persons, Olan Soule and Les Tremayne.

Orchestra conductors for the program were Joseph Gallicchio, Rex Maupin and Roy Shield. Directors included Norman Felton, Homer Heck and Fred Weihe.

The series was a precursor to several NBC radio programs of the late 1940s and early 1950s: The World's Great Novels, NBC Presents: Short Story and The NBC University Theater.

Author's Playhouse.zip


Adventures of Dick Cole, The


The Adventures of Dick Cole was a 1942 juvenile adventure radio series based on the comic book feature in Blue Bolt Comics.

For Funnies, Inc., Bob Davis created the character of Dick Cole, a heroic cadet at the Farr Military Academy. The character was introduced in "Origin of Dick Cole" in the first issue of Novelty Press's Blue Bolt Comics (June 1940).

In 1942, the comic book series was adapted into a 30-minute radio program which followed the adventures of Cole (Leon Janney) at the Farr Military Academy. When Cole wasn't winning football games, he tracked evildoers with an assist from his Academy pals, Simba and Ted. The announcer was Paul Luther. Lew White provided the background music.

Blue Bolt continued to run stories about the young hero until 1949. Billed as "America's Number One School Star," Cole finally got his own book with eight issues of Dick Cole (Novelty Press, 1948-50), illustrated by L.B. Cole, Joe Certa, Jim Wilcox and others. L.B. Cole continued the title for two more issues at Star Publications in 1950.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Railroad Hour, The


The Railroad Hour was a radio series of musical dramas and comedies broadcast from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s.

Sponsored by the Association of American Railroads, the series condensed musicals and operettas to shorter lengths, concentrating on those written before 1943. Singer-actor Gordon MacRae starred in scripts by Jean Holloway, Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee. Marvin Miller was the announcer. Warren Barker, at the age of 24, was appointed chief arranger for The Railroad Hour, a position he held for six years.

With its theme song, "I've Been Working on the Railroad", the series began on ABC October 4, 1948 as a 45-minute program, advertised as "World's Greatest Musical Comedies." It was reduced to 30 minutes on April 25, 1949, continuing until September 26, 1949. It then moved to NBC for a run from October 3, 1949, until June 21, 1954. On both networks it aired Monday evenings at 8pm.

Doris Day co-starred with MacRae in No, No, Nanette and Jane Powell co-starred in Brigadoon. Other offerings included The Desert Song, Holiday Inn, The Merry Widow, The Mikado, Naughty Marietta, Show Boat, Song of Norway, State Fair, The Student Prince and The Vagabond King. Soprano Dorothy Kirsten, Dorothy Warenskjold and Lucille Norman were frequent co-stars. Kirsten, Warenskjold, Rise Stevens and other performers on The Railroad Hour were also regular guests on Harvest of Stars during the late 1940s.

Gerald Wilson and Martin Grams, Jr. documented the program in their book The Railroad Hour (BearManor Media, 2007). It features an episode guide listing all 299 episodes with titles of all songs in correct sequence and the vocalist for each song, plus the origins of all musicals with plots and cast lists.

Many scripts for the series are on file at the Ohio State University's Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute

Horizons West (aka American West)


The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) was the first overland expedition undertaken by the United States to the Pacific coast and back. The expedition team was headed by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and assisted by Sacajawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. The expedition's goal was to gain an accurate sense of the resources being exchanged in the Louisiana Purchase. The expedition laid much of the groundwork for the westward expansion of the United States.

Date of initial airing is unknown; this was a syndicated series. Audition Show: none

SERIES DESCRIPTION: Thirteen chapter syndicated radio docu-drama of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Excellent scripts and acting. Was broadcast on Armed Forces Radio and Television Service in the 1950's.

CREW: Directed by William Lally. Written by Karl A. and William Tunberg. Sound patterns by Gene Twombly. Announcer: Michael Rye (a.k.a. Rye Billsbury.)

MR. JEFFERSON' DREAM (Chapter 1) President Jefferson summons Meriwether Lewis to Washington City as his personal secretary. Jefferson tells Lewis of his plan for the exploration of the West. Lewis recruits Clark. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, and York by Cliff Holland. Unmatched Roles and Actors: Roles: Daniel Boone by , the Sgt. by , the Colonel by , President Jefferson by , Gen. George R. Clark by , Dr. Socgran by Pvt.Patrick Gass by , and Sgt. John Ordway by . Actors: Dan Randolph, Stan Ferrar, Ben Wright, Les Tremayne, Tyler McVey, Bill Irwin, and Dal McKennon.

THE CONFRONTATION (Chapter 2) Lewis and Clark confront the most feared tribe on the Plains - the Sioux. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, Sgt. Charles Floyd, Jr. by Jack Edwards, Pierre Dorion by Jack Kruschen, and George Drouillard by Karl Swenson, Private Reed by Sam Edwards, Partisan by Dal McKennon.

DAKOTA WINTER (Chapter 3) The Corps of Discovery winter with the Mandan. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, York by Cliff Holland, Toussaint Charbonneau by Sebastian Cabot, and Sacagawea by Helen Gerald. Unmatched Roles and Actors: Roles: Francois Larocque by , Black Cat by , and Kakawissassa by . Actors: Bill Keene, Howard Culver, and John Cedar.

INTO THE UNKNOWN (Chapter 4) With the Spring, the Corps of Discovery travel westward along the Missouri. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor by Dal McKennon, Toussaint Charbonneau by Sebastian Cabot, Pvt. Pierre Cruzatte by Don Diamond, Pvt. Richard Windsor by Steven Bell, and George Drouillard by Karl Swenson.

THE GREAT FALLS (Chapter 5) Lewis and Clark divide the Corps to search for the Great Falls of the Missouri. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, George Drouillard by Karl Swenson, Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor by Frank Gerstle, Pvt. Pierre Cruzatte by Don Diamond, Toussaint Charbonneau by Sebastian Cabot, Pvt. Silas Goodrich by Herb Ellis, and Sacagawea by Helen Gerald.

SHOSHONE COUNTRY (Chapter 6) With the help of Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark locate the Shoshone. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, George Drouillard by Karl Swenson, Sgt. Patrick Gass by Bill Quinn, Toussaint Charbonneau by Sebastian Cabot, Pvt. Shields by Jim Bowles, and Sacagawea by Helen Gerald.

TO THE PACIFIC (Chapter 7) The Corps races Winter in an attempt to cross the Rockies and reach the Pacific via the Columbia River. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, Sgt. John Ordway by Eddie Firestone, Pvt. Pierre Cruzatte by Don Diamond, York by Cliff Holland, George Drouillard by Karl Swenson, Comcominish by Dal McKennon, and Sgt. Patrick Gass by Jim Bowles.

FORT ON THE COLUMBIA (Chapter 8) The Corps winters at the mouth of the Columbia River. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, Sgt. Patrick Gass by Bill Quinn, George Drouillard by Karl Swenson, Comawool by Dal McKennon, and Sacagawea by Helen Gerald. Unmatched Roles and Actors: Roles: Pvt. John Colter by , Pvt. Alexander Hamilton Willard by . Actors: Ben Cooper.

HOMEWARD BOUND (Chapter 9) With Spring, the Corps start their trip back to Saint Louis. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, Pvt. Pierre Cruzatte by Don Diamond, George Drouillard by Karl Swenson, Toussaint Charbonneau by Sebastian Cabot, and Sgt. Patrick Gass by Bill Quinn. Unmatched Roles and Actors: Roles: Nearckecku by , Yellept by , Clatsop Warrior by . Actors: Paul Conrad and Dal McKennon.

DECISION AT TRAVELERS' REST (Chapter 10) Lewis and Clark split the Corps into several parties to explore uncharted areas. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, Comcominish by Dal McKennon, George Drouillard by Karl Swenson, Sgt. John Ordway by Eddie Firestone, Pvt. William Bratton by Clark Gordon, and Pvt. John Shields by Jim Bowles.

CLARK AND THE HORSE THIEVES (Chapter 11) Cpt. Clark and his group encounter hostile Indians. CAST: Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, Sgt. John Ordway by Eddie Firestone, Toussaint Charbonneau by Sebastian Cabot, Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor by Frank Gerstle, Pvt. George Shannon by Don Spruance, York by Cliff Holland, and Sacagawea by Helen Gerald.

LEWIS AND THE BLACKFEET (Chapter 12) Lewis deals with the Blackfeet and is shot while hunting. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Sgt. Patrick Gass by Bill Quinn, White Bear by Dal McKennon, George Drouillard by Karl Swenson, Sgt. John Ordway by Eddie Firestone, and Jay Novello by Side Hill Calf. Unmatched Roles and Actors: Roles: Pvt. Hugh McNeal by , Pvt. Joseph Field by , and Pvt. Reuben Field by . Actors: Dan Barton, John Stephenson, and Howard Culver.

DOWN THE MISSOURI TO ST. LOUIS (Chapter 13) The reunited Corps of Discovery complete their journey. CAST: Cpt. Meriwether Lewis by Harry Bartell, Cpt. William Clark by John Anderson, Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor by Frank Gerstle, Sacagawea by Helen Gerald, Sgt. Patrick Gass by Bill Quinn, Toussaint Charbonneau by Sebastian Cabot, James Aird by Don Messig, and Pierre Dorion by Jack Kruschen. Unmatched Roles and Actors: Roles: Pvt. John Colter by and Sheheke by . Actors: Gary Collins and Richard Peel.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Tales From The Shadows (NPR)


Tales from the Shadows, in collaboration with Jim Mckee and Earwax Studios, adapted and produced a series of 13 bizarre classics by Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Poe, Lovecraft, Kafka, Bierce and others for KCRW-FM in Santa Monica and other stations; distributed by NPR and Pacifica. (1987).


Times Past has no affiliation with Old Time Radio Researchers. Any related content is provided here as a convenience to our visitors and to make OTRR's work more widely known.

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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