Vintage Radio Detectives

Discussion in 'Radio' started by jake_fink, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. jake_fink

    jake_fink Call Me a Cab

  2. I always think of Firesign Theater's "Nick Danger" as a great radio PI.
  3. topcat

    topcat Familiar Face

    Upstate NY
    Keep a lookout for The Fatman , Mr Keen Tracer of Lost Persons, Richard Diamond , and Barry Craig confidential investigator.
  4. Radioflyer

    Radioflyer New in Town

    Lafayette, IN
    Yup, the Adventures of Phillip Marlow are great but I'm an avid Boston Blackie fan. Dick Kollmer I believe did the best job...some of the best acting. Philo Vance was ok but the acting mediocre. Being a fan of Vincent Price in about every movie he made, I love Vince in The Saint series (radio).
  5. Hannigan Reilly

    Hannigan Reilly One of the Regulars

    St. Louis, MO
    Bob Bailey as "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. The insurance investigator with the action-packed expense account."

    He's my favorite, lately. Our local talk station runs the weekend special of "When Radio Was."
  6. The Reno Kid

    The Reno Kid A-List Customer

    Back in the Biggest Little City
    Sam Spade was a great show. Howard Duff was the definitive radio detective. I read somewhere that for a time, Duff's portrayal actually eclipsed Bogart's in the popular consciousness. Johnny Dollar (esp. Bob Bailey) was also dependably good. I enjoy Philip Marlowe, but the writing doesn't seem as tight as the other shows. There really aren't too many shows I don't like.
  7. Maj.Nick Danger

    Maj.Nick Danger I'll Lock Up

    Behind the 8 ball,..
    Thank you!

    I finally get my due! ;) lol
  8. GearHead

    GearHead One of the Regulars

    I just got sirius sattelite radio a few months back.
    I love the retro radio station that plays all the old shows from Boston Blackie, Gang Busters, The Lone Ranger as well as some of the great comic shows.
    It's worth the $12 a month for that station alone.

  9. LolitaHaze

    LolitaHaze Call Me a Cab

    Las Vegas, NV
    Jack Flanders

    This isn't Golden Era radio, but I highly recommend the Jack Flanders series of radio programs. These were originally aired in the 70's but have a 40's 50's feel. I love the Forth Tower of Inverness, but my ex swears by Moon over Moraco. The one liners are witty and wonderful. It is more mystery/adventure than detective. The simple man's Indiana Jones, if you will...

  10. Viola

    Viola Call Me a Cab

    NSW, AUS
    Then this is the Anthony Boucher who wrote "The Complete Werewolf"? Because I loved those stories.

  11. The Wolf

    The Wolf Call Me a Cab

    Santa Rosa, Calif

    I enjoy Boucher's stories as well. If you read enough of them you notice characters re-appear in other stories and refrences are made to other stories.

    The Compleat Wolf
  12. J.B.

    J.B. Practically Family

    My all-time fave radio P.I. series was Jack Webb's first sojourn into radio drama -- Pat Novak For Hire... It's so hard-boiled it borders on camp!! It is sarcastic, pessimistic, and with a totally tongue-in-cheek dialogue from Webb at his "driest"..."

    The show aired from 1946-1947 as a West Coast regional program with Ben Morris in the title role, but then in 1949 -- as a nationwide program for ABC starring young Jack Webb as Novak.

    Pat Novak For Hire is set on the San Francisco, California waterfront and depicts the city as a dark, rough place where the main goal is survival. Pat Novak is not a detective by trade. He owns a boat shop on Pier 19 where he rents out boats and does odd jobs to make money.

    IMO, this show was the forerunner and the best of tough-talking drama dialog...

    “Pat Novak For Hire. That’s what the sign out in front of my shop says. It’s about the only way to make a living down on the waterfront in San Francisco. Because around here a set of morals won’t cause any more stir than Mother’s Day in an orphanage...”

    “Pat Novak For Hire. That’s what the sign out in front of my office says. It’s up there in block letters but down on the waterfront in San Francisco good printing doesn't mean a thing. You get that on a death certificate...”

    "Pat Novak For Hire. Oh, there are a lot of ways to put it, but it’s easier if you let your slip show right from the beginning..”

    “The skin hung loose around his face so when you touched it, it felt like an empty baked potato...”

    "I closed the shop early and I came home to read. It wasn't a bad book -- if you ever wanted to start a forest fire..."

    "She sauntered in, moving slowly from side to side like a hundred and eighteen pounds of warm smoke. Her voice was all right, too. It reminded you of a furnace full of marshmallows..."

    "She walked with the nice, easy swing of a satisfied leopard. For a small leopard, she had pretty good spots, too..."

    "I hope you don't mind my coming in without warning?" "No -- I get the cabbage smell from next door the same way." :D

    "I began to walk through the place. It was so quiet you could hear a worm with the whooping cough and there were enough shadows around to keep a ghost happy for years..."

    I swear I can't have anything liquid around to drink while I listen to this show! (It'll end up getting spit out all over everything!) Too funny!

    If you haven't dug this show -- then you've missed one of the best on OTR! :arated:
  13. The Captain

    The Captain One of the Regulars

    Not quite "Blackie".

    Radioflyer wrote: "..... I'm an avid Boston Blackie fan. Dick Kollmer I believe did the best job...some of the best acting."

    Back in '96 I bought a large selection of taped, vintage radio shows. One of the groups is named: Missing Masters, a collection of audition tapes and premiere episodes of popular series and some that are the only existing shows from a rare series. Here is one of them:

    Boston Blackie (11/19/45) "Foreman shot on the 20th floor", starring Maurice Tarplin, Leslie Woods and Jackson Beck. In this episode, Blackie has laryngitis and solves the case from a sick bed! In reality, Richard Kollmar - the actor who played Blackie - was unable to perform on this show, so the producers had an unidentified actor portray Blackie as having laryngitis and whisper all of his lines.
  14. Hannigan Reilly

    Hannigan Reilly One of the Regulars

    St. Louis, MO
    I just bought a subscription and love it! The videos of old cartoons, commercials, and movies are great, as well!
  15. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

    Dun Dun Dun!
    BOX 13!

    With the star of Paramount Pictures, Allan Ladd as Dan Holiday.


    The best thing about Dan Holiday is, he isn't a detective, he's a writer, yet becomes tangled in mysteries and solves them. Personally I think he's an idiot, he's always looking around for a story to pay his bills and he solves crimes for heaven's sake! He needs a better career than a writer!

    But it makes for a good show. :p
  16. BBC 7 just got through playing a bunch of SHerlock Holmes from the 50s - Carleton Hobbes as Holmes and Norman Shelley as Watson. Very good indeed. Probably my favourite radio Holmes and Watson, though the guy who's most recently played Holmes on radio (Clive Merrison, who played the russian insurgent - forget the name of the character - in Reilly Ace of Spies) is great.

    Check out BBC7 for many great shows from the golden era and modern shows of golden era detective fiction (lots of Agatha Christie recently).


    edit: Merrison's character in Reilly was Boris Savinkov
  17. artdecodame

    artdecodame One of the Regulars

    "Richard Diamond" is highly recommended! It's a classic detective title in terms of plotlines, but since Dick Powell was the star they of course had to throw in a few tunes. ;)
  18. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I'll second Richard Diamond -- it's a show that works on multiple levels. The plots and characters work fine as a straight crime show -- but there's also just enough subtle parody of the whole "hard boiled dick" genre to make it work as satire.The "Adventures of Sam Spade" radio series worked on these multiple levels too, but as a longtime Powell fan, I have to go with Diamond as my fave...
  19. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

    I think Richard Diamond is my all-time favorite series, much less radio detective! The plots are good and interesting, and the characters and dialogue really nail it. Dick Powell always has this tongue-in-cheek delivery that keeps the wisecracking from being smart-aleck and the lady-loving from being womanizing. I get the sense that Diamond is amused at himself! (I did say Diamond amused at himself, not Powell amused at Diamond. ;) ) But when he, and the show, needs to be serious, it is. Serious and genuine. There's plenty of flippancy, but never out of place.

    The friendship between Diamond and Lt. Walt Levinson is well-developed, too, and I didn't truly get a sense of it until I'd listened to a lot of the shows. Rick's often laughing at Walt's expense, but Walt gets his digs in, too. (Have you heard the one when Diamond gets stuck on the ladder? lol ) And there's a strong affection beneath the ribbing and insults. Superficially Boston Blackie sounds the same, but the relationship there is nothing like.

    I just love this show! Its feel is really unique. I can't decide how much it's due to Dick Powell's acting, and how much to Blake Edwards's writing. He went on to Peter Gunn, the Pink Panther, and the Great Race - the man had talent!

    I agree with Lizzie that Sam Spade comes the closest to Richard Diamond, although Sam Spade is usually more on the parody side and less on the serious side. Especially when Steven Dunn took over from Howard Duff; he sounds like a caricature of Duff's Spade. I like Duff's Spade a lot. The bits with he and Effie can be hilarious. But Diamond is my favorite.

    About the singing: I've actually come to enjoy it. Some songs are cleverly worked in or humorously orchestrated; once he sings over the phone to a crying baby, another time to a seal! Another time a virtuoso trumpet takes over the song. lol I'm wondering, though, if the fan base for the show was split over it. Some of the shows included Helen's neighbors, most of whom loved Diamond's singing. One show incorporates a lot of fan mail - it's hilarious. But there was one neighbor who hated the singing. At one point he hired a detective to ruin Diamond's voice. That detective is played by Steven Dunn, and deliberately acted like Pat Novak! They even used a similar name. But in the shows that talk about his singing, Rick and Helen's lines seem to invite people to write in and give their opinions. It's a very interesting dynamic that you only pick up when you listen to the series as a whole.
  20. Midnight Palace

    Midnight Palace Vendor

    Hollywood, CA
    Great link, thanks for posting it!!!! :)

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