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Entries Tagged as 'drama'

The Police Reporter - Pgm 1

May 13th, 2010 · Comments

I'm pleased to be starting up a brand-new "previously lost" series on the blog - it's so obscure that I haven't found out much about it, but I hope you can dig a bit and post what you find about the show in the comments as we go through the complete run of 26 episodes over the next six months.

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Based on true crime stories, "The Police Reporter" was a fifteen minute dramatic series syndicated by Radio Release Limited.  The earliest listing I found for it was in the December 10, 1933 issue of the "New York Times" where it showed up on WEAF's program grid on Friday, December 15, 1933 at 10:00 pm.  There are also several listings in the "Los Angeles Times" in February and March 1936 for a fifteen minute "Police Reporter" program on KGPJ at 8:00 pm.  Some of the discs in my set have penciled-in dates from 1935 on the labels.

The company that produced the series, Radio Release Limited is listed in the 1934 edition of "The Writer's Market", noting that they're "looking for anything with commercial value and will consider good scripts carefully.  Pays good rates".  The company is also listed in the 1935 edition of "Broadcasting: Yearbook-Marketbook Issue" on page 122.

Google Books turned up a reference to Radio Release Limited in a trade publication, "Printer's Ink", in Volume 167, page 70, with some type of article about the company being sold.  I don't have access to the publication at Duke - does anyone else have access to see more of what this is about?

"The Police Reporter" is a quarter hour drama that might remind you a bit of "Front Page Drama" in its sensationalism and melodrama.  What makes the series unique is that all the stories featured are true.  "Gangbusters", the pioneering "true crime" series of the period, premiered in July 1935 on NBC as "G-Men" according to Wikipedia.  So, "The Police Reporter" pre-dates the more famous network show by a couple of years - if not the first, it could be one of the earliest true crime shows on the air.

Program 1 of the series is about a man who has been missing for four days.  A neighbor calls the police, thinking something may be wrong.  It's the Lincoln murder case, which occurred in Aurora, Illinois in 1923.  The program includes an announcement that this is the first program of the series.

The series uses real names, dates and locations, so it's easy to track down information on the real cases dramatized on many of the programs.  You can see a summary of the "real" murder story in this week's show on a website devoted to true crime stories and check out a detailed May 13, 2007 newspaper article from the Aurora Beacon News about the murder.

Our program was transferred from original shellac Radio Release, Ltd transcription, pressed by Allied Recording in Hollywood, matrix number A-1068.

We're running through all 26 episodes in the series over the next few months - all the shows are previously lost, unheard since their original airing in 1933-34.

Next week:  the case of the "Vampire of Dusseldorf".

My deepest thanks to an anonymous donor that provided the funding to purchase this set for my collection.

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Tags: drama · Police Reporter

Your Movietown Radio Theatre - Pgm 109

April 22nd, 2010 · Comments

And now a fun little episode of the ZIV syndicated series, "Your Movietown Radio Theatre".

Program 109 in the series is "The Luck of Adam", a story about an advertising man who makes a bet with a newspaper woman about how gullible people can be.  The show features Cesar Romero, Barbara Woodell, Herb Butterfield, and Daws Butler.  There's no opening announcement in the transcription - that would have been provided by your local announcer.

The show was digitized from original an ZIV vinyl transcription set, matrix numbers UR 166275 AU1 and UR 166276 AU1.  Goldin dates the show to 1948.

Sorry, but no label scan on this one - the disc was water damaged and the label is obscured.

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Tags: drama · comedy · Your Movietown Radio Theatre

The FBI in Peace and War - June 10, 1953

April 22nd, 2010 · Comments

And, following up from my previous post, here's another example of a program I've dubbed from an lp as an example of the types of shows I might post that aren't directly digitized from transcriptions.

It's the June 10, 1953 episode of "The FBI in Peace and War", "The Traveling Man", a drama about a young woman that gets hitched to a seedy young man that's stealing cars for an organized crime gang.  The show was sponsored by Brylcreem, Lava soap and Nescafe instant coffee - the jingles are a highlight of the program and the show itself is a brisk, fast-paced little crime drama with some nice sound design work.  You can hear an alternate dub of this program, origin unknown, at archive.org.

Our mp3 was dubbed from an original 1970s era lp release on the Memorabilia label, catalogue number MLP-706.

I have several discs issued by Memorabilia and the sound quality of their programs varies a great deal.  Memorabilia seemed to be a "budget" otr label - the discs would generally run only thirty minutes and they featured generic cover art with only the program title along the top of the cover printed on the different releases.  Some of the shows, like this one, have good sound quality.  Some others, such as their "Charlie McCarthy" and "Fred Allen Show" discs, have a loud 60-cycle hum throughout the program for some reason.  Memorabilia also issued cassettes and 8-tracks, but you don't see them as often as the lps.

I think some selected posts like this from the reissue lps can be valuable.  I have some shows on lps that were pressed in very small numbers that are very rare today and haven't made it into digitized form.  In other cases, the dubs can give you an idea of the sound quality available on releases from some labels from the period and can help you if you decide if you want to collect some of the original lps.

So, what do you think.  Are these posts from tape reels and lps worth pursuing?

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Tags: drama

Five Minute Mysteries - Pgm 25

April 12th, 2010 · Comments

"Five Minute Mysteries" was a wonderful little show syndicated by NBC in the 1940s, used by stations as "filler" after sports broadcasts or to fill a short slot on their schedule.  There are several episodes of the program floating around but I'm not sure the entire series has been found.

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Program 25 is titled "Signal Block" and was transferred from original RCA Syndicated Program vinyl transcription, matrix number ND5-MM-3229-8B.  The disc is dated December 22, 1947 in the matrix.

I'll drop in more of these in the coming months on the blog - I have two discs from the series.

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Tags: drama · Five Minute Mysteries

Grand Marquee - January 23, 1947

April 3rd, 2010 · Comments

"Grand Marquee" is a series I'd never heard of before getting a line check lacquer of one of the shows in the series.  It sounds like an anthology series directed at women and the show originated in Chicago.

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From January 23, 1947 broadcast on NBC, we hear Olan Soule, Beryl Vaughn and announcer Kleve Kirby in "Love is a Better Word", a comedy about a young woman who is surprised to find a stranger at her door who asks her to marry him.  (You might recall Beryl Vaughn from another series on the blog, "Choose a Song Partner".)  The program is sponsored by Rayve Shampoo and Yankee Clover Toilet Water and Perfume.

And a bit of trivia about Beryl Vaughn - she was a featured player on radio's "Sky King".  Oh, and her husband might sound familiar - Ken Nordine.

The show was transferred from an original line check lacquer transcription set from an unknown NBC station.  The recording includes the NBC id and chimes, but no system cue

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Tags: drama · comedy · women's issues

Favorite Story - Pgm 43

March 12th, 2010 · Comments

I've been saving the last episode I have of the series "Favorite Story", syndicated by Ziv in the late 1940s and originating at KFI, Los Angeles.

Program 43 is timely, since it's an Irish themed story, "Jamie Freel", the favorite story of Barry Fitzgerald and based on an Irish legend.  Ronald Coleman is our host and Sean McClory is our star.  Goldin dates the show to April 15, 1947.

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I've seen another mp3 floating around of this show that's dubbed a little too slow and sounds like it's from a second generation tape; this direct transcription dub should sound a bit better.  Our show was transferred from an original red (not green) vinyl Ziv transcription set.  Apologies for the cue burn at the beginning of part two.

If you're curious, you can read a version of the original folk story at Google Books in an 1890 volume, "Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish".

update, 4.15.2010 - Corrected name of the featured star in the show - I put in the incorrect name with an overeager copy and paste from the wrong program.

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Tags: drama · Favorite Story

Your Movietown Radio Theatre - Pgm 106

March 2nd, 2010 · Comments

Here's another episode of the Frederick W. Ziv syndicated series "Your Movietown Radio Theatre" from the late 1940s.  The show featured notable actors from Hollywood in a wide range of half-hour comedies and dramas.

Program 106 in the series is "Sunday Punch".  Ann Dvorak, Jeff Chandler and otr favorite Hans Conreid star in a story about a woman whose husband is a fighter.  The show is dated by Goldin to 1948.

The show was transferred from original ZIV vinyl transcription set, matrix numbers UR 166247 AU5 and UR 166248 AU5.  There's no label photo on this one - it's obscured by some heavy water damage.

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Tags: drama · Ziv syndication · Your Movietown Radio Theatre

From the Bookshelf of the World - Pgm 74

February 19th, 2010 · Comments

Sometimes you run into a disc that doesn't look very promising, but can hold a bit of a surprise.

"From the Bookshelf of the World" doesn't sound like it would be an interesting Armed Forces Radio Service series.  But, this one features a lost performance by actor Boris Karloff.

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Program 74 in the series is "On Borrowed Time", based on a play by Paul Osborn, and stars Karloff as Mr. Brink and character actor Parker Fennelly as Gramps.  The story, if you're not familiar with it, concerns a little boy, an apple tree, and Death.

The disc is undated in the matrix, but I think it may be from the Mutual series, "Great Scenes from Great Plays".  A Karloff fan site lists his appearance in "On Borrowed Time" in that series on October 29, 1948.  However, the site credits Karloff with the role of Gramps, so I think it may be in error.

"On Borrowed Time" was made into a film in 1939 with Lionel Barrymore and Cedric Hardwicke.  Osborn worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood with movies like "The Yearling", "South Pacific", and "East of Eden" in his list of credits.

The show was transferred from an original undated AFRS vinyl transcription.

Update, 2.20.10 - A listener has posted the original newspaper ad for the show.  You can find it at this forum (scroll down the page to see the ad).  Also corrected the spelling of Parker Fennelly's name in this post.

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Tags: drama · rand's favorites

Hollywood Startime - Pgm 2

February 5th, 2010 · Comments

"Hollywood Star Time" seems to have been one of those ubiquitous drama anthology series that were on the air in the late 1940s with different guest stars each week in little half-hour playlets emoting in front of the microphone.

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Originally broadcast March 31, 1946 on CBS, and rebroadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Services as program 2 in the series, we hear "Strange Triangle".  Lloyd Nolan stars in this noir suspense drama bout a femme fatale.  It sounds like a script that might have been recycled from "Suspense" or "The Whistler", but it's actually based on a 1946 Twentieth Century Fox programmer of the same title.

The music is by Hollywood composer Alfred Newman.  Our show was digitized from an original AFRS vinyl transcription.

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Tags: drama

Crime Photographer - Pgm 61

January 29th, 2010 · Comments

Mystery!  Danger!  Flashbulbs!

It's "Casey, Crime Photographer", a nice little detective show with an unusual twist - the crimes are solved by a nosey newspaper photographer.

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In this post, we hear "Woman of Mystery", program 61 in the series, broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Service as "Crime Photographer" and originally heard on CBS on November 9, 1950.  It's one of those "locked room" mysteries, where Casey's keen sense of observation come in handy to discover how a woman was murdered.

The show was digitized from an original AFRS vinyl transcription, matrix numbers D-83531 and D-83532.

Thanks to listener Joseph Web for loaning the discs from his collection for a transfer and inclusion on the blog!

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Tags: drama