Archive for the 'Rocky Jordan' Category

Rocky Jordan - AFRTS Pgm 7, The Nile Runs High

Friday, July 4th, 2008

See an update at the end of this post on this puzzling disc ...

In this post, we take a look at an uncirculated episode of the adventure series "Rocky Jordan" which may be from a previously undocumented run of the series. Directly transferred from an AFRTS set of discs dating to June, 1956, it's the episode "The Nile Runs High", program 7 in the AFRTS run of "Rocky Jordan", series IED-557.

"Rocky Jordan" was a mystery-adventure series set in Cairo running on CBS's Pacific Network. The show started as a quarter hour serial broadcast five days a week in January, 1945 as "A Man Named Jordan". By July, the show took on a half-hour format and ran for two years. The show returned to CBS in October 1948 as "Rocky Jordan".

Jack Moyles played the title character for most of the run with George Raft taking over the part during the summer of 1951 through the end of the series run in June 1953. The First Generation Radio Archives offers a ten-cd set of "Rocky Jordan" shows transferred from original acetates and has an informative page about the series here and here.

This disc has me a bit puzzled. On the same AFRS discs is an episode of "X Minus One", "If You Was a Moklin", broadcast on June 12, 1956. (I'll be posting the "X Minus One" episode soon.) The 1956 broadcast date would put the origin of the discs three years after the end of "Rocky Jordan"'s run on CBS, according to logs of the series and lists of existing episodes I've researched.

"The Nile Runs High" was performed on the series on September 18, 1949 and survives in a copy that includes ads for Del Monte and an orchestral score. This AFRS disc uses the same script, but an organ is used for the music. (The September, 1949 version of the show is available at archive.org.)

What's really strange about the show is that there are no actor or other credits and it sounds like Rocky Jordan was being played by Jack Moyles (remember that George Raft was playing the part from 1951 through the end of the series in 1953). Also, sampling several episodes of the series at archives.org, I don't find any that use this sparse production style with minimal sound effects and organ accompaniment like this show.

So, was AFRS re-running episodes of "Rocky Jordan" after it left the network and did Moyles play the part in later episodes, which would make this show from the 1953 period? Was this taken from an undocumented version of the show recorded for syndication or broadcast locally in 1956 after its CBS run?

Martin Grams, Jr. from the OTR mailing list suggested it might be a rehearsal recording since it features organ accompaniment and minimal sounds effects. I'd be curious to hear other discs in the AFRTS series if they turn up to see what they might contain to see if they're similar in style.

Regardless of the origins, sit back and enjoy this uncirculated and rather mysterious episode of "Rocky Jordan" and please leave a comment on the blog if you have some ideas or information on where this episode may have came from.

Update, 7/6/08 --

Dee from the OTR mailing list notes that the "Directory of Armed Forces Radio Series" by Harry McKenzie lists the show as being broadcast in 1957; the series was a 22 episode run of shows previously broadcast on AFRS in 1949.

The Directory also lists the series with the correct number (557), but the disc I have has it as "IED-557". The series should have had a END prefix - END was used for entertainment shows and IED was for information and education. (The flip side label lists the "X Minus One" program correctly as "END-483".)

The show is still puzzling - it doesn't match the production style of any of the circulating 1949 "Rocky Jordan" shows, but the cast and script sound the same as the 1949 version of the episode. So, is this a rehearsal recording?

Update, 7/8/08 --

See the comments for an in-depth comparison of this show to the original 1949 CBS network version and some possibilities on the show's origins from Stewart Wright.

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