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Archive for the ‘Radio mystery’ Category

Happy Birthday, Jack Johnstone!

A September 24, 1938 edition of Radio Guide describes a “radio first” executed by actress Alice Frost and Jack Johnstone, the writer-producer of the popular Johnny Presents.  The blurb describes how the program had just gotten underway when Frost ran up to the microphone yelling “But I want to ask a question, Dr. Carrington!”  “The audience sat spellbound, […]

Happy Birthday, Frances Robinson!

“Danger’s my stock-in-trade,” observed George Valentine weekly on the popular Mutual crime drama Let George Do It.  For actress Frances Robinson, who played George’s loyal gal Friday, Claire “Brooksie” Brooks, her stock-in-trade was playing girlfriends and secretaries (and in some cases both) on radio.  From Perry Mason to Murder and Mr. Malone, Robinson supplemented a busy movie career with […]

Happy Birthday, Sir John Gielgud!

Sir John Gielgud made his cinematic debut in a 1924 silent film, Who is the Man?  Yet the celebrated actor, born in South Kensington, London on this date in 1904, really didn’t commit to a movie career until he had reached his sixties, with memorable turns in such films as Becket (1964), The Loved One (1965), and Murder on the Orient Express (1974).  […]

“…the official broadcast from the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation…”

Author Frederick Lewis Collins’ book The FBI in Peace and War became such a huge best seller in 1943 that a radio adaptation premiered the following fall. The series was created by Louis Pelletier and directed-produced by Max Marcin, who was also bringing audiences Crime Doctor every week.  You’d think that such a series—which was heard over CBS from 1944 to 1958—would […]

Happy Birthday, Maurice Tarplin!

A 1946 issue of Radio Mirror noted that “practically everyone connected with the Boston Blackie show is a former athlete.” Radio Mirror was not publishing “fake news”: the show’s star, Richard Kollmar, was a member of the tennis team while attending Tusculum College (Tennessee) and later, at Yale, became an outstanding water polo player.  (I’ll spare you the old joke about […]

Happy Birthday, Earle Ross!

As a boy, actor Earle Ross had been gifted with a beautiful soprano voice—one that he put to good use singing in the boys’ choir at his local church. (His parents wanted him to become a minister.)  One day, Earle reached for a high note…and his voice cracked.  For several days, he was unable to speak; when his voice […]

Happy Birthday, Edgar Barrier!

Life in motion pictures was never easy for actor Edgar Barrier.  It wasn’t that the work was difficult—it’s that whenever Edgar appeared in a movie, it was even money that he wouldn’t make it to the closing credits.  “He has experienced horrible deaths by suicide, stabbing, fire, gunshot wounds,” noted Radio Life in 1945.  Radio was a little […]

Happy Birthday, Staats Cotsworth!

A newspaper man once referred to actor Staats Cotsworth—born in Oak Park, Illinois on this date in 1908—as “the Clark Gable of radio.”  It was one of several nicknames Cotsworth would acquire during his long career in the aural medium — the most fitting being “the busiest actor in radio,” because Staats had emoted before a microphone […]