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Happy Birthday, Stacy Harris!

Before embarking on his long career as a much-in-demand actor on radio, TV, and in the movies, Stacy Harris—born in Big Timber, Quebec, Canada on this date in 1918—was the dictionary definition of a “jack-of-all-trades.”  Among his previous occupations were pilot, sailor, boxer, champion archer, artist (he was a political cartoonist for The New Orleans Times-Picayune), and newspaper reporter (sportswriter for The San Francisco Chronicle).  But show business was where Stacy would toil the longest, because…with all those other jobs you might start wondering why he had trouble holding onto them. (Just joking, of course.)

Stacy Harris spent many years in the military; he had enlisted in the Army as a pilot right out of high school, but a plane crash in 1937 injured his leg…and as a result, rendered him “4F” when he attempted to re-enlist at the start of World War II.  Undaunted, Harris became a merchant seaman and then ambulance driver for the Free French in Africa, and then was transferred to the Foreign Legion (as a dispatch rider), where he was awarded the Croix de Guerre.  Discharge in hand, Stacy would soon find work in the aural medium—particularly in the world of daytime drama, where he appeared on such programs as Pepper Young’s Family (as Carter Trent) and The Strange Romance of Evelyn Winters (Ted Blades).

One of Stacy’s earliest high-profile jobs was on another daytime series—though it was geared more to a kid audience than housewives.  On The Adventures of Superman, Harris was one of three actors (the others being Gary Merrill and Matt Crowley) to portray Batman, Supe’s fellow DC Comics super crimefighter.  The creative minds behind the radio Superman decided to introduce The Dark Knight to the show as a way to give actor Clayton “Bud” Collyer (who played The Man of Steel) a little R&R from the rigors of the series, but Batman never really caught on in the same way as The Kid from Krypton did.

It wouldn’t be until radio’s This is Your FBI made a move to the West Coast (it was a New York-based program in its early years) that Stacy Harris would get regular work. He became FBI’s star as Special Agent Jim Taylor, who investigated the various cases on the series as sort of a representation of all of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s agents.  This is Your FBI was one of two shows on the airwaves to spotlight the work of the Feds (the other was The FBI in Peace and War) — and although Peace and War enjoyed a longer run on radio, This is Your FBI had FBI head J. Edgar Hoover’s stamp of approval. Recognizing an effective public relations tool when he saw one, Hoover declared it “the finest dramatic program on the air.”  This is Your FBI premiered over ABC on April 6, 1945 and sold plenty of Equitable Life insurance until January 30, 1953.  Producer-director Jerry Devine was most enthused about adding Stacy to the program, remarking to a newspaper columnist: “Stacy has just the sort of voice I need for the quiet authority of the special agent on my show.  On top of that, he’s a good actor, and it’s a combination on radio which can’t be beat.”

Stacy Harris made certain that Jerry Devine wasn’t just talking out of his hat.  His radio appearances include The Adventures of Christopher LondonThe CBS Radio WorkshopConfessionDangerous Assignment, Ellery QueenEscapeThe First Nighter ProgramFrontier Gentleman, Gangbusters, GunsmokeThe Halls of IvyHollywood Star PlayhouseJason and the Golden FleeceThe Line-UpThe Lux Radio TheatreNight BeatO’HaraRichard Diamond, Private DetectiveRomanceScreen Directors’ PlayhouseThe Silent MenSomebody KnowsStars Over HollywoodThe Story of Dr. KildareSuspenseTales of the Texas RangersThe WhispererThe Woman in My House, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.  One of Stacy’s longest and most rewarding collaborations was with Jack Webb: Harris made the rounds of such Webb-connected series as Jeff Regan, InvestigatorPat Novak for Hire, and Pete Kelly’s Blues. In fact, he was particularly in-demand on Jack’s Dragnet, in which he specialized in portraying lowlifes constantly crabbing about not being able to catch a break.

It was his association with Jack Webb that got Stacy Harris established in motion pictures, too. Harris made his movie debut in a 1951 noir entitled Appointment with Danger, in which he plays the “inside man” at a post office (Webb and his future Dragnet co-star Harry Morgan play the bad guys!).  Webb would also use Stacy as the main villain when he brought Dragnet to the big screen in 1954, with Harris playing the ulcerated Max Troy (a sour stomach and disposition to match).  Stacy would appear on the TV Dragnet multiple times (both the 1952-59 and 1967-70 incarnations), not to mention the Webb-produced Adam-12Emergency!, and O’Hara, U.S. Treasury (on which he had a recurring role as Agent Ben Hazzard).  Jack and Stacy were such good friends that Webb even named his elder daughter “Stacy” in tribute.

Stacy Harris’ other recurring TV roles were as “Detective Vic Beaujac” on N.O.P.D. and “Mayor Clum” on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp.  Harris was a busy beaver when it came to the small screen, making the rounds of such hit shows as Have Gun – Will TravelThe UntouchablesRawhidePerry Mason77 Sunset StripWagon TrainBonanzaThe Virginian, and so many more.  According to the IMDb, Stacy’s final credit was an episode of the short-lived horror anthology Circle of Fear; he left this world for a better one rather early after succumbing to a heart attack in 1973 at the age of 54.

Today, fans of Stacy’s work can hear his familiar voice on two sets of Dragnet (The Big BlastThe Big Gamble); three volumes of Escape (Escape Essentials, The Hunted and the HauntedPeril); Frontier Gentleman; Night Beat (Human Interest); Richard Diamond, Private Detective (Dead Men); Somebody KnowsSuspense (Suspense at Work); The Weird Circle (Restless Sea); and our Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar compendiums of The Archives CollectionFabulous FreelanceMedium Rare MattersMurder MattersMysterious Matters, and Wayward Matters.

“…there you will find…The Man Called X!”

Before his long, distinguished career as a stage and motion picture actor, Herbert Marshall embarked on a variety of jobs (including accounting) that led up to his enlisting in the first World War.  While serving on the Western Front in 1917, Marshall was hit in his left knee by a sniper during the Second Battle of Arras in France…and doctors were forced to amputate his left leg after a series of operations failed to save it.  Herbert—or “Bart,” as he was known to his friends—wore a prosthetic wooden leg after that, and as someone who’s watched the actor in many films including Blonde Venus (1932), Foreign Correspondent (1940), The Letter (1940), and The Little Foxes (1941)…if I didn’t already know he had a wooden leg, I’d never be able to tell.  (He walked with a slight limp—emphasis on slight.)

On radio, it mattered very little if Marshall had a wooden leg or not.  Herbert had a rich, resonant voice that served him quite well in front of a microphone as a guest on such programs as The Lux Radio TheatreThe Gulf/Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre, and The Cavalcade of America.  On this date in 1944, Herbert Marshall made his debut on a series tailor-made for him: a summer show that was filling in for the vacationing Lux Radio Theatre…and that came to be known as The Man Called X.

In its short eight-week summer run, The Man Called X was a little far removed from the espionage drama of later years.  Marshall played Ken Thurston, a private operative who was more detective than secret agent and was joined on the program by veterans Hans Conried (as Thurston’s friendly nemesis, Egon Zellschmidt) and Mary Jane Croft (as fiancée Nancy Bessington).  Man Called X had a light comedic touch to its proceedings, but that began to be downplayed when the show got the greenlight for a full season in the fall (it moved to the Blue Network, though it kept its sponsor, Lockheed).  Conried and Croft had disappeared, and Thurston’s reluctant sidekick was renamed Pegon Zellschmidt.  Leon Belasco, a character actor who was also a violinist and conductor, stepped into the role of Pegon and would play the part until the show left the radio airwaves in the early 1950s.

There would be no summer vacation for The Man Called X after its 1944-45 season.  The show would be called upon to continue selling Pepsodent while Bob Hope got a little R&R, and Man Called X would repeat this function in the summer of 1946 as well.  After that, Man Called X temporarily halted its globetrotting until April of 1947, when it returned to CBS for Frigidaire (hawked by Wendell Niles, of course).  The show ended its CBS run in September of 1948 (and Niles went on to sell his appliances on The New Lum ‘n’ Abner Show.)

By the time of the series’ run on CBS, The Man Called X had firmly established its format.  Ken Thurston worked for an agency known only as “The Bureau” (possibly an offshoot of the U.S. State Department).  Thurston, a.k.a. “X,” could take solace in knowing he at least had a proper name that would allow him to sign checks…but his boss was known only as “The Chief.”  The role of the Chief was played by a number of actors, the most identifiable being character great Will Wright.

Thurston’s “dangerous” assignments took him to various hot spots around the globe—had the airlines’ “frequent flyer” program been in operation at the time, they would have been providing a lot of free airfare to Mr. “X.”  More often than not, once Thurston had made himself comfortable in his new locale, he’d wind up bumping into Pegon—a slightly shady con man who had reason to be where Ken had landed because he had a “relative” working in the area.  Despite Mr. Zellschmidt’s reluctance to get involved, he proved to be a reliable ally in helping Thurston bring miscreants like drug smugglers and black marketeers to justice.

The Man Called X flourished during the post-WW2 era, as listeners thrilled to Ken Thurston’s adventures in exotic locales.  In the fall of 1950, NBC resurrected Man Called X after a two-year hiatus, and Marshall and Belasco continued in their roles of Thurston and Pegon, assisted by a cast of Radio Row pros like John Dehner, Lou Merrill, Gloria Blondell, Ed Begley, Howard McNear and many more.  Chesterfield, RCA Victor, Anacin, and Ford all took turns paying X’s bills, and with the exception of a brief period in May of 1951 — when star Marshall went in for surgery due to a pulmonary embolism (Van Heflin, John Lund, and Joseph Cotten filled in during Marshall’s convalescence) — the stars and format continued until the show signed off on May 27, 1952.

In 1956, syndicator Frederick Ziv revived The Man Called X for a TV series that ran for 39 episodes. The show certainly gave a nod to its radio roots (created by real-life intelligence operative Jay Richard Kennedy), but author Michael Kachman (Citizen Spy: Television, Espionage and Cold War Culture) notes that the TV Thurston character was also based on an American journalist named Ladislas Farago. Gradually transitioning from ink-stained wretch to espionage agent, Farago worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence—a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency.  The small screen version of X starred Barry Sullivan as Thurston.

“Wherever there is mystery…intrigue…romance…in all the strange and dangerous places in the world…there you will find…The Man Called X!”  That familiar opening for the program will clue in old-time radio lovers that a half-hour of top espionage excitement is to follow, and Radio Spirits invites you to check out the exotic exploits of Ken Thurston in our Man Called X collection, which features twelve vintage broadcasts of the series from 1950-51.

Happy Birthday, George W. Trendle!

“There were many tight-fisted broadcasting officials in the Golden Age of Radio, but probably none more pernicious the George W. Trendle, the owner of WXYZ in Detroit.”  So wrote author/Radio Spirits contributor Jack French in a 1998 article he titled “The Miser of Motown.”  Trendle, born George Washington Trendle in Norwalk, Ohio on this date in 1884 (a real-life nephew of his Uncle Sam, so to speak), purchased a Detroit, Michigan station (WGHP) in 1929 with partner John H. Kunsky. They changed its call letters to WXYZ…and became an indelible part of old-time radio history with the creation of such classic juvenile adventures as The Lone RangerThe Green Hornet, and Challenge of the Yukon (a.k.a. Sergeant Preston of the Yukon).  Trendle’s extreme frugality may not have won him many fans where his employees were concerned (tales of his skinflint activities are well-documented, French notes, in Dick Osgood’s essential history of WXYZ, Wyxie Wonderland), yet there are those who opine that George’s ruthless practices may have kept the station afloat during the Great Depression.

George W. Trendle started his career as a member of the legal profession in the 1920s, quickly establishing a hardball reputation as a tough negotiator when it came to movie contracts and leases.  His partner John H. Kunsky (who had built Detroit’s first theatre in 1911) got him further involved in “the movies” when he offered George a 25 percent interest in his motion picture theatre business in exchange for Trendle’s services.  Later, Kunsky, Trendle, and other local theatre owners would feel intense pressure to sell out when Adolph Zukor, the head of Paramount Pictures, acquired the Detroit area film exchange known as the Cooperative Booking Office.  George skillfully negotiated the sale of Kunsky’s holdings for six million dollars — but under the terms of the agreement, neither he nor Kunsky could return to the theatre business in Detroit.  (Zukor, however, was so impressed by Trendle that he hired him to manage Paramount’s theaters in Detroit.  George kept that job until in 1937, when he was fired for “negligence.”)

As previously stated, George W. Trendle and John H. Kunsky were already conquering new fields in entertainment with their acquisition of WXYZ in 1929.  Trendle became the president of the organization known as the Kunsky-Trendle Broadcasting Company (which changed its name to King-Trendle in 1936 when vice president Kunsky legally changed his name) and took an active role as WXYZ’s station manager.  Though a Columbia Broadcasting System affiliate in the beginning, WXYZ became an independent station in 1932 and began to concentrate on their own “homegrown” programming. Early offerings included Thrills of the Secret ServiceDr. Fang, and Warner Lester, Manhunter.  Jim Jewell became WXYZ’s dramatic director and Fran Striker became head of the station’s script department.

George’s staff also included H. Allen Campbell, his longtime business associate. Campbell had previously worked for the Hearst organization as an advertising salesman…and was hired by Trendle to secure sponsors for the station’s programs.  But Campbell had another function at WXYZ: he was George’s “hatchet man.” He would also lure prospective employees with the novel idea of a job for no pay (kind of a precursor to the “unpaid internships” of today.)  There was, after all, a Depression going on, and new hires were promised a salary “when things got better.”

The Lone Ranger would eventually become the hit that helped things get better at the station.  It was syndicated to such stations as Chicago’s WGN and New York’s WOR — and when the Mutual Broadcasting Company was formed in 1934, WXYZ became a charter member.  The Green Hornet would be added to WXYZ’s roster in 1936, followed by Challenge of the Yukon in 1938.  (Not everything George W. Trendle touched turned to gold, however—he also produced such largely forgotten shows as Ned Jordan Secret Agent and Bob Barclay – American Agent.)  In 1946, the newly formed American Broadcasting Company purchased the King-Trendle Broadcasting Company—which included station WOOD and the Michigan Regional Network in addition to WXYZ—for $3.65 million.  George, however, retained ownership of WXYZ’s programs (RangerHornet, etc.).  That same year, Trendle, Campbell, and Raymond Meurer started the Trendle-Campbell Broadcasting Company and began to acquire Michigan radio stations (Flint’s WTCB, Pontiac’s WPON) and add a TV station (WTAC-TV in Flint).

In 1949, George W. Trendle hired producer Jack Chertok to bring The Lone Ranger to TV, taking a credit as executive producer.  The TV Ranger would go on to become a small screen success (one of the fledgling ABC’s few hits). In 1954, Trendle sold the rights to the property to the Jack Wrather Corporation for $3 million, and Wrather continued as the executive producer on that show until 1957.  (George later sold Sergeant Preston of the Yukon to Wrather in 1957, after having produced that program on TV for two seasons beginning in 1955.)  George would continue to participate in the operation of WPON into the late 60s before passing on in 1972 at the age of 87.

If you ever wondered why the theme songs to such George W. Trendle-produced shows like The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet were classical music standards (The William Tell Overture for RangerThe Flight of the Bumblebee for Hornet)…well, you can chalk that up to our birthday boy’s propensity for squeezing a nickel till the buffalo bellowed.  Sure, George W. might have given Jack Benny’s radio character a run for his money (pun intended) in his reluctance to part with a dollar, but we can’t dismiss his contributions to Radio’s Golden Age.  We offer our Lone Ranger collections Danger in the Night (our newest release), Vengeance, Masked Rider, and The Lone Ranger Rides Again.  (There’s even some Yuletide Ranger on our compendium Radio’s Christmas Celebrations, and TV Ranger on the DVD collection Lone Ranger: 20 Episodes.)  As for The Green Hornet, we can point you to Sting of JusticeCity Hall ShakeupFights Crime!The Green Hornet Strikes AgainNight FlightUnderworldThe Big Deal…and be sure to check out Generations, which explores the familial connections between The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet with vintage broadcasts from both shows.  Finally, the third member of the “WXYZ triumvirate” is represented by the Sergeant Preston of the Yukon sets Return to DangerFrozen TrailsOn, You Huskies!Relentless Pursuit, and King Takes Over.

“…enemy to those who make him an enemy…friend to those who have no friends…”

The debate as to whether prisons can successfully reform those individuals who have strayed off the straight-and-narrow will rage on as long as those edifices are being built…but we’d like to present Exhibit A as an example of how the inside of those four gray walls can do wonders for a man.  His name is Jack Boyle, a San Francisco newspaperman whose opium habit led him to kiting checks (a little slang for writing bad ones) and then robbery.  It was this last bit of business that led to his conviction, and while serving his sentence in San Quentin, Boyle fell back on his journalistic pursuits to create a character named “Boston Blackie,” professional safecracker and jewel thief.

Boyle’s first Blackie story, “The Price of Principle,” appeared in The American Scene Magazine in July of 1914—written under his pen name, “No. 6066” (his prison identification).  He followed “Principle” with three additional tales of the thief, and eventually reached a point (beginning in 1917) where stories of Boston Blackie began to appear regularly in periodicals like Redbook and Cosmopolitan.  Boston Blackie would later achieve fame in the movies and on television…but it was on this date in 1944 that “Horatio Black” began entertaining radio listeners with a program that remains one of the most fondly remembered of Radio’s Golden Age.

To call Boyle’s Boston Blackie a crook and con artist would do a disservice to this anti-hero. Blackie had reformed (like his creator) and became more of a modern-day Robin Hood.  He did all right for himself in the short story arena, but Blackie’s fame really took off when one of Boyle’s short stories, “Boston Blackie’s Little Pal” (published in Redbook in June of 1918), was adapted for a feature film that same year starring Bert Lytell as Blackie.  Lytell reprised the role in 1919’s Blackie’s Redemption, but in-between those two features there was 1919’s The Poppy Girl’s Husband (with Walter Long as Blackie) and The Silk Lined Burglar (with Sam De Grasse).  The Blackie films proved so popular that Boyle collected many of the previously published short stories for a book release, Boston Blackie, in 1919.  (Boyle revised and rearranged the stories to form a more cohesive narrative for the benefit of those encountering his creation for the first time.)

Six additional Boston Blackie features were produced during the 1920s featuring a variety of actors portraying the character—the best known is probably Lionel Barrymore, who starred in 1922’s The Face in the Fog (released by Paramount).  After 1927’s The Return of Boston Blackie (with Raymond Glenn as Blackie), Horatio was absent from the silver screen until 1941, when Columbia Pictures instituted a series of B-pictures starring Chester Morris.  The first entry in this series, Meet Boston Blackie (1941), may have been produced with economy in mind…but it was very successful at the box office, with solid entries like Confessions of Boston Blackie (1941) and Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood (1942) following in its wake.  In the Columbia series, Horatio “Boston Blackie” Black was an ex-con who frequently found himself the chief suspect in murders and jewel thefts (due to his reputation) and was frequently pressed into solving the crimes as an amateur detective, staying one step of the police…represented by his nemesis Inspector Farraday (Richard Lane).  Blackie was assisted by his loyal sidekick, The Runt—portrayed in the series’ entries by George E. Stone, with the exception of the first film (Meet Boston Blackie, Charles Wagenheim) and last (Boston Blackie’s Chinese Venture [1949], Sid Tomack).

The success of Columbia’s Blackie franchise prompted NBC to fashion a radio series for the safecracking sleuth in June of 1944, with Morris and Lane reprising their movie roles of Blackie and Farraday.  Blackie lost “The Runt” on radio, but gained a sidekick called “Shorty” and a lady friend named Mary Wesley, portrayed by Jan Miner.  Boston Blackie’s first season on radio was a brief one, owing to the fact that it was the summer replacement for Amos ‘n’ Andy, which returned to its regularly scheduled timeslot in September.  But on April 11, 1945, Boston Blackie was back on the air in a series produced by syndication pioneer Frederick Ziv.  Transcribed for syndication, Boston Blackie would nevertheless air over Mutual and ABC throughout its run, and it starred Richard Kollmar as Blackie, Maurice Tarplin as Farraday, and Lesley Woods as Mary.  The Ziv-produced Boston Blackie proved quite popular with audiences, airing on radio until October 25, 1950.

With the advent of television, it was only fitting that Boston Blackie transition to the small screen like so many of its radio brethren and sistren. With the help of Ziv, Horatio Black became a weekly boob tube fixture with a syndicated series, The Adventures of Boston Blackie, that began in September of 1951.  Kent Taylor would play the TV Blackie, with Lois Collier as Mary and Frank Orth as Farraday.  Though Blackie still hadn’t made an honest woman out of Mary, the couple did have a pet dog (Whitie)…which gave them a sort of Nick-and-Nora vibe.  The TV series lasted 58 episodes and, although there were no further adventures after 1953, the show continued to be enjoyed by couch potatoes because…well, like diamonds, syndication is forever.

I know what you’re thinking: the TV Boston Blackie has been MIA for a while now.  Fortunately, we have radio—namely, Radio Spirits’ collections Boston Blackie Delivers the Goods and Death Wish, with vintage broadcasts starring Richard Kollmar, Maurice Tarplin, and Lesley Woods.  Our shamus compendium, Great Radio Detectives, features a Blackie caper (“Kingston and the Disappearing Office Building”), and there’s Yuletide Blackie with “Stolen Rings at Christmas” on The Voices of Christmas Past.  As a bonus, we invite you to check out C.J. Henderson’s (with Joe Gentile) Partners in Crime, which teams our hero with a “League of Extraordinary Gumshoes” that includes Johnny Dollar, Candy Matson, Pat Novak, Mr. Keen and more!  Happy anniversary, Blackie!

“Get this and get it straight…”

In 1932, having been dismissed from his position as a vice-president with the Dabney Oil Syndicate, Raymond Chandler decided to take up writing detective fiction to make a living.  Chandler had previous experience in journalism, writing poetry and reviews for such publications as The Westminster Gazette and The Academy, but his dissatisfaction with journalism led him to other pursuits.  Back for a second bite at the apple, Raymond’s first professional short story, “Blackmailers Don’t Shoot,” was published in the December 1933 edition of the pulp magazine Black Mask. The newly-minted author followed that up with additional submissions for Mask and Dime Detective before his first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939.

The protagonist of The Big Sleep was a private detective named Philip Marlowe, who figured heavily in Chandler’s follow-up novel, Farewell, My Lovely, in 1940.  Lovely would be adapted for two motion picture screenplays: an RKO production in their popular “Falcon” series (starring George Sanders) entitled The Falcon Takes Over (1942), and a Dick Powell film destined to become a noir classic (also produced at RKO) called Murder, My Sweet (1944).  With Sweet and the silver screen adaptations of Chandler’s Sleep in 1946 (starring Humphrey Bogart as Marlowe) and The Lady in the Lake (with Robert Montgomery) the following year, it was only a matter of time before Chandler’s “white knight in a trench coat” got his own radio series (especially after Sweet was well-received on a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast in 1945).  The Adventures of Philip Marlowe made its debut over the ether on this date in 1947.

Academy Award-winner Van Heflin played Marlowe in this first radio incarnation of Chandler’s detective, though as critic John Crosby noted in a 1947 review for The Oakland Tribune, “No matter who plays Marlowe, he remains a cynical cuss who complains that he could be quite a nice guy if everyone else in the world weren’t such a 14-karat heel.  This somewhat sweeping indictment is understandable in Marlowe’s case; he gets mixed up with the funniest people.”  Heflin’s interpretation of Marlowe is a most interesting one and it’s conceivable that after thirteen episodes (Marlowe was a summer replacement for Bob Hope’s Pepsodent show) the actor could have made a further go at portraying the shamus.  Raymond Chandler, however, wasn’t a fan of Heflin’s take on his creation. He complained that it was “thoroughly flat” in a letter to Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner. (Chandler studied many of the Mason stories before embarking on his writing own ambitions.)  Anyway, MGM—Van Heflin’s employer—had other plans for their star.

After a year’s vacation, Philip Marlowe returned for a CBS series that premiered on September 26, 1948.  The actor who put on Marlowe’s trench coat was Gerald Mohr, in a production overseen by director-producer Norman Macdonnell.  (Macdonnell’s Marlowe was a favorite of CBS chairman William S. Paley, who pressed the network’s creative team to come up with a “Philip Marlowe in the early West.”)  Mohr also had Chandler’s approval. The author noted that Gerald’s voice “at least packed personality.”  (Okay, so Chandler wasn’t exactly effusive with the praise.)  CBS’s The Adventures of Philip Marlowe was an audience favorite featuring a memorable opening. Mohr’s Marlowe would bark: “Get this and get it straight—crime is a sucker’s road, and those who travel it end up in the gutter, the prison, or an early grave…”

For his portrayal of Marlowe, Gerald Mohr was chosen by Radio-Television Magazine as their Most Popular Male Actor.  The Adventures of Philip Marlowe ran two years (it was a sustained series), but was briefly revived in the summer of 1951 (as a replacement for Hopalong Cassidy) with Mohr reprising his role.  “The Sound and the Unsound” (09/15/51) would be Philip Marlowe’s radio swan song, but he continued to take cases on TV (for example, Philip Carey played the detective in a 1959-60 TV series for ABC) and in movies (interpreted by thespians such as James Garner and Elliott Gould).

For many years, only three broadcasts from the original 1947 Philip Marlowe survived the ravages of time and neglect…but two additional transcriptions eventually resurfaced, and you’ll find all five of those Van Heflin episodes on our The Adventures of Philip Marlowe collection.  Gerald Mohr’s Marlowe is represented on that set, too—not to mention Lonely CanyonsNight Tide, and Sucker’s Road.  There are broadcasts of Mohr’s Marlowe on our potpourri compilations Great Radio Detectives (“The Uneasy Head”) and Radio Classics: Selected by Greg Bell (“The Quiet Magpie”), and to round out your collection, Radio Spirits highly recommends DVD purchases of Farewell, My Lovely (1975) and The Big Sleep (1978)—both starring Robert Mitchum as our favorite shamus.  In the words of Raymond Chandler: “…down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.  He is the hero; he is everything.”  He’s Philip Marlowe!

Happy Birthday, Judy Garland!

For generations both old and new, Judy Garland—born Frances Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota on this date in 1922—will be forever known as Dorothy Gale, the young Kansas girl who gets an opportunity to travel “Over the Rainbow” from her little farm in the Sunflower State to the “Emerald City” in the 1939 movie classic The Wizard of Oz.  An accomplishment like this might have been the career highpoint for any other performer…but Judy possessed far too much talent and versatility to rest on those laurels.  Garland was frequently listed among the Top Ten box office movie draws during the 1940s, and conquered radio, television, recordings, and the concert stage.  It should come as no surprise that in a career that netted Judy an Oscar (a special juvenile trophy), a Tony (in 1952), a Golden Globe (the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1962), and a Grammy, the American Film Institute named Judy among their ten greatest female stars from classic American cinema in 1999.

Judy Garland was a show business veteran at the age of two-and-a-half.  It sounds facetious, but it’s true. She began performing with her sisters Mary Jane (nicknamed “Suzy” or “Suzanne”) and Dorothy Virginia (“Jimmie”) as “The Gumm Sisters” on stage in Minnesota…because father Francis managed a movie theatre that featured vaudeville acts.  The family would later relocate to Lancaster, California in 1926, and while the Gumm sisters were enrolled in dance school (in 1928), they became members of the Meglin Kiddies dance troupe (Ethel Meglin operated the school).  The sisters’ connection with the Meglin Kiddies would lead to their motion picture debut in the 1929 short The Big Revue (the Gumm trio sang That’s the Good Ol’ Sunny South).  Several musical shorts followed, notably A Holiday in Storyland (1930—featuring Judy’s first onscreen solo, Blue Butterfly) and La Fiesta de Santa Barbara (1935).

In between movie assignments, The Gumm Sisters toured the vaudeville circuit. In 1934, while playing Chicago’s Oriental Theater, comedian George Jessel suggested that the trio change their billing to…well, anything more appealing than “Gumm.”  There are endless variations on how the sisters decided on “Garland” (one story suggests that they were inspired by the last name of Carole Lombard’s character in Twentieth Century [1934]), but “Garland” it became. The act broke up in August of 1935, when Suzanne flew to Reno, Nevada to tie the knot with musician Lee Kahn.  (Judy, incidentally, decided on her new first name after being inspired by the title of a popular Hoagy Carmichael tune.)

Judy signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1935 on the strength of a performance of Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart and Eli, Eli for MGM’s Louis B. Mayer.  The studio got a bundle of talent with the acquisition of Garland but was often perplexed about what to do with her. At thirteen, she was older than the usual child star, but was too young for adult roles.  (Mayer, charming as he was, also fretted that Judy was not as glamorous as the rest of MGM’s female stars, reportedly calling her his “little hunchback.”)  After being loaned to 20th Century-Fox for 1936’s Pigskin Parade, her first role for MGM would be in a 1936 musical short, Every Sunday, which also featured a performer that would make a name for herself as Universal’s resident child talent: Deanna Durbin.  Garland’s first MGM feature film appearance would be a memorable one, performing You Made Me Love You to a photograph of the studio’s “king,” Clark Gable, in Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937).  From there, Judy landed roles in efforts like Everybody Sing (1938) and Listen, Darling (1938).

Judy Garland’s role in Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (1937) would be the first of ten feature films she made with MGM’s other big child star, Mickey Rooney (including specialty bits in Thousands Cheer [1943] and Words and Music [1948]).  Their “let’s-put-on-a-show” musicals like Babes in Arms (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), and Girl Crazy (1943) proved quite popular with moviegoers, and Judy also appeared as “Betsy Booth” in three of the entries in Mickey’s Andy Hardy series: Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), Andy Hardy Meets Debutante (1940), and Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941).  Her work in Wizard and Babes netted Garland her only Oscar, but by the 1940s she was transitioning to more adult roles with Little Nellie Kelly (1940) and Ziegfeld Girl (1941). Kelly was the film in which she received her first “grown-up” kiss…and was required to do her first death scene. (Sorry for the spoiler.)

Me and My Gal (1942) was the first of six films Judy Garland appeared in with MGM’s resident dance dynamo, Gene Kelly (among their memorable team-ups are The Pirate [1948] and Summer Stock [1950]).  Judy’s other 40s hits include Presenting Lily Mars (1943) and The Harvey Girls (1946—featuring the Oscar-winning song On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe). However, her best-known film from that period is inarguably Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), which was directed by her soon-to-be husband Vincente Minnelli.  A heartwarming tale of a family whose lives are turned upside down when the father gets news he’s being relocated to New York City. St. Louis introduced three Garland song standards: The Trolley SongThe Boy Next Door, and the Yuletide classic Have Yourself a Little Merry Christmas.  Judy and Vincente would tie the knot after St. Louis was completed, and though the union came to an end in 1951, the couple worked on several additional films together, including Garland’s first straight dramatic film The Clock in 1945.

A star of Judy Garland’s magnitude would certainly make the rounds of network radio, and she made one of her first appearances over the ether on a 1935 broadcast of Shell Chateau.  Judy’s films would be dramatized on shows like The Lux Radio Theatre and The Gulf/Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre, and Garland also made a memorable appearance on Suspense with the classic “Drive-In” (11/21/46).  As a dues-paying MGM employee, Garland would appear on Good News of 1938/1939 on multiple occasions, and during WW2 was a favorite on such AFRS mainstays as Command PerformanceG.I. Journal, and Mail Call.  Radio stars learned that inviting Judy on their programs guaranteed a half-hour of unadulterated entertainment, and big names like Edgar Bergen, Bob Hope, George Jessel, Al Jolson, Danny Kaye, and Jack Oakie made her most welcome.  The Old Groaner himself, Bing Crosby, always enjoyed having Judy as guest. Garland not only appeared on his Philco Radio Time, but at a time when Judy was struggling with personal problems in her life, Der Bingle called her “guest star” on over a dozen of the broadcasts he did for Chesterfield/General Electric between 1949 and 1952.  (An October 30, 1952 show even has Judy Garland going solo on Bing’s program—a possible audition for a Garland radio series?)

As magical as Judy Garland’s life onscreen and before the radio microphones seemed, her personal life was occasionally fraught with turmoil.  Though her movie successes included at this time Easter Parade (1948; with Fred Astaire) and In the Good Old Summertime (1949), Judy would end up being replaced on three feature films: The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), Annie Get Your Gun (1950), and Royal Wedding (1951).  She left MGM in 1951 and embarked on a series of concert bookings in the United Kingdom, with her appearance at Manhattan’s famed Palace Theatre in October of that year hailed as “one of the greatest personal triumphs in show business history.”  Her stage work was singled out for a special Tony Award, and in 1954 Judy began work on her “comeback” film, A Star is Born.

You could theoretically argue with Garland fans until the end of time as to what her greatest motion picture triumph was. I love Wizard of Oz (a childhood favorite), but others will make strong cases for Meet Me in St. Louis and A Star is Born.  Star, which had been filmed previously in 1937 (and technically, before that as What Price Hollywood? in 1932), opened in September of 1954 to both enthusiastic audience and critical acclaim.  (Then the studio went in and edited it with a chainsaw, ensuring that Star would fail to make back its cost.)  Judy was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award…and though expected by many to win, she sadly watched Grace Kelly walk off with the prize for her turn in The Country Girl (1954).  (Judy’s loss prompted Groucho Marx to remark that it was “the biggest robbery since Brink’s.”)  Undaunted, Garland began to explore avenues on the small screen, beginning with a well-received appearance on Ford Star Jubilee, which was the first full-scale color telecast on CBS.  Judy did a series of follow-up specials throughout the years before committing to the rigors of a weekly TV show in the fall of 1963. (She had quite a few debts at the time, which convinced her to go back on an earlier declaration that she’d never do weekly TV.)

The Judy Garland Show was adored by critics and would win four Emmy Award nominations (including Best Variety Series), but it had the misfortune of being scheduled up against NBC’s Top Ten favorite Bonanza on Sunday nights. It was cancelled after 26 telecasts.  Judy’s continued concert successes—her April 23, 1961 Carnegie Hall appearance spawned the Grammy-winning double LP Judy at Carnegie Hall, which even today remains a best seller—kept her in the public eye. She even made the occasional feature film appearance in Judgment at Nuremberg (1961—a powerful performance that would win her last Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Gay Purr-ee (1962—an animated feature where she provided the singing and speaking voice of the movie’s feline hero), and A Child is Waiting (1963).  Judy’s final feature film was 1963’s I Could Go on Singing; she had been scheduled to play a role in Valley of the Dolls (1967), but this would go the way of previous unfinished projects.  Judy Garland left this world far too soon at the age of 47 on June 22, 1969.

Judy Garland, in later years, was a much-in-demand guest on the talk show circuit, where she demonstrated that, despite her struggles with offstage demons, she was the true embodiment of the word “entertainer.”  Here at Radio Spirits, Ms. Garland is one of several stars showcased on the 4-DVD collection Hollywood’s Greatest Screen Legends…but your best bet for Maximum Garland is a purchase of the 3-CD George Gershwin Collection; Judy and Mickey Rooney’s title duet from Strike Up the Band is included, as is a hit duet with Bing Crosby (Mine) and three tunes from Girl CrazyEmbraceable YouBidin’ My Time, and the standard I Got Rhythm (another duet with the Mick).  You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet! Showstoppers features four Judy favorites—Over the RainbowThe Trolley SongThe Man That Got Away, and her title duet with Gene Kelly from 1942’s Me and My Gal (For Me and My Gal is also available on Their Shining Hour – The Road to Victory).  Judy duets with Gene on When You Wore a Tulip and solos on Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart (her audition song!) on You Make Me Feel So Young, and two of her favorites, The Boy Next Door and Dear Mr. Gable, are front and center on With a Song in My Heart: Hooray for Hollywood.  Finally…it’s not too early to stock up on Christmas gifts: Legends: The Christmas Collection offers Judy Garland’s immortal rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  Happy birthday, Judy!

Happy Birthday, William Boyd!

The man responsible for the motion picture career of actor William Lawrence Boyd—born in Hendrysburg, Ohio on this date in 1895—was without question Cecil B. DeMille. The famed director-producer cast the young hopeful in bit roles in many of his silent features: Why Change Your Wife? (1920), Forbidden Fruit (1921), The Affairs of Anatol (1921), etc.  Boyd’s “breakout” role was in DeMille’s The Road to Yesterday (1925), and after that success, Bill was featured prominently in Cecil’s The Volga Boatman (1926), The Yankee Clipper (1927), and The King of Kings (1927).

Fittingly, William Boyd’s cinematic swan song was in a movie helmed by his old boss—1952’s The Greatest Show on Earth, which would win the Academy Award for Best Picture.  In the film, Boyd portrayed the character that would bring him his greatest fame in movies, radio, TV, and practically every aspect of popular culture you can name: the one and only Hopalong Cassidy!

Though born in the Buckeye State, young Bill Boyd moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma at the age of seven.  His parents, Charles and Lida, passed away while Bill was still in his teens, forcing him to relocate to California and take on a variety of occupations (including orange picker, surveyor, and auto salesman).  Boyd enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War I but received an exemption due to his “weak heart.”  Bill then made the trek to Tinsel Town and began to pay his dues as an extra in DeMille’s productions before landing larger roles in the director’s films.

While he was employed at Paramount, William Boyd also appeared in other films which not necessarily DeMille-related.  Among his credited motion picture appearances were Brewster’s Millions (1921), Bobbed Hair (1922), Forty Winks (1925), Two Arabian Knights (1927—which won its director, Lewis Milestone, an Oscar for Best Comedy Feature), Skyscraper (1929), and Lady of the Pavements (1929).  Though Boyd made the transition to “talkies” with efforts like The Painted Desert (1931) and Men of America (1932), he wasn’t enjoying the success that he had during the silent era when he pulled down $100,000 a year.

William Boyd’s contract with RKO came to an end due to an event that could have been the plot of a Hitchcock film.  An actor named William “Stage” Boyd was arrested on gambling, liquor, and morals charges…but the newspaper story that told of “Stage’s” misfortune featured a picture of the other William Boyd.  The paper apologized for its error the following day…but as Boyd himself told the story: “The damage was already done.”  Boyd’s decision to change his billing from “William Boyd” to “Bill Boyd” didn’t help his career much, with acting jobs becoming harder and harder to come by.

The story goes that William Boyd was offered the minor role of “Red Connors” in a film entitled Hop-a-Long Cassidy (1935), which would bring the hard-drinking, rough-riding pulp magazine character created by Clarence E. Mulford to the silver screen.  Boyd pressed upon producer Harry “Pop” Sherman to consider him for the lead, and when he won the role, the actor decided to clean “Hoppy” up and make him a paragon of virtue. He abstained from liquor and tobacco (sarsaparilla was his beverage of choice), didn’t swear (he spoke with flawless grammar), and rarely enjoyed the company of women.  The success of Hop-a-Long Cassidy led to a follow-up in The Eagle’s Brood (1935), and then a most profitable series of B-Westerns produced by Sherman for Paramount (until 1941) and United Artists (until 1944). This made “Hopalong Cassidy” a member-in-good-standing of the Silver Screen Cowboy Trinity (the other members being Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, of course).

After 1936’s Go-Get-‘Em, Haines William Boyd played nobody on the silver screen but Hopalong Cassidy. The actor made a total of 54 westerns for Paramount and United Artists…and was certainly amenable to making more, but producer Sherman wanted to move on to more ambitious motion picture projects.  Boyd decided to put on a producer’s hat in addition to a ten-gallon one and cranked out a dozen additional “Hoppies” between 1946 and 1948.  By that point in his career, Bill had resigned himself to the fact that Hopalong Cassidy would be his movie legacy — so in 1948, he made a business decision that many probably thought insane at the time.  He purchased the rights to his entire catalog from Harry Sherman (who believed the Hoppy series was all played out) for $350,000, mortgaging everything he owned (including his ranch) to do so.

William Boyd brought a print of one of his old Hoppy westerns to a local NBC TV station that year, offering them a nominal fee to show the movie (in the hopes that it would give him a little exposure).  The reaction to the film was such that NBC requested more, and soon Boyd had leased his entire library to the network.  The popularity of the movies thrust Boyd into the national limelight. He became a radio star with a series for the syndicated Commodore Productions that aired on both Mutual and CBS from 1950 to 1952. Then, after editing the twelve Cassidy films that he had produced himself to half-hour length for television, he created forty additional episodes that aired on TV between 1952 and 1954.

Hoppy merchandise was everywhere—watches, trash cans, trading cards, toy guns, cowboy outfits, records, and lunch boxes. In fact, Hoppy was the first character to be merchandised for the burgeoning lunchbox industry.  (The Yuletide standard It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas even features a lyric that refers to “a pair of Hopalong boots and a pistol that shoots.”)  Fawcett and DC Comics published a series of Hopalong Cassidy comic books from 1946 to 1959, and a Hopalong Cassidy comic strip ran in newspapers from 1949 to 1955.  Rather than disappoint those fans who remembered him as their favorite silver-haired cowboy hero (Boyd had gone prematurely grey about the time he arrived in Hollywood) — not wanting them to see his inevitable advancing years — Bill decided to retire. He became quite wealthy with real estate investments until his death in 1972.

Though I stated that William Boyd’s final live action feature film appearance was in The Greatest Show on Earth, Cecil B. DeMille had purportedly wanted Boyd to play the role of Moses in what would be DeMIlle’s cinematic curtain closer, The Ten Commandments (1956).  The actor turned him down, believing that he was too well known as Hopalong Cassidy to be convincing…and truth be told, you can’t really think of Bill Boyd without thinking of the famous movie character. He once explained: “I’ve tried to make Hoppy a plain and simple man in manners and dress.  Hoppy isn’t a flashy character.  He isn’t illiterate.  Nor is he smart-alecky.  He doesn’t use big words or bad words.  After all, I felt that Hoppy might be looked up to and that children might try to pattern their lives after the man.  If Hoppy said ‘ain’t’ and ‘reckon’ and that-away’, all the kids might start saying the same things.”  Here at Radio Spirits, we invite you to “get your Hoppy on” with our Silver Spurs collection…plus Boyd-as-Hoppy is one of the many famous celebrities to drop in on George & Gracie in Burns & Allen and Friends.  Are we excited about celebrating William Boyd’s birthday?  You’re durn tootin’!

Happy Birthday, Jeanne Bates!

Character great Jeanne Bates—born in Berkley, California on this date in 1918—started her show business career as a billboard and magazine model (while attending San Mateo Junior College)…but it wasn’t long before she discovered a flair for performing in front of a radio microphone.  Jeanne got her start in the aural medium by acting in daytime dramas for radio stations in the San Francisco area, and yet you could argue that a simple scream opened a lot of doors for her.  Radio producer Lew X. Lansworth had created a popular mystery program entitled Whodunit, and the show’s trademark was a scream at the beginning of each broadcast provided by Jeanne (though she performed other roles as well).  The success of Whodunit brought both Bates and Lansworth to Hollywood, and the couple would eventually tie the knot in 1943 in a union that lasted until Lansworth’s passing in 1981.  (Jeanne would occasionally be billed in the credits of radio shows as “Jeanne Bates Lansworth.”)

Jeanne Bates got an additional benefit out of her move to Tinsel Town.  She was signed to a contract by Columbia Pictures in 1943 and made her film debut in one of the studio’s “Boston Blackie” films, The Chance of a Lifetime.  Uncredited roles in The Return of the Vampire (1943) and There’s Something About a Soldier (1943) followed. Bates would also be cast as Tom Tyler’s leading lady in the chapter play The Phantom (1943; based on Lee Falk’s popular comic strip)…although she really didn’t get to do much but stand around and be rescued.  Other noteworthy movie appearances for Jeanne include The Racket Man (1944), Sundown Valley (1944; a “Durango Kid” western), Shadows of the Night (1944; a “Crime Doctor“ programmer), The Soul of a Monster (1944), and Sergeant Mike (1944).  Bates also played the “damsel in distress” in 1946’s The Mask of Dijon – the tale of a rather a deranged stage illusionist (played by the legendary Erich von Stroheim) who hypnotizes people into committing murders.

Yet Jeanne Bates didn’t let any grass grow under her feet where her radio career was concerned.  She made the rounds on many of the medium’s dramatic anthologies: The Bakers’ Theatre of StarsFamily Theatre, Favorite StoryFour Star PlayhouseThe Lux Radio TheatrePresenting Charles BoyerScreen Directors’ PlayhouseStars in the AirStars Over Hollywood, and Your Movietown Radio Theatre.  Bates would also harken back to her salad days in the soaps with regular roles on such “weepies” as Today’s Children (as Candice Drake) and The Woman in My House (as Caroline Wilson).  Jeanne would take over for actress Winifred Wolfe as Teddy Lawton Barbour on the long-running One Man’s Family. The creator-writer of that iconic program, Carlton E. Morse, had previously used Bates on Adventures by Morse and I Love Adventure (where she played “Mary Kay Jones”—”the cutest secretary in Hollywood”).

Other items of interest on Jeanne Bates’ extensive radio resume include The Adventures of Frank RaceThe Adventures of the Lone WolfThe Adventures of the SaintBarrie Craig, Confidential Investigator, Broadway’s My BeatThe CBS Radio WorkshopDangerous AssignmentDefense AttorneyDr. ChristianFrontier GentlemanLet George Do ItThe Line UpThe Man Called XThe Man from HomicideThe New Adventures of Nero WolfeNight BeatRichard Diamond, Private DetectiveRocky FortuneRocky JordanThe Roy Rogers ShowThe Silent MenThe Story of Dr. KildareSuspenseThe WhistlerWild Bill HickokYou Are There, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.  As you can see, Jeanne was quite busy in radio drama…but she could also tackle comedy with equal aplomb.  She had a recurring role on The Great Gildersleeve as Paula Bullard Winthrop—one of the water commissioner’s many romantic conquests—and also appeared on such shows as Mr. and Mrs. BlandingsThe Phil Harris-Alice Faye ShowShorty Bell, and That’s Rich.

Much of Jeanne Bates’ best radio work was done with director-producer Norman Macdonnell, who first used the actress on Escape and The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, then called upon her to play roles on RomanceGunsmokeFort Laramie, and Have Gun – Will Travel.  (Bates would later do two episodes of the TV Gunsmoke and one of the boob tube HGWT.) During her film career in the 1940s, she had shown that she was quite at ease in front of a camera, and her voluminous work on the small screen includes such favorites as Perry MasonThe Restless Gun (I’ve seen Jeanne in five episodes of this western series), General Electric TheaterWhirlybirdsM Squad, RawhideBachelor FatherWagon Train, and Tales of Wells Fargo.  Her best-known TV work was portraying Nurse Wills on Ben Casey from 1961 to 1966. There was just something about Jeanne that made her ideal for those types of roles — she’s a nurse in the 1964 cult horror film The Strangler, and later donned the white uniform for a regular stint on the daytime drama Days of Our Lives (and a guest appearance on Marcus Welby, M.D.).

Jeanne Bates kept busy in the 1970s and 1980s guesting on such popular TV series as Room 222MannixBarnaby Jones, and daytime’s The Young and the Restless.  She’s also a familiar face in movies like Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? (1970) and Gus (1976—another nursing job!), and in 1991 had the titular role in the cult horror film Mom (1991) as a nice old lady who turns into a werewolf!  Bates continued to work in movies such as Die Hard 2 (1990) and Grand Canyon (1991), and though (according to the IMDb) her final credit (voice only) was in a 2002 episode of That 70s Show, Jeanne made a nice contribution to David Lynch’s cult classic Mulholland Drive (2001).  (Bates was in Lynch’s earlier Eraserhead [1977]—as “Mrs. X.”)  Jeanne Bates succumbed to breast cancer in 2007 at the age of 89.

Jeanne Bates did so much radio that I don’t think it’s possible to credit everything she did…but Radio Spirits will do its part to remember her legacy by letting you know about a few of the collections featuring today’s birthday girl that we have on hand.  You’ll hear Mrs. Lansworth on The Adventures of Philip MarloweNight TideSucker’s Road, and Lonely CanyonsBroadway’s My Beat: The Loneliest MileEscape: The Hunted and the HauntedPeril, and Escape to the High SeasFort Laramie: Volume TwoGunsmoke: The Round UpKillers & Spoilers, and SnakebiteThe Great Gildersleeve: For Corn’s SakeHave Gun – Will Travel and Blind Courage;  Let George Do It: Cry Uncle and Sweet PoisonThe Line Up: WitnessThe Man from HomicideNero Wolfe: Parties for Death and The New Adventures of Nero WolfeNight Beat: Human InterestRichard Diamond: Homicide Made Easy and Dead MenThe Whistler: Voices; and the Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar collections Fabulous FreelanceMurder MattersExpense Account Submitted, and Phantom Chases.