Friday, August 24, 2012

Casey, Crime Photographer

Casey, Crime Photographer, known by a variety of titles on radio (aka Crime Photographer, Flashgun Casey, Casey, Press Photographer) was a media franchise from the 1930s to the 1960s. The character was the creation of novelist George Harmon Coxe. Casey was featured in the pulp magazine, Black Mask, novels, comic books, radio, film, television and legitimate theatre.

 Jack "Flashgun" Casey, was a crime photographer for the newspaper The Morning Express. With the help of reporter Ann Williams (best remembered portrayed by Jan Miner, Palmolive's "Madge"), he solved crimes and recounted his stories to friends at the Blue Note, their favorite tavern and jazz club where the Archie Bleyer Orchestra and the Teddy Wilson Trio were featured.

 Begun as over 20 popular short stories in Black Mask, there were films and novels before the stories were brought to radio under various names. The series aired on CBS. The radio show was sustained by the network when a sponsor could not be found. Sponsors of the show include Anchor Hocking, Toni home permanents, Toni Shampoo and Philip Morris.

Matt Crowley, Casey
Jim Backus, Casey (briefly)
Staats Cotsworth, Casey

Jan Miner, Ann Williams
John Gibson, Ethelbert the bartender

Air dates
07/07/43 - 04/01/44 (as Flashgun Casey)
04/08/44 - 06/26/45 (as Casey, Press Photographer)
07/11/45 - 03/13/47 (as Crime Photographer)
03/20/47 - 11/16/50 (as Casey, Crime Photographer)
01/13/54 - 04/22/55 (as Crime Photographer)

In the period between the fourth and fifth series, the live television version was telecast.

 In 1951 the popular series moved to television:
First Telecast: April 19, 1951 Last Telecast: June 5, 1952
Casey (June 1951-April 1952): Darren McGavin
Ann Williams: Jan Miner (reprising her radio role)

Darrin McGavin commented, "The cast of Crime Photographer didn’t go down fighting. They took off for the hills. It was so bad that it was never re-run, and that’s saying something when you recall the caliber of television programs in those days."

Another great Casey, Crime Photographer link.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Archie Andrews

Archie Andrews, created in 1941 by Vic Bloom and Bob Montana, is a fictional character in an American comic book series published by Archie Comics, as well as the long-running Archie Andrews radio series, a syndicated comic strip, The Archie Show, and Archie's Weird Mysteries.

Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead were heard on radio in the early 1940s. Archie Andrews began on the NBC Blue Network on May 31, 1943, switched to Mutual in 1944, and then continued on NBC radio from 1945 until September 5, 1953. The program's original announcer was Kenneth Banghart, later succeeded by Bob Shepard (during the 1947-48 season, when Swift and Company sponsored the program) and Dick Dudley. Archie was first played by Charles Mullen (1943-1944), Jack Grimes (1944) and Burt Boyar (1945), with Bob Hastings (1945-1953) as the title character during the NBC years. Jughead was portrayed by Hal Stone, Cameron Andrews and later by Arnold Stang. Stone later wrote about his radio career in his autobiography, Relax... Archie! Re-laxx! (Bygone Days Press, 2003). During the NBC run, Rosemary Rice portrayed Betty, Gloria Mann portrayed Veronica, Alice Yourman portrayed Archie's mother, Mary Andrews and Arthur "Art" Kohl was Archie's father, Fred Andrews.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Broadway Is My Beat

Broadway Is My Beat, a radio crime drama, ran on CBS from February 27, 1949 to August 1, 1954. With Anthony Ross portraying Times Square Detective Danny Clover, the show originated from New York during its first three months on the air. For the remainder of the series, the role of Detective Danny Clover was portrayed by Larry Thor. The series featured music by Robert Stringer, and scripts by Peter Lyon. John Dietz directed for producer Lester Gottlieb (eventually succeeding him as producer). Bern Bennett was the original announcer. Beginning with the July 7, 1949 episode, the series was broadcast from Hollywood with producer Elliott Lewis directing a new cast in scripts by Morton S. Fine and David Friedkin.

The opening theme of "I'll Take Manhattan" introduced Detective Danny Clover,
a hardened New York City cop who worked homicide "from Times Square to Columbus Circle -- the gaudiest, the most violent, the lonesomest mile in the world."

Danny Clover narrated the tales of the Great White Way to the accompaniment of music by Wilbur Hatch and Alexander Courage, and the recreation of Manhattan's aural tapestry required the talents of three sound effects technicians (David Light, Ralph Cummings, Ross Murray). Bill Anders was the show's announcer, as was Joe Walters.

The supporting cast included regulars Charles Calvert (as Sgt. Gino Tartaglia) and Jack Kruschen (as Sgt. Muggavan), with episodic roles filled by such radio actors as Irene Tedrow, Barney Phillips, Lamont Johnson, Herb Ellis, Hy Averback, Edgar Barrier, Betty Lou Gerson, Harry Bartell, Sheldon Leonard, Martha Wentworth, Lawrence Dobkin and Mary Jane Croft, and Eve McVeagh.

 Stories came to a climax in the lonely hours just before dawn: Broadway is sleeping now... the furious avenues of the night are still... only the sleepwalkers are there... the seekers, the sodden... it's Broadway. The gaudiest. The most violent. The lonesomest mile in the world. Broadway... my beat!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Our Miss Brooks

Our Miss Brooks is an American situation comedy starring Eve Arden as a sardonic high school English teacher. It began as a radio show broadcast on CBS from 1948 to 1957. When the show was adapted to television (1952–56), it became one of the medium's earliest hits. In 1956, the sitcom was adapted for the big screen in the film of the same name.

Our Miss Brooks was a hit on radio from the outset; within eight months of its launch as a regular series, the show landed several honors, including four for Eve Arden, who won polls in four individual publications of the time. Arden had actually been the third choice to play the title role. Harry Ackerman, at the time CBS's West Coast director of programming, wanted Shirley Booth for the part, but as he told historian Gerald Nachman many years later, he realized Booth was too focused on the underpaid downside of public school teaching at the time to have fun with the role.

Lucille Ball was believed to have been the next choice, but she was already committed to My Favorite Husband and didn't audition. Then CBS chairman Bill Paley, who was friendly with Arden, persuaded her to audition for the part. With a slightly rewritten audition script--Osgood Conklin, for example, was originally written as a school board president but was now written as the incoming new Madison principal--Arden agreed to give the newly-revamped show a try.

Produced by Larry Berns and written by director Al Lewis, Our Miss Brooks premiered on CBS July 19, 1948. According to radio critic John Crosby, her lines were very "feline" in dialogue scenes with principal Conklin and would-be boyfriend Boynton, with sharp, witty comebacks. The interplay between the cast--blustery Conklin, nebbishy Denton, accommodating Harriet, absentminded Mrs. Davis, clueless Boynton, scheming Miss Enright--also received positive reviews. Arden won a radio listeners' poll by Radio Mirror magazine as the top ranking comedienne of 1948-49, receiving her award at the end of an Our Miss Brooks broadcast that March. "I'm certainly going to try in the coming months to merit the honor you've bestowed upon me, because I understand that if I win this two years in a row, I get to keep Mr. Boynton," she joked. But she was also a hit with the critics; a winter 1949 poll of newspaper and magazine radio editors taken by Motion Picture Daily named her the year's best radio comedienne.

For its entire radio life, the show was sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive-Peet, promoting Palmolive soap, Lustre Creme shampoo and Toni hair care products. The radio series continued until 1957, a year after its television life ended. This content is now available under public domain for download at at