Arch Oboler’s Sounds

It we consider radio drama as an art form, three great names stand out as masters; Orson Welles, Norman Corwin, and Arch Oboler. Of the three, Arch Oboler could almost be counted as a forgotten or over-looked genius.

Oboler was the child of impoverished Latvian Jews in Chicago; his childhood was poor but highly cultured, surrounded with books and classical music. He had a tough time at university were his confrontational personality led to expulsion. He turned to writing pulp fiction to pay the bills.

Oboler entered radio, a medium that he felt was being wasted on soap operas, because he thought radio plays had terrific potential to tell stories with ideas. His gain experience and recognition writing short plays for Rudy Vallee and Don Ameche with The Chase and Sanborn Hour.

In 1936 Oboler was offered the reins of Wylis Cooper’s Lights Out. At first he was unenthusiastic about being stuck with a horror show that played at midnight on Tuesdays (“not my idea of a writing Shangri-La”) but soon realized that the lack of sponsorship and full artistic control gave him a chance to experiment with content and style. Although NBC had a policy of strict neutrality in the pre-War years, Oboler still managed to smuggle in some anti-Facist messages.

Oboler was considered a minimalist who never used a sound effect or piece of music when a spoken word could create a better image in the listener’s mind. When he did use a sound effect, you can be sure that the image would be built in such a way heighten the effect of an often simple effect.

Some of the best are featured in the episode “Drop Dead”. Oboler explains that he has accepted a challenge to frighten his audience, even though he knows that his audience is not “easily horrified”. This episode features retelling of some of Oboler’s most famous radio horror plays.

One of the most creepy is “The Dark” were a greasy black fog escapes its confinement with a power to turn human bodies inside out. This is one of those stories that is best told on radio where the story teller has the best opportunity to manipulate the images in the listener’s mind. 

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The set up dialog is very well done, but the payoff is the actual sound of a person being turned inside-out. The story begins at 8 minutes and 10 seconds into the broadcast. Between 11 minutes and 11 minutes, 30 seconds we discover a body that has been turned inside-out, and from 14:30 to 14:45 we actually hear the sickening sounds as flesh is brutalized as a body is turned inside-out. We here this frightening sound twice more in the story.

How could the producer create the effect of a body abused in such a way without reaching down an actor’s throat and yanking? Here’s the spoiler: the sound effects man wore a surgeon’s rubber glove, and noisily removed it with his hand near the microphone!

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Halloween the Whole Year ‘Round: Himan Brown and the Horror Host

Himan Brown was one of radios foremost pioneers and an advocate for the medium long after the commercial sponsors had given up on radio drama. His name is attached to an impressive number of OTR programs in all genres, but he is best remembered for giving us the Horror classic, Inner Sanctum Mysteries. Notable for its famous creaking door, Inner Sanctum gave us what would become a staple of the horror genre, the horror host. hi brown

Tailor Sam Brown and his wife Dora immigrated from Odessa and settled in a Yiddish neighborhood of Brooklyn. Their little boy Hi would turn out to be an incredibly ambitious young man. While in shop class at the Brooklyn School for Boys, the teacher brought in a receiver built from a piece of copper wire wrapped around a Quaker Oats box and the boys could hear WLW in Cincinnati. Himan was hooked.

At the age of 18, Hi tried convinced WEAF that a Yiddish voice on the air could bring the station the sort of success that Milt Gross’s cartoons brought the newspapers. Whether it was the boy’s persistence or the station’s desperation for programming of any sort, Hi was on the air and enjoyed a good deal following among his listeners. One of those listeners was a creatively minded housewife named Gertrude Berg who had an idea for a Sitcom based on an immigrant family. She enlisted Hi for the project, and after nearly of  a year of pitching to NBC, The Rise of The Goldbergs hit the air with young Himan as the father. Mrs. Berg was less than enthused to have more than one creative genius around, and gave Hi the boot after six months.

challahcrop (1)Hi began going directly to sponsors with story and show ideas, and created a number of immigrant focused programs for the New York market. At the same time,  he was studying law at Brooklyn College. However, Himan Brown quickly realized that the cut-throat lessons of the legal profession could be put to use in the rough and tumble world of commercial radio. His legal background allowed him to get the most advantageous contracts from sponsors, but they always got their money’s worth from Himan Brown. He created a number of soaps, and the anthology Grand Central Station. He also realized that he could buy the right to characters from other media, and brought Bulldog Drummond,  Dick Tracy and the Thin Man to the air.

grand central station

When Carter’s Little Liver Pills came knocking on the door looking for ideas, Hi had a concept ready to pitch that he called The Creaking Door. Horror programs on the radio were certainly nothing new, the fun of telling ghost stories and other creepy tales had been a late night staple since the early Thirties with the campiness of The Witches Tale and the refined terror of Lights Out. The Creaking Door was going to take the horror seriously, but kept in mind that telling ghost stories were essentially good fun. Carter’s loved the concept but hated the name. Taking a page from his earlier crossovers from popular literature, Brown bought the radio rights to a series of low-grade mystery novels from Simon and Schuster called Inner Sanctum Mysteries, and the rest is horror history.

The Inner Sanctum Mysteries discarded the title but not the concept of the Creaking Door, which was based on a sound effect Brown discovered on a rusty basement door. A door was planned for use on the air, but when it did not produce the needed creak, Brown sat in a rusty office chair and turned to make the needed sound. The chair remained part of the show’s equipment, (except for the night that a well meaning studio staffer innocently oiled the chair).

The true genius of The Inner Sanctum was its host. Other horror programs had a host to elevate the level of terror, The Witch’s Tale used a scratchy voiced crone, Arch Oboler himself introduced the stories on Light’s Out, and The Whistler took us into the mind of the killer each week.


Inner Sanctum‘s host went another direction Originally voiced by stage actor Raymond Johnson, “Your host, Raymond” was a mocking character who was so over the top that the audience had to laugh, both at him and themselves, for being so scared. A smiling sociopath, Raymond took delight in his creepy environs, from the collection to skeletons to the shelf filled with severed heads.

In 1945, Johnson left the program to serve in the Army, and host duties were given to Paul McGrath. McGrath dropped the Raymond handle, known as just “Your Host” or “Mr. Host”. 1945 also marked a change in sponsor, and Mary the Lipton Tea Lady joined the show. Mary Bennett as the sunny Tea Lady was a marked contrast to the Smiling Sociopath, but the contrast only served to intensify the fun of the show. The Tea Lady would chide the Host for taking amusement from suicides and dismemberments, using much the same tone as a suburban housewife telling her husband to curb his enthusiasm for pro-football.

The Inner Sanctum carried over into a series of low-budget Universal Horror films during the 1940’s, and was produced as a short-lived syndicated television program produced by Himan Browns Chelsea Studios. However, the visual media lacked the “image intensity” that made Radio Horror so successful. Brown continued to campaign for radio as a story telling medium long after sponsors moved on to TV. He was somewhat vindicated when CBS gave a green light to CBS Radio Mystery Theater in

The over the top Horror Host Himan Brown created by Raymond Johnson and Paul McGrath lives on as the late night TV Horror Movie hosts like Vampira, Count Floyd, Morgus the Magnificent, Svengoolie and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. All of these personalities manage to capture the fun of Halloween throughout the year.


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Science Fiction from the Mutual Network

The Mutual Network was in many ways the “little brother” of the Big Four radio networks. However being small lead to the need to be innovative on many occasions. One example is the world of adult Science Fiction.

The anthology program 2000 Plus premiered on Mutual on Mar 15, 1952, nearly a month before Dimension X appeared on NBC. 2000+ was unique in that the program used all original stories as opposed to the adaptations featured on Dimension X and the later X Minus One. Some of our favorite episodes include:

The Brooklyn Brain, broadcast 6/21/1950. A young man needs instant wisdom and culture to win his girl, so he volunteers to have scientists give him an electronic brain that will allow him to learn anything instantly.

The Green Thing, broadcast 9/27/1950. A patient in a sanitarium is haunted by dreams of a horrible green monster. The doctors struggle to find what it means when they discover other patients are haunted by the same dreams and the same monster, even the Doctor see the huge claws, the pink eyes, what can it mean?

Worlds Apart, broadcast 11/15/1950. A spaceship traveling to Neptune is caught in the tail of an uncharted comet, escaping only by using the ship’s full power. Returning home they find a world with two moons where the milk is green.

The Insect, broadcast 8/15/1951. A scientist has success in his home laboratory enlarging insects, flies, spiders, wasps, etc. When he is away on a business trip, the grocery delivery boy talks the wife into letting him see the lab. Wife and delivery boy end up trapped in the lab with the monster bugs, which haven’t been fed for days…

Exploring Tomorrow came to Mutual for a short run in 1957-58. The program, which was a summer replacement for Gangbusters, was narrated by Astounding Magazine editor John W. Campbell. Favorite episodes include:

The Adventure of the Beauty Queen, broadcast 6/25/1958. Miss USA 1958 is awakened by a mysterious Voice, from the future! A Future scientist is exploring the nature of beauty, and has fallen in love with the Beauty Queen. Now he wants to bring her to the future, to stay with him.

First Baby in Space (a.k.a. Space Baby), by Randall Garrett, broadcast 6/15/1958. A space station is damaged by a meteorite, for which it is prepared, but it isn’t prepared for the expectant mother who is injured, or her baby which will need an incubator to survive. Incubator? There’s no incubator on a space station…

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Best of X Minus One Sci Fi Episodes

Just as with the Horror Genre, Radio is a superior medium for Science Fiction than TV or Movies. It is not a medium for the lazy Sci Fi fan: the producer couldn’t call in the CGI (computer generated image) team and have them created an exploding space cruiser. But for the fan willing to lose himself in his imagination, radio could make the loneliness of space that much deeper, the burning sands of a distant planet that much bleaker, and the evil of a rogue robot that much more frightening.
One of the best Science fiction Anthologies on radio was X Minus One. What made the series great was the stories, which were adapted from the pages of Galaxy Magazine, and later Astounding Science Fiction Magazine. Galaxy had become the leading Science Fiction publisher in the 50’s by publishing stories that dealt with social issues and not just technology and monsters.

The stories were adapted for nostalgia radio by staff writers, mostly Ernest Kinoy and Frank Lefferts, who were usually respectful enough of the material to change it as little as possible while adapting it for the half hour radio format. Some of Sci Fi’s all-time great authors were featured, including Frederik Pohl, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, and Ray Bradbury.

Some of our favorite episodes include the following:

In X Minus One‘s The Cave of Night by James Gunn; A Spaceman’s craft is hopelessly damaged, and the whole world waits breathlessly as a rescue is organized. “The Cave of Night” anticipates the drama of Apollo 13, as well as the tragedy of the Challenger shuttle disaster.

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In X Minus One‘s C-Chute by Isaac Asimov; A civilian space transport is hijacked by chlorine breathing enemy aliens. The human passengers become POWs and argue about how to react to their situation. A mild mannered bookkeeper finds the courage to exit the craft via the C-Chute, normally used to lauch corpses into space, then reenter to defeat the enemy hijackers.

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In X Minus One‘s Sam, This is You by Murray Leinster; A telephone repair man has a quiet life, except for trouble with his girl friend, until he receives a call; “Sam, this is you…” It is himself one week in the future calling to tell him how to turn his life around.

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In X Minus One‘s Honeymoon in Hell by Fredric Brown; Along with the treat of Atomic War, there is a decline in the male birth rate. The solution seems to be sending a man from our side and a woman from their side to the moon in order to conceive a son.

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In X Minus One‘s Something for Nothing by Robert Sheckley; A Class A Utilizer suddenly appears in Joe Collins’ tenement apartment. The Utilizer is a Wishing Machine from the future, and Joe goes a little crazy, having a mansion built in a day in upstate NY, and then a palace in South America, before discovering that there really is no free meal ticket.

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In X Minus One‘s The Discovery of Mornial Matha by William Tenn; A Time Traveler goes to the past to find the greatest artist in history, only to discover that he has no talent. He is almost as surprised as the artist, who discovers his work will be considered great.

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In X Minus One‘s Man’s Best Friend by Evelyn Smith; The Prognosticating Computer chooses a man to assassinate the Overlord, and everyone is excited for him, even the Overlord! Yet he has trouble accepting the unreality of it. Until he makes it appear that he goes through with in, and makes an amazing discovery.

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Fred Allen and his Friendly Feud with Jack Benny

It is impossible to chronicle the birth of the Fred Allen-Jack Benny feud without going into the life and background of Fred Allen. At the age of fourteen, Fred Allen opened a book that would forever change the course of his life. Working as a stock clerk at the Boston Public Library, he picked up a book on the subject of humor. Not only did this literary work put him on the path of comedy, it also sparked a passion that culminated in a book collection. By the time of his death, Fred Allen’s personal library contained thousands of volumes written on the subject of comedy.

Beginning his career in vaudeville, Allen soon learned that his comedic skills greatly outweighed his juggling ability and he decided to use the juggling act as an anchor for his comedy. He also appeared in a few short films, before getting his break on radio. At the age of thirty-eight, Fred Allen landed a job, as host of The Linit Bath Club Revue. The show premiered on October 23, 1932 on the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) network. By 1933, the program was moved to the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network and renamed, The Salad Bowl Revue, to plug its new sponsor, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. The show went through two additional name changes, before becoming the famous, Town Hall Tonight show in 1935.

Allen was convinced that the new radio medium should dispense with the old, weary, worn-out gags and skits common to vaudeville. Instead, he worked tirelessly to bring fresh comedy into the homes of his listeners. Town Hall was a success and Allen used this platform to launch one of the longest running gag feuds in history.

On December 30, 1936, Fred Allen fired his first volley at fellow comedian Jack Benny. A ten-year old violinist appeared on Allen’s show to play, Flight of the Bumblebee. Allen took this opportunity to poke fun at Benny’s violin playing skills. Benny often listened to Allen’s show and after hearing the joke, the game was afoot.

Fred Allen and Jack Benny had been close friends since their days in vaudeville. Benny knew the attack was a great way to increase ratings on both shows. Shortly thereafter, Benny launched his own assault on Fred Allen. Thus, it was the beginning of a radio feud that would outlast sponsors and persist for nearly a decade.

The audience loved the feuding comedians and soon, the number of listeners increased exponentially. In 1937, Allen appeared on Benny’s show for a face-to-face confrontation. The feud took its place in history, drawing in more listeners than another program, with the exception of Franklin Roosevelt’s Fireside chats.

In 1940, Fred Allen returned to CBS with a new sponsor and Town Hall Tonight became the Texaco Star Theater. By 1942, the network demanded that Allen cut the hour-long program down to thirty-minutes. The shortened format and the network’s preference for amateur guests took a toll on Allen. While other comedians were known to work with teams of writers, Allen insisted on creating his own material with the help of a few occasional assistants. Diagnosed with high blood pressure, Allen took time off to recuperate. He returned with the Fred Allen Show on NBC, in 1944.

Further success incurred when Allen added “Allen’s Alley” as a skit on the new show. The alley had been a creation of his, during his early radio days. Allen’s Alley was a fictional location occupied by several eccentric residents. Residents included Senator Beauregard Cleghorn, Ajax Cassidy, Titus Moody and Minerva Pious. Each represented a slice of American society and ethnicity. However, Allen was often at odds with censors, who deemed some of his material might cause emotional injury. At one point, Allen was not allowed to make fun of cemeteries, because he might upset cemetery owners or morticians.

The move to the Fred Allen Show did not detract from the long running feud. Jack Benny even had his own version of Allen’s Alley, called “Clown Hall Tonight.” Over the years, each would occasionally appear on the other’s show. On May 26, 1946, Benny appeared in Allen’s skit, “King for a Day,” poking fun at the rising popularity of radio game shows. Behind the scenes, it was protocol to give the guest comedian the best lines.

Unaware of their personal friendship, many listeners truly believed that the two were bitter rivals. Benny later revealed in his memoirs that while the feud began in an instant, both comedians later met to plan strategy of the imaginary ongoing feud. In addition, Allen and Benny occasionally appeared together in Hollywood films.

By the late 1940’s, CBS talent raids directly affected Fred Allen’s show. CBS was constantly on the prowl for recognizable talent, who could be tempted into joining the CBS Sunday night line-up. The combination of talent raids, big money game shows and television signaled the end of Fred Allen’s radio career. Allen’s last radio show aired on June 26, 1949.

Allen went on to become a regular on The Big Show, which aired for two seasons. Although Allen thought little of television, he did make guest appearances on several popular programs. Before his death, Allen wrote “Treadmill to Oblivion” a chronicle of his radio years and a regular newspaper column. Fred Allen died on March 17, 1956, but he will forever be remembered for the laughter he wrought out of an imaginary feud.

Sample a taste of this famous feud at:

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Charlie and His Orchestra: Nazi Jazz Music from WWII

joseph-goebbels-liebesbriefe-auktionThe highly feared Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels was one of the most intelligent and best educated of the Nazi elite. He completed his PhD at the University of Heidelberg, writing his thesis on 19th century Romantic drama. Goebbels was both anti-Communist, recognizing the fundamental fallacies of Marx’s theories, and anti-Capitalist, which he viewed as being Jewish at the core. Goebbels learned of the early Nazi party soon after leaving University, and became a Party Member within the year. He quickly rose in the Party, and used his propaganda skills to recruit the proletariat core of the hated Communist party into the Nazi fold. When the Nazi’s seized power in 1933, Goebbels was appointed Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. One of his first acts as Minister was to supervise the infamous book burnings.

The Propaganda Ministry held ruthless control over media and the arts, and did everything it could to put done anything that did not ring of “Aryan Purity”. Restricting entartete musik, or Degenerate Music received special effort. Degenerate Music referred to Jazz. Degenerate-Art-The-Nazis-vs.-Expressionism-

There were many reasons for the Nazi’s to dislike Jazz. It represented the freedom of American ideals, and it came from what the Nazi’s saw as the lowest manifestation of America, the rising status of the African-American community. The syncopated beats of Jazz were contrary to the steady rhythms of German music. It was also the preferred music of the Berlin Cabaret scene, a hotbed of anti-Nazi sentiment.

These factors make it amusing to consider that Goebbels would turn to Jazz Music as a weapon of war.charlie and his orchestra

The idea was to turn the Degenerate Music, which was so unsuitable for decent Germans, against the Enemy who had created it. To wield this weapon, Goebbels chose promising tenor saxophonist Lutz “Stumpie” Templin. Although Templin was not a party member, he was far from reluctant to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Nazi rise. The group that would eventually become the Lutz Templin Orchestra broke ties with its Jewish bandleader in 1935 to secure a recording contract with Deustche Grammophon.

The full genesis of the notion to beam Jazz Music to British and American Troops with a Nazi Message is lost to history. It appears that British turncoats William Joyce, the infamous Lord Haw Haw, and the traitorous Norman Baille-Stewart had a hand in feeding ideas for lyrics to Karl Schwedler, the former public servant hired to be the frontman for Templin’s band.

charlieSchwedler, who took the name Charlie for the propaganda project, wrote English lyrics for Templin’s Jazz numbers which promoted the Nazi message. Mostly, this was the same message pushed by Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally- that the Allied Troops faced an impossible task, their leaders were willing to sacrifice the lives of their troops and that their girlfriends were running around on them while they were risking their lives.

By all accounts, the message was seldom taken seriously, especially in the later stages of the War. However, consider the blow to the morale of a Mother living on the East Coast of America, whose son may have been serving on a freighter carrying War Supplies to Britain, when a happy, Jazzy song comes over the radio, and the second verse happily sings about “Cherman Zubmarines”. Winston Churchill, who was lampooned in many of the numbers, was an enthusiastic fan of Charlie and his Orchestra and laughed heartily at the songs.

Experience the History of WWII, both on the Homefront and the Front Lines, the way that many of our Grandparent did- through the messages, shows, and information that came to them through their radio speakers. Find out about propaganda from both sides, and hear genuine reports of the Conflict’s progress in our WWII Collection. Visit today!

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Espionage in Old Time Radio

third manHardboiled Detectives and Spies are some of the most appealing of characters from the Golden Age of Radio (1920’s – 1959). Of course they have a lot in common, but they are, or should be, fundamentally different types of individuals. They will encounter the worst of humanity in their adventures, so they are both entitled a degree of cynicism. But despite their earned cynical view, Spies and Dicks are essentially hopeful people, who feel that their success will make the world somehow a better place. dangerous assignmentThe Spy and the Hardboiled Detective make great Radio Drama because Danger is in the very air that they breathe. The Detective is chasing Bad Guys, and Bad Guys are Evil; that almost defines Bad Guy. For the Spy the opposition is a Sovereign Nation or their Representative. And that Nation may or may not be friendly to that of the Spy. The stakes will be high for the Detective; some of their antagonists do have designs on “World Domination,” but for the most part the price of their failure will only be paid by themselves and their client. A much bigger stack of chips falls if the Spy fails. The secrets that they are pursuing or defending will could precipitate war between nations, or endanger the nation’s military. the third man

The fictional and Radio Spy is usually a loner. It seems that the more popular often have a loose grip on morality, but like the most beloved cowboys and detectives, he will have a strong sense personal code of honor. Not that he will let it come between him and the charms of a beautiful woman- especially when the pretty lady is part of the enemy. The Spy in fiction is often a lot more colorful than his real-life counterpart. A real Spy living and working in the jaws of the enemy will do all he can to avoid attracting attention. Radio producers and audiences expect a bit of gun play and dramatic chase scene.

As nations compete in reality, the fictional Spy becomes grist for the propaganda mill. The changes in the antagonists of Radio Spy Drama over the years are interesting and educational. During the late 1930s rumors of War were swirling from Europe. Agent K-7 Returns deals with American agents in Europe. The agents K-7’s people face are enemies of Democracy, but not positively identified as Nazis.

Lux Radio Theater presents the story of a young couple in love as WWII descends during “A Winter in Paris.” The young lovers are both spies, and are in danger of discovery by both German and Russian agents. David Harding, Counterspy chases Nazi Agents during the Second War, but after the War the enemy becomes black-marketeers, drug smugglers, and Atomic Competitors. True stories of the OSS are dramatized in Cloak and Dagger, occurring in both the European and Pacific Theater. The minions of the Soviet enemy within the US are a very real Cold War Enemy in I Was a Communist for the F.B.I. communist for the fbi lobby

Radio matured both as a technology and dramatic form during WWII and the opening of the Cold War, but Espionage Radio has been around much longer. Listeners will find the Spies between the Wars to be much more melodramatic than is fashionable today.

Dan Dunn, Secret Operative 48 was a Dick Tracy copy in both the newspaper comics and radio. Tracy would chase fanciful inner city hoods, but Dunn concentrated on enemies set on Global Domination, or at least sabotaging American Defense.

Agent K7 Returns is from the time between the World Wars, and America is not officially involved in Europe. However Agent K7, a “former United States secret agent who operated in 22 countries” presents stories that take place in Europe. The stories are generally of other highly fictionalized agents, B-9 and Agent Z and their lovely sidekicks. Many of the stories seem as though they could have come from modern headlines- poison gas, defense secrets, and suicide ships. The stories themselves seem somewhat simplistic, but are very effective when presented in a 15 minute time frame.

The long running radio anthology series, Lux Radio Theater started by adapting Broadway plays for the radio, before turning to Hollywood movies. Espionage was a favorite of movie makers. “British Agent”, broadcast June 7, 1937, tells the story of an agent who is left behind when the British Embassy in Moscow is abandoned during the Russian Revolution. Frustrated with inactivity, the agent, played by Erroll Flynn falls in love with a lovely Bolshevik.

Ned Jordan, Secret Agent (1940?) was a short-lived, FBI inspired series from the pen of Fran Striker, one of the creators of The Lone Ranger, and The Green Hornet. Jordan is a Federal Agent who foils the assassination plans of a secret society that tries to draw the US into war, works with a scientist developing a light for Blackouts, and protects Army plans from terrorists. Ned Jordan starred Jack McCarthy and featured future newsman, Mike Wallace as announcer. In another episode Jordan has to protect an Army Tank expert who is the target of the Fifth Column.

Phillips H. Lord, creator of Gang Busters, also gave us David Harding, Counter Spy. In one broadcast a German Spy who has rowed ashore is captured by residents of a small Maine community. David Harding is called in and manages to capture the Spy’s submarine on the surface with the aid of local fishermen. In another adventure a Spy has embedded himself in a Defense Plant, and murders his wife to throw off suspicion, but doesn’t count on David Harding who finds that the spy network is larger than it first appears.

Of course the rest of the Nation is doing their duty and watching out for potential spies, even Fibber McGee and Molly. At one point Fibber is nervous about a stranger who follows him around taking pictures, click-click-click! Is he a spy, or is it a reporter doing a story about a small town busy-body?

Armed Forces Radio Service presented a series in 1953 called Douglas of the World. Brad Douglas is a newspaper correspondent with an international beat, always tackling the tough stories, and usually getting involved with a pretty girl. In “Double Trouble” he becomes wrapped up in a kidnap plot while covering a Dutch referendum for the unification of Europe. Another time he covers Iranian Premier Mossadegh, just prior to Mossadegh’s actual overthrow by the CIA. In the final episode of the series Douglas sings the praises of the United Nations while covering the threatened suicide of a disabled Korean War Vet.

This just begins to touch the surface of Espionage Stories from the Golden Age of Radio. We hope you will enjoy many hours of enjoyable listening. But it might be a good idea to keep your disguise on while you’re listening. And watch out for that beautiful lady in the corner booth. Wasn’t she the one from Tangiers? Or perhaps it was Singapore? Is she after the Secret Formula too?

Visit Old Time Radio for more tales of espionage and suspense and visit the extensive library of recordings from the golden age of radio.


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