Cole Younger, Jesse James, and their brothers terrorized the Old West in the years just after the Civil War. Later their names are used for stereotypical badmen in the movies. When Western Movies were often regarded as Grade B fare because they were cheap and quick for Hollywood to produce, it is a little bit remarkable that the Younger Brothers are given relatively fair treatment by radio’s Crime Classics.
Crime Classics usually falls into the Crime and DetectiveÂ category, but it could easily be listed as a Historical program. The stories presented, although they can be rather gruesome, are all based on actual histories, using court records and news reports whenever possible. The host of Crime Classics, the “connoisseur of crime, Thomas Hyland played by Lou Merrill, takes a slightly tongue in cheek attitude towards his topic. Not as irreverent as Raymond from Inner Sanctum Mysteries, but he does manage to lighten the mood around a sometimes gory topic.
With better treatment than given in most of the B Westerns,Crime ClassicsÂ explores the beginnings of Cole Younger’s killing spree. After Younger’s father was killed by Unionists, Cole joined a group of Confederate bushwackers led by William Quantrill. Under Quantrill, Younger demonstrated that he could be an efficient and ruthless killer, as well as an intelligent and cunning leader. When the war ended, Younger refused to acknowledge the defeat of the Confederacy.
His brothers were drawn into the cause, and in time they joined with Frank and Jesse James in a murderous crime spree. Eventually his dedication to his brothers would be Cole’s undoing. After their arrest, the Younger boys plead guilty to their crimes in order to avoid being hanged.
Many of the important details of Cole Younger’s murderous career are necessarily left out of the episode “The Younger Brother and Why Some of Them Grew No Older”. This has more to do with the restrictions of a half-hour format than artistic or editorial considerations. This episode, like the others of Crime Classics, shows that radio can be just as effective a documentary tool as motion pictures, or even cable TV.
Candy Matson was the creation of writer, Monty Masters. Masters had a long established career in radio and his wife was a successful actress in the theater. Monty Masters had originally created the private investigator series for a male lead, but his mother-in-law convinced him it was time to introduce a female P.I.
Candy MatsonÂ YU2-8209 premiered as a pilot episode in March 1949 on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) network. The role of Candy was played by Masters wife, Natalie Parks. She immediately attracted an audience with her soft, sultry and sexy voice. At the beginning of each episode, Candy sensually answers the phone with â€œCandy Matson YU2-8209.” Candy takes the calls out of her San Francisco apartment and the cases take her all over the Bay Area. The blonde pistol-packing bombshell of a P.I. never gives in to intimidation.
The program aired only in 30-minute segments and did not have a sponsor. Although the show was popular, most advertisers were attracted to the new marketing tool, known as television. Candy was a busy and strong woman, but she was not without a love life. Lt. Ray Mallard. Mallard and Candy often worked the same cases at the same time and their work relationship developed into a love relationship, which was finalized during the final episode of the show on May 21, 1952.
In addition to promoting the value of women in the non-traditional workplace, the show also seemed to bring out the hidden side of San Francisco. Not allowed to broach the subject on the air, Masters scripts suggested that Candyâ€™s partner was gay. Played by Rembrandt Watson, the character of Jack Thomas was portrayed as an opera loving photographer with a passion for fashion, leaving the audience to question his sexuality.
Unfortunately, the show only lasted two years. Candy Matson was a casualty of television. One thing is certain; Candy Matson reflected the changing attitudes toward women and work. Candy proved that women could be just as effective and successful as men could.
Enjoy listening to Candy’s crime solving skills in this episode, The Donna Dunham Case, compliments of Old Time Radio, at: