Old Time Radio

This Is Your FBI: “Espionage”

This episode is the first of what would become a very popular series. This Is Your FBI was a great crime investigation drama, “taken from the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The well done program was an advertising vehicle for the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, running from April 1945 until Jan 1953.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was not only a formidable law man, but he is also remembered as one of Washington’s most effective bureaucrats. Hoover was quick to recognize the value of radio as a propaganda tool to promote the reputation of the Bureau, and it’s Agents. Beginning in 1933 with the Lucky Strike Hour, the FBI lent its files and support to a number of True Crime dramas over the years, including Gang Busters, Counterspy, The FBI In Peace And War, I Was A Communist For The FBI, and This Is Your FBI.

The “Espionage” episode manages to take what must have been a rather routine, perhaps even tedious investigation, and turn it into an exciting Police Procedural drama that even fans of TV’s CSI series would enjoy. The episode begins by describing the separate, seemingly insignificant bits of information that a foreign power can use to develop a breach in US security. Next it details the steps the Bureau’s agents take to discover and confirm the breach, and finally find and arrest the traitor responsible. Any program that can turn more than 5,000 separate handwriting analysis into “edge of your seat” drama must be well written!


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