Classic TV : OT: Before the TV years - the Radio Days

Re: The Fountain Plays (by Dorothy Sayers)

Well, I've read some novels of Dorothy Sayers', and I thought they weren't bad, but I didn't know this one yet - thanks for the tip!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: The Fountain Plays (by Dorothy Sayers)

This radio play appears as a short story. I think that her short stories are quite good. I found her novels to be way too dragged out, with a rather uninteresting romance going on between Lord Peter and Harriet Vane.

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: The Fountain Plays (by Dorothy Sayers)

Ah, that's interesting, I've never read any of her short stories - so they might well be better than her novels! (And more suited for radio adaptation...)


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

"The After Dinner Story" by Cornell Woolrich

The After Dinner Story by Cornell Woolrich (part of the Suspense series)...extremely interesting radio play about a group of strangers who are in an elevator accident. The elevator operator dies, but the others survive. As help arrives, one of them is murdered. However, his death is ruled an accident. The murdered man's father invites the strangers to his home a year later for dinner to discuss the issue. I think that this is by far the best story that Cornell Woolrich has ever written.

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The After Dinner Story" by Cornell Woolrich

"By far.."? Hardly! You want suspense, read "Three O'Clock" where a would be murderer finds himself bound and gagged in his own basement while a time bomb ticks away. Or there's "I Wouldn't Be in Your Shoes" about a guy who tosses a shoe at a yowling tom cat,and finds himself a murder suspect because his shoe was found near a corpse.
"Nightmare" about a guy who dreams of killing someone in an octagonal mirrored room, only to discover he *may have murdered some one." This yarn was so good, two
"B" movies were made in a five year period.

E.Q. loved Woolrich (Irish) stories!

Re: "The After Dinner Story" by Cornell Woolrich

I need to read more of his work. I'll see if I can track down a short story collection of his work.

Wait a minute....that "Nightmare" plot sounds familiar. I heard a radio play with a similar plot, but I think they said that someone else wrote it.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The After Dinner Story" by Cornell Woolrich

There's an old book, I WOULDN'T BE IN YOUR SHOES. Public library might have copy.
The stories I mentioned are part of this collection; that *voodoo story is also in this collection.
Woolrich (Irish) stories are plentiful at AMAZON and various detective anthologies

Re: "The After Dinner Story" by Cornell Woolrich

...and I find that universities/colleges often have these out of print books.

I can also put in an interlibrary loan request.

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

"Statement of Employee Henry Wilson"

From the Suspense series: a radio play called Statement of Employee Henry Wilson.

This radio play is an inverted murder mystery, in which we find out who the killer is and how he commits the crime...and how he gets trapped in the end. Very interesting story!

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "Statement of Employee Henry Wilson"

Wow, sounds pretty good! Do you know who wrote this, maybe?


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: "Statement of Employee Henry Wilson"

They mentioned the author, but I forget the name. It's a name which I didn't recognize.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

"Cabin B-13" by John Dickson Carr

Currently listening to Cabin B-13, by John Dickson Carr. I've heard it before, and I've read it as well. This is like The Lady Vanishes, except that this time it's newlyweds on a boat (honeymoon trip) and the hubby vanishes. I know that this radio play was filmed as a noir, but I forget the title of that movie. Too lazy to look it up.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "Cabin B-13" by John Dickson Carr

This is VERY interesting; and I tried to find out the title of the Noir, but nothing doing... Maybe it's a case of 'The Movie Vanishes'...?


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

"The Black Curtain", by Cornell Woolrich

Currently listening to Cornell Woolrich's The Black Curtain, starring Cary Grant.

It's part of the suspense series.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

"The Night Reveals" by Cornell Woolrich

Currently listening to The Night Reveals, by Cornell Woolrich (starring Robert Young). This one's also part of the Suspense series.

I like Cornell Woolrich stories, but some of them are a tad predictable (like the one I just heard, the one starring Cary Grant).

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

"Back for Christmas", starring Peter Lorre

Now I'm listening to Back for Christmas, starring Peter Lorre (also part of Suspense). They haven't said who wrote it. So far, it's great. I hope it's not as predictable as those two Cornell Woolrich stories which I just heard. Those other ones were acted better than written.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

those three radio plays

I was thinking about the three radio plays which I heard last night.

-- the two Cornell Woolrich stories were better acted than written

-- that third one was better written than acted. (They mentioned the author eventually, but I forget the author's name.)

Cary Grant and Robert Young were great at creating suspense, but with the endings so obvious, their talents were wasted in the two Woolrich stories. Both had excellent voices for radio, for sure.

As for that last story, this is the first time (and hopefully the last time ever) that I've been disappointed with Peter Lorre's performance. He overdid it. I prefer it when he plays a subtle and sneaky type of creep. In this story, he did a lot of yelling, which didn't suit him AT ALL. A pity for sure, because the story had a good twist to it at the end.

(By the way, Peter Lorre had a supporting role in a film noir based on a Cornell Woolrich novel: Black Angel (1946)).

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: those three radio plays

Now that's really interesting - given the names, you might expect exactly the opposite... Woolrich's stories were usually REALLY suspenseful and clever; while Peter Lorre usually was able to make something special out of ANY given story, no matter how silly it was... But thank you very much for sharing your experiences with us!!

Ah yeah, I remember "Black Angel"; a great Noir!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: those three radio plays

I think maybe I've just been hearing too many radio plays and that's why they are getting to be too predictable. There was one starring Paul Lukas which I heard a couple of days ago and I had that one all figured out within minutes. He did a fine job (as did many other film actors of the time in radio), but the script was predictable as....well...just predictable.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: those three radio plays

Yeah, I know what you mean: especially when you've read or heard or watched many works by the same author, you kinda 'learn' the way his or her mind works... The only one who, even though I've read almost ALL of her novels by now, is still able to get the better of me is - Agatha Christie!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: those three radio plays

But even Agatha Christie had her predictable moments. Okay, so maybe I didn't always know HOW it was done, but with her, sometimes spotting the killer wasn't too tough.

One of her most predictable stories is The Unexpected Guest, which was filmed as the Hindi film Dhund. Excellent film despite the fact that it's so predictable.

If you want truly unpredictable stories, read some of John Dickson Carr's work. Those endings really make my head spin. That guy sure came up with some bizarre endings!

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: those three radio plays

Yeah, I know, that's what our English teacher back at high school used to say, that after having read a couple of Agatha Christie's stories, you should be able to figure out all the others - I guess it's just me who's so dumb!

But John Dickson Carr's stories are even more complicated, are they? I guess I WILL have a try at them when I'll find the time...


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: those three radio plays

Well, it also depends on how often you read her books. I kinda started to clue in after a certain point, because I read many of them in a two month period or something. They weren't meant to be read all at once like that. She published them over a 50 year period!

The Carr books are tougher to find, because they aren't in print. You will probably have to use the interlibrary loan feature (ie, have the books sent to you from other parts of Greece, or from other countries). His stories are extremely complex. You can always start out with his radio plays (some of the early ones in the Suspense series), and those aren't as head-spinning as the novels.

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: those three radio plays

Yeah, I also used to read them 'in intervals', usually during school and university holidays; 4 or 5 a week sometimes!

Well, over here on the Balkans it's probably impossible to get hold of a Carr book, so I'll have to stick with the radio plays - thank heaven there's the internet!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: those three radio plays

Hmmm....time to move to North America! The climate might not agree with you, but at least you'll have better access to all those books...

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

"The Finishing School", by Ethel Lina White

Part of the Suspense series:

The Finishing School, by Ethel Lina White.

Now although several of her novels were tough to get through, her short stories were absolutely terrifying. I have read two of them and I'm about to start on this radio play. Most likely this radio play will be a treat. It has an all-female cast, including Elsa Lanchester, who had a supporting role in the film The Spiral Staircase (based on an Ethel Lina White novel...the movie and the radio play were a thousand times better than the book). Anyhow, I'm about to start it.

Two of her short stories are:

The Unlocked Window - done as part of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents series in the sixties...probably a tad predictable if you see the episode first. If you read the story first, it's not so obvious.

I forget the title, but it is about newlyweds living very close to a very, very dangerous river...and perhaps the groom has something to hide....Oh, that was a scary story!

I don't know of any other short stories which she wrote. Her work is VERY hard to find. But I'm glad that I stumbled upon this radio play!

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The Finishing School", by Ethel Lina White

Yes, I remember "The Unlocked Window", that sure was a scary story; and I can just about imagine HOW scary the other one with the newlyweds must be! And what about "The Finishing School", was it as creepy as well? Ethel Lina White's stories sure are great suspense entertainment...


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: "The Finishing School", by Ethel Lina White

Very creepy thriller. It wasn't really a whodunnit, which is fine. After awhile, it became a tad predictable, but still...her writing style made it extremely suspenseful and the acting was superb (especially by Elsa Lanchester, who had an amazing voice for both movies and radio). Terrific story!

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The Finishing School", by Ethel Lina White

Ooh, I'm sure; I'll have a look - or a listen- as soon as I'll find time!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: "The Finishing School", by Ethel Lina White

If you're having trouble with archive.org, then try youtube. Seems like a lot of the radio plays are posted there as well. I prefer archive.org, because all the ones from a particular series are listed one after the other.

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The Finishing School", by Ethel Lina White

I don't know why, but archive.org doesn't seem to work over here; but you're right, there's always YouTube!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: "The Finishing School", by Ethel Lina White

At least on archive.org, you can get a complete list of the radio plays, and then you can just find them elsewhere. For example:

https://archive.org/details/OTRR_Suspense_Singles

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The Finishing School", by Ethel Lina White

Wow, that's GREAT, thanks a lot!!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

"Dime a Dance" by Cornell Woolrich

Currently listening to Dime a Dance by Cornell Woolrich, starring Lucille Ball.

Geez, this story (and Lucille Ball's character) reminds me of the 1947 noir Lured! And yet that movie isn't based on this radio play. I double checked the credits.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "Dime a Dance" by Cornell Woolrich

Sounds VERY good - "Lured" is a great Noir, one of those very much underrated movies!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: "Dime a Dance" by Cornell Woolrich

I agree with you about Lured. Since you like that film, this radio play will likely be right up your alley.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "Dime a Dance" by Cornell Woolrich

OH, Ms Queen, I'm as Marlene vould say, "falling in love again.."

Re: "Dime a Dance" by Cornell Woolrich

Have you heard that radio play?

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "Dime a Dance" by Cornell Woolrich

Don't recall, but read the story years ago. Cornell was great at describing the sleazy side of life.

... by Cornell Woolrich

Unfortunately, I found that some of his radio plays were extremely predictable.

~~~~~
Jim Hutton (1934-79) & Ellery Queen 🎇

"Seven Keys to Baldpate" radio play...listening to it now

Well, I'm getting started on the Seven Keys to Baldpate radio play. It's taking me a bit of time to get into it, because it's loading very slowly. Not sure how this one is going to go. From the intro, it looks like they've changed it around so that they play is actually about the stars: Jack Benny, Mary Livingston, and Cecil B. DeMille. I have a feeling that this radio play might be a bit of a joke.

They did make one announcement at the start of this radio play, which aired in 1938. They said that if they receive any news about the situation in Europe, they will air it during the commercials. If the entire radio play loads, maybe I'll get to hear some of the news they received at the time (if any) to see what they had to say about Hitler. Geez, that might even be more interesting than the radio play itself!

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "Seven Keys to Baldpate" radio play...listening to it now

Weeell, that sure sounds pretty interesting - maybe historically even more than artistically!!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: "Seven Keys to Baldpate" radio play...listening to it now

I gave up on that one pretty quickly. I could see the direction they were taking (having real-life actors in those scenes instead of the characters), and that type of adaptation doesn't interest me. I have seen a couple of films/TV shows which are like that (forget which ones) and I didn't find them to be great at all. It's just a lame way of promoting those celebrities.

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

"The Sisters"

I'm getting started on one called The Sisters, starring Ida Lupino and Agnes Moorehead. Now I've heard Agnes Moorehead in some radio plays, but not Ida Lupino. I'm looking forward to this!



EDIT: this one reminded me a bit of Ladies in Retirement. Good story, great acting, but a tad predictable. Actually, I think that there are two different interpretations of the ending.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The Sisters"

That sure sounds very interesting - and oooh, Ida Lupino in a radio play; I bet she must have been great!!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: "The Sisters"

That one had a rather ambiguous ending.

Also, I might have to take a bit of a break from the Suspense series. Those radio plays are getting to be too predictable. I might switch to Inner Sanctum or something.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The Sisters"

And now for something completely different. My father used to listen to Lights Out and Suspense and Inner Sanctum, and I always left the room as soon as they came on because they scared the bejeezes out of me. More to my liking was comedy. Every Sunday evening, we'd turn the radio on at five to seven, so it would be warmed up by seven, and we'd hear the last 5 minutes of Baby Snooks before Jack Benny came on. What's amazing is that everybody loved that program even though it was the same schtik repeated every couple of weeks. Frank Nelson said EEyesss! The guard in the vault said "Halt, who goes there?" Mel Blanc imitated a Maxwell automobile or a violin teacher. Dennis Day said something dumb and maybe sang "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts". Phil Harris sang "That's what I Like About the South" or "The Thing". Sheldon Leonard said "Hey, bud." The two switchboard operators made snide remarks while they tried to complete Jack's call (and sometimes sang "Wish You Were Here" in nasal Brooklynese) and Rochester said "Yes, Boss". Mary Livingstone stopped in once in a while and laughed a tinkly laugh as Phil Harris tried to make a pass at her. The Sportsmen's Quartet sang a song that always turned into a Lucky Strike commercial. Sometimes, next door neighbor Ronald Coleman would drop in and say "It is a far, far better thing that I do". Don Wilson read the credits.

For a time, Phil Harris had his own show immediately following the Benny show. His wife, Alice Faye, made an occasional appearance, but the show was basically about Phil's misadventures with his idiot guitar player, Frankie Remley. The sponsor was Mr. Rexall who owned a bunch of drug stores. He made the mistake one time of telling Phil and Frankie he was having a one cent sale at the drug stores, so, to be helpful, they sold everything in the store for one cent.

More shows later but it's getting late and I still have to take Astro out for a walk on the treadmill.

comedy...

I guess I could give the comedy radio plays a chance, but then I'd be neglecting my beloved mysteries....Anyhow, thanks for all the information!



I agree that those mysteries aren't for everyone. Sometimes I wonder why I love them so much, since I am the world's biggest chicken.

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💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍

Re: "The Sisters"

Yes, the "Inner Sanctum" mysteries are VERY good - even better than some of the "Suspense" mysteries, IMO!


Let us be realists, let us demand the impossible.

Re: "The Sisters"

I haven't heard any radio plays lately. Next time I do, I will go with Inner Sanctum.

When you listen to the Inner Sanctum radio plays, be sure to hear The Voice on the Wire. That one's a classic.

~~
💕 JimHutton (1934-79) and ElleryQueen 👍
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