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  Archive Masters, Volume 3 - 8 hours [Audio CDs] #RA274
Archive Masters, Volume 3


 
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8 hours - Audio CD Set


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Description
 
Archive Masters
Volume 3
 
In an ongoing series of delightfully diverse radio collections, Radio Archives opens up its vaults to bring you eight hours of entertainment from a variety of classic radio shows. In this radio collection, we feature four programs from Under Arrest, a fascinating postwar police procedural series, two broadcasts of the immensely entertaining mystery series The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe, two episodes of The Big Story, a factually based series ripped from the headlines of America's top newspapers, and The First Nighter Program “the little theater off Times Square”. We finish up with five of The Screen Guild Theater showsIt's a unique glimpse into the diversity of radio's past — and a reminder of just how entertaining radio drama can be!
 

Under Arrest
 
Back in the days before TV reruns became commonplace, it was customary for most long-running network radio series to take a summer hiatus and leave the air between the months of June and September. This not only allowed the stars of these popular shows the chance for either a vacation or to make a couple of film appearances, it also allowed the networks to try out new shows on a "sustaining" basis - that is, paid for by the networks themselves until a sponsor could hopefully be found.
 
Under Arrest, a police procedural drama first aired in July of 1946, began as one of these summer replacements. A mixture of This Is Your FBI and the earlier Calling All Cars, it initially starred Craig McDonnell as Police Captain John Drake, head of a large metropolitan police force. Aired over the Mutual Network in the summer months of 1946, 1947, and 1948 as a seasonal replacement for The Shadow, the 1948 series featured a change of leading character and leading man: radio and movie character actor Joe DeSantis took over the lead as the series became "the story of Captain Jim Scott's fight against crime".
 
Actor Joe DeSantis had an interesting and varied career, both as a successful performer and as a well-known sculptor. Born to Italian immigrant parents, he was raised in New York and worked his way through New York University as he studied both sculpture and drama. His first college performances were, in fact, in Italian, after which he spent three seasons with the Walter Hampden Repertory Company, performing in English. Like many aspiring actors, he found considerable work in radio, featured in such series as Pepper Young's Family, The March of Time, and Gangbusters - many of which allowed him to draw upon his ethnic roots for various characterizations. Likely his most memorable radio appearance was as narrator for On a Note of Triumph, Norman Corwin's insightful and thought provoking radio elegy to the end of World War II, but it was his "bread and butter" roles on series such as Under Arrest that brought him the most consistent attention.
 
It's interesting to note that, by 1946, when most network radio shows were being produced in Hollywood, Under Arrest was produced in New York, likely out of the busy studios of radio station WOR, the Mutual flagship where the majority of its east coast production was based. Heard today, the best features of Under Arrest are the scripts by such scribes as Bill Wells, Thornton Leonard, and Norman Lessing, and the excellent character work by DeSantis and a host of radio's best and most versatile actors - people like Joseph Julian, Joan Alexander, Luis Van Rooten, and Ralph Bell.
 
The Paris Road
featuring Joe DeSantis, Luis Van Rooten, Joan Alexander, Ralph Bell, Carl Eastman, and announcer Jack Faron
Sunday, June 26, 1949 - 30:00 - Mutual, sustaining

The Case of the Evil Witness
featuring Joe DeSantis, Linda Watkins, Ralph Bell, Luis Van Rooten, Larry Haines, and announcer Jack Faron
Sunday, July 10, 1949 - 30:00 - Mutual, sustaining

Ruth Cutler's Burglar
featuring Joe DeSantis, Joan Alexander, Luis Van Rooten, Joan Tompkins, and announcer Jack Faron
Sunday, August 21, 1949 - 30:00 - Mutual, sustaining

The Willing Victim Report
featuring Joe DeSantis, Rita Lynn, Eric Dressler, Court Benson, and announcer Ken Marvin 
Sunday, August 6, 1950 - 30:00 - Mutual, sustaining
 
The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe
 
1934 marked the year of publication for a mystery novel entitled "Fer-de-Lance", and the book's significance to both the literary world and old-time radio is that it introduced readers and audiences to the fictional detective known as Nero Wolfe, created by American mystery writer Rex Stout. From the 1930s to the 1970s, Stout chronicled the exploits of one of the most popular and beloved of literary sleuths in 33 novels and 39 short stories; a man whose eccentricities transcended what could have been a one-dimensional character and made him an individual of practically flesh-and-blood proportions.
 
Wolfe was a licensed private detective, but his sleuthing served more as a diversion from his other pursuits: a collector of rare books, a preoccupation with sartorial splendor, a prize-winning horticulturist with a mania for orchids, and a gourmet/gourmand who was once described by his faithful assistant Archie Goodwin as weighing "a seventh of a ton" - about 286 pounds. He had learned that detection was a necessary evil to shore up his frequently depleted financial coffers, though he was loathe to abandon his elegant brownstone at West 35th Street in New York City, preferring to let Goodwin handle the legwork. Still, "a man's gotta eat" — and Wolfe often left his luxurious, comfortable surroundings albeit reluctantly whenever a case he was working on required mobility.
 
Radio Archives is pleased to present two more broadcasts of this oft-neglected but immensely entertaining mystery series that wouldn't fit in our ten hour radio set. These newly restored shows obtained from the original master transcription discs, and are presented to you in full audio fidelity for your listening pleasure. So sit back and enjoy tantalizing tales of mystery with the man who's "the smartest and the stubbornest...the fattest and the laziest...the cleverest and the craziest...the most extravagant detective in the world: Nero Wolfe!"
 
#25 The Lost Heir
Friday, April 20, 1951 - 30:00 - NBC, sustaining
 
#26 The Case of Room 304
Friday, April 27, 1951 - 30:00 - NBC, sustaining
 
The Big Story
 
In the 1930s, the movies generally depicted newspaper reporters as fast-talking scalawags, as likely to steal a photo of a missing person from the mantelpiece of the victim's mother as they were to embroider the facts of a breaking story in order to scoop the competition. This image of the newshound has its root in The Front Page, a satirical comedy-drama from the pens of Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, both ex-newspaper reporters themselves, who based their characterizations on the various reporters they had known while working for the Fourth Estate.

But, in 1946, a radio producer named Bernard J. Prockter came across a newspaper story that impressed him. It seems that a team of reporters from the Chicago Times had worked for months on the details of a fourteen-year-old murder case, writing a series of stories on the crime and eventually freeing a man who had been falsely accused, convicted, and imprisoned. Such diligence from this often-maligned profession, Prockter thought, might well be a good basis for a radio series -- and thus, in 1947, The Big Story was born.

Taking its stories from the headlines - albeit, headlines that were usually well over a decade old - The Big Story documented the efforts of real-life newspaper reporters throughout the county who, though diligent investigation and fact gathering, eventually solved difficult cases - sometimes years after they had been closed. Presented in high dramatic style - accented by the over-the-top introductions by announcer Ernest Chappell - at the end of each program, the actual reporters themselves would be called to microphone to be both recognized and awarded a $500.00 prize by the sponsor, the makers of Pall Mall Cigarettes. The reporters, though honored by the recognition and pleased to receive the cash, often commented that the broadcasts portrayed them as being far more noble and public-spirited than they actually were in real life -- but, then, radio was never particularly well known for underplaying dramatic events, especially when it resulted in impressive ratings.

The Big Story was, indeed, a ratings success - so much so, in fact, that the show frequently attracted more listeners than its stiff competition on ABC: Bing Crosby's Philco Radio Time. (Bing eventually moved to a later time slot.) This Archive Masters collection presents two typical broadcasts of The Big Story, as originally aired in the spring and summer of 1948 and featuring the top notch talents of such radio stalwarts as Arnold Moss, Mercedes McCambridge, and Santos Ortega.

Pillars of Society
featuring Arnold Moss, Robert Sloane, Barbara Weeks, Adelaide Klein, Mickey O'Day, Edwin Jerome, Jack Grimes, Santos Ortega, and announcers Cy Harrice and Ernest Chappell
Wednesday, May 5, 1948 - 30:00 - NBC, sponsored by Pall Mall Cigarettes

The Lottery Racket
featuring George Petrie, Robert Sloane, James Van Dyk, Ted de Corsia, James Monks, Mercedes McCambridge, John Sylvester, and announcers Cy Harrice and Ernest Chappell
Wednesday, July 21, 1948 - 30:00
 
The First Nighter Program

First heard in 1930, The First Nighter Program transported listeners to “the little theater off Times Square” to be a part of the opening night performance of a new play. With the support of atmospheric sound effects, and accompanied by the excited chatter of an enthusiastic crowd, Mr. First Nighter led his fellow audience members into the theater, commented on the playbill, enjoyed the orchestral overture, and sat back as the curtain was raised on yet another Broadway success. It was all radio poppycock, of course; the shows were broadcast from Chicago or Hollywood, never New York City, and the plays were generally light comedies or dramas, written especially for the show. But for twenty-three years, this often charming series brought the glamor and sophistication of the Great White Way into the living rooms of America, thanks largely to performances of leading ladies June Meredith, Betty Lou Gerson, and Barbara Luddy and leading men Don Ameche, Les Tremayne, and Olan Soule.

The two programs in this collection come from late in the series run and feature Barbara Luddy, Olan Soule, and Rye Billsbury as "Mr. First Nighter".

Refresher Course
Sunday, April 27, 1952 - 30:00 – NBC, sustaining

Two Loves Had She
Tuesday, August 4, 1953 - 30:00 – NBC, sustaining
 
The Screen Guild Theater
 
Imagine Hollywood's biggest stars performing, week after week, free of charge, for thirteen years to help fellow actors in need. This was the Screen Guild Theater radio show's mission from 1939 to 1952. Each participating Screen Actors Guild member contributed his or her full salary to the Motion Picture Relief Fund, with the intent of raising enough money to build and maintain a home for the aged and needy who gave years of service to the motion picture industry. During its thirteen-year run, the Screen Guild show raised 5.3 million dollars for the Fund, which eventually was invested in land in the west San Fernando Valley. It was on this property that, in 1948, the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital was built.

In addition to working for the charitable efforts of the SAG, another benefit of appearing on a Screen Guild Theater broadcast was the sponsor's habit of sending each star a copy of their performance on a series of 78 RPM records, complete with a handsome souvenir album created especially for each performer. As a result, far more Screen Guild broadcasts exist to be enjoyed today than many other programs - a lasting legacy of both the good works of the Guild and the entertainment value of these dramatic shows.

This Archive Masters collection offers five full-length broadcasts of The Screen Guild Theater. The movie stars are legion, including such bright lights as Ray Milland, Robert Montgomery, Bing Crosby, and Jane Wyman — many of whom here recreate their original motion picture performances.

The Lost Weekend
Starring Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, and Frank Faylen
Monday, January 7, 1946 - 30:00 – CBS, sponsored by Lady Esther Cosmetics

My Client Curley
Starring Robert Montgomery and Ted Donaldson
Monday, February 4, 1946 - 30:00 – CBS, sponsored by Lady Esther Cosmetics

The Street with No Name
Starring Richard Widmark and Lloyd Nolan
Thursday, November 17, 1949 – 30:00 – CBS/AFRS rebroadcast

Alias Nick Beal
Starring Ray Milland
Thursday, December 8, 1949 – 30:00 – CBS/AFRS rebroadcast

The Birth of the Blues
Starring Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, and Phil Harris
Thursday, January 18, 1951 – 60:00 – ABC, sponsored by Buick

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