"Enemy to those who make him an enemy...Friend to those who have no friend!"
That's Boston Blackie, safecracker turned crime fighter and a long-running favorite with fans of straight-ahead detective fiction in a wide range of media. Beginning inauspiciously in a 1919 short story by author Jack Boyle, Blackie progressed from the printed page into silent films, then into talkies, and finally, in the 1940s, into radio.
The first radio Blackie was Chester Morris, a handsome leading man who played the role in a long series of B movies made for Columbia Pictures during the 1940s. First heard in 1944 as a summer replacement series for "Amos 'n' Andy," Morris gave Blackie a certain wrong-side-of-the-tracks charm, giving the character a well-crafted introduction to the broadcast medium.
But the actor who would ultimately be radio's Blackie for the greatest length of time seemed, initially, to be a rather odd choice for the part: Broadway leading man and sometime soap opera actor Richard Kollmar, best known to radio fans along the Eastern seaboard as the urbane Dick of WOR's "Breakfast with Dorothy and Dick," a morning show which also featured his wife, newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen. In 1938, Kollmar had made his Broadway debut in "Knickerbocker Holiday," the Maxwell Anderson/Kurt Weill musical play, followed by an appearance in the Rodgers and Hart musical "Too Many Girls" along with fellow cast members Desi Arnaz, Eddie Bracken, and Van Johnson. Like many stage actors wishing to supplement their income between engagements, Kollmar regularly worked in radio. In 1944, he was contracted to star in a series of 220 syndicated episodes of "Boston Blackie," produced at station WOR in New York City and distributed by the Frederic W. Ziv Company of Cincinnati. The programs were not intended to be groundbreakers or trendsetters; instead, this solid, workmanlike product of the WOR writing and dramatic staff was designed to be equally successful in both major metropolitan markets and small-town settings.
Its professional gloss, coupled with lighthearted storytelling, kept "Boston Blackie" in distribution well into the 1950s, remaining for many years a reliable feature for small-town stations across the United States. The able and rather charming Kollmar is joined in these syndicated episodes by two other familiar WOR voices: Maurice Tarplin - the "Mysterious Traveler" himself - as Inspector Faraday, and Jan Minor, who would later best be known as Madge, the wisecracking manicurist for Palmolive Dishwashing Detergent, as girlfriend/inconvenience Mary Wesley.
There's no tormented noir drama here, no deep layers of introspection, just good old-fashioned crime solving fun. And you can enjoy the clean, crisp sound of these newly restored episodes in this third collection from Radio Archives - ten more hours of great sounding light-hearted detective action and adventure.
#91 Jack Small, Alias Bill Bigelow
Tuesday, January 7, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#92 Blackie and the Fur Thefts
Tuesday, January 14, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#93 The Search for Jim Gary
Tuesday, January 21, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#94 Jacque Pierre and the Diamonds
Tuesday, January 28, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#95 The Peters Mix-Up
Tuesday, February 4, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#96 Jailbirds Murdoch and Dawson
Tuesday, February 11, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#97 Seven Years Bad Luck for Florence Wells
Tuesday, February 18, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#98 Joe Delivers the Goods
Tuesday, February 25, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#99 Larry "The Kid" vs. Savinni
Tuesday, March 4, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#100 The 10th Street Gym and the Stolen Car Ring
Tuesday, March 11, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#101 Sam Fisher's Past
Tuesday, March 18, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#102 The Horseroom Thefts of Boston Blackie
Tuesday, March 25, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#103 The Bus to Valley Junction
Tuesday, April 1, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#104 The Aggie Rogers Murder
Tuesday, April 8, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#105 The Phonograph Murder
Tuesday, April 15, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#106 Millicent Bromley Kidnapped
Tuesday, April 22, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#107 Baseball and Gambling
Tuesday, April 29, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#108 Mrs. Peterson's Insurance Policy
Wednesday, May 7, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#109 Joe Adams Drowned
Wednesday, May 14, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#110 Blackie Breaks Into Prison
Wednesday, May 21, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication