"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 fourth collection from Radio Archives - ten more hours of great sounding light-hearted detective action and adventure.
#111 The Ghost of Florence Newton
Wednesday, May 28, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#112 A Man Following Eva
Wednesday, June 4, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#113 Blackie Shoots a Watchman
Wednesday, June 11, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#114 The Crooked Carver Brother
Wednesday, June 18, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#115 Joe Nelson's Pet Shop Gambling Scheme
Wednesday, June 25, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#116 Johnny Burns' Imported Woolens
Wednesday, July 2, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#117 Death Comes to the Harmonica Man
Wednesday, July 9, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#118 The Randolph Construction Gang Bank Robbery
Wednesday, July 16, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#119 Blackie's Body in Wax
Wednesday, July 23, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#120 The Poetic Assassin
Wednesday, July 30, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#121 The Butcher Boy Gang
Wednesday, August 6, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#122 Burning His House Behind Him
Wednesday, August 13, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#123 The Murder of John Austin
Wednesday, August 20, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#124 The Buckley Protection Agency and the Murder of Harry Dale
Wednesday, August 27, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#135 Murder Incorporated
Wednesday, November 12, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#136 The Armored Car Murder Case
Wednesday, November 19, 1947 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#193 Stolen Rings for Santa
Wednesday, December 22, 1948 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#194 Carl Grady, Golf Instructor
Wednesday, September 29, 1948 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#195 Joe Gatling's One Dollar Inheritance
Wednesday, October 6, 1948 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication
#214 Fred Palmer's Dock Racket
Wednesday, February 16, 1949 - 30:00 - Ziv syndication, sponsored by Champagne-Velvet Beer