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Let George Do It
"If the job's too tough for you to handle, you've got a job for me, George Valentine."
In an essay about the long-running radio detective series "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar," author John Dunning describes the consensus opinion of the show's fans by remarking that star Bob Bailey -- in the part of "America's favorite freelance investigator" -- "had the ability to imbue the role with an unforgettable quality not heard before or after." The very same statement could be made about Bailey's portrayal of George Valentine in the Mutual detective series that preceded Dollar, "Let George Do It" which the young actor used as a "warm-up exercise" from October 18, 1946 to September 27, 1954.
"An intelligent, thinking man leavened by just a touch of world-weary cynicism" is how radio historian Elizabeth McLeod once described Valentine, a private eye who matter-of-factly observed that "danger's my stock in trade." George wasn't above using a little muscle in his business -- most of his detective brethren were resigned to this as a last resort -- but what set the private eye apart from most of his on-the-air copycats was his manual dexterity and keen analytical thinking skills. In fact, the interesting thing about "Let George Do It" is that, though it reached a smaller audience than most detective offerings (it was heard mainly on Mutual-Don Lee's West Coast network), it had a notable influence on shows that followed. Chiefly among these was the syndicated series "Box 13"; whereas George Valentine's classified ad asserted that if "the job's too tough for you to handle, you've got a job for me," "Box 13" novelist Dan Holiday notified his clients that he wanted adventure and would "go anywhere, do anything."
But while Suzy, Holiday's gal Friday, simply handled his mail and telephone requests, Valentine's secretary Claire "Brooksie" Brooks definitely had a more "hands-on" approach. "A lady of initiative, courage, and foresight, whose efforts made her his partner, in all but name" is how author Jack French describes Brooksie in his book "Private Eyelashes". Certainly there was a undercurrent of romance between boss and employee -- George called her "Angel" and Brooksie often responded with "Darling" -- but that was as far as it went; despite Valentine's street smarts, he seemed oblivious to the fact that Brooksie was carrying a major torch for him. According to French, actress Lillian Buyeff is believed to be the first to play the part, followed by Frances Robinson, Shirley Mitchell and finally Virginia Gregg until "Let George Do It" left the airwaves. (Apparently nothing is permanent in radio; even veteran radio actor Olan Soule relieved Bailey of his Valentine chores in 1954 when the series was heard in transcribed repeats beginning in January of that year.)
In George's early years, a few other regulars were heard on the program -- most notably George's office boy and Brooksie's kid brother Sonny (Eddie Firestone, Jr.) and Caleb (Joseph Kearns), the elevator operator in Valentine's office building. These two didn't hang around for long, though, and for the rest of the series George and Brooksie were pretty much on their lonesome, save for police contact Lt. Riley (Wally Maher) and, later on, Lt. Johnson (Ken Christy). Fortunately, writers Jackson Gillis and David Victor (assisted on occasion by Polly Hopkins and Lloyd London) were able to flesh out each episode with memorable guest characters, allowing directors Don Clark and Kenneth Webb to hire the cream of the crop from Radio Row; performers heard regularly on the series include Lurene Tuttle, Harry Bartell, Alice Reinhart, Lawrence Dobkin and William Conrad, just to name a few.
Because of its West Coast exclusivity, it has often been noted that "Let George Do It" was probably heard by less people during its original run than the many OTR fans that have come to know and love the program today. Approximately 200 episodes managed to escape the ravages of time via transcriptions, many no doubt through the machinations of New York-based Harry S. Goodman Radio Productions, who, it is believed, edited the old shows of their Standard Oil commercials and added new intros with a new narrator. The discovery of a good-sized cache of these discs, originally from the Toronto-based vaults of Canadian syndicator S. N. Caldwell, insures the possibility that, in addition to repackaged versions of existing titles, many of the episodes offered appear to be the only existing programs in circulation. All of them, however, exist in exceptionally fine audio and are brought to you in this collection through the tireless efforts of Radio Archives.
#23 The Marauder
Monday, February 12, 1951 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#24 The High Price of a Penny
Monday, August 14, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#25 Tune on a Triangle
Monday, January 15, 1951 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#26 Red Spots in the Snow
Friday, April 10, 1953 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#33 Nothing but the Truth
Monday, November 27, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#34 High Card
Monday, August 28, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#37 Angel's Grotto
Monday, November 13, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#38 The Hand in the Cocoanut
Monday, October 23, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#39 The Sedan from the City
Monday, October 30, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#40 Tag, You're It
Monday, September 25, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#41 The White Elephant
Monday, September 11, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#42 Deal Me Out and I'll Deal You In
Monday, August 20, 1951 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#43 The Blue Plate Special
Monday, September 3, 1951 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#44 The Noose Hangs High
Monday, April 16, 1951 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#45 The House That Jack Built
Monday, October 2, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#46 It's a Mystery to Me
Monday, October 16, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#47 And Hope to Die
Monday, December 4, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#48 The Treasure of Millie's Wharf
Monday, August 21, 1950 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#49 Is Everybody Happy?
Monday, July 2, 1951 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication
#50 See Me Once, You've Seen Me Twice
Monday, February 26, 1951 - 30:00 - Harry S. Goodman Syndication