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Rocky Jordan, Volume 3 - 10 hours [Download] #RA659
10 hours - Digital Download
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Old-time radio devotees are no doubt familiar with the standard opening to the popular mystery program "The Whistler", in which the omnipresent narrator (Bill Forman) would intone: "I am the Whistler, and I know many things for I walk by night." When you contemplate that statement, you sort of feel concerned about the man...if only because there's clearly a lot of walking involved. But since "The Whistler" spent most of its lengthy run as a program broadcast solely on the West Coast for Signal Oil, you could almost say such scheduling cut his nocturnal strolls by half.
Many a program from radio's Golden Age was broadcast only to a select audience during its heyday, and is now enjoyed by new listeners simply through the good fortune of surviving recordings; in addition to "The Whistler", other examples include "Candy Matson", "Let George Do It", and "Jeff Regan, Investigator". And then there's
, whose participation in the West Coast listening fraternity can be generously sampled today; OTR historian Elizabeth McLeod once observed that "Jordan has captured the imagination of latter-day Old Time Radio enthusiasts as securely as if it had been a long-running coast-to-coast favorite."
The origins of Rocky Jordan begin with a fifteen-minute weekday serial first heard on January 8, 1945 as "A Man Named Jordan" a program clearly influenced by films like "Pepe le Moko", its American counterpart "Algiers", and "Casablanca". Actor Jack Moyles essayed the title role, a performer whose proficiency in dialects and overall versatility put him on the fast track in the business from his early beginnings in San Francisco, having appeared on local radio as early as 1933. Moyles played the Jordan character as a world-weary, slightly cynical businessman whose main concern was always the bottom line and only reluctantly rose to the occasion of being the hero when it was his neck on the chopping block. The series was a bit different from the better-known 1948-50 half-hour incarnation, though "A Man Named Jordan" eventually expanded to thirty minutes beginning in July 1945; Jordan's gin joint was located in Istanbul (not Constantinople) and the cast of supporting characters included his faithful sidekick Ali (Paul Frees), main squeeze Toni Sherwood (Dorothy Lovett), and trusted confidante Duke O'Brien (Jay Novello). The series came to an end on April 20, 1947.
A rehearsal for "Rocky Jordan" at the KNX studios, with Cy Kendall, Paul Frees, Martha Shaw, and Jack MoylesFans of the series were disappointed by the program's abrupt cancellation and so began a letter-writing campaign to CBS Radio that convinced the network to give Jordan another try, beginning October 31, 1948. This version, titled simply "Rocky Jordan", underwent a bit of retooling; Rocky had relocated the Cafe Tambourine to Cairo and his friends had scattered far and wide to the four winds. Actor Novello remained with the series in the role of Captain Sam Sabaaya, the local constable who had a love-hate relationship with Jordan. Both men had a grudging respect for one another, but when Rocky was up to his armpits in any situation involving black marketers, murderers, desert raiders, con artists, or ex-Nazis, Sabaaya would arrest Rocky much in the same manner as Inspector Faraday would prematurely slap the cuffs on Boston Blackie. (Paul Frees also continued with the series, usually playing any character who sounded vaguely like Peter Lorre.) Another new wrinkle on Rocky Jordan was that, with his steady Toni gone, Jordan got more of an opportunity to play the field, though his choice in women left much to be desired, as many of his potential objects of affection ended up dead set on terminating him with extreme prejudice.
Despite having signed on Del Monte Foods as its sponsor during Jordan's second season on the air, CBS once again disappointed the shows fans by putting the Tambourine out of business on September 10, 1950. But, in the summer of 1951, CBS resurrected the series, this time on the full network as a summer replacement for the detective drama "Mr. Chameleon" and, beginning June 27, 1951, Rocky was back in the cafe business. Admittedly, he didn't sound much like his old self, and he wasn't; the network cast actor George Raft in Moyles part, hoping that Raft's name would reel in a few more listeners. While Raft acquitted himself nicely in the part, he couldn't really bring anything new to the table that hadn't already been competently covered by Moyles, and CBS put an end to any further revivals by shutting the doors of the Cafe Tambourine for good on August 22, 1951.
Though its radio run was relatively brief, "Rocky Jordan" has attracted a devoted following among OTR enthusiasts today, and Radio Archives is proud and pleased to be able to offer a third volume of his exotic detective adventures in this ten hour set.
Sunday, April 9, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
Adventure in Zaka Zeke
Sunday, April 16, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
The Big Gamble
Sunday, April 23, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
Hoarde of the Menlooks
Sunday, May 7, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
Sunday, May 14, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
The Beggar of Farrar
Sunday, May 21, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
A Song in the Night
Sunday, May 28, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
Sunday, June 11, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
Sunday, June 18, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
Sunday, June 25, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
The Dead Colleen
Sunday, July 2, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
Interlude with Loraina
Sunday, July 9, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
The Lotus Cup of Amin Ra
Sunday, July 16, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
Sunday, July 23, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
The Money Changers
Sunday, July 30, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sponsored by Del Monte Foods
The Broken Wing
Sunday, August 6, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS, sustaining
City of Boxches
Sunday, August 13, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS,
The Man from Damascus
Sunday, August 20, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS,
Dr. Markoff's Discovery
Sunday, August 27, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS,
Trail of the Assassin
Sunday, September 10, 1950 - 30:00 - CBS,
A Man Named Jack
The October 1949 issue of "Radio and Television Mirror" featured a brief article about Jack Moyles, the star of "Rocky Jordan." It offers a small but unique insight into the life and career of an actor who, though largely forgotten today, was a busy and popular performer during the hey-day of network radio.
There's a lot of mileage between Cairo, Egypt and the Columbia Square studios of KNX in Los Angeles, but Jack Moyles spends half an hour each Sunday afternoon in both places.
The Egyptian phase of Jack's life started in 1945 when he was set to play "A Man Named Jordan" on the Columbia Pacific Network. Owner of the Cafe Tambourine in Cairo, Jordan spent his spare time chasing crooks. In that first year Jordan, A Man Named...did his chasing five days a week, fifteen minutes at a time.
Now he's gained a first name, and a lot of West Coast listeners who travel to Egypt with Rocky Jordan every Sunday.
Jack is a Californian right down to his first pair of shoes - he was born in San Francisco on June 26, 1913. He followed up his first appearance before an audience in the high school senior play with active participation in the San Francisco University's Glee Club and Players group. After graduation, radio producers, too, liked the sound of Jack's voice and in 1933 he made his debut as an announcer, but the start of his radio career in San Francisco meant only one step in the vocational ladder set up by Moyles. His next aim was a job with the CBS station in Hollywood.
With two friends who worked with him at the San Francisco station, a "Hollywood Caravan" (that was the banner) of two cars invaded the southern mecca of talent from the north.
Two days after Moyles arrived in Los Angeles he had a job. Being particularly adept at various roles and several dialects, Jack was immediately busy and established. Then, in January of 1945, the Moyles-Rocky association began. And in the four years the program has been broadcast from KNX in Los Angeles, Jack has missed only one program.
That day, June 28, 1945, instead of tending to Cafe Tambourine business as Rocky Jordan, Jack Moyles was wearing a tuxedo and nervously mumbling "I do" before an altar. The bride was Nina Vanderbush, attractive CBS receptionist.
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