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Adventures of Frank Race, Volume 2 - 6 hours [Download] #RA691
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The Adventures of Frank Race
"The war changed many things - the face of the earth and the people on it. Before the war, Frank Race worked as an attorney, but he traded his law books for the cloak-and-dagger of the O. S. S. When it was over, his former life was over, too... adventure had become his business!"
In the years following World War II, the United States settled into a time of peace and prosperity it had not known since the halcyon days of the 1920s -- but overseas, where much of the world remained devastated by the effects of war, the end of the conflict had not generated the same level of security. Much of Europe remained in desperate need of rebuilding, with the economies of many nations still reeling under the effects of multiple years of deprivation and uncertainty. Likewise, the superpowers that had allied themselves together to defeat the Axis now entered a period of distrust and disagreement - a situation that would develop into a "cold war" that would dominate world power and politics for the next two decades.
Dramatic radio shows in the late 1940s often reflected the changing times; whereas earlier detective shows dealt primarily with murder and mayhem, they now began to introduce villains whose motives were more politically motivated. During the war, of course, there were plots dealing with spies, saboteurs, and fifth columnists - but in the changing times between 1946 and 1950, these tales of underground plots and schemes began to dominate detective shows, introducing villains whose goals were to not only undermine law and order but, if possible, destroy democracy itself.
Into this politically charged atmosphere came many new and different action and adventure programs with an emphasis on espionage. "The Man Called X" starring Herbert Marshall and "Dangerous Assignment" starring Brian Donlevy, for example, both offered stories of high adventure set in strange and exotic locales, where investigators Ken Thurston and Steve Mitchell were often sent to investigate, spy, manipulate, bribe, and sometimes even kill for the good of the civilized world. And, at the end of the decade, another similar character was added to the broadcast mix: Frank Race.
First heard in the spring of 1949,
"The Adventures of Frank Race"
starred Tom Collins and, later, Paul Dubov as an attorney turned O. S. S. agent turned worldwide investigator. Race had spent most of the war years in foreign service and was frequently decorated for valor but, after he was discharged, he found the courtroom atmosphere of a practicing lawyer to be dull, stuffy, and unchallenging. Clearly, adventure was calling him and so, after finding a strong ally and sidekick in Mark Donovan, a rough but enthusiastic New York City cab driver, Race began a new career as an far-flung investigator. Race was a cultured and sophisticated man about town who seemed to attract violence, intrigue, and beautiful but suspicious ladies in about equal measure. A clever blending of Johnny Dollar (insurance fraud was Race's specialty) and James Bond (ditto the ladies), with just a touch of Bulldog Drummond thrown in for good measure, the suave and smooth Frank Race engaged in adventures which may have began in New York but soon took him all over the world. Sometimes the case would involve fraud, other times theft, but regular listeners could be sure that, somewhere along the way, Race and Donovan would engage in a good solid fistfight, a suspenseful chase, and also end up dealing with an innocent damsel in distress who might or might not be quite as innocent or distressed as she seemed to be.
"The Adventures of Frank Race" was one of the many radio series created by the Hollywood-based Bruce Eells Productions and distributed to local stations by Broadcasters Program Syndicate. Eells, a prolific producer, successfully marketed the show to hundreds of local stations throughout the United States and Canada. When aired, the series would feature commercials for a local business rather than a national advertiser; this explains the presence of lengthy musical breaks where commercials would normally be in the shows in this collection. The series would eventually run a total of 43 episodes, playing in local markets well into the mid-1950s.
The shows themselves were a creative blend of familiar voices, well-executed sound effects, and engrossing plots. In addition to Tom Collins and Paul Dubov, actor Tony Barnett was cast as Mark Donovan, with the familiar voices of Jack Kruschen, Wilms Herbert, Lillian Buyeff, Harry Lang, and many other dialect-ready radio regulars lending solid support. The writing and directing chores were shared by Joel Murcott ("Tales of the Texas Rangers", "Cavalcade of America") and Buckley Angell ("Have Gun, Will Travel", "Mr. & Mrs. North"), with Ivan Ditmars as musical director and organist and the unmistakable voice of Art Gilmore announcing each broadcast.
Heard today, the cloak and dagger adventures of Frank Race remain engrossing, action-packed entertainment, offering all the appeal of a good mystery combined with romance, suspense, adventure, and intrigue. And the twelve timeless adventures in this six hour collection have never sounded better, thanks to the audio restoration skills of Radio Archives.
#21 The Adventure of Three on a Match
Sunday, September 18, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#22 The Adventure of the Roughneck's Will
Sunday, September 25, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#23 The Adventure of the Green Doubloon
Sunday, October 2, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#24 The Adventure of the Sobbing Bodyguard
Sunday, October 9, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#25 The Adventure of the Diver's Loot
Sunday, October 16, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#26 The Adventure of the Mormon Country
Sunday, October 23, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#27 The Adventure of the Brooklyn Accent
Sunday, October 30, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#28 The Adventure of the Six-Week Cure
Sunday, November 6, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#29 The Adventure of the Fairway Beauty
Sunday, November 13, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#30 The Adventure of the Runway Queen
Sunday, November 20, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#31 The Adventure of the Lady in the Dark
Sunday, November 27, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#32 The Adventure of the Silent Tongue
Sunday, December 4, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
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