"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!"
The world was a very different place in the immediate years following World War Two. Much of Europe was devastated by the recent conflict and countries such as Korea and Vietnam and countless others were on the brink of such political turmoil yet seen in the modern world. World War Two had also shown that there was power to be had politically, control to be gained, and men capable of doing it. This led to confrontations between quickly rising superpowers, one of which was enjoying a prosperity unlike any it had seen in many decades, due in large part to the War. The United States.
Even though on the surface, the late 1940s and 1950s seemed to be an idyllic time of peace for the United States, there was an undercurrent of worry and paranoia, that whatever success and contentment Americans had at that time might be short-lived and very well might be threatened by villains from abroad, spies and saboteurs bent on ending the American way of life. This feeling was of course a prime breeding ground for movies, books, and other forms of entertainment to produce heroes that represented everything that was good, true, and tough about America, men who had fought for their country abroad in the War and were now home to fight to keep all that was America safe, both within and outside its borders. And radio was no different, giving birth to several heroes of this type. Such as 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 a 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. 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.
Fans of Mystery and Adventure programs from the Golden Age of Radio will recognize that Race was not the only representative of this new type of post war hero. He was in good company, with shows like Dangerous Assignment, Let George Do It, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, and A Man Called X featuring leads that were either directly identified as being involved in espionage in the War or at least hinted at as having been in intelligence. These figures were given credibility by their background as well as by the training to be efficient and even ruthless when necessary to insure their country was safe and their jobs were done. Race, as the shows will bear out, fit this to a T.
Even though most of Race's cases dealt more with insurance issues and less with international intrigue and espionage, he still fit the mold of the sort of hero people sought in the late 1940s and 1950s. Being former O.S.S., he had that connection to a time when men stood up for their nation and became heroes and therefore reflected the skills that the public thought their heroes needed even when the war was over to protect them from all who might threaten their standard of living.
The Adventures of Frank Race was 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 Adventures of Frank Race still rings with a good old-fashioned two fisted pulpy feel. Mysteries wrapped in suspense and adventure, as the title of each show indicates, and with even hints of romance thrown in make this classic show a definite must have for fans of Action and Adventure today! And the final eleven timeless adventures in this third collection, sound as crisp and clear as ever thanks to the audio restoration skills of Radio Archives!
#33 The Adventure Of The Candy Killing
Sunday, December 11, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#34 The Adventure Of The Undecided Bride
Sunday, December 18, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#35 The Adventure Of The Gold Worshipper
Sunday, December 25, 1949 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#36 The Adventure Of The House Divided
Sunday, January 1, 1950 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#37 The Adventure Of The Pharaoh's Staff
Sunday, January 8, 1950 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#38 The Adventure Of Count Trefano Crest
Sunday, January 15, 1950 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#39 The Adventure Of The Night Crawlers
Sunday, January 22, 1950 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#40 The Adventure Of The Kettle Drum
Sunday, January 29, 1950 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#41 The Adventure Of The Loveable Characters
Sunday, February 5, 1950 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#42 The Adventure Of The Black Friar's Bridge
Sunday, February 12, 1950 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions
#43 The Adventure Of The Big Top
Sunday, February 19, 1950 - 30:00 - Bruce Eells Productions