Down These Mean Streets (Old Time Radio Detectives

Down These Mean Streets (Old Time Radio Detectives


An old-time radio podcast, bringing you detective adventures from the Golden Age of Radio. Each week, tune in for an adventure of Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Johnny Dollar, The Saint, and many more.


Episode 238 - Rocky's Road (Rocky Fortune)  

Frank Sinatra trades crooning for crime solving as Rocky Fortune. For a single season, Old Blue Eyes starred as Rocky, a footloose, fancy-free, and frequently unemployed young man whose weekly search for a job results in full-time employment with dangerous adventure. It was Sinatra's only regular dramatic role on radio, and the Chairman of the Board is in fine form in three radio mysteries: "Messenger for Death" (originally aired on NBC on November 10, 1953); "The Rodeo Murder" (originally aired on NBC on January 12, 1954); and "The Museum Murder" (originally aired on NBC on January 19, 1954).

Episode 237 - Hitch Your Wagon (Lux Radio Theatre)  

“Down These Mean Streets” presents our annual birthday salute to the master of big screen mystery and suspense – Alfred Hitchcock. The legendary director saw several of his classic films recreated for the airwaves during the Golden Age of Radio. In this bonus episode, we’ll hear one of those star-studded adaptations as The Lux Radio Theatre presents “Notorious” (originally aired on CBS on January 26, 1948). Ingrid Bergman reprises her screen role of a woman pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, with Joseph Cotten as her handler and lover.

Episode 236 – Quick as a Flash (Casey, Crime Photographer)  

Get ready for fast-paced mystery and excitement with Casey, Crime Photographer – the ace cameraman who covers the news at the same time he makes headlines. Along with reporter Ann Williams and Captain Logan of the police, Casey gets the facts of the stories behind his pictures and always manages to catch the guilty party in time to make the next edition of the paper. We’ll hear Staats Cotsworth as Casey in “The Surprising Corpse” (originally aired on CBS on January 16, 1947) and “Miscarriage of Justice” (originally aired on CBS on October 2, 1947).

Episode 235 - June is Busting Out All Over (The Stan Freberg Show)  

In this special bonus episode, we salute the late June Foray - the titan of voice acting who passed away July 26th just shy of her 100th birthday. From Rocky Squirrel to Witch Hazel to Cindy Lou Who, chances are you've heard and enjoyed her work from a career that stretched over eighty years. Among her many radio credits is The Stan Freberg Show, one of the absolute best comedies radio ever produced and as a tribute to June Foray we'll hear two episodes (originally aired on CBS on July 21 and 28, 1957) that show off her amazing voice. 

Episode 234 - Sam I Am (Adventures of Sam Spade)  

Sam Spade - Dashiell Hammett's San Francisco shamus of The Maltese Falcon - was a hit with audiences when he came to radio in July 1946. The mix of tongue in cheek comedy with hard-boiled mystery, combined with the memorable performance of Howard Duff in the title role, made for a series that still holds up today and stands as one of the very best the era had to offer. We'll hear Duff as Spade in "The Missing Newshawk Caper" (originally aired on CBS on July 18, 1948) and "The Vaphio Cup Caper" (originally aired on CBS on August 22, 1948). Then Steve Dunne steps into Sam's shoes for "The Chateau McLeod Caper" (originally aired on NBC on January 26, 1951).

Episode 233 - Sleuthing in Spurs (Tales of the Texas Rangers)  

Planning to break the law in Texas? You'd better make other plans, because Joel McCrea is fighting crime on foot and on horseback in Tales of the Texas Rangers. As Ranger Jayce Pearson, McCrea stars in dramatizations of actual Ranger cases, presenting a combination of old west manhunting and twentieth century forensic science to bring in the guilty. We'll hear Pearson patrol the Lone Star State in "Play for Keeps" (originally aired on NBC on September 2, 1950) and "Fugitive Trail" (originally aired on NBC on October 21, 1951).

Episode 232 – Gargan vs. the Guilty (I Deal in Crime & Barrie Craig)  

Perhaps the only radio detective star to have actually worked as a real-life private eye, William Gargan played several gumshoes on the air, as well as the big and small screens. He was most famous on radio as Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator but he gave voice to other hard-boiled private eyes with wry senses of humor. Today, William Gargan stars as two of those old time radio crime-solvers. First, he's Ross Dolan, ex-sailor and shamus in I Deal in Crime. We'll hear him in the premiere episode of that series (originally aired on ABC on January 21, 1946). Then he's Barrie Craig in "The Sneak Assassin" (originally aired on NBC on November 21, 1954).

Episode 231 - Travel Spells Trouble (Dangerous Assignment)  

Pack your bags - this week, we're joining Steve Mitchell on another Dangerous Assignment. Brian Donlevy stars as Mitchell, the two-fisted spy dispatched all around the world on thrilling adventures and top secret missions. In this pair of international mysteries, Steve Mitchell is on the trail of a pair of missing scientists (in an episode originally aired on NBC on April 24, 1950); and he heads down south to find a stolen Civil War map (in an episode originally aired on NBC on December 16, 1950).

Episode 230 - Philo-osophy (Philo Vance)  

S.S. Van Dine’s Philo Vance – perhaps the quintessential gentleman detective – was a hit in print and on the big screen where he was played by Basil Rathbone and William Powell, among others. He eventually came to radio in several incarnations, each making the snobbish sleuth more down to earth and likable. We’ll hear Jose Ferrer as Vance in “The Case of the Girl Who Came Back” (a rebroadcast from the Armed Forces Radio Service Mystery Playhouse). Then, Jackson Beck steps into Vance’s shoes in “The Motor Murder Case” and “The Mathematical Murder Case.”

Episode 229 - Sixty Minutes Man (Crime on the Waterfront)  

Long before he was an award-winning journalist, Mike Wallace was a radio announcer and actor. The longtime correspondent for 60 Minutes had a stint as a radio crime solver when he starred as Lt. Lou Kagel, a New York cop who investigated Crime on the Waterfront. Though the show didn’t materialize into a series, both audition recordings survive and give us the chance to hear the celebrated newsman in a dramatic detective role. We’ll hear the two audition recordings from February 24 and March 1, 1949.

Episode 228 – There’s No Place Like Holmes (New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)  

To moviegoers and radio listeners of the World War II years, Basil Rathbone and Sherlock Holmes were practically one in the same. Rathbone starred as the master detective of Baker Street in 14 films and in hundreds of episodes of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on radio. In honor of the star's June 13th birthday, we'll hear a trio of Holmes radio adventures starring Rathbone and Nigel Bruce (as our storyteller, Dr. Watson): "The Eyes of Mr. Leyton" (originally aired on Mutual on September 24, 1945); "Murder by Moonlight" (originally aired on Mutual on October 29, 1945); and "The Case of the Accidental Murderess" (originally aired on Mutual on November 26, 1945).

Episode 227 - One Mohr for the Road (Philip Marlowe & Nero Wolfe)  

From 1948 to 1951, Gerald Mohr turned in a star performance as Raymond Chandler's L.A. private eye Philip Marlowe and gave us one of the best detectives of the radio era. But there was more to Mohr than his celebrated turn as "crime's most deadly enemy." In honor of his birthday, we'll hear Gerald Mohr in two radio mysteries as Marlowe - "The Long Rope" (originally aired on CBS on February 5, 1949) and "The Strangle Hold" (originally aired on CBS on October 15, 1949). We'll also hear him as Archie Goodwin (opposite Sydney Greenstreet) in "The Case of the Killer Cards" from The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe (originally aired on NBC on January 12, 1951). And - as a bonus - we'll hear Mohr playing for laughs as French teacher Jacques Monet in an episode of Our Miss Brooks from October 9, 1949.

Episode 226 - Hoodwinked (Casebook of Gregory Hood)  

Join San Francisco importer and amateur detective Gregory Hood as he shares two adventures from his casebook. Gale Gordon and Elliott Lewis star as Hood, a brilliant gentleman detective whose cases intersect with his search for rare treasures from all around the world. Created by Anthony Boucher and Denis Green (radio writers for Sherlock Holmes), Hood is a worthy addition to the world of radio sleuths. We’ll hear “Death from the Red Capsule” (originally aired on Mutual on July 22, 1946) and “The Eloquent Corpse” (originally aired on Mutual on October 14, 1946).

Episode 225 – Dashiell’s Detectives (Suspense & Screen Guild Theatre)  

In honor of Dashiell Hammett’s birthday, we’re saluting the master of hard boiled mystery with radio adaptations of two of his stories. First, Suspense – “radio’s outstanding theater of thrills” – presents John Payne and Frank McHugh in the small-town murder mystery “Two Sharp Knives” (originally aired on CBS on June 7, 1945). Then, the big screen cast reunites for a radio recreation of The Maltese Falcon. Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, and Sydney Greenstreet star in this version from The Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre (originally aired on CBS on September 20, 1943).

Episode 224 - Burr in the Saddle (Pat Novak, Johnny Dollar, & Fort Laramie)  

Before he achieved TV immortality as Perry Mason, Emmy Award-winner Raymond Burr could be heard on radio in a number of detective and crime dramas. In honor of what would have been the legendary actor’s 100th birthday, we’ll hear Burr in three of his old time radio performances. First, he’s Inspector Hellman, the bull-headed thorn in the side of Pat Novak For Hire. Burr co-stars with Jack Webb in “Marcia Halpern” (originally aired on ABC on February 27, 1949). Then, Burr goes bad in “The Henry J. Unger Matter” (originally aired on CBS on July 20, 1950), an adventure of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar starring Edmond O’Brien. Finally, we’ll head west to hear Burr as Lee Quince, captain of cavalry, in “Playing Indian” (originally aired on CBS on January 22, 1956).

Episode 223 - Pyramid Schemes (Rocky Jordan)  

You can always find mystery and adventure at the Café Tambourine, the Cairo nightclub run by American ex-pat and amateur detective Rocky Jordan. Jack Moyles stars as Jordan, a combination Sam Spade and Rick Blaine who’s trying to make an honest dollar in a den of thieves. Rocky investigates crimes and capers through the bazaars and back alleys of Cairo. We’ll hear “The Big Ditch” (originally aired on CBS on June 19, 1949) and “Cairo Vendetta” (originally aired on CBS on August 14, 1949).

Episode 222 - Ford Theater (Christopher London)  

Glenn Ford travels the world as freelance private eye Christopher London, a radio detective with the international beat of a secret agent. The character was created by Erle Stanley Gardner, the author who gave the world Perry Mason, and had it not been for Ford's success on the silver screen, we might have had a long run of globetrotting adventures to enjoy. We'll hear Ford as London in “The Terrible Price of Sugar" (originally aired on NBC on February 26, 1950) and “The System – A Code for Murder” (originally aired on NBC on May 29, 1950).

Episode 221 - The Wright Stuff (Sherlock Holmes & Pursuit)  

A master of dialects and accents, the British-born Ben Wright appeared all over the dial during the Golden Age of Radio and he could convincingly play characters from all around the world. He usually worked in supporting roles, but he had time in the spotlight as two old time radio detectives. We'll hear him as Sherlock Holmes in "The Singular Affair of the Ancient Egyptian Curse" (originally aired on ABC on March 10, 1947). Then on Pursuit, he's Inspector Peter Black in an Armed Forces Radio Service rebroadcast of "Pursuit at the Vicarage."

Episode 220 - Diamond is Forever (Richard Diamond, Private Detective)  

For one hundred dollars a day plus expenses, Richard Diamond will tackle any case. By the time it’s over, he’ll have used his fists, his gun, his wits, and his pipes as he croons a tune to his girlfriend. Dick Powell stars as the singing detective in one of radio’s best mystery shows. We’ll hear him in a pair of episodes – “The Betty Moran Case” (originally aired on NBC on May 29, 1949) and “The Cathy Victor Case” (originally aired on January 15, 1950).

Episode 219 – The Five Nights a Week Matter (Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar)  

Back in 1956, audiences had to wait a day in between installments of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and an entire week to hear how the insurance investigator would close the case. Today, we’ll hear a complete five-part mystery starring Bob Bailey as “the man with the action-packed expense account.” As Dollar, Bailey travels the world in “The Star of Capetown Matter,” originally aired on CBS between July 16 and July 20, 1956.

Video player is in betaClose