Whistle three times: Old-time radio listening, 14 January

Today’s a triple-header for fans of The Whistler . . . and a dramatic reimagination for those who maintain interest in one of America’s most notorious murder cases.

THREE WALKS BY NIGHT . . .

The Whistler: Hit and Run (CBS; AFRS Rebroadcast, 1946)—When Mildred Hardwick (possibly Lurene Tuttle) has second thoughts about leaving her shiftless, boozing husband, Tommy, and would-be next husband Hilary Gaines doubles back to drive her home, they’d rather risk a hit and run charge than allow their affair to be exposed, after they run him down unwittingly in a soup-thick Bay Area fog, a decision that leaves Gaines to be blackmailed by an unscrupulous insurance broker who saw the accident and their disappearance. Boilerplate soapishness here and there but not the worst instance of that syndrome. Cast: Unidentified. The Whistler: Bill Forman. Announcer: Marvin Miller. Music: Wilbur Hatch. (Whistling: Dorothy Roberts.) Sound: Berne Surrey. Director: George Allen. Writer: Unknown. (Note: Some of the introduction and all the closing music and credits missing from this recording.)

The Whistler: The Silent Partner (CBS, 1948)—Reflecting on three decades’ worth of changes since his father turned the family cattle and dairy ranch over to him, Matt Robertson (Bill Bouchee) learns his partner Wilk Cain (David Ellis)—who lords over him that he, Cain, saved the ranch from dissipation and bankruptcy—is buying a major adjacent ranch, a deal with a troublesome impact on Robertson, Cain, and a parolee in the Robertson ranch’s employ in whom Cain’s daughter has a romantic interest her father despises. Additional cast: Unidentified. The Whistler: Bill Forman. Announcer: Marvin Miller. Music: Wilbur Hatch. (Whistling: Dorothy Roberts.) Director: George Allen. Writers: Joel Malone, Harold Swanton.

The Whistler: The Little Things (CBS, 1951)—On a foggy Pacific Coast night, parolee Johnny Larson (Lawrence Dobkin)—who did a stretch in prison after a female accomplice’s double-cross, and has vowed never to let the small details go untended again—returns to his former gang, even if it means keeping a wary on their new moll, Laura (Gigi Pearson), who has him even more wary after she tries warning him that their upcoming foolproof bank job is foolproof only because the gang plans to leave him as the fall guy. Additional cast: Jack Moyles, Ed Max, Tony Odair. The Whistler: Bill Forman. Announcer: Marvin Miller. Music: Wilbur Hatch. (Whistling: Dorothy Roberts.) Director: George Allen. Writer: James J. Cullen.

FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .

Comedy

The Great Gildersleeve: The Engagement Defence (NBC, 1945)—When not wrestling with how to get Leroy (Walter Tetley) to clean up his room, or comforting him after he’s been handed a bloody nose defending his Uncle Mort’s (Harold Peary) honour over Dolores Del Rey, Gildersleeve wrestles with Hooker’s (Earle Ross) suggestion for defending himself over Dolores’s breach-of-promise suit claiming Gildy proposed to her—a suggestion that depends on a former paramour’s cooperation. Uh, huh . . . Birdie: Lillian Randolph. Marjorie: Lurene Tuttle. Eve: Bea Benaderet. Peavey: Richard LeGrand. Leila: Shirley Mitchell. Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Music: Claude Sweetin. Writers: John Whedon, Sam Moore.

The Old Gold Comedy Theater: Nothing But the Truth (NBC, 1945)—Anne Baxter and Alan Young tackle the 1941 Bob Hope-Paulette Goddard farce about a stockbroker’s daughter (Baxter) whose father promises to double her financial stake in establishing a local charity, while one of the old man’s younger Turks (Young) joins colleagues in betting the old man he can’t tell anything but the truth for 24 hours. A little too clipped, but engaging anyway. Announcer: Ben Grauer. Host/director: Harold Lloyd. Music: Charles Paul. Adapted from the screenplay by Ken Englund and Don Hartman; based on the novel by Frederic S. Isham.

The Great Gildersleeve: Encouraging Romance (NBC, 1948)—Flighty dater Marjorie (Mary Lee Robb) seems to be getting serious about one particular fellow at long enough last, surprising and dismaying Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) who’d rather see her back playing the field, when he decides that encouraging the romance just might end up discouraging it—which he hopes, when he agrees to teach her to ride for a date with her horseman boyfriend. So it lacks horse sense . . . Leroy: Walter Tetley. Birdie: Lillian Randolph. Peavey: Richard LeGrand. Eve: Bea Benaderet. Floyd: Arthur Q. Bryan. Hooker: Earle Ross. Announcer: John Wald. Music: Jack Eakin. Writers: John Elliott, Andy White.

Crime Drama

Boston Blackie: Blackie and the Fur Thefts (Blue Network, 1947)—Blackie (Dick Kollmar) is the intended fall guy for fur thieves Janet Corning, an old friend who asks him to secure one of the stolen furs without telling him just what was in it; and, Harry Barlowe, who’s wanted for murder in Kansas City but might yet be wanted for murder in Boston. Mary: Jan Minor. Faraday: Maurice Tarplin. Additional cast, announcer, music, director, and writers: Unidentified.

Mystery/Thriller

Suspense: Fall River Tragedy (CBS, 1952)—Billed by now as “the first lady of Suspense,” Agnes Moorehead has a classic vehicle . . . as Lizzie Borden, in a radio play in which an older Borden invites a reporter to her home to listen to her recap her life, notoriety, and infamous trial. Not a bad speculation on how Borden herself actually saw the case and the trial, all things considered, and Moorehead is her usual riveting self. Prosecutor: Joseph Karns. Additional cast: Peggy Webber, Herb Butterfield, Rolfe Sedan, Stuffy Singer, William Wright. Music: Bernard Herrmann. Director: Elliott Lewis. Writer: Gil Doud.

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