Tag Archives: Box 13

Beer barrels and literary panels: Old-time radio listening, 9 January

There’s no such thing as too much Fred Allen . . .

Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen: Hit By a Beer Barrel (CBS, 1944)—Guest Ed Gardner is little help when a brewery truck backs up to the sidewalk near the infamous Duffy’s Tavern, a barrel conks Fred (Allen) on the head, knocking him cold outside the dive, and it all ends up in small claims court with Fred accused of hijacking; meanwhile, Fred and Portland (Hoffa) ponders the latest point assignments and livestock exhibitions, and the Alley irregulars (Jack Smart, John Doe, Minerva Pious, Charles Cantor—who also plays his Duffy’s Tavern role of Finnegan), Alan Reed) address New York’s worst snowstorm (until the next one, of course). Announcer: Jimmy Wallington. Music: Al Goodman Orchestra; Hi, Lo, Jack and the Dame. Writers: Fred Allen, possibly Bob Schiller.

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A crime against a crime-solver: Old-time radio listening, 19 December

Candy Matson, Yukon 2-8209: Jack Frost (NBC, 1949)

Shown here in later days as a television character actress, Natalie Masters made a sultry but sober Candy Matson . . . (Photo: CBS.)

Old-time radio’s first female sleuth to feature in a series of her own has everything it takes to become a hit, except that its network inexplicably does enough in its own power to thwart it.

Natalie Masters is hardly an old-time radio stranger; with her husband, Monty, she has already appeared in a comedy, Mad Masters, whose wounding flaw may well have been a weak enough array of supporting characters undermining the promising, engaging characters the Masters fashioned themselves to be.

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Two days in November: Old-time radio listening, 7-8 November

Sylvia Picker, as Alan Ladd’s airy secretary on Box 13 . . . (Unknown publicity photo)

Two days in November. The perfect palliative for electoral hangovers, considering that, the way we got blitzed with political ads this time around, oh brother did we need a drink—even before we went out to vote, if we did . . .


7 November

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Baloney proof? Old-time radio listening, 26 September

The Adventures of Philip Marlowe: The Red Wind (Second series premiere; CBS, 1948)

Raymond Chandler preferred Gerald Mohr’s Marlowe, more or less . . . (Photo: CBS)

Raymond Chandler quaked when his classic hard-boiled detective moved to radio. Willing though he was to pose with Marlowe’s first on-air portrayer, Van Heflin, he was also known to have written fellow crime novelist Erle Stanley Gardner complaining that radio’s first stab at The Adventures of Philip Marlowe “was thoroughly flat.”

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