Tag Archives: Leonard Maltin

The ballad of Bill Conrad: Old-time radio listening, 10 July

Gunsmoke: Reluctant Violence (CBS, 1960)

William Conrad (right, with director Norman Macdonnell), bringing to original life the "lonely, sad, tragic" Matt Dillon. (Photo: CBS.)

William Conrad (right, with director Norman Macdonnell), bringing to original life the “lonely, sad, tragic” Matt Dillon. (Photo: CBS.)

In person, William Conrad resembles anything but the laconic, rugged, but quietly humane federal marshal he’s played with such jarring realism on radio for almost a decade even as network radio is on life support. The portly actor with the quietly stentorian voice simply doesn’t reek of horse sweat and tapered manliness as a 1950s sensibility seems to prefer, reaching instead for James Arness when the show arrived on television in 1955.

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Death of a notion; or, we’re (fifty years) late, so good night, folks: Old-time radio listening, 30 September

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: The Tip-Off Matter (CBS, 1962)

Suspense: Devilstone (CBS, 1962)

Mandel Kramer, the final Johnny Dollar, launching old-time radio’s final first-run broadcast hour . . . (Photo: CBS)

Perhaps it depends upon whom you read and how you interpret what they say. By the time tonight’s offerings finish their first-run performances, at 7 p.m. Eastern time 30 September 1962, the absolute last in both these series and in regularly-scheduled network radio as once a nation (and much of a world) knew it, will it feel as though network radio died of swift natural causes, a long and often painful illness, protracted suicide, murder . . . or, all of the above?

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