Tag Archives: The Whistler

20 November: A twin triumph for Lurene Tuttle

Tuttle as twins, somehow. (Photo: CBS)

Tuttle as twins, somehow. (Photo: CBS)

The Whistler: Death Sees Double (CBS, 1944)

Yes, this is the same as the 6 November 1944 episode known first as “The Twins.” The  original performance was pre-empted, allowing CBS’s national network to carry a speech by Republican presidential aspirant Thomas E. Dewey, the former New York governor challenging Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the first of Dewey’s two failed White House bids.

Posted in classic radio, comedy, crime drama, drama/dramatic anthology, mystery/thriller, old-time radio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

14 January: Just Whistler

Advertisement for The Whistler at the height of its West Coast popularity. (Photo: Signal Oil Corp.)

Advertisement for The Whistler at the height of its West Coast popularity. (Photo: Signal Oil Corp.)

The Whistler is unique among radio crime dramas for more than the often-underrated point that there was little if any actual violence in a typical episode. And, more than its equally unique second-person narration the title storyteller uses to tell it from the killer’s viewpoint.

This is also one of the earliest such shows to hand a listener the thought, as John Dunning would put it in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, that “this could happen to you,” the “everyday gone haywire . . . These were not mysteries: the identity of the killer was never in doubt, from the first hint that the deed must be done until the moment when the killer trapped himself.”

Posted in classic radio, crime drama, old-time radio | Tagged , | Leave a comment

20 September: The great howdunit

Bill Forman, who made a deceptively imposing Whistler. (Photo: CBS.)

Bill Forman, who made a deceptively imposing Whistler. (Photo: CBS.)

Twenty-first century old-time radio lovers may not realise The Whistler was never a truly national phenomenon. The CBS crime drama was almost strictly a western U.S. phenomenon thanks to its sponsor, Signal Oil, doing business in the west alone.

Only twice did The Whistler get a crack at a listenership beyond the west, when Campbell Soup sponsored it in the midwest and the east during the summer of 1946, as a replacement for its moderately successful Jack Carson Show; and, when Household Finance Company (HFC) picked it up from March 1947 through the end of September 1948.

Posted in classic radio, comedy, crime drama, News and comment, old-time radio, World War II | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

20 September: The unlikely plainsman

The Six Shooter: Jenny (Series Premiere; NBC, 1953)

James Stewart, who made a singular Britt Ponset. (Photo: NBC.)

James Stewart, who made a singular Britt Ponset. (Photo: NBC.)

James Stewart, who’s done enough guest shots to know, should have been a natural for network radio. His laconic vocal style and ability to immerse himself in even the lightest characterisation should have added radio star to his resume. The problem was, when he finally finds a regular vehicle for his gifts, it comes a decade too late.

Posted in classic radio, comedy, crime drama, History/Documentary, News and comment, old-time radio, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

16 September: Nibbling the hand that can’t feed you

The Milton Berle Show: Salute to Radio (NBC, 1947)

Milton Berle, who never got vaudeville out of his blood. (Photo: NBC.)

Milton Berle, who never got vaudeville out of his blood or his brain. (Photo: NBC.)

It seems perversely appropriate that the nation’s Uncle Miltie-to-be delivers a good-natured satire of radio a year before he becomes Mr. Television. For all his radio years, Milton Berle will probably be the luckiest man alive to land his Texaco Star Theater television job and legend—because he’s actually known as old-time radio’s biggest prolonged failure.

Posted in classic radio, comedy, crime drama, drama/dramatic anthology, History/Documentary, mystery/thriller, News and comment, old-time radio | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment