Gunsmoke: Fingered (CBS, 1952)
Awaiting his genteel bride-to-be’s (Jeanette Nolan) arrival in Dodge, long-lonely sodbuster Jim Cobbett (John McIntire) finds trouble on their wedding day: gossipy adversary Hank Luz (Paul Duval), still steamed over a lost homestead claim, claiming Cobbett has a former wife—who disappeared under suspicious, uninvestigated circumstances—which leads to a bigger headache for Matt (William Conrad) when the man’s new bride turns up missing in her own right hours after their wedding.
This would be one of many among the show’s radio scripts to get a try on the later television series, and you can understand why almost before the first scene is played out full. Though you might be a little jolted hearing the classic theme played a little too soapishly on the organ, as was done early enough in the series’ first season . . .
Chester: Parley Baer. Doc: Howard McNear. Additional cast: Jack Kruschen, Harry Bartell. Announcer: Clancy Cassell. Music: Rex Khoury. Director: Norman Macdonnell. Writer: John Meston.
FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .
The Great Gildersleeve: A Royal Visit (NBC, 1943)—An old college mate of Gildersleeve’s (Harold Peary), whose son visited a year ago, is now married to a countess—and they plan a Summerfield visit that ramps the ongoing household cleaning and repainting up into slightly calamitous overdrive. Marjorie: Lurene Tuttle. Leroy: Walter Tetley. Hooker: Earle Ross. Birdie: Lillian Randolph. Leila: Shirley Mitchell. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Sam Moore, John Whedon.
Our Miss Brooks: The Model Teacher (CBS, 1948)—Connie (Eve Arden) hopes a magazine interviewing her as a model teacher makes Boynton (Jeff Chandler) take notice, which he does . . . of the predatory editor (Mary Jane Croft, who’d become a series regular as manipulative teacher Miss Enright) doing the interview. Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Walter: Richard Crenna. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Conklin: Gale Gordon. Announcer: Bob LaMond. Music: Wilbur Hatch. Writer/director: Al Lewis.
The Halls of Ivy: The Minister’s Son (NBC; AFRTS Rebroadcast, 1951)—Ivy alumnus and third-generation minister Franklin Jarvis (Ted Osborne) asks Hall (Ronald Colman) to help steer his son, Ben (Ry Millsbury), away from his music major and back toward a fourth-generation ministry to which the son may not agree is his true destiny. Vicki: Benita Hume Colman. Additional cast: Eric Snowden. Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Music: Henry Russell. Director: Nat Wolfe. Writers: Don Quinn, Audrey Kahl.
The Red Skelton Show: Things to be Thankful For (CBS, 1951)—One of them isn’t the high price of turkey; another isn’t a husband such as grumpy Willy Lump Lump (Skelton). Additional cast: Lurene Tuttle, Pat McGee, Dick Ryan. Announcer: Rod O’Connor. Music: David Rose and his Orchestra, the Smith Twins. Writers: Edna Skelton, Jack Douglas, possibly Ben Freedman and Johnny Murray.
The Whistler: Patience for the Doctor (CBS, 1943)—Three travelers in a wintry mountain area—including a woman with a weak heart—are unaware that the glacier-like ice formation falling to the road as they approach a disfigured doctor’s cabin may have been pre-arranged by the doctor himself, who may not be as unflappably normal as he appears to be when he treats the stricken woman. The Whistler: Bill Forman. Music: Wilbur Hatch. (Whistling: Dorothy Roberts.) Director: Ted Bliss. Writer: William Fifield.
Box 13: Diamond in the Sky (Mutual, 1948)—William Martin’s (possibly Frank Lovejoy) invitation to a Parisian adventure has Suzy (Sylvia Picker) skeptical, and Dan (Alan Ladd) learns soon enough how right she is—he’s needed to help retrieve a pricey diamond with only too much interest elsewhere. Kling: Edmund MacDonald. Additional cast: Alan Reed, Luis Van Rooten, John Beal, Lurene Tuttle. Writer: Russell Hughes.
Quiet, Please: One for the Book (ABC, 1949)—A twelve-year-old snafu continues, to the consternation of the science fiction obsessed Air Force major (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates) who was there as an Army Air Corps sergeant when it began in the first place. Sergeant: Dan Sutter. Colonel: Melva Lewis. Doctor: Sal Vickerson. General: Floyd Butler. Music: Albert Buhrman. Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.
Alan Freed: The Final Words on ABC (WABC, 1959)—This is not goodbye, it’s just good night—Alan Freed’s famous on-the-air signoff, since he first achieved old-time radio fame as rock and roll’s John the Baptist, becomes his jarring epitaph tonight, a lie for the only time in his career: Freed signs off WABC and major league radio for the final time, barely five months after joining the station, canned for refusing (“on principle,” he claims) to sign an affidavit stating he never took money in exchange for playing particular records on his popular nightly program.
He will become the only disc jockey called to Washington when a House oversight committee holds hearings on music industry payola, a partial collateral to its probe of television’s quiz show scandal. His career as a radio bigtimer is ruined for keeps, eventually playing himself out of second chances in Los Angeles (for refusing his bosses’ insistence he surrender his once-infamous rock and roll stage spectaculars) and Miami (his heavy drinking, which ultimately helps to kill him, penniless, in 1965).
Alan Freed would go to his early grave (at age 43) swearing that, whatever he did or didn’t do wrong, he never played music he personally disliked. He would be laid to rest as what he truly was when all was said and done: arguably, the father, or at least the big brother, of rock and roll.
Gunsmoke: Custer (CBS, 1953)—Matt (William Conrad) and Chester (Parley Baer) bump into Joe Trimble (Sam Edwards), an Army deserter who ends up on trial for a rancher’s hanging, but a lack of hard evidence leads to his acquittal. You’ll get a sad charge out of the twist that concludes the episode, which would also be adapted for the future television series, though not quite so effectively. Major: John Dehner. Doc: Howard McNear. Kitty: Georgia Ellis. Announcer: Ken Peters. Music: Rex Khoury. Director: Norman Macdonnell. Writer: John Meston.