Grousing about a visiting relative before a quick trip out of town . . . raging over gas rationing . . . lower education . . . sticky-fingered boyfriends . . . boys being boys at the newsstand . . . low, medium, and high crimes and misdemeanors . . . Depression laughs (yes, they were possible) . . . haunted murderers . . . vanishing brides . . . vanquished husbands . . . think you can handle all that in one day’s radio?
Vic & Sade: Winnie and Her Man; Vic’s Trip to the Plant (NBC, 1941)—Vic (Art Van Harvey) is too anxious about having to pack for and make a trip to his company’s Dubuque plant to bother about Sade’s (Bernadine Flynn) longtime and freshly married cousin. Rush: Bill Idelson. Writer/director: Paul Rhymer.
Fibber McGee & Molly: Gas Rationing (NBC, 1942)—The Rage of 79 Wistful Vista (Jim Jordan) fuming over it, naturally enough, and it’s enough to make him want to follow Mayor La Trivia (Gale Gordon, who receives an on-air send-off from the Jordans) into the Coast Guard—almost—even as it’s enough to get him little sympathy from the townfolk. Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. Wimpole: Bill Thompson. Mrs. Simpson: Possibly Bea Benaderet. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Writer: Don Quinn.
The Fitch Bandwagon: Self-Improvement (NBC, 1946)—Phil (Harris) plunges into an adult extension college course in spite of a psychological profile suggesting he’s nuts, his limited vocabulary, his skeptical kids (Jeanine Roos, Anne Whitfield), his belief that intellectual pursuits involve chasing dames . . . and his eager acceptance when Remley (Elliott Lewis) agrees to help him with one class essay. Herself: Alice Faye. Professor: Frank Nelson. Announcer: Bill Forman. Music: Walter Scharf, Phil Harris Orchestra. Director: Paul Phillips. Writers: Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher.
My Friend Irma: The Reward (CBS, 1947)—One year after scrambled Irma (Marie Wilson) and sensible Jane (Cathy Lewis) became housemates (“So many people wonder how I can keep living with a girl who thinks President Hoover invented the vacuum cleaner”), and while Jane’s out at the drug store, an envelope of petty cash Richard (Leif Erickson) brings for Jane to hold proves only too tempting to scheming Al (John Brown), when it turns up in a purse radio’s favourite dingbat finds. Which figures. Prof. Kropotkin: Hans Conreid. Mrs. O’Reilly: Gloria Gordon. Announcer: Bob LaMond. Music: Lud Gluskin. Director: Cy Howard. Writers: Parke Levy, Stanley Adams.
The Great Gildersleeve: Leroy Sells Papers (NBC, 1948)—Leroy (Walter Tetley) takes it up when Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) wants him to learn the value of earning his Christmas money, and—after a rather considerable number of prospective employers reject him for assorted and sundry reasons. Marjorie: Mary Lee Robb. Peavey: Richard LeGrand. Birdie: Lillian Randolph. Hooker: Earle Ross. Announcer: John Wald. Music: Possibly Jack Meakin. Director: Fran Van Hartesfeldt. Writers: Gene Stone, Jack Robinson.
The Clock: One-Eyed Cat (ABC, 1946)—An elderly paraplegic attached to his gentle, one-eyed cat, is victimised by a ruthless new private nurse. Passable. The Clock: Hart McGuire. Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Lawrence Klee.
Dragnet: The Big Odd (NBC; AFRTS Rebroadcast, 1953)—Friday (Jack Webb) and Smith (Ben Alexander) have their hands full trying to smash a hijacking ring, a quest beginning with a hijacked driver who was left tied up in the back of his truck before his hijackers unloaded the stolen load and beat him senseless. Additional cast: Unknown. Announcer: George Fenneman. Director: Jack Webb. Writers: Frank Burt, John Robinson.
Rocky Fortune: Murder Among the Statues (NBC, 1953)—It’s one thing for Rocky (Frank Sinatra) to take a handyman’s gig tending statuary in a tony art parlour, but it’s something else again when he stands to join the stiffs. Lucky for him his supporting players aren’t too stiff about it. Additional cast: Jan Minor, Ted Osborne, Leon Janney, Joseph Julian, Ed Begley, Mandel Kramer. Announcer: Eddie King. Director: Andrew C. Love. Writer: Ernest Kinoy.
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: The Henderson Matter, Part Four (CBS, 1955)—Under pressure to wrap it up fast, Dollar (Bob Bailey) finally gets Henderson’s reluctant widow (Lillian Byas) to talk following the inquest—after meeting a woman at Henderson’s grave, a woman said to have been his beneficiary until he changed his mind just before his death—and learns the estranged couple argued bitterly after agreeing to an amicable settlement but made up the day of his death, while beginning to believe the widow wasn’t exactly candid on the inquest stand. Sheriff Holden: Herb Ellis. Announcer: Roy Rowan. Music: Amerigo Moreno. Director: Jack Johnstone. Writer: John Dawson.
Lux Radio Theater: A Man’s Castle (CBS, 1941)—As millions are jobless in the Great Depression, a squatter’s camper (Spencer Tracy, reprising his film role) takes in a homeless young lady (Ingrid Bergman), feeding her as she makes him a castle inside a shack and falls in love with him despite his restless nature, with just one hitch—when he discovers she’s pregnant, he wants nothing more than to hop the first freight train out of town, until he plots a toy store robbery to leave her with something, which leaves him shot and scrambling for options as police close in . . . even as the camp wastrel (Arthur Hill) just so happens to have eyes for her. Imagining a Depression farce is not always the simplest of imaginings, but if you can’t laugh your way through a Depression (Will Rogers, in the same years: We hold the distinction of being the only nation in the history of the world that ever went to the poorhouse in an automobile), you can’t see your way out of one, either. (Or explain the popularity of the classic radio comedies, for that matter . . . ) Ira: Edgar Barriot. Host: Cecil B. DeMille. Adapted from the story and screenplay by Lawrence Hazard and Jo Swerling.
Quiet, Please: Come In, Eddie (Mutual, 1947)—A murderer (Ernest Chappell, who narrates) and his accomplice have enough trouble trusting each other when the latter visits the former in the victim’s old house, without the victim himself seeming to be in the house as well.
Suspense: The Bride Vanishes (CBS, 1942)—A newlywed couple (Hanley Stafford, Lesley Woods) sailing toward a honeymoon in an oceanside villa are startled to discover their fellow passengers stare and mutter about her, until they’re told she resembles a young bride who disappeared mysteriously on her own wedding day—from the same villa the couple has rented. Additional cast: Unknown. Music: Bernard Herrmann. Director: John Dietz. Writer: John Dickson Carr.
Gunsmoke: Jud’s Woman (CBS; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, 1957)—She’s a frightened woman, who turns shelter-seeking Matt (William Conrad) and Chester (Parley Baer) away during a violent storm, only to ask Matt later to hider her from her violent man who threatens Matt after he shelters her with Kitty . . . and hijacks the stage on which Matt books her out of town. It’s as effective as you’d expect. Doc: Howard McNear. Additional cast: Unknown. Announcers: George Fenneman, George Walsh. Music: Rex Khoury. Director: Norman Macdonnell. Writer: Marian Clark.