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RadioArchives.com Newsletter March 9 2012

Charles Rector's Weblog; Mar. 15, 2012; By Charles Rector
Type: News

March 9, 2012 

NEW Radio Set: Fibber McGee and Molly - The Lost Episodes, Volume 14

What makes classic radio comedy? The best comedy writing perhaps for any radio program in history. Memorable, lovable characters. The banter and jokes that people all across the country tuned in for every week. And the best possible leads for a show about an endearing, quirky couple living in small town America. That is why listeners still become fans today of 'Fibber McGee and Molly."
It's not surprising, then, that "Fibber McGee and Molly" enjoyed one of the most successful runs in radio history, being heard on the air in one form or another for nearly twenty-five years. It's also not surprising that today, over fifty years after they made their last appearance as a team, Jim and Marion Jordan remain a part of our culture; people of a certain age still say "Tain't funny, McGee" when someone's joke falls flat and many of the character types used so well on this show still populate Comedy shows today.

For many years, radio enthusiasts and the general public have been enjoying the antics of Fibber and Molly thanks to the generous recording library left by the Johnson's Wax Company, the long-time sponsor of the series. To add to these programs, RadioArchives.com has acquired many classic episodes of their later fifteen-minute daily series for NBC and has been releasing them in a series of popular compact disc collections - hilarious adventures that literally haven't been heard since they were first aired in the mid-1950s. Featuring the Jordans, along with neighbors like Wallace Wimple, the Old Timer, and Doc Gamble, played by Bill Thompson and Arthur Q. Bryan, the newly-discovered shows in these collections are just as warm and entertaining today as they were more than fifty years ago.

Providing great laughs and stories until the end, Fibber McGee and Molly - The Lost Episodes, Volume 14 is the final volume in this fantastic series. Transferred from the original NBC master recordings and fully restored for sparkling audio fidelity, enjoy twenty one full length broadcasts, a total of five hours, of hilarity and hijinks for only $14.98 for Audio CDs. Special note about this fantastic collection. The last show in this set is the very last Fibber McGee and Molly show ever broadcast. Although short pieces would be done for a few more years on Monitor, the final episode in this collection was the last time Fibber McGee and Molly had their own stage to share their magic with the world. NEW Radio Set: Claudia, Volume 10

The Soap Opera as we know it today is not much different than when it began back in the golden age of Radio. The only real difference between then and now is that shows are no longer sponsored by soap companies, hence the name originally attached to these episodic programs full of villains, passion, twists and turns, scandal and rumor and murderous melodrama. In 1947, however, a show that broke the mold and still stands out as a unique example of the soap opera hit the airwaves thanks to the sponsorship of Coca Cola. And this new take on soap operas had a name. Claudia.

The very elements that made Claudia different from other soap operas quickly became its strengths. People came back to "Claudia" for the interesting, fully developed characters, the lighthearted banter, and the familiarity of their day-to-day situations. Given this, most modern listeners view "Claudia" as a continuing daytime situation comedy, rather than as a soap opera -- and enjoy it immensely.

The title character and her husband are the best part of the show. Claudia, a bit younger than her years, is often impulsive, sometimes irresponsible, usually perky, and just a bit flighty. Her father had died when she was still a young girl and, as an only child, had been raised by her widowed mother. As she matures, she becomes a unique mixture of enthusiasm, incompetence and over-confidence -- deeply in love with her somewhat older husband David, but frequently naive and too likely to trust in her insecurities rather than her instincts. Claudia's loving and patient husband David came from a substantial family and he had trained to be an architect until World War II interrupted his plans. Like many a returning veteran, he's working to get ahead in his field, but he sometimes questions whether he's chosen the right career path. Claudia, Volume 10 continues the story of Claudia and David restored to the highest audio quality possible, showing not only the success of the program, but also the level of writing involved. Clearly the characters, especially the two leads, grow and mature over the course of the series, as clearly heard in this latest volume now available from Radio Archives on Audio CDs for $17.98. Radio Reviews - Rocky Jordan, Volume 1by Tommy Hancock An exotic locale, an ancient city thrust into modern times surrounded by a mysterious desert. People of all types and nationalities, as mysterious as their surroundings and usually running to or away from something. A bar, its smoke filled liquor heavy air stirred by patrons crowding in to drown sorrows or make mischief. And at his own private table in the establishment, the bar's owner, a man of intrigue himself who always ends up knee deep in danger. For many Classic Movie fans, that description fits the legendary film "Casablanca" like Dooley Wilson fits a piano. It also applies to a wonderfully exciting radio show that has proven to be popular among collectors today, in part because so many episodes have survived. Rocky Jordan, Volume 1 definitely bears resemblance to the better known classic film on the surface, but really it stands on its own merits, owing more to the Pulp Detective shows and tales of the time than to a film making a not so veiled political statement. Rocky Jordan, Volume 1 features well known radio character actor Jack Moyles in the title role. Having left the States for reasons never fully revealed, Jordan now owns the Café Tambourine, a nightclub in Cairo that everyone seems to want to buy, hide in, steal from, or die within its walls. And each time, Jordan ends up involved, accused, pursued, or otherwise with his neck in a proverbial noose. Helped or sometimes chased by Captain Sam Sabaaya of the Police, Jordan ends up hard boiling his way through the mystery and mayhem just as each episode comes to a close. General similarities aside, "Rocky Jordan" is much more Philip Marlowe or Michael Shayne if they happened to own a bar in Egypt that it is 'Casablanca'. Tough as nails and twice as sharp, Jordan takes no guff off anyone, but Moyles brings a necessary duality to his portrayal of Rocky, making him a guy who can throw his fists like wildfire, yet still give a plug nickel about the common joe. The stories are strong, well paced and tightly plotted tales, guaranteed to excite and wow in the short time given. NEW Audiobook: Dan Fowler: G-Man

In the flood of pulp magazines featuring the hard-hitting exploits of a single hero, only one magazine read as if its stories had been torn out of the headlines. That was G-Men, starring the closest equivalent to Eliot Ness and his Untouchables the pulps dared offer up. The origins of this exemplary series are obscure. Leo Margulies, editor-in-chief of the Thrilling chain, may have been eyeing rival titles such as Secret Service Operator #5and Secret Agent X, thinking there’s gold in fictionalizing the exploits of undercover men. Early in 1935, Margulies let it be known in the trade that he was planning to issue Secret Service Detective Stories—a bland and uninspiring title if one was ever floated.

 

But Secret Service Detective Stories never materialized. In April, James Cagney starred in a blockbuster film, G Men.  That July, a radio program by that same name debuted to strong ratings. It later became even more famous as Gang Busters. Pulp editors always looked to Hollywood and the headlines for inspiration. Margulies didn’t need to be hit over the head.  He scrapped the Secret Service concept and appropriated the popular title, which had been coined by gangster George “Machine Gun” Kelly when, after being surrounded by armed F.B.I. agents in 1933, threw up his hands and cried, “Don’t shoot, G-Men! Don’t shoot, G-Men!” Or so the legend goes. G-Man stood for Government Men, specifically F.B.I. agents.

 These were the days of iron-fisted Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover battling back the gangster tide that was overrunning major cities all across America. Seeing the local law-enforcement was outnumbered and outgunned—if not compromised—by organized crime he reorganized the old Bureau of Investigation into America’s first national police force—sanctioned to cross state lines in the pursuit of justice. In the pulps, the urban menace of mobster crime had given rise to The Shadow and all the superhuman crime-fighters who followed. Five years into this ever-shifting reality, Margulies and his editors must have decided the reading public was ready for a crime-crusher who didn’t wear a black cape or a weird mask, and who operated within the law. They were ready for the real deal. So they created Special Agent Daniel Fowler. Young but hardened, the product of the FBI’s new scientific investigation methods, Fowler and his aides, Larry Kendal and Sally Vane, formed a special roving unit of the Bureau, willing and able to rush to any state in the Union to combat counterfeiters, extortionists and sundry foreign spies. To write the exploits of such a non-nonsense hero, they understood that they needed a writer of a different cut than the boys who were grinding out The Phantom Detective every month. Maybe they tried a few of their Phantom authors and they flopped. In any case, they called in George Fielding Eliot, a former major in U. S. intelligence. Titled after an underworld slang term for kidnapping, with the Lindbergh baby kidnapping fresh in the public consciousness, and inspired by the notorious Purple Gang, the premier exploit of Dan Fowler and his team was calledSnatch! It was an instant success among readers who had been reading daily newspaper accounts of the F. B. I.’s successful crusade against John Dillinger and “Baby Face” Nelson, and other otherwise-unstoppable Public Enemies. Their bodies were fast piling up—filled with government lead, with no sign of The Shadow or the Spider anywhere in real life. Seared by crime, trained by Hoover, and motivated by a stern sense of justice, Special Agent Fowler went on to a long and successful career spanning nearly two decades, and a single 1937 film, Federal Bullets. Only the death of the pulp magazine industry put an end to his fame. In order to do justice to this riveting hero, we’ve recruited the impeccable-voiced Richard Epcar to narrate Snatch! If you like Richard's hard-hitting performance as much as we do, expect to hear a big announcement regarding Richard Epcar and Radio Archives next month. We can't wait! Available for only $14.98 on Audio CDs, 5 Hours of G-Man Action from Will Murray’s Pulp Classics and Radio Archives! Audiobook Reviews - Secret Agent "X" - The Torture Trustby Derrick Ferguson Part of my love of Classic Pulp heroes stems from their method of operating.  Unlike most modern heroes of today who are content with simply picking up a gun and blasting away at the bad guys until there’s nobody left alive to blast, those Classic Pulp heroes were on a whole other level.  There’s more thought and planning going into their war on evildoers and indeed, for being good guys they had to be far more devious than the bad guys in order to succeed.  Many of the Classic Pulp guys could have become quite formidable supercriminals in their own right if they had decided to go over to the Dark Side.  Take Secret Agent "X" for instance. Here’s a guy who’s true identity isn’t known to anybody.  Not even his operatives.  There’s a great moment in The Torture Trust where X identifies himself to his main girl Betty Dale by writing the letter ‘X’ on one of her apartment walls in glow-in-the-dark ink.  That’s because every time he shows up to bring Betty into a new case, he looks like a different man.  Secret Agent "X" gets his money from a consortium of millionaires who just dump money into a secret bank account and trust him to do the right thing with it.  Lotta people take this guy X on a lotta faith, if you ask me. But my paranoia has nothing to do with the sheer exuberant fun of listening to The Torture Trust and a large part of that is the exuberant fun of X himself.  He truly delights in his outwitting his enemies at every turn and escaping the police by just thatmuch.  Before this, I didn’t know that much about Secret Agent X and listening to The Torture Trust is a wonderful introduction to the character and his world.  As usual, the voice work is excellent.  Radio Archives obviously doesn’t pinch pennies when it comes to acquiring vocal talent for their audiobooks.  I usually go to bed at night intending to listen to just two or three chapters of an audiobook before going to sleep but usually end up listening to the whole thing, so compelling is the voice I’m listening to and so well communicates the energy and excitement of the story.  By all means, give Secret Agent "X" - The Torture Trust a listen. Five hours on Audio CDs for only $14.98 from Radio Archives!  FIVE NEW eBOOKS: The Spider, The Black Bat, Operator #5, and Secret Agent X The Best Pulp From Yesterday for Your Digital Reader Today! Radio Archives guarantees that is what you will get with Will Murray's Pulp Classics line of eBooks! Find the greatest heroes and best action in these five new exquisitely reformatted classic tales! The Spider #11 Prince of the Red LootersNever before had any criminal dared give open challenge to the Spider! Until now. And while they fought — the Spider and the Fly — a new and fearless criminal army was flocking to the dark banner of that gentlemanly killer whose battle cry was "Kill the Spider — and the world is ours!" As a special Bonus, Will Murray has written an introduction: “Meet the Spider” especially for this series of eBooks. The Spider #100 Death and the Spider"When your people need you most... When Death walks the earth like a man..." spoke Mar-lar-delan, Richard Wentworth's counsellor in the ancient mysticism of the East, "... in that hour, my son — you will die!" That black hour had come. In such a crisis, the Spider undertakes what may be his last foray! As a special Bonus, Will Murray has written an introduction: “Meet the Spider” especially for this series of eBooks. The Black Bat #1 Brand of the Black BatDoomed to darkness by a murder monger, the Black Bat makes darkness his weapon -- and a Mysterious Avenger is born! The foul, ruthless rule of a Lord of Crime, striking terror to a city, calls for the daring and swift justice of Tony Quinn. The Black Bat was the featured story in Black Book Detective magazine beginning in July of 1939, and running through 1953. Blinded former District Attorney Anthony Quinn was the costumed crusader who regained his sight to an amazing extent: he could now see in the dark. With super hearing, an enanced sense of touch and smell, he battled the dark underbelly of crimedom. Around him he gathered a small band of aides, Carol Baldwin, daughter of a small-town policeman, Butch O'Leary, none too bright, but a staunch battler, and Silk Kirby, an ex-crook, now Quinn's valet. Operator 5 #2 The Invisible EmpireUnseen, impregnable, the strange war engine of a foreign power hovered over America, waiting the fatal moment to hurl death upon a thousand cities and towns. Foredoomed to destruction and desolation before the ravaging hordes of the Yellow Empire, bleak despair gripped the nation’s millions. And then men held their breath in agonizing hope — as Operator 5, single-handed, seized the last grim chance to save the United States! As a special Bonus, Will Murray has written an introduction especially for this series of Operator #5 eBooks.  Secret Agent "X" #1 The Torture TrustMen with skulls for faces — these were the victims of that terrible trio who met in a hidden room. And Secret Agent "X" went against them, daring the bottled torment of their deaf-mute slaves, in a desperate battle of wits at the gateway of destruction! From 1934 to 1939 America thrilled to the adventures of Secret Agent "X" — the "man of a thousand faces" — as he battled futuristic weapons and mad scientists. The true identity of Secret Agent "X" was never revealed. He used his mastery of disguise to work undercover for the U.S. government. With his aide, newspaper reporter Betty Dale, and his secretive government handler K-9, he battled weird and fantastical threats to America for forty-one amazing issues. When you purchase these beautifully reformatted eBooks from RadioArchives.com you receive all three formats in one ZIP file: PDF for PC or Mac computer; Mobi for Kindle and ePub for iPad/IPhone, Android, Sony eReader, and Nook. When you upgrade to a new eReader, you can transfer your eBook novels to your new device without the need to purchase anything new. All Radio Archives eBooks are in the Kindle Store and coming very soon to the iBook Store!

Will Murray's Pulp Classics eBooks are $2.99 each from Radio Archives!

  The Shadow, Volume 58Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! The pulp era's greatest crimebuster journeys to Maine on golden quests in two thrilling pulp novels by Walter Gibson writing as "Maxwell Grant." First, The Shadow and G-man Vic Marquette hunt enemy agents sabotaging maritime shipping from a mysterious Castle of Crime. Then, a sea captain's dying words lead to serial slayings along the long-buried trail to a Dead Man's Chest and Cuban gold! This instant collector's item reprints the classic color cover paintings by George Rozen and Graves Gladney and the original interior illustrations by Edd Cartier and Paul Orban, with historical commentary by Will Murray. Yours for only $14.95! Doc Savage, Volume 56The pulp era's greatest superman returns in classic pulp thrillers by Laurence Donovan and Lester Dent writing as "Kenneth Robeson." First, Doc and Patricia Savage attempt to discover the secret behind the baffling series of "black spot murders" that confounds the law. Then, an auction gallery bidding war leads to the abduction of Monk Mayfair. Can the Man of Bronze uncover the sinister secret of The Terrible Stork in time to save his right-hand aide? This special collectors edition showcases the original color pulp covers by Walter M. Baumhofer and Modest Stein, Paul Orban's classic interior illustrations and a behind-the-scenes article by Will Murray, writer of nine Doc Savage novels. Yours for only $14.95! The Whisperer, Volume 5The double life of Police Commissioner James Gordon is explored in a pair of two-fisted thrillers that inspired classic Batman stories! First, The Whisperer goes undercover to close down a “School for Murder” that prepares teenagers for criminal careers! Then, Wildcat Gordon investigates corruption in the trucking industry in “Murder on the Line.” BONUS: an adventure of Norgil the Magician by The Shadow’s Maxwell Grant! This historic collector’s item showcases both original color pulp covers by Spider artist John Newton Howitt, classic interior illustrations by Paul Orban and golden-age great Creig Flessel, and historical commentary by Will Murray and Anthony Tollin. Now at Radio Archives for $14.95!
The Spider, Volume 22 - 1935 & 1940 Variant Cover Editions Pulp fiction's legendary Master of Men returns in two classic novels from the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction, written by Norvell Page under the pseudonym of Grant Stockbridge. First, in "Overlord of the Damned" (October 1935), the Boss unleashes horrible death with his demonic acid guns... with a vat of the same deadly corrosive reserved for those who talk too much! With his beloved Nita van Sloan a hostage to a terrible doom, the Spider faces the soul-tearing prospect of planting the Spider seal on his friend Stanley Kirkpatrick, Commissioner of Police! Then, in "Dictator's Death Merchants!" (July 1940), The jaws of death gape open when El Crocodilo feasts! With uncanny skill, he forestalls even the Spider's best attempts to trap him. Striking without mercy, this menace from the past rises anew by demolishing a banking institution each night, in a mad scheme to take control of nothing less than all of America's finances! This volume is available in two editions and features the original artwork from the October 1935 or the July 1940 edition of "The Spider" magazine. Both versions feature reformatted text and original interior illustrations to accompany each story. Available now for $14.95!    Review of "Castle of Doom" from The Shadow, Volume 8By John Olsen Castle of Doom was originally published in the January 15, 1936 issue of The Shadow Magazine. Now we're talking! To me, this is what The Shadow is all about. Stealthily stalking through the night, he uncovers strange plottings in an old English castle. Secret passages, ghostly visitations, hidden treasure. Only The Shadow can unravel the secrets of the Castle of Doom! The Shadow travels to London, England. Tales of crime have crossed the seas to Manhattan, where The Shadow hears of the swift, mysterious crime wave. The theft of gold, jewels, jade, tapestries and much more. Valuables worth a million and a half dollars. Along with the thefts, also murder; two and counting. So, disguised as Lamont Cranston, The Shadow makes a prompt trip to the British capital. The strange tale gradually unwinds set against a backdrop of a three-hundred-year-old castle sitting high on a cliff overlooking the raging ocean on the rural English coast.  It's an amazingly intricate story that's a real joy to read. This is The Shadow as he is meant to be read about. He is at his full power, with stealth abilities bordering on invisibility. He spends nearly the entire story in the background, skulking about in the dark of night. He appears only occasionally in disguise; he prefers his black cloak and slouch hat. He only rarely needs the assistance of his agent, Harry Vincent. And his mastery of languages now includes the Afghan language, as well as so many others. We see The Shadow with his portable make-up kit, that small flat box which he uses to manipulate his waxlike features. He only appears briefly as Lamont Cranston. And similarly makes brief appearances as a rustic farmer in one scene, and as Professor Roderick Danglar, of Cambridge, in two others. No one sees any similarity between the three characters, so effective is his skill at disguise. But it's as his black-garbed true self that he spends most of his time, here. As he slides across the wide green lawns at midnight, he appears as a flickering shadow cast by the fringe of trees surrounding the estate. This is one Shadow pulp mystery that I can recommend unconditionally. Mystery and intrigue abound in this atmospheric adventure. Set among ancient underground passages, hidden rooms, secret chambers, spiral staircases, spy rooms and mysterious vaults filled with flapping bats, this story weaves a tale of strange murder! It all makes for a story not to be missed! And You can enjoy “Castle of Doom” and another great Shadow tale in The Shadow, Volume 8 for only $12.95 from Radio Archives!

 

Comments From Our Customers! Shaun Pettit:I ordered "The Whistler - Volume 1" and it is great...The sound quality is superb! I hope to order "The Whistler Vol. 2" real soon!! Thanks to everyone at Radio Archives for the excellent products and customer service. Ernest Spellmeyer:Thank you for your prompt response and the quality of your products. I look forward to doing business with you in the future. Michael Johnson:Love these pulp reprint books. Thanks! Clay Carter:A great story on Jack Benny.  My dad got us interested in Jack's show when we first listened to him on radio and of course followed by TV. Dennis Roy:I've recently become interested in your "Will Murray's Pulp Classics" Audiobooks, after getting the first couple of Doc Savage CD sets. Let me commend you on the selection of pulp stories you have produced thus far. Allen Hickerson:LOVED the Spider audiobook! Is there a new one coming out soon? If you'd like to share a comment with us or if you have a question or a suggestion send an email toService@RadioArchives.com. We'd love to hear from you!

 

The products you've read about in this newsletter are just a small fraction of what you'll find waiting for you at RadioArchives.com. Whether it's the sparkling audio fidelity of our classic radio collections, the excitement of our new line of audiobooks, or the timeless novels of the pulp heroes, you'll find hundreds of intriguing items at RadioArchives.com.

 

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