The Great Detectives of Old Time Radio The great ones are back in action.

7Jul/150

Ellery Queen: The Adventure of Dead Man’s Cavern

While vacationing in the mountains, Ellery and friends stumble upon a mysterious death tied to a murderer's ghost.

Original Air Date: April 15, 1944

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7Jul/150

Philip Marlowe: Ladies Night

Gerald Mohr
Phil is hired to find to find a writer for a magazine publisher in this episode featuring an all-female guest cast.

Original Air Date: February 21, 1950

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6Jul/150

EP1617: The Saint: Simon Carries the Ivy

Vincent PriceThe Saint investigates a series of poisoned pen letters set to men who are thought to be interested in a lovely co-ed.

Original Air Date: April 1, 1951

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4Jul/151

Audio Drama Review: The Last Act

The Last Act brings Roger Llewellyn's long-running, Sherlock Holmes, one-man play to audio. The story finds a somber Holmes reflecting on his life and career after Watson's funeral. It's an emotional and occasionally heartbreaking performance as Holmes reflects on his friend and his career. "You never appreciate the best things, the best people, until they're gone."

Not every moment is somber. There are humorous moments as Holmes will reflect on one of his friend's oddities or on Lestrade's unremarkable career that saw him never rise above Inspector.

The play covers a variety of ground. From "The Abbey Grange" to "The Speckled Band" "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House" and The Hound of the Baskervilles and many more, Holmes offers his reflections on his cases and it's a Tour de Force performance.

I enjoyed the second half far less as it offered insights into Holmes' dark secrets, including his little discussed childhood. On one hand, this explained Holmes being merciful in one particular case. On the other, there's a certain modern conceit that tries to explain everything anyone does as a result of some childhood trauma to provide motivation. This can be seen in superhero fiction where so many characters' origins are being rewritten reflect that sort of trauma. It becomes somewhat monotonous in fiction when no one ever does anything good, noble, or heroic unless a parent was killed or was abusive, or some other trauma occurred to explain it.

I also didn't like the way Holmes' drug use was addressed. In the books, Watson claims to have weaned him off cocaine. However, the play insists Holmes' use continued unknown to Watson and it leads the play into a dour place. While some would argue this is more realistic than the books (which removed the cocaine habit as it became socially unacceptable) and it might be clever to undermine audience expectations by moving from downbeat to depressing, I wasn't pleasantly surprised by the turn.

Still, the play is well-written even if I have issues with the tone, Llewellyn's performance as Holmes (and twelve other characters) is pitch perfect and thoroughly engaging. He captures Holmes as a man trying to come to terms with the greatest loss in his life as a lifetime of emotional restraint begins to ebb away. I only wish the play had a more satisfactory conclusion.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0

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4Jul/150

EP1616: Dragnet: The Big Mink

Jack WebbFriday and Romero investigate the robbery of a furrier.

Original Air Date: June 22, 1950

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3Jul/150

EP1615: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Denver Disbursal Matter

Bob Bailey

Johnny goes to Denver to investigate a series of suspicious claims being paid out.

Original Air Date: March 23, 1958

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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2Jul/150

EP1614: Nick Carter: The Case of the Martyred Rat

Lon Clark

Nick investigates a series of truck hijackings.

Original Air Date: March 28, 1948

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1Jul/150

EP1613: Philip Marlowe: The Grim Echo

Gerald Mohr
While in a storm, Phil ends up at a house where everyone has a motive to kill him.

Original Air Date: February 14, 1950

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30Jun/150

EP1612: Ellery Queen: Adventure of the Scarecrow and the Snowman

Ellery Queen uses a movie to solve a case of a man who was found in the clothes of a scarecrow and then disappeared from the hospital.

Original Air Date: January 22, 1944

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29Jun/150

EP1611: The Saint: Formula for Death

Vincent Price

The Saint gets a new tailored jacket back with a bullet hole and a formula demanded by a man with a weight problem.

Original Air Date: March 25, 1951

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