Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Crime Club Radio Show

Eno Effervescent Salts
In 1931, The Crime Club came to radio for the first time, when some of the titles from Doubleday's The Crime Club library were dramatized on The Eno Crime Club, sponsored by Eno Effervescent Salts. The CBS Radio detective series ran from February 9, 1931 until December 21, 1932. It should be noted that Eno later sponsored Blue Network's Eno Crime Clues, but that did not have anything to do with The Crime Club -- that series ran from January 3, 1933 to June 30, 1936.

Then, in 1946, The Crime Club returned to radio as half-hour adaptations from the series in the Mutual Broadcasting System's program, Crime Club. The premiere of the show was Death Blew Out the Match, which aired on Monday, December 2, 1946, filling the time-slot previously occupied by Bulldog Drummond. This new show was a completely new start for The Crime Club on radio, and not associated in any way with the prevoius Eno Crime Club or Eno Crime Clues. The 1940s series were all broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS), and introduced by a mysterious host known as The Librarian.
The telephone rings, "Hello, I hope I haven't kept you waiting. Yes, this is the Crime Club. I'm the Librarian. Murder Rents A Room? Yes, we have that Crime Club story for you. Come right over. (The organist in the shadowed corner of the Crime Club library shivers the ivories) The doorbell tones sullenly, "And you are here. Good. Take the easy chair by the window. Comfortable? The book is on this shelf." (The organist hits the scary chord) "Let's look at it under the reading lamp." The Librarian begins reading our tale, and we begin another Crime Club offering let's hope it's not a burnt offering.
The role of The Librarian was actually portrayed by either Barry Thomson and Raymond Edward Johnson (who is famous for his role in the Inner Sanctum Mysteries). This new radio series ran from December 2, 1946 to October 16, 1947, and is available via many old-time radio channels. About half of the episodes were authored by Stedman Coles, as only half were adaptations of Doubleday's Crime Club selections, which include the following:
  • Death Blew Out the Match by Kathleen Moore Knight (1935)
  • For the Hangman by John Stephen Strange (1934)
  • Under A Cloud by Hilda Van Siller (1944)
  • Mr. Smith's Hat by Helen Kiernan Reilly (1936)
  • Murder Goes Astray by Mary Violet Heberden (1942)
  • Flowers for the Judge by Margery Allingham (1934)
  • Murder Solves A Problem by Marion Bramhall (1944)
  • Call Me Pandora by Abbie Harris (1946)
  • The Absent-Minded Professor by Aaron Marc Stein (1943)
  • Fear Came First by Vera Kelsey (1945)
  • Dead Man Control by Helen Kiernan Reilly (1937)
  • The Grey Mist Murders by Constance and Gwenyth Little (1939)
  • Death Cuts A Silhouette by D. B. Olsen (1939)
  • Epitaph for Lydia by Virginia Rath (1937)
  • The Corpse Wore A Wig by George Bagby (1940)
  • Murder On Margin by Robert George Dean (1936)
  • Hearses Don't Hurry by Stephen Ransome (1941)
  • Death At 7:10 by Harry F. S. Moore (1943)
  • A Frame for Murder by Kirke Mechem (1936)

1 comment:

  1. You write: "The CBS Radio detective series ran from February 9, 1931 until December 21, 1932. It should be noted that Eno later sponsored Blue Network's Eno Crime Clues, but that did not have anything to do with The Crime Club -- that series ran from January 3, 1933 to June 30, 1936."

    This is actually incorrect. The 1931 Crime Club series sponsored by Eno is the same series that became the Eno Crime Clues around 1933. The name change might have taken place when it switched from CBS to NBC Blue but they were the same program. As researched in Variety among other locations, the series had no tie-in to the Doubleday imprint but appeared to capitalize on the popularity of "Crime Club" imprints popular in the late 20s.

    In 1946 the Mutual Broadcasting System produced its own series it called "The Crime Club" which DID have a tie-in to the Doubleday imprint using for a time stories from the popular books of that imprint. It later began writing original scripts rather than adapting novels. This can be understood when Geoffrey Barnes says, instead of "The book is on the shelf," he says "The MANUSCRIPT is on the shelf."

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