Friday, July 29, 2011

Myrna Loy's Radio Credits

Hollywood, June 1937
Confident, sophisticated, whip smart and equipped with a wit as dry as the martinis she favored in her films, she had a gift for nuance and comedic timing. More than a pretty face, Myrna Loy made men swoon and set standards of elegance and star power emulated by Hollywood actresses today. She was born in a small Montana town and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13, following the untimely death of her father. Her unusual look -- Celtic red hair and freckles complemented an exotic almond eyes -- caught the attention of Rudolph Valentino's wife, acclaimed designer Natasha Rambova, who made arrangements for Myrna Loy to appear before the movie cameras

Myrna Loy is perhaps best known for her role as Nora Charles in the six Thin Man movies, but her career on the screen began in the silent era. If she wasn't a chorus girl, she was a villainous vamp who showed more skin than subtlety. Although she plays the role of Dr. Fu Manchu's daughter with perfection in The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), she fought the studio industry for roles that were more sophisticated, avoiding the typecast personalities she played on the screen for years. I recommend The Mask of Fu Manchu, by the way. It's a great film and often overlooked. Gregory William Mank wrote a superb behind-the-scenes history of the movie for an issue of the now-defunct Scarlet Street Magazine, and it's a great read. But catch if you can, catch the movie when it is screened on Turner Classic Movies. All of the video and commercial DVD releases have been edited (each with various different scenes deleted!) and you have to see this pre-code uncut and unedited to enjoy it.

Having been teamed with William Powell in more than a dozen films, most of the American public believed they were really married. And their appearances together on radio broadcasts helped clinch that belief. Loy never dated or married Powell, but the two ccertainly had chemistry on the screen -- especially in the Thin Man movies -- and the studios knew it. 

Myrna Loy had distinguished ears which MGM producer David O'Selznick insisted be glued to her head by the fakeup artists. Loy considered plastic surgery at one time, but decided that hair styles covering her ears was much better suited and this pleased Selznick. Soon after learning that she was John Dillinger's favorite actress, and was the main reason why he went to see Manhattan Melodrama, the movie that ultimately led to his death outside the theatre, Loy admited she took no pleasure in learning of the news.

Impressed by 16-year-old Myrna Loy's beauty, the head of the art department at Venice High School assigned her to model for a seminude statue that stands even today in the school's courtyard. Ironically, the actress only liked the spotlight when the cameras were rolling, preferring night at home with her brother and mother (or husband when she was married). Director John Ford joked, "Wouldn't you know, the kid they pick to play tramps is the only good girl in Hollywood." 

Myrna Loy statue at Venice High School.
During World War II, Myrna Loy devoted much of her time to the war cause -- far more time than she did acting. Because of this, her screen and radio credits drop considerably during the War Years. After the War, Loy devoted much of her time to public service, including UNESCO.

Unlike most of her competition such as Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna Loy's radio credits are not as extensive. She did not appear before the microphone unless committed under contract, for the purpose of promoting an up-coming movie. Her guest spots on radio programs that had nothing to do with reprising her movie roles were through an arrangement whereby with the announcer commented, "Myrna Loy appeared courtesy of MGM, producers of the [movie] now in theaters."

Throughout 1934 to 1937, MGM Studios recorded a number of 14-15 minute transcription discs featuring exclusive interviews and audio tracks from their up-coming motion pictures. Local theaters often paid for airtime on local radio stations and the transcriptions were played as 15 minute specials, promoting the day and time the movie is going to be screened. Myrna Loy appears in many of these, from The Thin Man, Parnell, Whipshaw and Libeled Lady, but her radio appearances were in the form of audio tracks from the motion pictures.

Hollywood on the Air
Broadcast on September 12, 1932.
Hosted by Hollywood columnist Jimmy Fidler, this broadcast featured two celebrity interviews with Irene Dunne and Myrna Loy.

Hollywood Hotel 
Broadcast on November 9, 1934.
Sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company.
This was Myrna Loy’s first of three appearances on this radio program, hosted by Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons. William Powell and Myrna Loy are interviewed by Parsons, following a performance of “Within The Law,” in which Loy played a woman falsely accused and imprisoned for a crime she did not commit. Upon her release, Loy exacts revenge on the guilty parties, always remaining within the law to avoid being accused of another crime.

William Powell and Myrna Loy were originally scheduled to appear on Hollywood Hotel on the evening of April 3, 1936, in a scene from “The Great Ziegfeld.” Filming schedules at MGM prevented the actors from appearing on the show. Instead, Hollywood Hotel presented George Burns and Gracie Allen in “I Married A Doctor.” The script originally intended for Powell and Loy was never presented on the program.

Hollywood Hotel
Broadcast on May 22, 1936.
Sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company.
Myrna Loy, Warner Baxter and Claire Trevor reprise their roles for a scene from To Mary, With Love, Release date August 1936?. Myrna Loy plays the role of Mary Wallace, who stands by her husband, Jack, after the Depression of 1929, but considers divorce when he again becomes successful by 1935. Bill Hallam, who loves Mary, works at keeping them together.

The Lux Radio Theatre 
Broadcast on June 8, 1936.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy reprise their role as Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man. This was the second episode of Lux to be broadcast from California under a new format. Prior to June 1, the series originated from New York and featured Broadway actors in adaptations of stage plays and Broadway musicals. In February of 1936, John Gilman, head of Lever Brothers advertising, began conferring with people at J. Walter Thompson about revising the program's format. What ultimately happened was Lux went Hollywood. Not only were they featuring adaptations of motion-pictures, but the series originated from the 965-seat Music Box Theatre on 6126 Hollywood Boulevard in California. Loy stumbles over one line just slightly, but noticeable. For movie buffs, Theda Bara appears after the story and discusses he planned comeback.

UK Magazine, Nov. 1935
Hollywood Hotel 
Broadcast on November 13, 1936.
Sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company.
Buddy Ebsen and James Stewart reprise their roles from the movie, Born to Dance, with Myrna Loy co-starring in the role Eleanor Powell played in the motion-picture. Jean Harlow and Clark Gable are interviewed by Louella Parsons, because the two actors are being filmed for Saratoga, due for a theatrical release in a few months.

Good News of 1938 
Broadcast on December 30, 1937.
Sponsored by Kraft Foods (promoting Maxwell House coffee).
Myrna Loy and Jimmy Stewart appear in a skit about newlyweds. Obviously since the series was designed as a weekly promotional ad spot for MGM, their actors appeared on the program frequently. Wallace Beery star in a scene from The Bad Man From Brimstone. So it comes as no surprise that Lionel Barrymore describes a "name the movie" contest. 

The Silver Theatre
Broadcast on January 15, 1939.
Sponsored by International Silver.
Myrna Loy is the weekly guest in a drama titled "The Debutante."

Good News of 1939  
Broadcast on May 11, 1939.
Sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee.
Myrna Loy and Robert Taylor reprise their roles of Cora Jordan and Bill Overton in Lucky Night, who attempt to settle down witha  serious relationship, only to discover that leopards cannot change their spots. The movie was released theatrically just a few days before this broadcast.

The Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
Broadcast on February 11, 1940.
Sponsored by Gulf Oil.
In an attempt to piggyback on the popularity of William Powell and Myrna Loy's screen personifications, the two actors were scheduled to star in "Single Crossing," a romantic comedy. Powell was unable to attend, however, so James Stewart replaced him.

The Lux Radio Theatre
Broadcast on June 17, 1940.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy reprise their roles of Nick and Nora Charles from After The Thin Man, the second of six Thin Man motion pictures.

The Lux Radio Theatre 
Broadcast on September 9, 1940.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy reprise their roles in an adaptation of Manhattan Melodrama. To give you an idea of how big Gone With the Wind was (not meaning to steer from the subject at hand), the sponsor offered a Scarlet O'Hare brooch to the listeners, during one of the commercials. The movie was released in theaters nine months earlier and was still going on strong.

Bundles for Britain
Broadcast on January 1, 1941.
This was one of several specials designed as patriotic support for the “Bundles for Britain” program. Arch Oboler directed. Celebrities on this broadcast included Myrna Loy, Jack Benny, Bette Davis, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Loretta Young, Claudette Colbert, Spencer Tracy, Charles Boyer, Mary Martin, Ronald Colman, Merle Oberon, Tony Martin and Charles Boyer.

The Gulf Screen Guild Theater
Broadcast on January 19, 1941.
Sponsored by Gulf Oil.
Myrna Loy and Don Ameche play the leads in "Magnificent Obsession."

American Calling
Broadcast on February 8, 1941.
Sponsored by the Greek War Relief.
This ninety-minute special originated from Hollywood and featured an all-star cast that included Clark Gable, Merle Oberon, Groucho Marx, Madeleine Carroll, Connie Boswell, Dick Powell, Charles Laughton, Ronald Colman, Shirley Temple, Ann Rutherford, Barbara Stanwyck, Mickey Rooney, Robert Taylor, Tyrone Power and many others. Myrna Loy appears in a comedy skit with Mary Martin, Jack Benny and Bob Hope. This program was broadcast over both the Mutual Broadcasting System and the National Broadcasting Company.

The Chase and Sanborn Program 
Broadcast on March 23, 1941.
Sponsored by Standard Brands (promoting Chase and Sanborn Coffee).
Myrna Loy is guest, playing opposite to Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen’s ventriloquist buddy. 

The Lux Radio Theatre
Broadcast on June 30, 1941.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy reprised their roles from the 1940 MGM classic, I Love You Again. Powell plays boring businessman Larry Wilson, who recovers from amnesia and discovers he's really a con man. But romance tangles the plot. This same story was done again on Lux in 1948, but not with Myrna Loy in the cast.

William Powell and Myrna Loy were originally scheduled for The Lux Radio Theatre’s production of “Third Finger, Left Hand,” on the evening of September 29, 1941. The announcement was made at the conclusion of last week’s program, and the two stars were even billed in newspapers (such as the New York Times, proving once again how newspapers can be unreliable when researching old-time radio). When both actors came down with a touch of the flu, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Martha Scott were quickly recruited as replacements. Had Myrna Loy been able to attend, she would have been able to reprise her role as Margot Sherwood, an unmarried editor, who attempts to repel potential suitors by pretending to be married to a small town Ohio boy.

Screen Play Magazine, September 1935
The Lux Radio Theatre 
Broadcast on November 3, 1941.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy play the roles of Stephen Dexter, an ad man, and secretary Kendall Browning, who agree to a marriage of convenience as a loophole in order to protect his finances during an important business deal. After the deal is signed and delivered, he asks for a divorce bur Kendall (Loy) surprises him by refusing. Seems she's fallen in love with him. According to Art Pierce and Connie Billips' Lux Presents Hollywood book, this recording was not known to exist in 1995, but has since been discovered and is now commonly circulating among collector hands.

The Silver Theater
Broadcast on November 30, 1941.
Sponsored by International Silver.
Myrna Loy is the celebrity guest for this broadcast, starring in a witty drama titled, “Strictly Personal.”

The Gulf Screen Guild Theater 
Broadcast on January 11, 1942.
Sponsored by Gulf Oil.
Herbert Marshall and Myrna Loy co-star in an adaptation of the 1939 motion-picture, Love Affair, which originally starred Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne. 

The Lux Radio Theatre
Broadcast on February 23, 1942.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
In Myrna Loy's last of many Lux appearances, she played the role of Jane Alexander, who falls in love with Charles Boyer. This adaptation of "Appointment for Love" was done two years later with a different cast so if you are not a die-hard collector of radio programs, be aware that there are two versions and only the 1942 version features Myrna Loy. Since the U.S. had recently entered World War II, Charles Boyer had recently become an American citizen and was congratulated on the program.

The Cavalcade of America
Broadcast on March 23, 1942.
Until 2002, a recording of this episode was not known to exist in collector circles. A company in Connecticut, Radio Yesteryear, had a this recording in their archives. I bought the audio cassette (at an expensive $12 price tag) and then used it to trade for recordings that collectors were holding on to jealously. The result? I gained a few treasures that it worth spending that kind of money on a single recording and "Angels on Horseback" with Myrna Loy got into circulation. Loy stars as Dr. Mary Breckenridge who created the "Frontier Nursing Service." 

Keep 'Em Rolling
Broadcast on April 12, 1942.
This program was produced in co-operation with the War Production Board. Myrna Loy and Otto Kruger star in an adaptation of "The Captain From Connecticut."

Greece Fights On 
Syndicated beginning circa 1943.
Sponsored by The Greek War Relief Association.
This fourteen-minute recording was designed to promote the sale of a newly-published book, The Atlas of World War II (published in 1943). Profits from the sale of the $1 book were to be donated to The Greek War Relief Association. Celebrities endorsed and urged the purchase of the book: Fred Allen, Tallulah Bankhead, Ilka Chase, Clifton Fadiman, Myrna Loy and Paul Muni. 

Ed Sullivan Entertains
Broadcast on October 18, 1943.
Sponsored by the Colgate-Palmolive Company (promoting Mennen Speed Stick).
This fifteen-minute radio program offered a variety of singers and actors performing for the radio audience, and exclusive interviews. For this broadcast, Myrna Loy was a guest.

Movie Life, March 1938
Mary Margaret McBride  
(“The Martha Deane Show”) 
Broadcast on November 4, 1943.
Myrna Loy is interviewed by Martha Deane.

Command Performance
Recorded circa early 1945.
Myrna Loy was the emcee for this episode. Command Performance was produced by the Armed Forces Radio Service for entertainment to U.S. troops stationed overseas. Various Hollywood stars made guest appearances, providing music and drama. This program was not broadcast in the U.S. per say, but rather for the troops. Recordings of this episode are circulating among collectors with a broadcast date of June 7, 1945, but I am not sure how they acquired such a broadcast date. The official episode number (taken from the transcription disc) is #178.

The Frank Sinatra Show
Broadcast on April 11, 1945.
Sponsored by the Sales Builders.
Myrna Loy was a guest on this broadcast. Looking back on history, had Sinatra’s show aired on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, instead of Wednesday, Myrna Loy’s appearance on this show would have been cancelled. FDR died on April 12 and soon after the news reached the public, all of the major broadcasting studios cancelled regularly scheduled programming in favor of news, solemn music and FDR specials. 

Broadcast on September 20, 1945.
Myrna Loy plays the role of a librarian who deduces a kidnap plot from a torn page in Gone With the Wind. The title of the drama is "The Library Book." Based on a story by Cornell Woolrich.

Movie Premiere 
Broadcast on November 21, 1946. This broadcast originated from the lobby of the Astor Theatre, New York City. Myrna Loy, Virginia Mayo, Hoagy Carmichael and Toots Shor speak before the microphone, moments after the James J. Walker Memorial is dedicated over WOR.

Meet the Stars 
Broadcast on November 25, 1946.
This interview program was broadcast over Chicago and originated from the studios of WGN. Myrna Loy was in Chicago at the time to promote The Best Years of Our Lives, so she appeared as a guest.

The June Baker Show 
Broadcast on November 26, 1946.
This interview program was broadcast over Chicago and originated from the studios of WGN. Myrna Loy was in Chicago at the time to promote The Best Years of Our Lives, so she appeared as a guest.

This is Hollywood
Broadcast on December 14, 1946.
Sponsored by Proctor & Gamble.
Myrna Loy and Don Ameche reprise their film roles from So Goes My Love. Jane Budden (Loy), a country girl, goes to the big city determined to find and marry a wealthy man. Instead, she meets and marries Herman Maxim (Ameche), a struggling inventor. After their marriage, his inventions become successful. Their happiness is complete when they have two children, and Maxim’s portrait is given a place in the National Hall of Science. The host of this radio program was Hedda Hopper.

Broadcast on July 15, 1947, Telephone Quiz featured Myrna Loy -- but not in person. While she was not a guest on this radio quiz program, her name was the answer that the game show host was looking for.
Hollywood Fights Back
October 26, 1947
Sponsored by the First Amendment Committee, this thirty-minute radio special was broadcast over ABC, featuring (as billed by the announcer) 45 Hollywood personalities who chose to strike back at the House Un-American Activities Committee. These included Myrna Loy, Eddie Cantor, Richard Conte, John Huston, Burt Lancaster, Van Heflin, Lucille Ball, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, Charles Boyer, Peter Lorre, Marsha Hunt, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Keenan Wynn, Artie Shaw, Fredric March, Paulette Goddard, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Henreid and many others.

Hollywood Fights Back
November 2, 1947
Sponsored by the First Amendment Committee, this thirty-minute radio special was broadcast over ABC, featuring (as billed by the announcer) 42 Hollywood personalities who chose to strike back at the House Un-American Activities Committee. These included Myrna Loy, Burl Ives, Dana Andrews, Danny Kaye, Dorothy McGuire, George S. Kaufman, Gregory Peck, Groucho Marx, Jane Wyatt, June Havoc, Richard Rodgers, Rita Hayworth, Vanessa Brown and many others. 

The Camel Screen Guild Theatre 
Broadcast November 24, 1947
Sponsored by Camel Cigarettes.
Fredric March and Myrna Loy reprise their roles from The Best Years of Our Lives. This movie won the "Best Picture" Oscar and concerns three World War II veterans who return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

UK Magazine, April 1940
The Spencer Tracy Story  
Syndicated in 1949. 
Narrated by Van Johnson, this MGM air trailer remains a mystery. It was apparently created to promote the numerous films Spencer Tracy starred in, with excerpts from his movies. Myrna Loy appears courtesy of the soundtrack from Test Pilot (1938). A recording of this broadcast exists but has been inaccurately dated 1948. A sound track to Edward, My Son (1949) with Deborah Kerr is featured, verifying the 1948 date is inaccurate.

Camel Screen Guild Players 
Broadcast on May 10, 1948.
Sponsored by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (promoting Camel Cigarettes).
Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple reprise their roles from the 1947 RKO classic, “The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.” Teenaged Susan Turner (Temple), with a severe crush on playboy artist Richard Nugent (Grant), sneaks into his apartment to model for him and is found there by her sister Judge Margaret Turner (Loy). Threatened with jail, Nugent agrees to date Susan until the crush abates. He counters Susan’s comic false sophistication by even more comic put-on teenage mannerisms, with a slapstick climax.

The Robert Taylor Story
Recorded circa 1951. 
Syndicated from MGM Studios, this fifteen-minute recording features Deborah Kerr who introduces scenes from thirteen of Robert Taylor's films, with many of his leading Except for Deborah Kerr, all of the women appear via recording, sound tracks of Taylor's motion-pictures, including Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Hedy Lamarr, Greer Garson, Ava Gardner, Janet Gaynor, Norma Shearer and Myrna Loy.

The National Symphony Orchestra Annual Kick-Off Luncheon 
Broadcast on January 16, 1951.
Guests included Walter Lippman and Myrna Loy. This program was not broadcast coast-to-coast across the country. It was broadcast only in the Washington D.C. and Maryland/Virginia area.

Broadcast on July 7, 1956.
Myrna Loy was a featured guest for a one-on-one interview about her Hollywood career.

The Louis Sobol Show 
Broadcast September 23, 1957.
Known primarily for the musical programs of the 1930s and 1940s, Sobol began interviewing celebrities on this short-run program heard over New York City radio waves during 1957. Abe Burrows, Jack Benny and others were featured guests. For this broadcast, Myrna Loy was interviewed.

During the 1950s, Myrna Loy was a member of the United States National Commission for UNESCO, and Chairman of The Hollywood Committee for UNESCO. So it comes as no surprise that she appeared on a number of radio programs concerning the organization. On August 3, 1950, Loy participated in a general radio forum, broadcast courtesy of the Voice of America, originating from Washington D.C. The discussion topic was mass communications, with two delegates of the recent UNESCO General Conference, Fifth Session. On March 2, 1958, Myrna Loy was a guest for As Easy as A.B.C., a series on the UNESCO and United Nations Radio. Titled "B is for Bargains," Loy appeared alongside Edward G. Robinson and Dinah Shore. On June 16, 1960, The United Nations Today program offered news from Geneva, Florence and Los Angeles. Myrna Loy spoke as a U.S. observer to the UNESCO meeting in Los Angeles.

The Barry Gray Show

Broadcast on September 10, 1960.
This interview show, originating and broadcast mainly in New York City over WOR, featured a variety of celebrity guests. For this particular broadcast, Myrna Loy was the guest.

If anyone knows of any other radio appearances of Myrna Loy that is not featured on this list, contact me so I can add it to this web page.

Rather than flavor the article with photos of Myrna Loy from her movies, which you can find anywhere you look, I'm including a number of old Screen and Movie Magazine articles about the actress. These are much more fun.

Special thanks to Neal Ellis and Jim Widner for their assistance.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bela Lugosi on QUICK AS A FLASH

This one is for all you Bela Lugosi fans.

The novel quiz program with the mystery twist, Quick as a Flash, debuted over Mutual on Sunday, July 16, 1944. Created by director Richard Lewis and emcee Ken Roberts, the program offered listeners 30 minutes of fast-paced entertainment. Along with Lewis, the program was produced by Bernard Prockter, with mystery scripts penned by Eugene Wang. Historical events, movies, works of literature and famous situations were dramatized in short skits or by musical selections conducted by Ray Bloch and the Helbros Orchestra. The highlight of each program was the Helbros Derby, featuring a guest detective in a mystery fair enough for even the radio audience to guess the solution.

Photo courtesy of Terry Salomonson.

With mystery vignettes featuring clues hidden in the action, the quiz program gave six studio contestants ample opportunity to don fore-and-aft cap and a mental magnifying glass to track down the villainous malefactor for cash awards. Initially sponsored by the Helbros Watch Company, a wristwatch was also awarded as a prize. Among the guest detectives was Lamont Cranston, alias The Shadow. Jay Jostyn was featured as Mr. District Attorney in the premiere episode. Former NYPD Commissioner Lewis J. Valentine, known for his role as the Gang Busters narrator, was featured on the broadcast of December 2, 1945. The Sheriff, as portrayed by Robert Haag, then later by Don Briggs, appeared so often he could have been mistaken as a regular on the program. That master of accents and disguises, Karl Swenson as Mr. Chameleon, made numerous performances. Dr. Benjamin Ordway (Everett Sloane and House Jameson) presented trials from the Crime Doctor series.

Ken Roberts
Many of the guest appearances were established to help cross-promote programs that aired over Mutual. Scotland Yard’s Inspector Burke, played by Basil Rathbone, hosted one whodunit. Rathbone appeared on the quiz show a mere 10 days following the January 21, 1947, start of the Burke program on MBS. The final episode of the season, the broadcast of June 3, 1945, featured Jean and Pat Abbott, newlywed private detectives based on Frances Crane’s crime stories. Their appearance on the show was clearly to promote their new series, which was to premier on June 10 in the same time slot as a summer replacement for Quick as a Flash. They came back again for the same reason in June of 1946 and 1947.

Photo of Ken Roberts courtesy of the Bill Fox Collection, Archives of Appalachia, East Tennessee State University. Reprinted with signed permission.

Guest detectives who originated from other networks, however, did not receive the same consideration. At the close of every episode, a mention of the program on which they could be heard weekly was extended by the announcer. However, if it was not a Mutual show, there was no mention of day or time or the rival network. One example was on September 17, 1944, when Raymond Edward Johnson (of Inner Sanctum Mystery) displayed his horrific wit. Did CBS allow him to bring the creaking door or were the Mutual soundmen charged with a most difficult task of creating a duplicate? The Columbia Broadcasting System was never referenced by name. 

A scheduling conflict among programs was the “case” for David Harding, Counterspy, who, during the 1944-45 and 1945-46 seasons appeared on at least six occasions. In the fall of 1946, his program was slotted directly opposite Quick as a Flash at 5:30 p.m., preventing him from returning. When ABC juggled the schedule for 1948-49, not only did Don MacLaughlin return as a regular, he delighted all associated with the program by bringing back many listeners who had left with him. 

Before portraying Mark Chase, Don Briggs played that revered attorney, Perry Mason, in his lone appearance on April 21, 1946. In the milestone one-hundredth episode of December 8, 1946, Hercule Poirot (Harold Huber) voiced his sole escapade. Richard Keith was cast as Special Investigator Frank Brock and also as True Detective Mysteries editor John Shuttleworth on the programs of April 13, 1947, and May 23, 1948, respectively. Nero Wolfe (Luis Van Rooten) and Peter Salem (Santos Ortega) were two additional sleuths whose tenure was limited to a single performance. Two members of the “Press” who appeared often were Casey, Crime Photographer (Staats Cotsworth) of the Morning Express and the editor of Big Town’s Illustrated Press, Steve Wilson (Ed Pawley). A “host” of many a Helbros Derby was Geoffrey Barnes (Roc Rogers followed by Bernard Lenrow) of Mystery Theatre. As a group, private eyes, both amateurs and those on the professional side were featured most frequently, led by the grandfather of them all, Nick Carter (Lon Clark). Other notables included Mr. Keen (Bennett Kilpack), Charlie Chan (Ed Begley and Santos Ortega), Ellery Queen (Sidney Smith), Boston Blackie (Dick Kollmar) and The Fat Man (Jack Scott Smart). 

The Falcon was portrayed by three actors: James Meighan, Les Tremayne and Les Damon. Arguably, the character most associated with the program today is The Shadow. During the initial season of 1944-45, John Archer portrayed the illustrious crime fighter at least half-a-dozen times. It remains doubtful that his appearance on the quiz program was to promote his show since Quick as a Flash was broadcast next on Mutual. The Shadow’s appearance probably did more to promote the quiz program, as evidenced when the announcer closed specific Shadow broadcasts asking the listeners to stay tuned for The Shadow’s guest appearance.

Each script was penned by New Yorker Eugene Wang, a writer for several popular radio shows during the 1940s and 1950s, most notably The Adventures of the Falcon and The Amazing Mr. Malone. Wang never wrote for The Shadow, which means his scripts merely borrowed the fictional characters but did not follow the same format.

Throughout the calendar year of 1947, Hollywood celebrities began appearing on the program. Not as a contestants, but as participants of the mystery sketches. Ezra Stone, Martha Vickers and Bela Lugosi included. What? The actor who played Dracula on stage and screen in a mystery sketch? He sure did. (He actually appeared on radio more than 200 times by last count.) 

On the afternoon of May 18, 1947, Lugosi made a guest appearance on the quiz program, playing the role of a Hungarian detective, Dr. Heggi, in a drama titled "A Severe Case of Murder." Fans of Bela Lugosi know that a recording of this radio broadcast is not known to exist. The contract between Helbros and Mutual did not stipulate the arrangement of the broadcasts to be transcribed. After all, someone had to pay the bill and since neither saw a rhyme or reason to do so, most of the Quick as a Flash radio broadcasts from 1947 do not exist in recorded form. For fans of Bela Lugosi who would like to know what the mystery was about, the mystery has been solved. Thanks to expensive airfare to fly out to the Midwest, and cheap copy fees, and Mike Klaus who allowed me access to his script collection, enclosed is a copy of that script for your amusement.

I know superimposing a logo on some of the script pages is silly, and doesn't prevent people from printing copies on their printer. They are merely there to emphasize that I spent hundreds of dollars on airfare and hotel costs to visit the archive in the Midwest where I was able to go and make a copy. Please be considerate -- if you want to keep a copy for yourself, feel free to do so. But if it gets copied and pasted on another web-site without permission and steal credit, my promise in an earlier posting will still go into effect and I will remove the entire blog off the web permanently and cease offering weekly goodies and keep all future treasures locked away in my filing cabinets. This is primarily aimed towards the one or two whackos who have been recently plucking materials, images, text and archival documents and posting them on their site and then claiming they did the legwork and research. Stealing credit is cruel and inappropriate. 
For everyone else, enjoy the script excerpt and continue to enjoy future postings.

For years a recording of the March 16, 1947 broadcast has been incorrectly dated March 17, 1947, March 23, 1947, March 29, 1947 and February 14, 1948. Scripts have been consulted to verify the accurate broadcast date. (For anyone who wants to debate, allow me to apply some common sense that will save us both debate. There was never a Quick As A Flash broadcast on the incorrect dates).

July 16, 1944 to June 3, 1945
Helbros Mutual Sun. 6 to 6:30 p.m. Weekly
September 9, 1945 to June 2, 1946 
Helbros Mutual Sun. 6 to 6:30 p.m. Weekly
(5:30 as of January 20, 1946)
September 8, 1946 to June 1, 1947 
Helbros Mutual Sun. 5:30 to 6 p.m. Weekly
September 7, 1947 to May 30, 1948 
Helbros Mutual Sun. 5:30 to 6 p.m. Weekly
September 5, 1948 to May 29, 1949 
Helbros Mutual Sun. 5:30 to 6 p.m. Weekly
September 24, 1949 to December 17, 1949 
Helbros Mutual Sun. 7:30 to 7:55 p.m. Weekly
December 12, 1949 to June 9, 1950 
Quaker ABC 11:30 a.m. to 12 M-W-F
May 30, 1950 to August 4, 1950 
Toni ABC 15 minutes Weekdays, five-a-week
September 19, 1950 to June 29, 1951 
Block Drug ABC 11:30 to 12 noon Weekdays, five-a-week

Various sections of this article are excerpts from the book, The Shadow: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930-1954 by Martin Grams.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention: 2010 Recap

A fan of Zorro dressed up in costume for the event.
At the time I write this, preparations for the 2011 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia convention will be under way. The dealer room is completely sold out (as usual, we have a waiting list) and all indications point to this year's show being the best ever. Last year the convention was held at the Hunt Valley Marriott, a hotel best described as a country club and the first time we utilized the hotel's large ballrooms. Prior to this, the event was held annually at The Clarion in Aberdeen, Maryland. But realistically, unless the hotel redesigned the facilities with rubber walls, we outgrew the hotel and had to move to large facilities. And I am proud to say that of the 22 conventions I attended last year, MANC was one of only two with a growing attendance. In fact, the attendance has grown every year since it began in 2006.

Mary Ethel, who runs the front registration desk every year.
MANC has an agenda: to help preserve nostalgia and promote museums, fan clubs, historical societies and preservation efforts. After all -- and let's be frank and honest here -- it's an aging fan base and a declined economy we're fighting. If someone doesn't keep it going, who will? And since two conventions this year are closing doors, MANC will (hopefully) carry the torch.

Mixing all breeds of nostalgia, the convention centers on silent movies, pulp magazines, fifties and sixties television, old-time radio, pre-code classics, comic books, vintage movie posters and more. Rather than focus on one particular genre, MANC promotes all forms of nostalgia. At past MANC events, Ken Stockinger hosted a fascinating look at glass slides ("Ladies, please remove your hats..."). Michael Hayde and Derek Tague presented video clips of Dragnet spoofs. Michael Henry talked about the Vox Pop program. Buck Biggers, co-creator of Underdog, talked about the creation of the popular cartoon character. Fred Berney talked about the retro children's program, Big John and Sparky. Pete Klaus offered us a retrospective of The Phantom, a creation of Lee Falk. Author Brian Taves gave us a glimpse into the personal and professional career of P.G. Wodehouse.

One of the vendors who attend every year with goodies.
Besides presentations and seminars, MANC also boasts more than 200 vendor tables, a drive-in movie theater outside the hotel in the parking lot, a charity auction to help benefit the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, a movie room screening classic films 24 hours a day, and old-time radio recreations on stage.

If you are still with me, allow me to share some of the great moments and photos from last year's event. The Fifth Annual Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. I am certain after reviewing the recap below, you'll want to check it out for yourself. And you should. It's like Disneyland for those who want to wear a 'coon skin cap or do the hola hoop. I cannot list everything (we have almost three things going at the same time all three days), but here's a sample.

Fran Striker Jr. and Terry Salomonson on the morning of the opening day just as people arrive.

Bill Parisho, a fan of James Bond and sixties spies, offered us rare behind-the-scenes video clips of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and thanked the United Network Command for Law and Enforcement for their permission to do the presentation. Of course, the audience got the joke. Rob Farr of Slapsticon hosted rare Buster Keaton film shorts that even the die-hard Keaton fans probably never knew existed. Don Ramlow hosted a slide show documenting the history of Astounding Science Fiction Magazine (1939-1960). Author and historian David Saunders offered a slide show presentation of his own displaying the pulp art of H.J. Ward, giving the audience to understand the complexities that went into created the oil paintings featured prominently on the cover of pulp magazines. Fran Striker Jr. sat up on stage with historian Terry Salomonson and discussed how his father created The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet. That presentation was so packed it was standing-room only. 
Movies are certainly a treat, especially when attendees were given the opportunity to see House of Wax (1953) with Vincent Price in eye-popping 3-D. Glasses were provided and the paddle ball sequence really rocked!

Marsha Hunt looks over a book given to her by a fan.
Actress Marsha Hunt, one of the celebrity guests of the weekend, attended a screening of Thunder Trail (1937) and then came on stage to talk about her scenes after the movie concluded.

Joel Blumberg, host of Silver Screen Audio, chatted with Mark Goddard (Lost in Space, Johnny Gringo) and Will Hutchins (Sugarfoot) to discover what it was like to be cowboys on television. Other celebrities took their turns throughout the weekend, scheduled, to do a Q&A on stage and answer questions audience members wanted to ask.

Don Ramlow directed two superb old-time radio dramas on stage complete with microphones, scripts and sound effects. A "lost" episode of The Mysterious Traveler and a "lost" 1934 Lone Ranger broadcast that revealed a different side of the Masked Man. (for more information about that particular Lone Ranger broadcast, click here.)

Jack French and cast in rehearsals of The Mysterious Traveler.
Leah Biel introduced For the Record, an original and highly-praised documentary about record collectors and collecting. Also screened was Alex Flaster's documentary on Moe Berg, the famed baseball player who served the U.S. Government during World War II in a capacity that surprised many baseball enthusiasts. 

The Three Stooges impersonators showed up to perform fake wallpaper skits, slam pies into people's faces (but only to those who asked to be treated to such a spectacle), and posed for photos with fans. In previous years, Abbott and Costello impersonators entertained the crowds.

Sample of what people were able to find in the Vendor room.

Sample of what people were able to find in the Vendor room.

Neal Ellis and co-hosts Chris Holm, Leah Biel and Prof. Mike Biel broadcast live from the event over Radio Once More. Some of the seminars (but not all of them) were broadcast live for the benefit of those who lived too far away to attend. Listeners called in from Hawaii, Canada and Finland.

Author Jim Rosin attended the convention, not only offering an inside look at television's The Invaders and Peyton Place, but interviewed the leading stars of those programs, Roy Thinnes and Ed Nelson. Since Rosin was instrumental in arranging for the celebrities to attend, he asked to interview them on stage and the spotlight was all his. Thinnes had never attended a convention before, and MANC marked his first autographing for fans.

Author Jim Rosin and actor Roy Thinnes at MANC 2010.
Will Hutchins (Sugarfoot) shares a laugh with his fans.

Dawn Wells (Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island) was a joy to spend the weekend with. She spoke to everyone, answered their questions, made the crowds laugh and enjoy the show, and posed for photographs. She even offered a tee shirt with a ballot box.

Mike Amowitz and Dawn Wells pose for the camera.

Dawn Wells signed autographs all three days for fans who lined up to meet her.

The Drive-In movie of the weekend was The Brain Eaters (1958), a classic science fiction film rarely seen on television and never commercially released on DVD yet. Ed Nelson, the star of the movie, was our weekend guest so it seemed only fitting that we screen the movie. Right before the picture started, viewers were treated to a pie fight put on by The Three Stooges, a vintage cartoon and a couple movie trailers.

Karen Lerner displays Radio Spirits products.
Chris Holm gets the Three Stooges treatment.
Photos, lobby cards and memorabilia for sale.
Members of the Solar Guard fan club.
Gene Carpente, comic book expert, chats with a customer.
Mark Bialek of the Drive-In Exchange takes care of customer requests.

For the crowd that came to watch the movies, the theater screened such rarities as a 1956 Bob Hope Christmas special with Mickey Mantle, the uncut preview print of Pardon Us (1931) with Laurel and Hardy, unaired TV pilots with Dale Robertson and Roy Thinnes, and Edgar Kennedy film shorts, among others. The rarely-seen Trucolor print of Springtime in the Sierras with Roy Rogers was a highlight -- a film print that will not likely appear or Turner Classic Movies on the Westerns Channel in the near future.

This year's event is sure to draw an even bigger crowd and a number of magazines have jumped in on the action. Scarlet: The Film Magazine, Monsters From the Vault and the Non-Sports Update will be offering back issues for sale as well as special subscription rates. The charity auction offers movie props seen in the original Night of the Living Dead (1968), an autographed photo with Elizabeth Taylor, dinner tickets with some of the celebrities (a rare treat when you consider the bidding includes dinner for two!), vintage comic books, and other autographed memorabilia from Hollywood celebrities. The event room and movie room have been relocated for everyone's convenience and are now twice (if not three times) the size of last year's, to ensure ease with electronic scooters and "no more standing room only."

Celebrities this year include Patty Duke, Karen Valentine, Davy Jones, Tony Dow, Billy Gray, Lauren Chapin Charles Herbert and Jimmy Hunt.

This year's convention dates are September 22 to 24, 2011. The hotel rooms are expected to sell out and the dinner banquet tickets for Saturday night might also sell out (which means dinner tickets for the first time in six years may not be available for sale at the convention). The convention web-site, for more information, photos, complete schedule of events and everything you need to know to book your room is

Friday, July 8, 2011

I Love A Mystery: The Unaired TV Pilot

Carlton E. Morse
A few years ago at the Friends of Old Time Radio Convention in Newark, New Jersey, a good friend of mine, Brendan Faulkner, told a story that intrigued me. "Back around 1970, a film club that I belonged to in New York City was screening all three of the Columbia I Love A Mystery films," he recalled, "plus the (at that time) unaired TV movie of I Love A Mystery (with Ida Lupino). One of the fellows that ran the club was Chris Steinbrunner, a noted film and mystery historian, who told me that he had tried to arrange for an I Love A Mystery pilot made by ZIV as a special treat. I forget now why this didn't happen. Until he mentioned this pilot to me, I never knew it existed." Until Brendan told this to me, I never knew this existed, either.

Unfortunately there was no way to get any more information since Chris passed away a number of years ago. If my memory serves me correctly, the details are more intriguing. If I recall accurately, Chris had acquired a copy but apologized in person to the fan club. It seems someone broke into his house and stole the only print of the 25-minute TV pilot. It was never screened and the fans spent the night watching all three Columbia pictures and the Batman-camp-style made-for-TV pilot movie with Ida Lupino.

Flash forward a couple years. Browsing the Ziv-TV archives with the assistance of John Ruklick, I mentioned the unsold pilot to John and asked him to copy whatever he finds about I Love A Mystery, provided there is something. Everything was filed away alphabetically and following I Led Three Lives was nothing. But persistence pays off because looking over everything, following the letter Z was one file all by itself. It was labeled, "I Love A Mystery." ZIV really did produce a pilot of the same name! Sadly, the shooting script was not available in the archive. And imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the proposed series was not based on the I Love A Mystery radio program, created and written by Carlton E. Morse. It was nothing more than an anthology of mystery stories.

There is a shining light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, Brendan came across an oddity on eBay and brought it to my attention. "On eBay a good while ago there was a fellow selling a letter that was from Dick Powell (representing Four Star) looking into the rights to the show," he explained. "The weird thing was that the actual reproduction of the letter was not coming up. It was a picture of something else. I emailed the seller and asked exactly what the letter entailed and explained that the reason I was asking was because a photo of a different item was coming up. He answered that he would correct the error, but he never did. He just took the listing off. I contacted him again about this letter but he never got back to me." This comes as no surprise to me. In 1961, Broadcasting magazine reported that Four Star had secured the television rights to The Adventures of Sam Spade, another popular radio mystery, and that filming has recently been completed with Peter Falk in the title role. To date, neither the Sam Spade or the I Love A Mystery pilots produced by Four Star have surfaced for collectors and fans of the program. That is, if ILAM was truly produced by Four Star.

So for all you die-hards who are curious to look over the production paperwork, the following might be of interest so I am reprinting them below (with some explanation).

Inter-office memo dated September 12, 1955
Inter-office memos like this one often reveal juicy details of what was going on behind the scenes. While pursuing the Warner Brothers television files, for example, I discovered that Ty Hardin (Bronco) was showing up at the set not knowing his lines and this was pre-empting production. It seems a number of directors had complained and the inter-office memo revealed the studio heads' various options at how to approach the actor.
Another inter-office memo between executives at NBC (East Coast and West Coast) asked that each other keep tabs on a certain radio celebrity because, as they mildly put it, "is one of the slickest operators we have." Seems when the show was making the move from one coast to another, they wanted to make sure he wasn't going to try pulling off the same stunts he already accomplished. 

A recent trip to the Library of Congress with my good friend Neal Ellis revealed an inter-office memo about Ed Wynn being reprimanded for leaving cigarette butts in the studio! This inter-office memo also reveals the official name of the company, Ziv Television Programs, Inc., evident by the letterhead. The memo was also carbon copied to William Castle, the director, so he was made aware that Sidney Blackmer's participation had to be limited to one day (which meant no retakes or staggering behind in production).

Operation Sheet
For those who are not aware, television production from the fifties and sixties did not extensively credit every person involved. Unless they were a member of a union or guild, in which their contracts stipulate on-screen credit, or they played a major part of production, the crew (regular or irregular) were not usually credited on the screen.
Operation sheets were drafted for every television production, revealing who exactly was involved with the production. The first assistant cameraman (Dave Curlin), the assistant prop man (Robert Murdock), the electricians (Charles Stockwell, Charles Hanger, Harold Kraus, Richard Brightmier and E. Newbaur), and the recorder (Ken Corson) were among the handful of people who were never credited during the closing credits.

I do want to apologize in advance for the scans. Most of the production sheets were on legal paper, not letter. My scanner is not long enough to scan them in their entirety, so I was forced to cut off the bottom inch or two of each scan.

Hence, "Operation Sheet" (with the caption below it) is missing some of the details such as gaffer (Joe Wharton), set labor (Sol Inverso) and construction chief (Dee Bolhius). It should also be noted that production sheets were not always accurate when it came to the spelling of cast and crew. So if you ever consult such sheets for your write-up, I suggest you double check the spelling of the names. Sometimes this can be very difficult when the last name is spelled two different ways in the closing credits of the same series (I've come across that before)!

The first sheet reveals, as you can see, the exact days of filming. In this case, September 15, 16 and 17, 1955. While the name of the series is I Love A Mystery, the name of the actual drama is "I Owe You." Obviously, the next episode would have had a different title (such as.... "The Case of the Queer Poison). You might have also observed the type of film they used, 35mm, which was standard in TV production.

Also note that the episode was filmed in black and white. This is a clear indication that the pilot was not filmed in color. Way too many times I have read where a program or specific episode was supposed to be in color and those ignorant of the facts, hurt themselves by not buying a commercial DVD when they believe there is a better print elsewhere. For years I had a copy of a television pilot for The Phantom, with Lon Chaney Jr. and Paulette Goddard, in black and white. Boy, was I surprised when someone turned up a 16mm print in color!

For ZIV Television, this can be confusing. All of The Cisco Kid television episodes were filmed in color. Yet, black and white prints exist in collector circles. For I Led Three Lives, which ran three seasons, only season two was filmed in color. This confuses fans who "believe" that all three seasons were shot in color.

For Science Fiction Theatre, Ziv shot the first season in color and the second season in black and white. Why? Because enough stations renewed the series for a second season, but not enough to warrant the additional expense, so Ziv agreed with producer Ivan Tors that he could have a second season if he was willing to have the series filmed in black an white. Tors agreed. So the belief that every episode of any particular series was shot solely in one format needs not apply. (Heck, remember F-Troop? The first season was shot in black and white and the second season was shot in color.)

The last Operation Sheet reveals how many extras and standins were available during filming, and exactly which day or days each actor was needed for filming. Most of us know that television episodes are never filmed in sequential order. Scene 24 can be filmed before Scene 3, to accommodate for the actors' schedules. 

Daily Production Sheets are commonly found for each and every television episode. Since the entire production was filmed in a studio and not on location, the first sheet (dated Wednesday, September 14, 1955) reveals the exterior of the roadside diner was constructed inside. The word "format" on the top right and the narrator, Paul Kelley, used for the opening voice over narration, means that production on this evening was for the title sequence, which would have been used for each and every episode of the series.

Recognizing the emerging importance of television, in 1950 Ziv signed a five-year $100,000 lease with California Studios in Hollywood to produce television programming. By 1952 Ziv Television Programs Inc. had nine series available for syndication including Sports Album and Yesterday’s Newsreel as well The Cisco Kid, Boston Blackie, The Unexpected, The Living Book, and Story Theatre

Ziv also offered a package of feature films reportedly leased from distributor Budd Rogers, and a cartoon package leased from Walter Lantz. Realizing that the company was truly in the television production business, Ziv purchased American National Studios (formerly Eagle- Lion Pathé Studio) on Santa Monica Boulevard in late December 1954 for a reported $1.7 million. I mention this because you'll notice that American National Studio was listed on the Daily Production Sheet.

Howard Duff and Maria Riva carried most of the scenes on I Love A Mystery, as evident not only because they were among the cast for all three days of production, but the only actors required for the first day of filming.

Notice how the studio kept track of when the actors appeared for hair and makeup, how long their lunch breaks are, and number of film produced including "negative waste."

Keeping tabs of how much film was put into the can, by the day, was very important. This let the studio know if they were falling behind or ahead on schedule. 

On the final Daily Production Sheet, you'll notice the notation that the camera crew was dismissed at 6 p.m., but sound continued until 6:15. That means one of the actors, Dennis King Jr. (as you can see on the "Time In Studio") was providing his voice for an audio recording to be played on the program (the voice on the other end of the telephone).

Such notations are not uncommon and often reveal who tore their pants on the set, when a battery backup went dead while filming on location, and other factors that explained why a brief delay in production.

Ziv dominated the field. Of the six distributor categories in Billboard’s fourth annual TV film service awards, ZIV-TV won first place in four and was second in one. As far as the poll was concerned, ZIV-TV in 1955 (the same year this pilot was made) maintained its leadership in TV film syndication. The company’s status in the Billboard polls remained constant through most of the 1950s in the same manner.

No one knows why I Love A Mystery never sold. Historians only speculate that the title of the program might have been a conflict with the Carlton E. Morse program, but that is only speculation. “Most of our shows were not offered to the network,” Ziv recalled to interviewer Irv Broughton. “A program like Sea Hunt, for example, was turned down by the network. We showed it to each of the networks, showed them the pilot. They liked the pilot, but they figured—and each one seemed to be of the same opinion—‘Well, what do you do the second week and what do you do the third week—you’ve done it all the first week.’ Well, of course, they were wrong; we produced it year after year.”

The Cast Sheet reveals which actors played what fictitious roles, the name of the actors' agents, and phone numbers for both actors and agents. The Breakdown sheets reveal which scenes in the script were filmed (in which order), and props used on the set. 

While most major film studios operated five days a week, ZIV Television worked six days a week excluding Sundays—unusual for television production during the fifties. “Filmmaking was fun, but it was also hard to be a Latter-day Saint and work in the picture business during Hollywood’s heyday,” recalled director Henry Kesler. “The system itself worked to make it difficult to observe church teachings.”

“The folks at ZIV were more concerned with budget than our creative talents,” recalled director Leon Benson for a trade column in the early seventies. “I often felt the pressures when something went wrong. They passed around an internal memo one afternoon reminding those of us underpaid that each television production was to be completed within two shooting days. The next day a power outage put us a full hour behind schedule one morning and I was sweating every minute we waited for the power to return to the set.”

Howard Duff, by the way, had worked with Ziv Television before. In March of 1955, six months prior to filming this pilot, Duff made a guest appearance for Science Fiction Theatre. The episode was titled "Sound of Murder." During a top-secret conclave of scientists in Washington, one of the group, Dr. Kerwin, receives a phone message from his superior, Dr. Tom Mathews (Duff), to meet him in a certain hotel room. 

Kerwin is later discovered murdered, and key papers concerning a top-secret project are missing. Mathews is arrested both because of the phone call and more importantly because he had disappeared for six hours that evening, deliberately losing an FBI agent assigned to guard him. Tom’s only explanation is that he went for a walk. But the ensuing Justice Department investigation turns up a number of phone calls which Mathews allegedly made to the other scientists on the project, in each case requesting secret information. Mathews is indicted, regardless of how much he claims innocence. His case seems hopeless, until Mathews and a scientist friend mathematically figures out how the phone calls were made, and how not only his voice was duplicated, but also his knowledge of the workings of the project, through the use of an intricate instrument called a “Sound Synthesizer,” used to replicate another man’s voice and calculates an answer to a question by the recipient. By this means they trap the real murderer and traitor.


What you will find below the Breakdown Sheets are the Standard Contracts for each and every actor who appeared in the pilot. Like the Operation Sheets and the Daily Production Reports, I did not scan the very bottom of each contract, because the actors' social security numbers were listed and for obvious reasons, I do not feel that providing such social security numbers would be appropriate.

In closing, while I found a copy of the unaired I Love A Mystery pilot, it is in the original 35mm format and I have no means of having it transferred to DVD. There is (as described above) proof that there is at least one 16mm master available in collector hands. If anyone comes across this pilot, even in 16mm format, please contact me privately so we can work out a deal. Like many fans of Howard Duff and I Love A Mystery, I would personally like to watch this film.