Friday, May 1, 2009

The Darling (Ear)Buds of May

It’s the first of the month—like I really need to tell you that (we have a calendar, schmuck!)—and with the inaugural day of each new one I’m pleased to announce that First Generation Radio Archives (“Preserving Radio’s Past For the Future”) is rolling out three new Radio Legends collections and five new Premier Collections. Cowabunga, huh, kids? The best thing is, of course, that there’s a little something for everyone to enjoy…

On the Legends side, FGRA has a second volume of Suspense programs with which to start off—twenty half-hour broadcasts originally heard in 1943 and 1944 with guest stars that include the likes of Robert Young, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Lillian Gish, Gene Kelly and Vincent Price…and classic tales well-calculated to keep you in Suspense: “The Most Dangerous Game,” “Dime a Dance” and “Sorry, Wrong Number” being just a few samples. There’s also a brand new collection—Volume 3—of Nightbeat, one of old-time radio’s most underrated series starring Frank Lovejoy as Randy Stone, newspaper columnist for The Chicago Star. Finally, the Archives roll out a fifth volume featuring “the man with the action-packed expense account”: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar—which showcases Bob Bailey in ten five-chapter quarter-hour serialized adventures originally broadcast in 1956.

Turning to the subject of Premier Collections, the first set is a real humdinger: twenty half-hour broadcasts of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which features famed movie Falcon Tom Conway (who replaced the departing Basil Rathbone) as the titular sleuth, joined by his faithful sidekick Dr. John Watson, portrayed here by character actor Nigel Bruce. Taken from the original reference recordings and beautifully restored for outstanding audio quality (as if you expected anything less from FGRA), this set is sure to delight and entertain Holmes & Watson fans for hours on end.

Premier Collection Numero Dos is a cornucopia of popular favorites and relative rarities—all chosen, naturally, for their top-notch entertainment value. You’ll settle back with eight rare broadcasts of Under Arrest, a police procedural drama broadcast on Mutual Radio from 1946 to 1954; a quartet of dramas featuring The Green Hornet (or HAR-net, if you’re into the whole Mike Axelrod thing); two broadcasts each of The Big Story and Grand Central Station; and six entertaining half-hours of Phyl Coe Mysteries…featuring radio’s first female detective.

As for the third, fourth and fifth Premier Collections—well, FGRA is giving you the opportunity to enjoy up to thirty hours (sixty broadcasts in toto, twenty per set) of Boston Blackie—the famed crime-fighting sleuth who was an “enemy to those who make him an enemy…friend to those who have no friend!” The first two broadcasts in Volume 2 are culled from the 1944 NBC summer series (which replaced Amos ‘n’ Andy) and the rest are from the highly successful Ziv syndication run.

As always—order anything from the voluminous First Generation catalog this month and you’ll receive absolutely gratis a no-strings-attached copy of the adventures of pulp heroes The Shadow or Doc Savage. I know the offerings this month are mighty tempting, so I’ll depart in radiant contentment while you decide what you’re going to order first.

1 comment:

Paul Murphy said...

All of these sets sound great, except that three sets more of Boston Blackie seems like abuse towards the loyal customers. I bought the first set and between the ridiculous plots, the moronic sidekick and Kollmar's constant flubs, it makes my OTR turkeys list along with Philo Vance, Frontier Town, and Luke Slaughter. Looking at the talent involved, I have no idea why Slaughter is so bad. Do you know anything about that show? What are your favorites of Bad Radio?