Old-time radio fans will no doubt recognize those words of tribute as the introduction to The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe—an underrated radio detective series that utilized truly inspired casting by assigning the role of mystery author Rex Stout’s fastidious gourmet and orchid fancier to the great character actor Sydney Greenstreet. (By Gadfrey, sir!) Twenty episodes from the series’ short-lived 1950-51 run are now being offered at Radio Archives in celebration of FGRA’s tenth anniversary—and I must confess that I had a ball writing the liner notes for this project because of my love for both the detective and the actor. (You simply haven’t lived until you’ve heard my and Elisson’s rendition of What a Wonderful World, sung in a Greenstreet-like manner. On second thought…maybe you have.) This 10-CD set would be the perfect gift for a mystery fan; Stout himself thought Greenstreet a perfect fit for the role (though he wasn't too fond of the show's writing).
Radio Archives is also releasing a new title in their popular pulp fiction reprints: The Whisperer, published by Street & Smith in the mid 1930s and created by journalist
On a personal note, I just want to mention that I am truly ga-ga over the new packaging being offered by the Archives for their CD collections…if you’ll allow me to shift into old fogey mode for just a few seconds, I remember when their sets came in simple white CD envelopes secured with a rubber band—and we were damn lucky to have them! (Okay, back away from the abyss.) Radio Archives’ latest newsletter touts some of their musically-oriented selections—particularly this first-rate set (that’s it on the left) of The Kraft Music Hall with Al Jolson, a copy of which I own here at Rancho Yesteryear and because I didn’t write the liner notes can vouch that it is truly a set you’ll want to add to your OTR collection. Five CDs containing ten half-hour broadcasts starring Jolie and sidekick Oscar Levant, the guest list includes Ed “Archie the Manager” Gardner, Edward G. Robinson, Judy Garland, Dennis Day, Groucho Marx and Roy Rogers & Dale Evans. At $14.95 for the set, it’s awfully hard to beat.