The origins of Jack “Flashgun” Casey can be traced to the 1930s detective pulp magazine "Black Mask"; the hard-boiled photojournalist was introduced in the March 1934 issue by former newspaperman/ad exec George Harmon Coxe. Coxe discussed the inspiration for Casey in a 1978 interview:
I had read and enjoyed the fiction exploits of reporters from time to time, but I also knew that it was the photographer accompanying such newsmen who frequently had to stick their neck out to get an acceptable picture. This is turn meant that while the reporter with his pad and pencil could describe a warehouse or dockside fire from a safe distance, the guy with the camera had to edge far closer to get a negative that would merit reproduction. So why not give the cameraman his due? If the reporter could be a glamorous figure in fiction, why not the guy up front who took - and still does take - the pictures?
So radio audiences received a formal introduction to Coxe’s creation over CBS Radio beginning July 7, 1943. The series was originally titled "Flashgun Casey," but during its run it was also referred to as "Casey, Press Photographer," "Crime Photographer." and "Casey, Crime Photographer". Casey snapped photos for the fictitious Morning Express, and often found himself cast in the role of amateur sleuth by getting involved in the stories he covered. Many of the plots had him stumbling across a clue in a photo he had taken (something the police had overlooked), and with the help of fellow reporter and romantic interest Annie Williams, they would inevitably bring the culprit(s) to justice.
What set "Casey, Crime Photographer" apart from its radio crime drama competition was its laid-back atmosphere, chiefly personified in its backdrop of Casey and Annie’s favorite dive, The Blue Note Café. There, in between assignments, they would engage in badinage with their philosophically sardonic bartender pal Ethelbert, often to the melodious accompaniment of the Blue Note’s background piano.
Matt Crowley was the first actor to tackle the role of Casey; replaced by Jim Backus and finally taken over by Staats Cotsworth, a radio veteran who also portrayed the title fourth-estate hero of NBC’s daytime serial "Front Page Farrell". The part of Annie was essayed by many different actresses: Jone Allison, Alice Reinhart, Lesley Woods, Betty Furness, and Jan Miner were all heard at various times as the photographer’s main squeeze. Ethelbert was faithfully played by John Gibson throughout the entire run, and Captain Bill Logan - Casey and Annie’s contact on the police force - was portrayed by Jackson Beck and, later, Bernard Lenrow. The Blue Note’s pianist was played by Herman Chittison for most of Casey’s run, but Juan Hernandez and Teddy Wilson (formerly with the Benny Goodman Trio) were also on hand to tickle the ivories from time to time.
For most of the series' run, "Casey, Crime Photographer" was sustained by CBS, except for brief periods of sponsorship by Anchor Hocking Glass (1946-48), Toni Home Permanents (1948-49), and Philip Morris Cigarettes (1949-50). The show’s association with Anchor Hocking is particularly noteworthy in that most of this series’ extant episodes were obtained from transcriptions saved by the glass company.
D-Day, the invasion of Normandy. It was the turning point of the war in Europe, the beginning of the end for the Axis as the Allies started their drive towards Germany. It was a momentous event that would change not only the course of World War II, but the history of the world. Radio Archives is pleased and proud to offer the complete and continuous NBC network coverage of the events of June 6 and 7, 1944.
Noted inspirational author Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, King Haakon VII of Norway, Premier Gerbandy of the Netherlands, Premier Pierlot of Belgium, and US Senators Clark, Barkley, White, Hill and Congresswoman Clare Boothe Luce speak, as does the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. General Eisenhower speaks from SHAEF headquarters.
These are recordings that many historians believe to be among the most valuable audio documents ever preserved. The NBC broadcasts — containing over 38 hours of continuous programming of news, music, drama, comedy, and entertainment — are history as it happened, in a special collection that is sure to occupy a special place in your radio collection. 38 hours. Normally priced at $113.98 Audio CDs / $56.99 Download, D-Day is Specially priced through the month of June at only $99.98 Audio CDs / $49.99 Download.
But perhaps the most interesting facet of "The Great Gildersleeve" was the fact that the titled character was in possession of old-time radio’s most active libido, or as authors Charles Stumpf and Ben Ohmart put it, "was involved in more matters of the heart than a cardiologist.” Throckmorton P. was Summerfield’s most notorious bachelor on the prowl, and as a ladies’ man had a bevy of quail…er… girlfriends. The best remembered was the syrupy Southern belle Leila Ransom (played by Shirley Mitchell), who always threw in a few extra syllables when calling him "Thrawk-maaahhhtin”, and who also managed to get Gildy to the altar (in a broadcast dated June 27, 1943) before a fluke of luck saved him from being manacled to the coquettish flirt till death do them part. Other girlfriends included schoolteacher Eve Goodwin (Bea Benaderet), who was romanced and proposed to by Gildy during his mayoral campaign, Leila’s cousin Adeline Devereaux (Una Merkel) and Nurse Kathryn Milford (Cathy Lewis).
"The Great Gildersleeve" remains a favorite for old-time radio enthusiasts even today, as its fine writing, engaging characters and brilliant blend of comedy and drama sets a high watermark for classic situation comedy. You’ll be certain to enjoy the twenty original broadcasts offered in this collection, transferred directly from original 16” NBC Orthacoustic master recordings and presented exactly as broadcast, complete with commercials for Kraft Foods. 10 hours. Regular Price $29.98 - Specially priced until July 4 for $14.99 Audio CDs / $7.49 Download.
Stephen Breen writes: