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Whitehall1212 – Peter Williams Case. 520203

Posted by Keith on June 27, 2014

In what appears to be a flawless murder, with no identifying marks left on a body, and no fingerprints or other evidence left to point to the killer, Invistigators are baffled. Only the most vague of descriptions of the dead woman can be given on the circulars posted all over the city. With clues and leads dried up, the anonymous woman is buried, and the unsolved case closed.

On Boxing Day, the day after Christmas, the chief investigator on the case encounters a little girl on the street. The tyke is crying about her mom who never came home for Christmas. In comforting her, he notices that the girl is a smaller image of the mysterious dead woman. In taking her home, the cops now have some names and places to go on, but will it only lead to more dead ends? Peter Williams and his daughter Iris are staying with his mother in law, and there’s a regular stream of letters from the missing wife.

Call it a hunch, but the cops feel there’s there’s something not quite right about the details in the story. Investigation turns up that there’s no hair dressers in the town where the letters are postmarked from who have hired anyone with the name of Jessie Williams. Checks on arrest records turn up key indications that Peter could be forging Jessie’s unique style of handwriting. Is that enough for a judge to decide a case on? Dramatic voiceover tells the epilog to the story, and the fate f the killer who was put on trial.

Black Museum – A Shilling. ep40, 1952

Posted by Keith on June 20, 2014

Scotland Yard’s museum of murder is filled with commonplace items, all linked with death. Orson Wells shares how a shilling coin played a part in murder. A murder has taken place right under the noses of police inspectors, and the pressure is on to catch the killer.

Witnesses are questioned. Who can be placed at the scene of the crime? Will a timeline for the murder emerge? What motive might there be there for murder? Inspectors are fairly certain of who it is, but hard evidence will be needed to hold up in court.

Gamblers, an ex-convict, and conflicting stories. A shilling that was flattened on a railroad track becomes pivotal in connecting the dots. To clear up the lies, the suspect is let go, in hopes a solid clue will appear as the inspectors follow their man.

Orson shares an epilog of what became of the key players in this mystery.

Dragnet – The Big Boys. ep40, 500316

Posted by Keith on June 15, 2014

On Robbery Detail, Joe Friday finds himself on the trail of a reckless band of hoodlums. The Chief is Thad Brown. Joe’s partner is Ben Romero, and the office talk about families, and kids occupy the time before the first call breaks up their slow day.

Army desserters, and escaped convicts make up the out of town gang. Clues from a pair of Mexican girls send Joe and Ben to a hotel to question the caretaker. Will other hotel keepers be able to offer more clues? What about leads on other stolen cars?

The small time, petty armed robbers are located, and now it’s up to Joe Friday to lay low and watch their moves. Will there be gunplay? Will there be something to tip off the bandits? Or will the apprehension go off as planned? The young guns are put under wraps, and Joe even takes time to feed a puppy.

Retro OTR Diary 007 dragnet – the Werewolf 490617

Posted by Keith on May 28, 2014

Chief ed backstrand is back with his booming voice, and presence on the scene along with his cops. The concept of a werewolf is odd enough, but the added reverb when the cops get the description is just not called for. Are they serious? is this a real werewolf? It seems to be. This is just another example of how chief backstrand is the type to get out of the office. He’s on the street with Joe friday, and ready to roll.

Police women became a popular thing in TV shows of the 70′s with Angela Dickonson as the Police Woman. Of course, women were in the police force for a lot longer than that. Though their jobs were usually characterized by being meter maids, working behind a desk, or prison matrons, they sometimes did take to the streets. Sometimes women put themselves in danger to go under cover, as we see portrayed in today’s show. There’s a now forgotten TV show of the 50′s called the decoy. It pretty much told the story of a police woman whose job it was to do just this, go under cover, and be used in sting operations.

Back to the werewolf.

In the midst of the drama, we find a touch of the mundane life in setting a dragnet. Endless repetition, and just the thing jack webb aimed at doing. Not to be treated like a hokey horror movie character, or just a dramatic gimmick, the werewolf is also a smart criminal that gets under the skin of the police force. With a little of that classic dragnet music to set the tone, friday is sure they’re closing in. Murder enters the picture to escalate the importance of stopping the werewolf, and the frustrated chief blows up on Friday.

The drama comes to a head, sure enough, the crime breaks in dramatic, gun shooting, siren blaring fashion. There’s lots of suspenseful drama to hold you to the edge of your seat. However, after all that adrenalin rush, jack webb tosses in a bit of ironic anti climax.

Here’s a point of trivia. Having an appearance of a werewolf is a well documented medical condition, having facial hair that extends to the skin where usually no hair will grow. It seems to be only found in people of Mexican descent. I’ll bet the real name of the criminal was something that was distinctly hispanic, not Walter Barton.

Note: To listen to the complete episode, visit Dragnet – The Werewolf. 490617.

21st Precinct – The Dollar. ep44, 540512 (retro461)

Posted by Keith on May 19, 2014

The patrol officers are on the scene, and Captain Canelli handles the investigation where a body is found. Acting as an interpreter, the Captain learns the details from the distraught Spanish speaking woman.

Bernardo had been drinking, and stabbed his wife with a switchblade. The woman had been accused by him of running around with other men. The distraught eye witness is the dead woman’s mother, but she had been too afraid to do anything, fearing she might also be stabed by the irrational Bernardo.

It’s off to track down Bernardo at his last known whereabouts. Canelli and his patrolmen face a shoot out as the drunken Bernardo has barricaded himself in a local bar and grill. More bodies will fall before the night is over as sirens blare through the streets. Join in with the suspenseful action as the cops position themselves to take Bernardo by force. Will Canelli be able to calm the desperate man, and walk away with a peaceful ending?

Bonus Track:
Dick Haymes – Blue Skies, 1950

Plus, Keith asks for feedback from you, the listener, to help with future content. Your input will help o make this an even better podcast.


Retro OTRDiary ep004 Dragnet – Homacide, red headed gunman 49-06-10

Posted by Keith on May 16, 2014

Looking at the first season of dragnet, and the wierdness that characterized it, this pilot episode isn’t too far off from those in later seasons. One notable difference is chief ed backstrand. His deep and emotional voice may make for a good drama, but it’s a little over the top for the mundane police procedure show that Jack Webb envisioned.

The season opened to the hard hitting crime of a cop being killed. The interview with the surviving cop is a little on the dramatic side, but how does joe friday respond? He seems less concerned for the cop than the lack of interest of the onlookers, until we hear him in voice over.

One technique that still is used in police dramas today is to super impose the event of the crime, into the eye witness account of what happened. It’s a little on the dramatic side, and a little out of character with the show as it would eventually become. However, it’s a good technique in using the victim oor witness to provide voiceover for what they saw.

It’s not all dramatics. A scene of discussing the murder weapon might be from another and later episode, other the addition of that deep, emotional voice of the chief. Don’t you just love that command voice? The chief commands, and expectes his men to jump. And the feet of our two detectives dutifully step over to watch him draw out his plans for canvassing the area.

There can be drama in the interrogation room in later episodes. More often the bad guy stays level headed, right up to the end, then makes some deadpan comment about the near miss with getting away with it. Only to have Friday toss back his own dead pan remark to take any sympathy from the criminal, and put it back on the side of justice.

Something to note in this first episode is that it was Friday who gave the final report on the sentencing of the criminals, rather than the announcer. Also, though this is numbered episode 2, it’s actually the first show. The pilot was the same show, and apparently given the designation as the first episode. Finally, the musical score isn’t quite the same as what we know as the theme to dragnet. Don’t worry, that shows up next episode, and the story gets weirder.

Dragnet – The Big Thank You. 500309

Posted by Keith on March 21, 2014

A woman convict is on the loose and it’s up to Joe Friday to catch up to her. Partner, Ben Romero joins the chase of the parole jumping dame. Clues take the cops to a bleak neighborhood, and a lonely but helpful lady.

Has the elderly couple, the Muller’s disappeared to the rest homes as claimed, or might something more sinister be afoot?

Annie has seemed to have won the hearts of the Mullers, their neighbors, and even relatives. Questioning Annie Johnson in person, Joe and Bengive her some slack, and the lies she told are enough rope to hang herself.

Doing more snooping around the property, evidence is turned up that offers a motive, but will it be too late for the Mullers to be rescued? There’s still no sign of victims, or hard evidence that can seal the case on Annie. Blood stains, fresh cement in the basement, and the truth is about to come out to haunt Annie.

True Detective Mystery – Rattlesnake and the Barefoot Bride. ep1, 370308.

Posted by Keith on March 7, 2014

Stories as appearing in True Detective Mystery Magazine. A man and his wife stop their car to talk with a neighboring man, Bob. He invites them over to meet his bride, Mary. At home though, the place seems to be empty. Maybe Mary is busy with her chores, or elsewhere on the farm? As they wait, her body is discovered, floating in the lily pond.

The sheriff and police learn that Mary was prone to dizzy spells, but is there more to it than that? Marks on her swollen leg point the investigators on another probable cause of death. Is the snake bite just another coincidence of bad luck to befall the young woman, or does it play into a plan of murder? The cops dig up more disturbing facts. A double indemnity insurance policy, a husband who was on his fifth wife. Still, it takes more than suspicions and circumstantial evidence. The cops are able to stake out their criminal with the latest in high tech devices, a listening device that helps gain key evidence to put the case together, and secrets are learned.

A complex and wide ranging murder scheme comes to light. The actors dramatize the traumatic events of Mary’s last moments of life. All the bad guys are rounded up as the dramatic confession unfolds, and justice is dealt harshly. Even California had the death penalty in the 1930′s, and it gets excersized for today’s featured crime. .

21st Precinct – The Cabinet. 540505

Posted by Keith on February 21, 2014

Audio resolution is a little low, but OK. Captain Frank Canelli listens to a report of a robbed licqor store, and a gun that belongs to one of his patrolmen. Two boys were positively identified as they shot the clerk while robbing the store, and the ditched gun belongs to a cop, but how did the juveniles get it?

The kid is one whose dad was killed in the war, and a step son of Sgt Waters. Will the pistol still be locked safely away in the cop’s gun cabinet when Captain Canelli goes with him to investigate? What do you think?

Now it remains to learn where the kid is hiding out. How’s mom going to take the news about the robbery? Dad’s temper flares at the betrayal of his stepson, and lack of supervision by mom. She’s too numb to notice, and in denial over why her boy could’ve done such a thing.

Eddie comes to the police station, innocently and politely enough, to look for his dad. Canelli handles it smoothly as he holds the boy for questioning. Is his nervousness under pressure real concern, or a crumbling mask? Will his alibi hold up with the timeline of the crime and known facts? Is his memory and answers to all the questions a little too convenient?

Dragnet – The Big Smoke. 560221.

Posted by Keith on

Working the homacide detail, a report of the death of a 72 year old man comes in. Joe Friday and partner, Frank Smith go to investigate the suspicious details surrounding the man’s death. They talk to the man’s neighbor, who is upset over the lack of police protection. She tells about two men who came and beat up old Mr Stone.

Mrs Stone confirms the story, and offers motive for the robbery and murder. In the mess that was made of the house, clues are found, and Friday offers voiceover to tell how he pursued this case. The trail leads back to the nosy neighbor, who knows probably more than she ought to, but a domestic dispute with the family’s grown son, Herman is examined.

Through more voiceover, Joe Friday shares some trouble in the case, and has to take it in a new direction. Somebody has been lying in the stories told thus far, but who can it be? Join Joe as he sifts through the facts to get to the truths in the matter. A break in the case comes in, and the bad guys are nabbed.