Subscribe to get all the episodes RSS Feed

Blair of the Mounties – The Return Of Inspector Blair. ep26, 380725.

Posted by Keith on July 25, 2014

Marshall Blair has just been promoted to Inspector, so let’s join him in his office as he tells about his first case. A murder on a train has him puzzled. It is made to look like a suicide, but the family is pressing to investigate closer. It would be a classic mystery novel crime with the murder taking place in a sealed room, with no way in or out, and alibis all around for the players. The audio gets a little broken up mid way through.

Blair scrutinizes the physical clues and evidence, and the forensics man thinks Blair is a little too old fashioned to appreciate today’s modern 1938 technology. Blair uses his old fashioned ways to fill in a gap or two that the scientific methods can’t explain. Piecing together the new evidence, that was previously overlooked, Blair figures out a motive, and a timeframe that implicates a suspect.

PS: I don’t think it’s so much a battle of old fashoned ways, and the weakness of the forensics. Whoever did the original investigation of the crime scene clearly didn’t gather all the clues, or evidence to be analyzed. It boils down to a matter of having an experienced crime scene investigator, which Blair certainly is.

Retro OTRDiary 12 Dragnet – Homicide ep4, 490624

Posted by Keith on July 21, 2014

Joe Friday is bombarded by matchmaking co-workers, Fred Lindsay and Ben Romero. His voiceover transitions to business. On the homacide scene the victim is Lindsay from auto theft division. The barkeeper tells all he knows in a flashback drama. A bartender does the same, a flashback from his perspective. We learn how the cop at the bar makes his move to make a stand. Voiceover interspersed with action tells the story.

The always dramatic, Chief Backstrand wants the 2 bit punks to not see another sunrise. Meanwhile, Joe has to tell Lindsay’s wife the bad news. Back at homacide, Ed Backstrand has the plan all mapped out, and revieews details in the war room. The chief has his Heavily armed men, going in after these punks, and with not much time until sunset.

Loaded for bear, Joe gives details of the paramilitary operation. Cops are all chomping at the bit to get the cop killers. With the chief leading the way, they evacuate the building. The signal is given that it’s all clear in the building, and even the whole block. It’s Backstrands show from here on.

Action explodes in one of the most dramatic shootouts in Dragnet history. Tommy guns, tear gas, and crooks who fight to the last man before being taken alive.. Did their standoff manage to see another sunrise, as Backstrand wanted? Listen in to get the final word from Joe Friday and Ben Romero.

21st Precinct – Case Of The Young Incorrigible. 530714.

Posted by Keith on July 14, 2014

A call comes in that an escaped mental patient is loose on the streets. A woman reports to the desk sergeant about her juvenile delinquent son. She is trying to locate her 17 year old son who was picked up for robbery. She is so beaten down over the way her son behaves, but he apparently has a reputation as being a mean, tough type with the cops who are holding him. Sounds like mom is an enabler who doesn’t want to think her sweet, little baby can be a criminal.

Captain Canelli arranges for the usual petty office chores. Car maintenance, new rookies checking in, and the like. The captain sahres in voiceover, some background in criminal investigation procedures.

Various calls are filtered through the front desk as the investigation resorts to using a lineup to identify the suspect in a robbery. The 17 year old robbery suspect sees his chance, and makes a break for the door. Does mom know where he is? Will she turn him in if she does? Mom has been soft on him long enough, is it time she toughen up?

There seems to be closure on this case, but the calls never stop coming in.

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.