Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Historic find

Jack French, editor of Radio Recall—the official newsletter of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club (M.W.O.T.R.C.)—reports on The Old Time Radio Digest that a professor from Lyon College, Arkansas has recently turned up a five-minute fragment of The Affairs of Peter Salem.

Salem was a popular detective series broadcast over Mutual Radio from May 7. 1949 to April 18, 1953 and starred radio veteran Santos Ortega as a small-town sleuth who relied on wits and brainpower to defeat big-city lawmakers. (Jack Grimes co-starred as his faithful sidekick, Marty.) Until this discovery, no episode of the series was known to exist, and the find should come as good news to the surviving family members of the show's writer, Louis Vittes. Vittes, who also wrote scripts for such celebrated series as The Saint, The Adventures of the Thin Man and Mr. and Mrs. North, passed away in 1969 and a tragic flood that occurred years later destroyed what radio scripts he had previously kept and saved. His son has recently embarked on a project to obtain audio copies of the shows his father penned scripts for, and The Affairs of Peter Salem was the only show he was missing.

Jim Widner, webmaster of Radio Days, has announced that he will put the clip on his website within a few weeks so that OTR fans may be able to enjoy this truly amazing find. I'd also like to take a brief sec to alert you to the addition of the Thrilling Detective website to our links (it's actually a link to the OTR portion of the site, which is much larger and encompassing in its scope); I can't believe I overlooked this when I got the weblog up and running. Jack French contributes a lot of info to Thrilling Detective, as well as Stewart Wright, who, the last time I chatted with him, is currently preparing an article on Gunsmoke for the SPERDVAC Radiogram that I am just itching to read.

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