Monday, January 5, 2004

Raiders of the Lost Aircheck

Jack French mentions on the Old-Time Radio Digest that a new scenario--similar to the discovery of the missing The Affairs of Peter Salem excerpt last year--has cropped up, involving a recently found snippet of another long-lost OTR crime drama.

According to Jack, a friend of his named Dick Bertel hosted a program on WTIC in Hartford, CT called "The Golden Age of Radio." In March 1972, Bertel interviewed radio actress Shirley Eggleston, who brought with her about half-a-dozen airchecks of programs in which she had a prominent part. They included an episode from a 1945-47 Mutual Radio series called I Was a Convict (only one half-hour episode, "Mr. R," is known to exist) and an episode from a 1952-53 ABC show entitled A Crime Letter From Dan Dodge.

Jim Cox describes Dan Dodge in Radio Crime Fighters as similar in format to The Adventures of Sam Spade, in which detective Dodge (Myron McCormick) would dictate the details of his case in a letter to his secretary, played by Eggleston. The show premiered over ABC on October 31, 1952 and was a Friday night 8:00pm staple (sponsored by Toni Home Permanent) until February 27, 1953. There are no episodes of this series known to have survived.

Anyway, on Bertel's show, he played excerpts from those shows and recently Jack received a copy of the broadcast which runs about 55 minutes. Jack contacted Eggleston recently and asked if she still had the airchecks; she sadly reported to him that she lent the discs to a man from Massachusetts who had planned to dub them and put them into circulation. She never heard from him again and she lost his contact information during a residence change a few years ago.

So Jack has stepped into the role of Inspector Gerard and is trying to locate the Mysterious Massachusetts Man--if anyone should know of his identity, please contact Jack French or Jay Hickerson. In the meantime, Jack does have the opening three minutes of the Crime Letter From Dan Dodge episode and has sent it to Jim Widner, who will no doubt do that voodoo that he do so well and put it on his website as he did The Affairs of Peter Salem. I will keep you posted on this when I get further details.

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