Down These Mean Streets

An Old Time Radio Detective Podcast

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Happy Birthday, Brett Halliday

Brett Halliday, aka Davis Dresser, was born July 31, 1904. Halliday is best known as the creator of “reckless, red-headed Irishman” Michael Shayne and for writing 50 novels starring the detective. Shayne’s adventures were adapted for radio (in series starring Wally Maher and Jeff Chandler, among others); in a television series starring Richard Denning; and films starring Lloyd Nolan and Hugh Beaumont. Most recently, the 2005 film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was loosely based on one of Halliday’s Michael Shayne novels. Halliday also served as master of ceremonies on the radio mystery anthology program Murder by Experts.

We’ve featured Michael Shayne on the podcast in one of his hard-boiled adventures starring Jeff Chandler (click here for that episode). In honor of Halliday’s birthday, I’ll post more Michael Shayne mysteries today.

For more tough private eyes from the Golden Age of Radio, click here to subscribe to the “Down These Mean Streets” podcast in iTunes and hear a new episode featuring another radio detective every Sunday!

Filed under Brett Halliday Birthdays Michael Shayne Old Time Radio OTR Golden Age of Radio

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In 1994, The Shadow came to the big screen with Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston and Penelope Ann Miller as Margot Lane. Though the film didn’t launch a franchise, it remained true to the spirit of the character’s pulp and radio origins. Its recent re-release on Blu-Ray makes it a perfect time to discover (or rediscover) this rare big budget adaptation of an old time radio crime fighter.

Filed under The Shadow Alec Baldwin Penelope Ann Miller Old Time Radio Anniversary OTR Golden Age of Radio

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Radio Anniversary - The Shadow


Today in 1930, The Shadow made his radio debut. One of the signature series and characters of the Golden Age of Radio, the Shadow has continued to thrill fans in stories, comic books, TV shows, and movies since his first appearance decades ago.

The Shadow was Lamont Cranston, “wealthy young man about town,” who had mastered the hypnotic power to “cloud mens’ minds.” As the invisible Shadow, Cranston waged a one-man war against crime and served as an inspiration for generations of mysterious vigilantes to follow (not the least of which was Batman, whose earliest comic book adventures were adapted from the Shadow’s own pulp novels).

The Shadow’s first radio appearances came as the host and announcer of Detective Story Hour. The popularity of the program’s mysterious master of ceremonies inspired Street & Smith to launch a line of pulp novels fleshing out the character and casting him as an invisible avenger of justice.

In 1937, the character came to radio in his own series as a radio detective starring a young Orson Welles as the Shadow. Though Welles left the series after the first season, The Shadow continued to fight crime on the air until 1954, with several actors including Bill Johnstone donning his hat and cloak.

Filed under The Shadow Anniversary Old Time Radio OTR Golden Age of Radio

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New Episode on Sunday - The Lives of Harry Lime


Orson Welles reprises his Third Man screen role in the prequel radio series The Lives of Harry Lime. His big screen villainy is toned down, and the Harry Lime of radio is a roguish anti-hero, out to make a buck and stay ahead of the world’s more unsavory criminals. Welles headlined this syndicated radio series which also carried over Anton Karas’ memorable zither music from the film. In the next episode of “Down These Mean Streets,” we’ll hear Orson Welles in the episode “Ticket to Tangier.” The con is on in Episode 69 - Twist of Lime, available Sunday, August 3rd!

Click here to subscribe to the “Down These Mean Streets” podcast in iTunes.

And, in case you missed it, click here for last week’s episode featuring Philip Marlowe.

Filed under Orson Welles Lives of Harry Lime Third Man Old Time Radio OTR Golden Age of Radio Podcast New Episodes