Announcer Don Wilson was born September 1, 1900. Wilson is best remembered as the announcer for The Jack Benny Program on radio and television, where he frequently joined the cast in skits and jokes. His portly frame was frequently the subject of jokes, as were his attempts to get the Sportsmen Quartet to perform the week’s commercial (usually to Jack’s dismay). Wilson worked alongside Benny on radio and TV from 1934 and 1965.
Marty Bryant races against time to save a client from the death house in this episode of Defense Attorney.
On August 31, 1951, Defense Attorney premiered on ABC. The series starred Academy Award winner Mercedes McCambridge as Martha Ellis “Marty” Bryant, a crusading counselor-at-law who fought tirelessly for her clients in and out of the courtroom. Aided by her boyfriend and newspaper reporter Jud Barnes, Marty vigorously defended the rights of her clients and played detective to get to the truth.
We’ve twice heard Marty Bryant on the podcast (click here for Episode 26 and click here for Episode 48, featuring an hour of the program). I’ll post another courtroom drama today in honor of her anniversary.
And for more crime and crime-solvers from the Golden Age of Radio, click here to subscribe to the “Down These Mean Streets” podcast in iTunes.
On August 31, 1941, Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve bid adieu to Wistful Vista and moved to Summerfield in one of the first-ever spin-off programs. The Great Gildersleeve took Fibber McGee’s nemesis and set him up as a family man in his new home town, taking in his orphaned niece and nephew. Harold Peary starred as “Gildy,” with a supporting cast that included Walter Tetley as nephew Leroy; Mary Lee Robb as niece Marjorie; Arthur Q. Bryan as Floyd the barber; and Richard LeGrand as pharmacist Peavey. After Peary left the series in 1950, Willard Waterman starred as Gildy until the series ended in 1957.
Kiss Me Deadly (1955) was the second Mike Hammer film. Ralph Meeker starred as Hammer and is regarded as the best screen Hammer. The film is a highlight of the noir genre and captures Spillane’s blend of sex and violence.
The atmosphere was pure Hammer in a series of 1980s Miller Lite ads starring Mickey Spillane.
Mickey Spillane took another turn in front of the camera as (surprise) a best-selling writer in the 1974 Columbo episode “Publish or Perish.”
Opening credits to Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer. Stacy Keach starred as Hammer on television in three different series airing from 1984 to 1985; 1986 to 1987; and from 1997 to 1998. Recently, he’s reprised the role in audio dramatizations of Mickey Spillane stories.
Keach’s father, Stacy Keach, Sr., produced and directed the radio version of Tales of the Texas Rangers.
The stars of That Hammer Guy and the radio voices of Mike Hammer: (from top) Larry Haines (heard in this week’s episode); George Petrie (D.A. Markham on Philo Vance); and Ted de Corsia (Inspector Peter Black on Pursuit).
Mickey Spillane plays To Tell the Truth but drops the ball in this game show blooper. Superman radio star Bud Collyer hosts the program.