PURSUIT... WHEN MAN HUNTS MAN
SECOND OF TWO PART SERIES
by Stewart Wright © 2012
(From Radio Recall, August 2012)
Pursuit attracted some of Hollywood's best
radio script writers and as would be expected, the
scripts were generally quite well-written. Through
01/06/1950 the script writing was done by Robert
L. Richards, Morton Fine and David Friedkin, John
and Gwen Bagni, Louis Vittes, E. Jack Neuman,
and Les Crutchfield. From 01/13/1950 through
07/22/1950 the team of Gil Doud and Antony Ellis
co-wrote the scripts. Starting with the 1951
Summer replacement run through the end of the
series, the Pursuit primary writer was Antony Ellis:
Gil Doud co-authored one reused script.
A bit of trivia regarding scripts. During this
period, when CBS purchased a script, the network
usually retained the broadcast rights for three years
and could reuse the script on the original or on
another series. When a script was reused, the
writer received additional compensation that was
less than what he or she received tor the Initial use.
Several of the Pursuit scripts contained additional
Network documentation that provides some
Interesting information on what CBS paid for the
scripts. As previously mentioned, the Richards
adaptation of "You Take Ballistics" was originally
used in 1947 on Suspense. For the 10/27/1949
reuse, the adaptor was paid $175.00. During the
1949-50 portion of the run of the series, the going
rate of compensation for an original script was usually
Music, Announcers. and Sound Effects
From 10/27/1949 through 07/22/1950 an
orchestra was used with Leith Stevens, Martin
Skiles and others doing the music arrangements.
From 07/10/1951 through the end of the series, an
organ and piano, played by Eddie Dunstedter, was
used in place of an orchestra.
Larry Thor and Bob LeMond and others did
the announcing chores during the 1949-50 runs.
Bob Stevenson took over as the announcer with
the 07/17/1951 broadcast.
Clark Casey and Berne Surrey were the
primary sound effects artists during Pursuit's first
season. During the remainder of the series run, a
variety of CBS sound effects artists including Gus
Bayz, Ralph Cummings. Ross Murray, Gene
Twombly, and others did the honors.
During its first season on the air
10/27/1949 - 05/02/1950, Pursuit bounced
around the CBS late evening programming
four weeks on Thursdays at 10:30 PM;
followed by seven weeks on Fridays at 10:00 PM;
next. three weeks on Tuesdays at 10:00 PM;
and finally, eleven weeks on Tuesday at 10:30 PM.
(All times listed in this article are for the Eastern
Forits next two stints on the CBS airwaves,
Pursuit was a summer replacement show. It aired
for The Gene Autry Show from 07/01/1950
through 07/22/1950 In the Saturday 8:00 PM slot.
The next summer run of Pursuit replaced Life With
Luigi from 07/10/1951 through 08/21/1951 at 9:00
PM on Tuesdays.
During it's only extended scheduling in a
single time slot, the 1951·52 season. 09/18/1951 - 03/25/1952, Pursuit often faced formidable
competition in its Tuesday 9:30 PM time slot such
as Fibber McGee and Molly on NBC and Mysterious
Traveler on Mutual.
During most of its run, Pursuit aired 3 hours
earlier on the West Coast. The exception was
during the July, 1950 summer replacement run
when it aired at 7 :30 PM in the Pacific Time Zone.
Episodes In Circulation
Relatively few episodes of this fine series are in
circulation; only 19 of the 64 episodes and the
audition show for The Hunters. Four episodes
starring Ted de Corsla and eleven starring Ben
Wright survive. The four July, 1950 summer
replacement shows starring John Dehner also
survive. The show starring Herb Butterlield is not
known to be in circulation. One can only hope that
additional episodes will find their way into
While Pursuit started out as a sustaining
(non-sponsored) series, it acquired sponsors for
much of its run. During its first season on the CBS
airwaves, Pursuit was mainly a sustaining series with
three shows, 01/06/1950, 01/13/1950, and
04/18/950, sponsored by Ford. For both its stints
as a summer replacement series, the series was
sponsored by Wrigley's Gum. The Sterling Drug
Company was Pursuit's sponsor during its 1951-
1952 season on CBS: 09/18/1951 - 03/25/1952.
An extensive variety of the company's products
were advertised: Haley's M-O, Dr Lyons Tooth
Powder, lronized Yeast, Molle Shave Cream,
Double Danderine Shampoo, and Energine
The Growing Power of the Small Screen
Sterling Drug cancelled its sponsorship of
Pursuit effective with the March 25, 1952
broadcast. Executives at CBS decided to cancel
the series rather than have it continue as a
sustaining program. Crime-related shows had
reached a saturation level on radio and Pursuit joined once highly popular series such as The
Adventures Of Sam Spade and The Adventures Of
Philip Marlowe in being cancelled.
The beginning of the end for network radio
programming was on the horizon. The networks
were increasingly less likely to cany sustaining radio
programs for any period of time unless those series
had high ratings or were perceived to have a
Television, the next "big thing" in American
entertainment, was ready to take off. There was
plenty of money to be made by the networks in
getting sponsors to purchase air time for
programming on the small screen. Ironically, it was
money the networks made from radio that funded
their initial efforts in television. In a little more than a
decade most network radio programming, other
than news and sports, would be almost completely
gone from the airwaves.
PURSUIT BROADCAST LOG
A broadcast log for Pursuit compiled and
maintained by the article author is available on the
This on-line log contains much additional
information about the series including broadcast
date, title, and a short plot line summary of each
episode. All episode titles and broadcast dates and
times in this log are taken directly from the CBS
scripts and documents. Broadcast dates and times
were verified using the 1949 - 1952 Radio listings
from the New York Times, and other newspapers.
Newspaper articles on schedule changes,
proposed and actually implemented, were also
AUTHOR'S NOTE: If any MWOTRC members
do not have access to the Internet and request a
hard copy of the Pursuit log, just send me their
address and I will print and mail them a copy.
Pursuit Scripts and other CBS documents
pertaining to the series from the KNX Collection,
American Radio Archives, Grant R. Brimhall Ubrary
Thousand Oaks, CA
1949-52 Radio Program listings from the New York
Times, Los Angeles Times, and other newspapers.
1949-52 Articles from various newspapers.
Various Radio interviews with William N. Robson
and Elliott Lewis.
2002 correspondence with Jim Cox and Arlene
Hubin, Allen J., CRIME FICTION III: A
Comprehensive Bibliography, 1749-1995.
Oakland, CA, Locus Press, 1999.