This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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THEN ON RADIO…NOW ON THE INTERNET
By James Peyton © 2014
(From Radio Recall, February 2014)
"Enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friends." Along with the organ music, this was the introduction to the classic 1940s radio program, "Boston Blackie".
Boston Blackie (Horatio Black) is a detective character that was first published as a 1919 book, later was produced on radio, and also appeared in movies, silents, and television. The character was one that started out on the wrong side of the law, but ended up on the right side. He was a former safe cracker and ex-con, who together with his girl friend Mary Wesley, solved crimes. Mary's father also had trouble with the law. Although Blackie solved crime after crime, his antagonist Inspector Faraday never gave him a break until much later in the series. These are the three main characters in the show, unless you consider Blackie's pal Shorty, who shows up from time to time in the episodes.
The radio series began on NBC in 1944 and 13 episodes were originally made. The radio character was first played by Chester Morris, but for most of the series was played by Richard Kollmar. The Kollmar series ran went for 220 episodes. (Morris also starred in the Boston Blackie movies before, during, and nearly to the end of the radio series run, films ending in 1949 and radio series in 1950)
This second Blackie started after the show returned to the air on April 15th, 1945. Dick Kollmar was a Broadway actor and "Dick" of WOR, New York's Dorothy and Dick radio show. His friend and nemesis Inspector Faraday was played by Maurice Tarplin, who also voiced the character The Mysterious Traveler on that radio series, and played as the announcer "Dr. Weird" in the horror themed radio program The Strange Dr. Weird. Richard Lane and Frank Orth also voiced the role of Faraday. Mary Wesley was played first by Lesley Woods and later by Jan Miner. (in her later years Palmolive Madge) Blackie's pal Shorty was played by Tony Barrett. Organist Lew White composed the "Boston Blackie" theme music.
To quote the Internet Archive of the Old Time Radio Researchers Group:
"The Boston Blackie radio series, starring Chester Morris, began June 23, 1944, on NBC as a summer replacement for The Amos 'n' Andy Show. Sponsored by Rinso, the series continued until September 15 of that year. Unlike the concurrent films, Blackie had a steady romantic interest in the radio show -- Lesley Woods appeared as Blackie's girl friend Mary Wesley. Harlow Wilcox was the show's announcer. On April 11 , 1945, Richard Kollmar took over the title role in a radio series syndicated by Frederic W. Ziv to Mutual and other. network outlets. Over 200 episodes of this series were produced between 1944 and October 25, 1950. Other sponsors included Lifebuoy Soap, Champagne Velvet beer, and R&H beer."
Episodes are available for free download on the Internet Archive. (https://archive.org.) The directory for Boston Blackie on the archive is Audio Archive, Radio Programs, Old Time Radio, Boston Blackie - Single Episodes. The episodes available at the time of this writing (2014) range from the first episode to episode 231 . There are episodes missing or lost, but the majority of the episodes from 1944 to 1949 are there. There are 199 episodes total available for you to download and archive. These are in .MP3 format. An episode is around 5 MB. There is also a "Certified Set" which has extras not found on the singles page. That is the recommended download. There are 5 CD size down loads. (Around 650 MB, or Megabytes)
According to Dick Judge's 2005 blog, episode #1 is titled "The Rockwell Diamond" and is dated June 23, 1944. Episode #231 is titled "The Professor and Rufus Rob the Bank Safe" and is dated June 15, 1949.
It appears the series ended in 1950, and those episodes are lost. Mr. Kollmar portrayed Blackie from Apr 11, 1945 until Oct 25, 1950. There were a total of 233 episodes of the series spread out over the years 1944 to 1950. There were 302 broadcast dates including original shows plus repeats. There are at this time 198 or so shows in circulation. A typical episode is close to a half hour long, and often ends with some interesting organ music. Common themes are crime stories, organ music, a love-hate relationship between Blackie and Faraday, and a few bad puns.
This is a classic program of Old Time Radio, with many hours of enjoyment. You'll love to hate Faraday, probably enjoy the music and the stories, and you can freely download most of the series in about 15 minutes.
- The Definitive Boston Blackie Radio Log with Chester Morris, Richard Kollmar, and Maurice Tarplin. The Digital Deli Online.retrieved from: http://www.digitaldeliftp.com/DigitalDeliToo/dd2jbBoston-Blackie.html
- Blog of Dick Judge (2005). Boston Blackie. retrieved from: http://www.oldtime. com/otrtogs2/bosblack_dj.log.txt
- Internet Archive. (2012). (Boston Blackie Single Episodes) Old Time Radio Researchers group. retrieved from https://archive. org/details/OTR R_Boston_Blackie_ Singles
- Internet Archive. (2012). Boston Blackie. Old Time Radio Researchers group. (Boston Blackie Certified Set) retrieved from: https://archive.org/details/OTRR_Certified_Boston Blackie