Bulldog Drummond Show Summary

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Bulldog Drummond Show Summary Empty Bulldog Drummond Show Summary

Post by Seamus on 11/30/2019, 7:58 pm

Written by CompleteDayMan

Following his involvement as a Lt. Colonel in the Royal Engineers in the British Army during World War 1, during which he was awarded the Military Cross for valor, Herman Cyril McNeile returned home and started to write short stories based upon his experiences. The stories were published in a national daily newspaper under the pseudonym 'Sapper', the army name for an engineer, since serving officers were not allowed to publish using their real name.

The stories were so successful that McNeile decided to leave the army and take up writing as a career instead of the army. He decided to use a fictional war hero he named Captain Hugh Drummond as his main character. Drummond, modeled after himself, was such a dogged individual who stuck to his task that he earned the nickname Bulldog. Drummond's fictitious batman in the war was named Denny and after the hostilities the two reunited to form a fearless, relentless crime fighting team that pursued all kinds of criminals. The books were an enormous success and McNeile continued writing them until his death in 1937. Movie rights were sold to Holywood and a series of Bulldog Drummond features followed during the 1920s and 1930s, starring names such as Ronald Colman, John Barrymore, John Howard, Ray Milland and Ralph Richardson.

It came as no surprise then that in 1941, the Mutual Broadcasting System decided to produce a radio series, produced and directed by Himan Brown, starring the character. Billed as a summer replacement for Show Of The Week, Bulldog Drummond took to the air for the first time on April 6, 1941 and ran each Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. eastern as a sustaining show over MBS, until the last episode aired on June 29. Starring George Coulouris as Drummond and Everett Sloane as his sidekick Denny, the program featured other artists from Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre, namely Agnes Moorehead, Paul Stewart & Ray Collins. All 13 of these initial shows were set in England.

The opening of the show was supposed to replicate an eerie London 'feeling' with footsteps, a foghorn, shots, and three blasts of a police whistle, all done with 'state of the art' sound effects which sound very corny by today's standards. Following the opening, an announcer introduced the program with the line, "Out of the fog ... out of the night ... and into his adventures ... comes ... Bulldog Drummond.". This was then followed by organ music and / or a commercial or PSA and then Bulldog himself introduced the show, in the early shows giving the title. At the end of the show Bulldog would return to the mike to talk about next week's show and usually give the title.

Following the apparent success of the initial run, MBS decided to bring Drummond and Denny across the Atlantic and base future episodes in the US. In the summer of 1941 they went looking for a sponsor via a closed circuit presentation. The search for a sponsor was apparently unsuccessful as the program started up again on Sept 28 as a sustaining show, with the same core stars and at the same time of 6:30 p.m. on Sundays. The show was now called The American Adventures of Bulldog Drummond but followed the same basic pattern as above throughout the rest of its run. Network sponsors for the show were apparently hard to find over the years. Given the apparent popularity of the show, this was somewhat surprising. Also very surprising is the fact that only a few programs seem to be in circulation today. The role of Drummond in the main run was played by George Coulouris, Santos Ortega, Alan Hewitt and Ned Wever. Denny was played by Everett Sloane, Luis van Rooten, and Rod Hendrickson.

The program underwent a host of time and day changes throughout its run leading me to believe that the shows were being transcribed by local stations for later broadcast nearly the whole time. While national sponsors may have been hard to find, local sponsorship may not and local advertizing may have taken place outside of the transcription itself. We have a couple of recordings from WOR presumably as well as newspaper references to show Horton's ice cream supporting a fairly long run in the New York area. Although WOR in New York continued with the production of the show, the ZIV corporation took over transcription duties in January 1948 and purchased syndication rights. The show finished its almost continuous run on Mutual with the January 12th 1949 broadcast after almost 375 episodes. On the west coast the ABC network carried a run of 53 episodes that started in May 1948 and ended on May 27 1949. I assume these were from the Ziv syndication.

In late 1953 Mutual decided to bring back Bulldog, starring Sir Cedric Hardwicke as the Captain, and the first show aired in on October 7, 1953. Mutual marketed the show as a new 'star name' show in conjunction with Counterspy and Starlight Theatre but this time the series was not a success and the network wrapped it up for good on March 28, 1954.
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