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Casey, Crime Photographer

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Post by greybelt on 1/12/2020, 11:12 am

These notes were originally compiled more than a decade ago and enhanced now and then. Many were posted on Cobalt at least two server crashes ago.

I've wanted to work on this again for a long time but Suspense got in the way. Casey is my favorite series! I know, it's hard to believe. My first love back in the 1970s was comic books... but I could never afford to collect comics back then... I had just gone to a convention and Spiderman #1 was $110! Smile   (a pristine copy is valued at more than $1 million now)

To appreciate Casey and have it the right context and right expectations, you have to think of it as a 1940s comic book, written for everyone to read. There was just enough romantic tension to make the young boys not want to read that mush but they had to keep going to figure out the mystery. The young girls wanted the romance to lead to something... some day. The police were myopic and bungling, and the comic book reader, and in this case the listener, figures the mystery out before they do. It's all so satisfying, and so light, with no deep drama, and many chuckles along the way. And Mom and Dad were happy, because crime did not pay.

The series is fascinating in its minor defects. There are often situations of bad continuity, horrible over-acting, and a cough from the audience at an inopportune time.

Our series background begins...

Casey was derived from the George Harmon Coxe pulp character of "Flashgun Casey" that appeared in Black Mask magazine. This is not the place to analyze the pulp character... others have done that and done it well. No one seems to have researched the series in great detail from an episode by episode perspective. That's what I will focus on as we make the posts.

Details about that can be found online at
* Thrilling Detective [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
* Radio Spirits background by Elizabeth McLeod [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
* The book by pulp expert Randy Cox and the late and legendary OTR collector Dave Siegel is available from BearManorMedia but there are often used copies that can be found online. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
* Wikipedia [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Flashgun Casey was popular before it went to radio, and there were two movies with the character.
* 1936 movie Women are Trouble with Stu Erwin [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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* 1938 movie Here's Flash Casey [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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The films have little relation to the Casey that we came to know and love.

There were a few attempts to bring Casey to TV, but those will be covered later. They failed. There is one quote from Darren McGavin, who starred in the series for a while, and it is in every write-up of the television series:
"The cast of Crime Photographer didn't go down fighting. They took off for the hills. It was so bad that it was never re-run, and that's saying something when you recall the caliber of television programs in those days."

Before anyone starts the objection of calling it "Casey, Crime Photographer," and not "Crime Photographer" or something else because the show had other names in its run, I am stating categorically that is the way this thread always refer to the series. That's what everyone knows it as. It's kind of like saying "Jack Benny" instead of "The Jell-O Show with Jack Benny" or "The Lucky Strike Program." Everybody knows what Casey, Crime Photographer refers to, just like everybody knows what "Jack Benny" refers to.

If someone wants to volunteer to keep track of the names that are used beyond the obvious "Flashgun Casey, Press Photographer" and "Casey, Press Photographer" and their starting and ending dates, that would make a worthwhile contribution to this research.

The Anchor-Hocking period -- the best of the series -- late 1946 to Summer 1948

Casey was a sustaining show, meaning it had no national advertising sponsor until Anchor Hocking Glass came along in around Fall of 1946. Sustaining shows allowed networks to keep their affiliates together by supplying them programming, with the hope of attracting a national sponsor. Once A-H entered the picture, the overall quality of the show improved.

Finally the show had a full, lush orchestra, supplemented by the Blue Note Cafe's jazz pianist, Herman Chittison. It was also performed in front of a live audience, so you can often hear someone coughing in the background now and then. Staats Cotsworth, star of the series, wrote an opinion piece that appeared in the New York Times about the pros and cons of live radio audiences for dramas. I'll post that sometime.
Casey is not held in as high regard as radio classics, but I believe that most of the A-H run was some of the best and most endearing of popular radio. It had quirky characters, a romantic tension, and a lightheartedness that made the whole show quite enjoyable.

Herman Chittison's piano in the background made the Blue Note Cafe popular, and many restauranteurs began to use the name. Despite the talk of nefarious criminal behavior being acted out in that week's drama, Chittison's piano in the background was always cheery or romantic. Aspiring jazz musicians used to tune in just to hear Chittison.

Most of the Casey shows that survive are from the A-H run. We're lucky to have so many shows from a single period, but we only have glimpses of the others and how different they were. Research in the archives of Billboard magazine indicate that A-H was not satisfied with the sales results of their sponsorship. Toni was the next sponsor, with a strategy to aim the show toward women, with the criminal activities and violence toned down. It also seemed that the budget for production was cut with the shift of sponsors. Thankfully, those years would be over, and the Philip Morris Company picked up sponsorship and the shows returned to "normal."

The Toni years were a sign of how radio's role in media was changing. It was 1948, which was a pivotal year in the adoption of television, and radio ad dollars started to move to the newer medium. The series just seems strange with Toni or Phillip Morris commercials after such a long A-H run. But we have to remember that it seems like a long run to collectors because so many of the shows that exist are from the A-H period. We have to remember that for most of the show's broadcast life, A-H was not the sponsor, but those two years were the best in terms of the show's production values.

And now the star of the new CBS series, FRANK LOVEJOY!

Billboard 1943-06-26
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We know that Matt Crowley appeared as Casey in the first episode on the date stated because we have a recording of that show. What happened to Lovejoy?

We don't know for sure, but the 1943-08-28 Billboard indicates that he was in a play in Boston. The Snark was a Boojum, adapted from the novel by Richard Shattuck, opened there with plans for a Broadway opening in September. This may mean that not long after the Flashgun Casey announcement, Lovejoy decided to appear in the play. At the time of the broadcast, he could have been tied up in rehearsals in Boston. His wife, Joan Banks, was also in the production, and that may have been a reason behind the change. It also gave them a reason to spend the summer in Cape Cod, where the rehearsals and previews were.

The play did not open well in Boston (the larger article from which the cast listing above was taken is in the back of this document). Lovejoy, however, was mentioned as being a standout in the cast, despite his low billing.

The show did eventually get to Broadway, opening September 1 and closing after 5 performances. The reviewer in Billboard called it “a mess of whimsy, stumbling around between comedy that doesn't jell and melodrama that doesn't chill, and goes nowhere fast in all directions.”

Details of the production are at the Internet Broadway Database [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The play was written by Richard Shattuck, a pseudonym of author Dora Richards Shattuck.

We may never know for sure if this was Lovejoy's choice, or if CBS decided to use Crowley as Casey instead, for some other reason. But Crowley seems to be a temporary casting fill-in.

It is plausible, however, that Lovejoy could have made the decision to appear on stage rather than on radio. At that time, radio acting was looked down upon. It is ironic that Staats Cotsworth  wrote an opinion piece defending radio against this bias in The New York Times of October 6, 1946. So it is conceivable that faced with the choice, if he had one, that Lovejoy could have preferred a Broadway stage role.

As we know, Lovejoy would eventually have a “newspaper role” in Night Beat as reporter Randy Stone, the truly definitive portrayal of a fictional newspaper reporter on radio.

Chester Renier was another change in the show, announced as the producer, rather than Bob Shayon. There are no cast announcements in the recording of the show.

First episode: Case of the Switched Plates

The only recording we have of this episodes is from scratchy discs, and they sound like glass 78s. My guess is that these are only 5 minutes or so per side. It's not in the best sound overall, but some sections are in are much better than others. There is a good chance it was an aircheck or a separate recording for potential presentations to ad agencies in search as sponsors or to be played to evaluate the casting and production.

This first episode is not up to the kind of Casey program that would be common in most of the A-H run, but seems to be truer to the pulp character. This stars Matt Crowley as Casey (although I can't remember hearing his name). I was surprised that John Gibson is there as Ethelbert, which means he was there for the entire radio run. The casting as Jim Backus as Casey was just around the corner (no recordings exist), but as we know, the series got going only when Staats Cotsworth replaced him.

Ethelbert, the bartender, is also identified in this episode as having the responsibility of being the Blue Note's bouncer. The character was never described as having that task in any other circulating shows. The Ethelbert we know of later shows would probably call on someone else to handle that. Ethelbert is noted as reading high class publications like The Atlantic Monthly, The American Mercury, and The New Republic. This is a sarcastic comment by Casey since those publications are beyond Ethelbert's intellect. He tells Casey that he is reading One World, a bestselling book in 1943. Wikipedia describes it as “a travelogue written by Wendell Willkie... a document of his world travels and meetings with many of the then-Allies heads of state as well as ordinary citizens and soldiers... Willkie also discusses the need for some sort of World government.” Willkie ran for president against FDR in 1940 and lost, but FDR would later make him an “ambassador-at-large” where he traveled the world and compiling his travels in his book. Willkie died in 1944.
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Wendell Willkie [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

This early Casey has a bit of a cynical nature to him, and makes another reference to the literature of the time as the alibi of one of his fellow photographers as being at home reading Our Hearts Were Young and Gay. It was a bestseller in 1943 by actress Cornelia Otis Skinner and journalist Emily Kimbrough about their post-college trip through Europe. It would become a movie in 1944. Literary references disappear later on in the series. We get the sense that Cotsworth's Casey is not as literate as Crowley's, that his streetsmarts far outweigh his booksmarts.
Our Hearts Were Young and Gay [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Burke, the editor of the paper, has a larger role than would be in later parts of the series. His role was so diminished that he would be at the other end of a one-sided phone conversation with Casey, so they would not even have to cast an actor that week. As the series evolved, Captain Logan would take over the role as Casey's foil. In this episode, however, Logan is identified by his last name. In Clue in the Clouds he is called Lieutenant Logan, same as the Logan of George Harmon Coxe's Flashgun Casey short stories, but Logan does not appear in the episode. Burke is the one who contacts Logan to ask for help in solving the crime. Later episodes have Casey contacting Logan directly, and with Logan often tagging along for the ride in their adventures. The role was so important to the series that in Busman's Holiday, in which Cotsworth was not available to appear likely due to illness, Logan is the lead character in the story.

One interesting plot device in this episode (and also in the circulating Clue in the Clouds) is that Casey talks to Ernie, the pianist, with a discussion that leads to Casey putting together the solution of the crime. It must have been common in the early episodes. These are the only two Casey episodes in circulation with these scenes.

I cannot find any official mention of who "Ernie" was, it is likely that it was Herman Chittison himself. This was mentioned in a footnote of a "bio-discography" of Thelonious Monk. Evidently, Monk and other aspiring pianists would listen to the Casey show just to hear Chittison and then try to mimic his style. In the Anchor Hocking run, Chittison is clearly identified, but had no speaking parts of note. Chittison was on the show for most of its run, except for the mid-50s revival when he was replaced by Teddy Wilson. But as far as “Ernie” goes, it is unclear if it's a recording of Chittison playing live in the background in these early episodes or if it is a recording, if he was playing and acting at the same time, or if another actor was playing the Ernie role while Chittison was playing in the background.

Casey creator George Harmon Coxe was involved in the scripting of this first episode. It is not clear if he was deeply involved in others. In the seventh episode, most of the scriptwriting chores were turned over to Alonzo Deen Cole. We don't know if Cole used “Ernie” in his scripts because there are no circulating Cole shows until three years later, that being The Reunion (episode #137). It is likely that he did for a while, as Ernie appears in Clue in the Clouds, written by Charles Holden, but was probably phased out not long thereafter by Cole. In Cox & Siegel's Flashgun Casey, there is a script reprint of the sixty-eighth episode of 1944-10-24 Hanged by the Neck and Ernie does not appear, nor does he appear in a second script in the book.

This characterization of Casey by Matt Crowley is much different than Cotsworth, as mentioned earlier. The characterization is sarcastic and dismissive. By the time Cotsworth gets the role, Casey is often getting into trouble for sending the police (and Logan) off into dead ends with the wrong solutions to the crimes, and is frequently humiliated by Logan, before solving it in the end, much to Logan's dismay. He often gets down on himself for not being educated or for his position in life as a poorly paid photographer employed at the whim of an editor. The contrast of the later Casey with the Casey of this episode is rather stark.

The differences between the initial Casey and that of later episodes is most likely the changes made by Cole once he took firm hold of the show. The Flashgun character is that of Coxe's pulp creation. The Casey we know best as collectors has been changed by Cole to most likely make the character more appealing to a broader audience. Look at the timing: the first show appears in July 1943. Cole claims that he was brought in about six weeks into the run to "fix" the series. That would make it mid-August by the time he takes control of the program, probably with the idea of the much larger post-Labor Day radio audience in mind.
The character is referred to as “Flashgun” in this episode, and not “Casey.” By the time of Clue in the Clouds, the reference is always as “Casey.” And we almost never hear his first name, Jack.

This episode was written by Ashley Buck, who worked on a short-lived soap opera in 1941 We Are Always Young, and also worked on Tennessee Jed.

Matt Crowley appeared in Buck RogersJungle Jim, Mark TrailSuperman, You Are There, Dimension X (The Lost Race and Universe), Big Town, The Chase, Inheritance, and X Minus One (No Contact, Green Hills of Earth, and Martian Death March"). He is interviewed in the Buck Rogers episode of Whatever Became Of? [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Crowley would appear on the TV soap opera Edge of Night in 1962; Cotsworth would appear in 1964.
For all of those credits, you almost never hear Crowley's name mentioned as one of radio's top actors.

Casey 43-07-07 001 The Case of the Switched Plates [Flash-Gun Casey] (disc noise in some portions).mp3
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1943-07-03 MASON CITY GLOBE-GAZETTE
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1943-07-08 BROOKLYN DAILY EAGLE
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Post by bojim1 on 1/13/2020, 5:35 am

Super!!

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Post by greybelt on 1/13/2020, 9:47 am

This is the second episode, chronologically, of what's circulating and the first with Cotsworth. The series is called "Casey, Press Photographer" by this time, but newspaper listings for the series still have the name as "Flashgun Casey"!

At the beginning of the show, Staats Cotsworth as Casey says "Face the camera, please... hold it!... look for it in the Morning Express!" A similar opening would be used in the series revival in the mid-1950s. Cotsworth has a line in this episode where he snaps a picture and says "Look for it in the Morning Express!" I think the writers were trying to get that line into the public's vocabulary. It must not have worked because it's not common later.

The show had not yet hit its stride, but the right actors, Cotsworth in the lead and John Gibson as Ethelbert, were finally in place. The smug characterization of Casey is already gone.

There's some scratchiness in the recording, and it's not in the most robust sound.

The premise of the mystery's solution is rather preposterous, with a disguise that is so very good that absolutely no one figures it out over more than a decade of wearing it, and faked identities, and ultimately the faked photograph. This is the 1940s, for goshsakes, and professional high budget movie makeup wasn't even that good. The elements of the scam are planted early, notably that a movie studio building was owned by the perpetrator so a staged photo can be taken. Casey is suspicious about the whole thing but there's really no justification for it. We're just supposed to believe that his years of working the news beat and have given him an instinct for these things and we're just supposed to ride along with it. We're all dopes in the listening audience. I know I said we should look at Casey as a comic book, but this is too much in this regard.

There is a running gag of Ethelbert reading "The Five Little Peppers," thinking it's a gardening book. It was a children's series started in the late 1800s. There is a Wikipedia entry [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Ethelbert's sister Edna is mentioned, also a running gag how Ethelbert takes advice from her.

The joke about the book Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Ethelbert's surprise at it having been published already is a reference to Italy in WW2 and the Allies making progress there in the weeks before this episode.

This episode uses an organ for its bridge music, and by comparing episodes with orchestras that would be in the Anchor-Hocking series, it's pretty clear that the director had a much wider choice of methods to create the mood required for the series -- this sounds more like soap opera than a big network program.

Ernie the piano player has a big role in helping Casey figure out the mystery. There is no clue who the actor is. It could just be a studio pianist with an actor speaking in dialect. We don't know if it's Chittison. At this time, Chittison had a 15 minute music program on CBS in the evenings, but there's no mention of him in the cast until the Fall. I suspect it's a musician and an actor in this episode.

It sounds like Jackson Beck as the villain of the story. It is most likely that Ann Williams is played by Jone Allison. Waitress Gracie appears for one line, probably doubled by someone in the cast, another source of regular gags about Ethelbert and a possible relationship between them.

It's “Lt. Logan” here in the story, and he is mentioned but does not appear.

Charles Holden wrote this episode. He also wrote for Grand Central Station and I found a citation in a copyright listing he was identified as writer of a script for the show Grand Hotel in 1945. There was a CBS and ABC executive for production mentioned in Google searches of Billboard magazine, but it is not clear if it is the same person.

Alonzo Deen Cole was the main writer of this series, but there is no episode in circulation written by him until the next one that will be posted.

Casey 44-02-26 033 The Clue in the Clouds [Casey Press Photographer].mp3
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1943-08-13 Hazelton PA Plain Speaker
Photo with Jim Backus as Casey. That didn't last long. The last newspaper reference I can find to him in the role is August 19.
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1943-09-16 Asheville NC Citizen Times
Cotsworth has the lead by this time, just weeks later.
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1944-03-17 Hazelton PA Plain Speaker
Jone Allison is shown here as Ann Williams, so she was still in the part at the time of this episode.
Lesley Woods is in the picture array, and she would later become, in my opinion, the best Ann Williams actress of the series.
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Last edited by greybelt on 1/13/2020, 10:46 am; edited 5 times in total

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Post by Harlow Wilcox on 1/13/2020, 9:51 am

This is great! Thank you! Very Happy
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Post by greybelt on 1/14/2020, 12:03 pm

This is the first Casey episode in circulation written by Alonzo Deen Cole. Siegel & Cox identify 384 of the 431 episodes as Cole scripts. Cole came to some prominence as the driving force behind The Witch's Tale. According to Cole, he was hired about five weeks into the Casey series to salvage it (my words) and get it on course (detailed on p 79 of the Siegel-Cox book).

This is a good entry into the series with its comic book style and the storyline has enough plausibility in a comic book world to work. For decades, this episode was not an enjoyable listen because all that was in circulation was a muffled AFRS Mystery Playhouse copy. Various collectors tried to reprocess it and all they could do was make it less bad, sometimes adding new defects. A network copy emerged five years ago in very nice sound.

The plotline from ADC's notes:
Irene, who is separated from her husband, Kurt, a sculptor, receives a phone call from him and it's from her cousin's hotel room. When she doesn't return, the cousin, Ruth, asks Casey and Ann to investigate. They call on Kurt at his studio and see there a life-sized statue of a woman posed by Irene. He has titled this "Reunion." Casey believes Irene's body is hidden somewhere in the statue and by playing on Kurt's superstitious nature, he forces a confession. The body is found in the base of the statue.
The concept of a "mad sculptor" as a murderer was in the news a few years before. It was the Robert Irwin case [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Cole would not usually base stories to replicate a news event, but an episode's "gimmick" would come from one or two aspects of a larger news story that might be familiar to listeners.

The story plays on the superstitious beliefs of one of the main characters, in this case, Kurt, the murderer. This was one of Cole's most frequent story elements, and then there's a turn in the story that makes you wonder if it could be true. In this case, it was the hair of his victim on his body. This pattern was something he developed when he was working on Witch's Tale. It was a frequently used device used in comic books, short stories, movies, and one of the more entertaining uses of it is in the play and movie Harvey. Cole was not the most creative writer, but he knew how to entertain an audience with basic tools.

Things we learn:
Lesley Woods is now cast as Ann
Bernard Lenrow is Logan

The opening and closing of the network copy were used in the mid-1950s revival series; we know this is the early one because it says "Columbia" but more than a decade later it would become "CBS Radio." That revival series also used Bob Hite as announcer. I always though Hite and Don Pardo had very similar voices. If you have a copy of 1954-01-20 Source of Information, you can hear how close the revival opening is to this pre-Anchor-Hocking program.

Casey 46-06-03 137 The Reunion (AFRS Mystery Playhouse) (1st circulating show by ADCole).mp3
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Casey 46-06-03 137 The Reunion NETWORK (1st circulating show by ADCole) UPGRADE.mp3
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1946-06-03 Mason City IA Globe-Gazette
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A lot of time passed between Clue in the Clouds and The Reunion. Here are some clips that may be of interest.

1944-07-09 LINCOLN (NEB) STAR
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1944-11-10 BURLINGTON (NC) DAILY TIMES-NEWS
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1944-11-14 DECATUR (IL) DAILY REVIEW
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From another newspaper report, Shaw was 21 at the time this happened. There is an Eleanor Shaw in IMDb, but the birth date does not match up. She is mentioned in a profile of another actress in a 1947 Atlanta Constitution article about how hard it is to break into show business, and that she had some dancing parts in movies. It seems like it was obscurity after that...

1945-03-11 Pittsburgh PA Press
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1945-07-11 DECATUR (IL) DAILY REVIEW
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1945-07-25 DECATUR (IL) DAILY REVIEW
Betty Furness takes over the Ann Williams role, but that didn't last long.
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I remember Furness in her later career as a consumer reporter and local talk radio host when I lived in the NYC area. She had an interesting life and career [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

1945-08-26 NY Daily News
The best actress ever to play Ann Williams takes the role
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

1945-09-20 Brooklyn NY Daily Eagle
Casey was always considered a prime prospect for television. In the early years of experimental TV, very few people actually got to see the productions. This was an adaptation of a Holden script from the radio program of 1944-10-31.
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This is the plotline from ADC's continuity notes:
In order to disprove a statement in the Express that he is a fake Metho, a spiritualist, holds a seance for the press at which his daughter, Eunice, says that she feels Ann wishes to kill her. Ann bribes her way into her room to question her, and later Eunice is found dead. Ann is accused because of the seance and because her compact is found in the room. Casey discovers through Eunice's diary that she is really Metho's wife, not his daughter, and he arranged to meet with him. Casey puts on a mind-reading act with the strangler of Eunice, and with Logan's help captures the real murderer.

Billboard 1945-09-29
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The show did not get the best review. The director, Frances Buss, is considered a television pioneer. She directed the TV version of Sorry, Wrong Number with Mildred Natwick in January 1946.
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Oliver Thorndike, who played Casey, died in 1954 at the age of 38. The Yale Drama school gives an annual student award in his memory. He appeared in many early TV programs.
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Ruth Ford, who played Ann Williams, was a member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theater, would go onto Hollywood. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]  There is only one recording of her listed in RGI on Mercury Theater, but decades later she does appear in one broadcast of CBSRMT!

John Gibson seems to have appeared everywhere the Casey franchise went. They probably figured out that no one else could play Ethelbert.

Among the other actors mentioned in the cast, here are links to their pages at the Internet Movie Data Base:
   • Marilyn Erskine [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
   • Gregory Morton [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
   • Bernard Hoffman [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Casey may have been snakebit as far as television was concerned right from the beginning. The reviewer disliked the interplay between Casey and Anne (spelled with an “e” here) which was essential to the radio program but seems to not have worked here, and also complained about the “climax which fell flatter than a bride's pancake.”

Important technology note: none of these early broadcasts were recorded. Kinescope technology did not come to market from Kodak until 1947. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


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Post by Harlow Wilcox on 1/14/2020, 1:09 pm

Very Happy Thank you Very Happy
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Post by pnussbaum on 1/15/2020, 2:29 am

Thank you, greybelt. My wife is a huge fan of the show.
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Post by greybelt on 1/15/2020, 5:44 am

Today's show posting is one that befuddled collectors for years. No collector knew the correct name of this episode with certainty for decades. The only copy of the episode was in awful sound. It was often listed as "Truth... or Tooth?" in catalogs and it's still listed as "Truth or Tooth" in RadioGoldindex. The Siegel-Cox book set it straight once they had original source materials from CBS and Cole's files. The press release item is reproduced below. The sound is still so sub-par that you can barely hear "for a" but it's there... and you can understand why some believed the other titles were possible if you were a collector listening to recordings that were in worse sound so many years ago. We now know it's Tooth for a Tooth.

1945-07-15 CBS Press Release
It is funny that the headline gets the title wrong!
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ADC's continuity notes... (which also affirm the title)
Brower, who works with Casey on the paper, confides that he has a premonition that he is going to die. He also mentions that he has had some dental work done by a Mr. Rennat who is not a licensed dentist. Later, Brewer disappears. Casey goes to see Rennat and tells him that Brower told him he could fix teeth. There he finds that Brower almost starved to death. Rennat had changed Brower's dental work to match his own in order that his body would be identified as Rennat and Rennat's wife could collect the insurance. They had worked this racket before and the gimmick about "Rennat spelled backwards is Tanner" is the clue to his real identity.

Cole's gimmick is really obvious -- and that's one of the reasons the show is endearing -- even the most unsophisticated listener can feel like they could have solved the case. The reveal of the gimmick occurs early in the episode with Ethelbert playing word games. Cole often introduces the method of the solution early in the stories, and then Casey suddenly remembers it and and uses it to solve the crime. This is one of the ways Cole involves listeners in the story and makes them feel they solved the mystery along with Casey... who always turns out to be the only character working on the case who detects the connection.

Since most people have some dental fear, one can imagine the anxiety people had with the drills and anesthetics of 1946 compared to what is available today. Having the crime take place in a dental chair probably made listeners cringe a great deal, even if it was a minor repair, almost like what we might feel watching the famous dental scene in Marathon Man. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

The director of this episode was Rocco Tito who was a director and producer at CBS and then moved to Mutual to produce Mr. Feathers and the (awful) Mutual production of Counterspy when that moved from ABC.

This was another Holden script... a load of Cole scripts are about to follow with the beginning of the Anchor-Hocking run.

Casey 46-07-15 143 Tooth for a Tooth (latest circulating sustaining).mp3
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1946-07-15 Mason City Globe-Gazette
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The title is based on the biblical description of justice and is mentioned in Leviticus, Exodus, and Deuteronomy, along with the more famous phrase "eye for an eye." [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] This passage of the Bible is often misinterpreted as advocating vengeance in punishment, but is actually advocating restraint and proportionality in having punishments fit their crimes. In its use here, it's just a play on the topic of dentistry, but also describes the motive for the crime: duplicating the criminal's dental profile in Brower's mouth on an exact tooth for tooth basis as a part of an insurance fraud scheme.

There was one more sustained episode before Anchor-Hocking began its sponsorship. The show is missing, called A Girl Named Kate broadcast on 1946-07-22, and it was a repeat broadcast of a script used on 1946-12-12.

The A-H sponsorship changed the series for the better. A larger orchestra, a fuller cast, better production techniques. These were the best seasons for the series. It had very, very good ratings across most demographic categories of the listening audience.

1946-07-10 CBS Press Release
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The first A-H show, Three Sapphires is not circulating, but a review of it is below. It was not well-liked. The Variety review (I think in its 1946-08-14 edition) was not very complimentary: "he and his gal Friday might just as well have been assigned to a Sunday School picnic for all the suspense and drama that they managed to convey." What would Ethelbert say? “As my sister Edna says... quote 'if dem critics was any good, they'd be on stage demselfs' ... unquote.”

1946-08-14 Variety
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Wikipedia page for Casey is at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
The page details the beginning and ending dates for the various series names that were used.

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Post by greybelt on 1/16/2020, 10:17 am

Red Raincoat is the first Anchor-Hocking sponsored episode in circulation. It has a full orchestra, and Tony Marvin replaces Bob Hite as the announcer. Marvin was the announcer on Hobby Lobby, the program sponsored by Anchor Hocking prior to them switching to Casey. They were probably satisfied with Marvin's work on that program, and keeping him maintained a continuity with the brand.
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This is an Alonzo Deen Cole script, and uses a favorite mystery story theme of mistaken identity... whether it was an accidental mistake or whether someone purposely created the circumstance for it to happen. It's an enjoyable episode with nothing really remarkable to note.

There is a production difference... the episode begins with a narrator, likely a doubling performer in the drama cast. In future episodes, Marvin would set the stage more briefly than done here as the series settled into a pattern.

It is interesting that the show's main characters are introduced in dialogue with a bit more detail as the show's new time and the greater publicity from sponsorship garnered an audience of new listeners.

The relationship with Logan is improbable... no police captain would have the many interactions with a news photographer, nor would they be such a buffoon. Throughout the series, you wonder how Logan could even keep his job! He's always making mistakes, and he must not have much time for other cases. But we accept the relationship and its improbability, and enjoy it.

From ADC's continuity notes... (typographic inconsistencies preserved)

A woman wearing a red rain coat is killed in front of her apartment. While Casey and Logan are investigating, Mrs. Ida Patch (one of the neighbors) appears and identifies the dead woman as Nora Gelhorn because of the rain coat. She accuses Mrs. Gelhorn's husband of the murder because of his attachment to another woman in the same apartment. But after seeing the dead woman, Mrs. Patch exclaims that she is Emma Randall, the other woman. Mrs. Patch saw Mr. Randall in his apartment from from her window across the court when she heard the shooting. Mrs. Gelhorn was in the restaurant, where she and Mrs. Randall worked, at the time of the murder. She had lent Mrs. Randall her raincoat. The detectives arrive with Mr. Gelhorn, whom they found coming out of the fourth avenue Theatre. His wife had told them he was at the movies in the neighborhood, but not at the Fourth Avenue Theatre, as he had seen that picture the previous evening. Gelhorn is arrested. Casey suspects Mr. Randall because of photographs of his room which show 2 pillows tossed carelessly on the bed. He thinks Mrs. Patch really saw a dummy rigged up to fool her. Casey decides to pay Randall another call and finds Mrs. Gelhorn there. When Mrs. Gelhorn threatens to kill Casey and Ann, Casey points to the open window where Mrs. Patch is snooping as usual.

So there! We have the Casey equivalent of Rear Window. Smile

"With prices mounting everywhere..." is mentioned in the first Anchor-Hocking commercial. The consumer price index rose in 1946 to more than 8%. Most of us in Cobalt can remember when inflation was that level in the late 1970s. A-H would make thrift one of its key selling points and emphasize its reliability, so you would save money in the long run with their products.

1946-08-22 CBS Press Release
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Casey 46-08-29 148 The Red Raincoat (earliest circulating Anchor-Hocking) UPGRADE.mp3
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1946-08-29 Mason City IA Globe-Gazette
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1946-08-29 Minneapolis MN Star
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Post by Harlow Wilcox on 1/16/2020, 10:19 am

I love this series. It's always a plus to hear Herman Chittison's piano playing in the background when they are at The Blue Note! Smile
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Post by greybelt on 1/16/2020, 2:16 pm

It's always been one of mine, too. We're just starting the best part of this series, and we have many days to go. I'm so glad to do this with Cobalt so we can commiserate and support each other as we go through the Toni period. Smile

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Post by greybelt on 1/17/2020, 6:03 am

In this episode, Tony Marvin handles the story introduction, unlike the prior week, and it is standard for the rest of the A-H run. Since we are missing the first few weeks of the run, we don't know if Marvin handled any of those. We have no access to scripts.

Cole plants a part of the story at the beginning -- Lt. McCue's preference for cigars -- which sets up the light-hearted closing scene. It does not affect the solution of the crime, but its use at the end of the broadcast gives some insight into Logan. He will not explain that the gift of cigars is because he was embarrassed (or too polite) to admit that during the story he considered whether Lt. McCue was a corrupt cop and possibly a murder suspect. If you remember the comment at the beginning of the episode, then the close is more rewarding. (We're OTR collectors... we listen to the same episodes again and again, so there's no need for spoiler alerts.)

ADC's continutity document...
Joe Poletti, owner of a tavern has $20,000 upstairs in his safe with which to cash checks for the factory workers. When he is robbed and killed, his two bartenders are downstairs, and a third bartender, Gus, has not yet arrived for work. Chief suspect is Snyder because the handkerchief was found in the room with the body. He was in the tavern before the murder griping because he couldn't get a job bartending, as he had previously been employed by Poletti and was fired for stealing. A policeman named McCue is also under suspciion because he needs money to take care of his sick wife. Snyder, when arrested, confesses but won't talk further until he has seen his lawyer. He has a perfect alibi when Poletti was shot, but made a phoney confession to give the killer plenty of time to get the stolen money under cover. So Snyder and the killer were working together. Casey and Logan decide to trail Snyder. He evades the detectives assigned to follow him and is found dead on a country road. Since Gus, the bartender, was the only person who communicated with Snyder, Casey and Logan question him and trick him into confessing the murders.

You'd think $20,000 is not a big amount of money. But August 1946's $20,000 is more than $254,000 in today's money. That must have been some factory to have a weekly payroll that big! By my back-of-the-envelope calculation from Census data the annual sales of the goods from that factory would have been about $31 million with 400 employees... and that's only if the bar cashed EVERY SINGLE CHECK OF EVERY SINGLE WORKER. It is very odd to have that much money in a safe in a retail establishment nowadays no matter the reason. Obviously, Cole wanted an amount worth committing murder for, but this is outlandishly high... and Cole may have wanted a near-gasp from the listener.

Many of the stories we listen to would have one of their plot elements eliminated by technology. The barkeeper would have no need to have cash on hand like this today because of direct deposit electronic funds transfer technologies. Nor would the barkeeper be able to use check cashing as a draw for foot traffic into his bar. Many scenes in Casey stories hinge on not being able to reach someone by telephone because they're not home or in their office, which would be eliminated by the use of mobile phones. Heck... for some newspapers, the use of smartphone cameras by reporters has eliminated the position of staff photographer! Writers would figure out some other anchor event for their story to work today.

Cole often has characters leaving the Blue Note with Ethelbert saying goodbye to them. This episode it's "Mrs. Wheelbracker" (16:20 mark). I don't have any resources that explain where Cole gets these names either out of thin air, street names, acquaintances, co-workers, classmates, random names from a phonebook, whatever, like most authors do. For some authors, like Bill Robson, it tends to be more obvious. But Cole is a mystery.

Bar employee Walter mentioned is mentioned at 17:20. Walter is a regular character who usually works in the basement but almost never has a line of dialogue. He's often asked to retrieve something and bring it up to the bar. Grace, the waitress, is another regular who often has no lines in the story. When she does, the dialogue is brief and sometimes implies an ongoing relationship or a flirtatious one with Ethelbert.

This is a good entry in the series. Back in the reel era, this was not a commonly traded episode since it was on a mixed reel with other programs. It tended to be hard to find.

Casey 46-09-05 149 The Handkerchief.mp3
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1946-09-05 Birmingham AL News
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Post by bojim1 on 1/17/2020, 6:16 am

Thank you Greybelt!

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Post by Harlow Wilcox on 1/17/2020, 9:36 am

Thank you greybelt!
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Post by toebig on 1/17/2020, 12:25 pm

Thanks greybelt for the shows and the research.

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Post by greybelt on 1/18/2020, 8:36 am

Today's episode has never circulated in good sound. This is the best version of Duke of Skid Row I have been able to find.

ADC continuity notes (including typos; corrections in brackets)
A monocle-wearing, cultivated man, speaking with a broad Balkan accent registers as “John Smith” in a flea-bag hotel in shabby SKID ROW. He leaves the hotel one morn and has to borrow a nickel for carfare but returns later that day and hands a taxi driver a five dollar tip. Later that night the hotel owner is slugged by two characters who are after the nice cultivated man whose name is Anton but is fondly referred to as the “Duke” by the owner of the broken down hotel. When Davis, the owner comes out of it all – he finds the two men plus Anton gone – and Anton is found later very much murdered – strangely though – after he had been first tortured and then hung. From the taxi driver who had driven Anton to the hotel they find that he had come from the home of multi-millionaire Brinsley-Case, Ann and the Captain call on Brinsley who has a heart attack and falls dead after hearing that Anton is dead. The group discover a trick chair and a gold crow[n] inside of it – Casey fixes up a fake story for the Morning Express trusting the killers will read same – and fall for trap he has [s]et – they do and they are caught by the Cops – Anton was a refuge who was considered a traitor – the two killers are called stubborn royalists and had wanted the crown to return to their king.

$1 a night hotel – $11 in today’s money. Paying $5 only raised it to $55. Even bad downtown hotels are more than $55 today, often because of the tourist taxes that many municipalities have imposed over the decades.

The Duke pronounces “Smith” as “Smyth” – Cole probably wanted to emphasize that English was not his first language.

In a large city getting the same taxi driver is unlikely unless that specific driver is called (as an independent driver) or requested with the cab company, or if that driver regularly frequents the neighborhood. Where does Casey take place? We never really know as Cole blends New York and Boston constantly, and now blends in an aspect of small town living. Nowadays, the Duke may have used Uber!

Throughout Casey, Cole seems to create a generic Northeast US city; at the time of the series he was living in Mount Vernon, which is on the north border of the Bronx borough of New York City, and in later years lived in Connecticut, which became a tax haven for many higher paid broadcast personnel as they took advantage of train service into New York City. This was especially the case if, like Cole, daily commuting was not necessary. Connecticut's position as a tax haven reversed a few decades ago. The actors who were busiest lived in Manhattan for convenience in moving between the radio studios on foot, taxi, and subway, and also access to everything that Broadway offered their profession.

Cole would also be quite familiar with Boston and overall New England culture, and that would emerge into the plays now and then with the various dialects and tough-guy language of characters.

The taxi driver calls the Duke's monocle “a one winder eyeglass.” "Monocle" may not have been in his vocabulary.

After each of the World Wars, many monarchies were replaced by representative governments of one form or another, so the Duke's background would have many familiar aspects to the listeners. For more royal titles than you've ever needed go to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] As we know, it turns out the Duke was actually a Count, which is the title for someone who was the leader of a county.

Mrs. Wheelbracker is back (15:00) who seems to be looking for her husband. It sounds like a telephone conversation but there is no sound effect of Ethelbert hanging up, so she was probably exiting the Blue Note after realizing her husband was not there.

The Duke was paid $30,000 – $300,000 in today’s dollars -- for the chair. And as Casey says, it was probably worth more than that.

It is interesting that Bernard Lenrow is not being listed in the cast at this time, only Cotsworth, Woods, and Chittison. Lenrow was appearing on NBC as "Geoffrey Barnes" on Molle Mystery Theater at the time, also uncredited. Perhaps there was something contractual that prevented his identification or made it impractical since Logan was becoming a very recognizable role. Radio Spirits profiled him in 2018 on the occasion of his birthday anniversary [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]  Lenrow died at age 58 in 1963. His obituaries do not mention radio, but instead his Broadway roles, his teaching speech and acting at colleges, and his AFRA activities.

This is the PR from CBS – not sure of the date it was released, so it has the show date on it. It was probably released on July 12, a week before the broadcast. The spelling of "nickle" was acceptable then, but has since fallen out of favor, and is considered to be incorrect nowadays.
1946-09-19 CBS Press Release
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Casey 46-09-19 151 The Duke of Skid Row UPGRADE.mp3
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1946-09-19 Asheville NC Citizen Times
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1946-09-19 Decatur IL Daily Review
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1946-09-19 Des Moines IA Register
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1946-09-19 Mason City IA Globe-Gazette
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This item appeared in many papers a few days later. The series was becoming popular, and CBS was being more active in promoting it to be sure A-H was getting the audience ratings they needed.
1946-09-21 Harrisburg PA Telegraph
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Post by artatoldotr on 1/18/2020, 1:28 pm

Thanks greybelt

Best regards
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Post by Harlow Wilcox on 1/18/2020, 2:33 pm

Thank you greybelt!
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Post by bojim1 on 1/19/2020, 4:12 am

Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

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Post by greybelt on 1/19/2020, 6:53 am

Christmas Shopping is one of the more entertaining entries in the series with a lot of playful banter between Casey and Ann. It's one of the times where the program feels almost like the 1980s television series Moonlighting, without the romantic stares.

There are a lot of details to the story, and it's surprising that Cole can fit the amusing moments into a such an episode (including Ethelbert choosing a Christmas tree from a door-to-door vendor). Their presence makes me wonder if this was the result of some meetings about the show and how to increase its appeal by exploiting the relationship of Casey and Ann a bit more. These definitely make the show better and more interesting, and reminds us not to take it all so seriously, despite the crimes and occasional gruesomeness in the storylines, Casey is a pleasant getaway from the drudgery and problems of daily life. Aside from a production flaw at the end, this may be one of the series top five episodes.

ADC continuity notes (corrections in brackets)...
A year old kidnap and murder of Gregory Walters is opened when part of the $50,000 ransom money is past [passed] at a bar by Fingers Fogerty, a small time crook. Casey and Anne Williams saw fingers lifting a wallet from John Pentza. Not believing the cops theory of Fingers being the kidnapper, they locate John Pentza on the theory of Pentza knowing Fingers methods and leaves himself open to Fingers lifting his wallet, thus finding out how hot the money still is. Casey and Anne are caught by Pentza and his brother and left to suffocate, but with the aid of a ten-truck crash on their way out, and get the brothers.

This is the first time that "Ann" has an "e" at the end in Coles notes that I have found. It may have been a different typist that day transcribing the notes, because it reverts back to Ann on the next page.

The name "Pentza" is not really a last name that I can find. But "Pensa" is a common Italian family name. Cole may have spelled it this way to ensure that the actors pronounced it the exact way he wanted.

The pickpocket in the store is “Fingers Fogerty” whom Casey refers to as a “dip,” which is slang for pickpocket. It's clear that Casey knows many of these common criminals by sight and name. They know him, too, and sometimes ask for help.

The large man that Fingers picked refuses to report being a victim – and that raises Casey's suspicions that some part of having his pocket picked must have been planned! It turns out (I hope we're past the spoiler alert thing) that kidnappers were trying to determine if $50,000 in ransom money from a year ago was safe to start using without raising suspicion. They knew the money was marked, so having someone with a criminal past get it and use it might frame them while keeping the kidnappers identities unknown. They would just wait to try again another time. If the pickpocket uses the money and it is not detected, the kidnappers can finally enjoy their big score. That's more than $550,000 in today's value.

Casey does not think Fingers is capable of a big and intricate crime like a kidnapping, which is why he is skeptical. But Fingers has a record, so suspicion by the police makes sense though in the grand scheme of things though it is not logical for the type of crime.

Another character without any lines: Jake Berkin, police reporter for the Morning Express. Could be Bergen or something like that. "Fingers" doesn't have any lines either!

What does Casey says Fingers is? I can't make it out -- he says he was a "slimy little ____" at the 7:30 mark. It sounds like it starts with "sink" but I can't make out the rest. I checked some some slang dictionaries to no avail. Any ideas? Help appreciated.

Slang: "C" is $100, as in C-note. There were 5 Cs stolen in the pickpocket event -- so that's $500 (or more than $5,000 in today's dollars). "C" is from Latin centum, meaning 100, as in century, and the letter C was one of the Roman numerals.

12:20 Logan makes a joke that would not be allowed today about how the mug shot book of the women arrested make them just as ugly as the men.

14:40 Ann makes a joke in response to Casey saying he'll meet her outside her apartment in his car in 15 minutes. Ann needs more time. Ann negotiates to get a "full hour and no sooner."  Casey grumbles that he can "bathe, shave, and get into his clothes in 10 minutes." Ann explains that she needs more time saying “I put on underwear” with special emphasis on "I." This gets a chuckle from the audience. Everyone knows Casey is freewheeling and always on the unkempt side. Dialogue like this reinforces it but also indicates the difference in social status of Ann and Casey. Ann is college educated, at that time an indication of a wealthy family and upbringing, and about 25 years old. Casey is in his 40s and a crusty hardscrabble news veteran. There are points in the series when Cole wants us to develop amnesia about the age difference and that it is actually narrower.

Nick Pentza is in the mug book – because of the facial resemblance, Casey suspects Nick is brother of the large man whose pocket was picked by Fingers, whom they learn is John Pentza.

As far as the playful chatter of Casey and Ann, this episode has a marvelous exchange (starts around 16:30) in a drug store's ice cream shop. It's a reminder of a time when drug stores served food, soda, and ice cream and were not the mini-supermarkets of today. While reviewing the case, Casey and Ann choose chocolate ice cream sodas. But when it's clear that Casey's premise when questioning the soda jerk is obviously wrong she switches to raspberry. When the soda jerk asks “who gets the raspberry?” Ann says to give it to Casey. Giving someone a “razzberry” is the same as a “Bronx cheer.” This little exchange is one of the reasons that even shows with a light or very transparent plot can be so entertaining. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

At the end a little girl says “you didn't take a sip of your raspberry, Mister.” And Casey says “that's what you think, sister.” This kind of dialogue may have been what convinced Toni that the show could appeal more directly to a female audience after Anchor Hocking abandoned their sponsorship.

To jump ahead a little, the Toni shows lacked the tension and danger of the A-H shows, which would not return until the Philip Morris sponsorship began. Then the shows writing would return to its more familiar balance which would have general appeal. In the early 1940s there was concern about violence in radio and the number of murders. Cole was aware of the concern and many Casey scripts have murders but are balanced in other scripts without them, and he usually planned the series with that in mind.

17:00 The old man in the store says that Casey is looking for “Penner” which he corrects to "Pentza." The audience would have recognized as a reference to Joe Penner, which makes it humorous. The Depression-era comedian was still known at this broadcast though he had died of a heart attack in 1941 at age 36 five years before. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]  It is kind of a dark joke that Casey might be looking for someone whom everyone knew was dead. But it's used to reinforce how elderly the man was in that he was hard of hearing and that he heard the name misunderstood it as one he was familiar with from long ago.

The sound effects of the gunshots and car crash that bring the story to a close are not particularly convincing. So much of Casey is so well done and it occasionally falls so short in scenes like this. The Hollywood sound effects pros always seemed to make better crashes than the New York ones. (Excepting some of the recorded effects crashes used for YTJD which are not executed well). Car crashes are often used by Cole, so I guess we'll just have to get used to them.

The Boston dialect gets some play in the episode with a Christmas tree sales claiming that his trees are direct from Nova Scotia. He says it in an embellished dialect as “Nover Sko-tee-yer.” Nova Scotia and Boston have had a special relationship since 1917, when Boston sent volunteers to Halifax after the disastrous “Halifax Explosion” of military explosives on ships in the harbor during WW1. In 1918, the people of Nova Scotia sent a special Christmas tree to the people of Boston. The tradition was renewed in 1971 to commemorate the relationship of the cities and to promote tourism. Every year, the tree is always displayed at the Prudential Center. It's not as large as New York's famous Rockefeller Center tree, but it is quite impressive. What is not known is if the sending of the tree was common between 1918 and 1971, and was one of the reasons for the mention in the script as reflecting Boston life.
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Halifax was one of the stops on the 2019 Radio Spirits cruise -- one of the tours described the extent of the explosion and how far it reached. It was quite something... and appreciation to Boston is still expressed. Halifax is also known for taking in casualties of the Titanic, and became the site of many innovations in forensic science and record-keeping for such tragedies, many of which are still used today.

Casey 46-12-19 164 Christmas Shopping UPGRADE.mp3
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1946-12-19 Birmingham AL News
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1946-12-19 Madison WI Capital Times
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1946-12-19 Mason City IA Globe-Gazette
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Good news everyone! Crime Photographer has been renewed!
Billboard 1947-01-11
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Post by greybelt on 1/20/2020, 7:37 am

Surprising Corpse is not one of the top episodes, but it is good basic Casey. There are two copies of the recording provided. The recordings of this have never been the best with some background noise and generally muddy sound. I have tried to fix it.

The opening A-H skit involves Tony Marvin prepping his voice to sing. He did receive formal voice training early in his career and was in some small musicals at that time.

Count Leon de Gastone is murdered -- just a few episodes back we had a story about a Duke who was actually a Count in Duke of Skid Row. Leon is yet another character in a Casey story without a line of dialogue.

Funny stuff and their approximate times:
13:20 Ethelbert tells Grace to look at a woman ... we have no clue why. Grace has no line... yet.
13:58 Ethelbert starts to say "Hey, Walter..." and before he has a chance to finish the thought, Casey yells "bring up some more lemons." It's a running joke by now. Walter has no line in response.
25:30 Ann is jealous of the congratulatory kiss Casey gives to Mrs. Zaybelle; this is highlighted in the CBS press release headline in a nice play on words (see below)
28:00 Ann notices Ethelbert has lipstick on his lip... and then Grace says good night as she's walking out the door. Grace is probably a doubling by an actor in the main story.

ADC Notes (note that the summary differs in the name of the victim in the story; it was changed from Claude to Leon, which means that Cole's summary was typed before the broadcast)
Casey and Ann find themselves in the glittering setting of cafe society, to solve the case of "The Surprising Corpse." Involved are such people as Paula Durfee, a shallow and glamorous heiress; Clement Durfee, her uncle who controls the purse-strings until Paula reaches her 21st birthday, in another year. Claude deGastone, whom Paula wants to marry but whom Clement suspects of being a fortune-hunter; Mrs. Zaybelle, who conducts a mysterious business... Claude deGastone is found murdered. Paula had quarreled bitterly with him just before his death. Paula tells an amazing story to prove she is innocent - she and deGastone had plotted to make it appear he had been killed, to have an "eyewitness" accuse Paula before her Uncle Clement, and then to have the Uncle pay the eyewitness $100,000 for silence. With this money Paula and deGastone planned to be married, without waiting for her inheritance. She insists she knows nothing about the actual murder. Casey is the only person who believes her story - he begins his own investigation, which takes him into the mysterious and dangerous byways of Mrs. Zaybelle's world. In the end, he is able to name the real killer .. and frees Paula.

In today's value, that $100,000 is nearly $1.2 million! Cole certainly likes to throw some big money around for shock value with the audience. According to the Census Bureau, average family income in 1947 was $3,000, or $35,000 in today's value.

Casey 47-01-16 168 The Surprising Corpse UPGRADE
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Casey 47-01-16 168 The Surprising Corpse UPGRADE-2
This is my attempt to improve listenability. It still has defects from the original disc.
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1947-01-08 CBS Press Release
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1947-01-11 Harrisburg PA Telegraph
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1947-01-16 Madison WI Capital Times
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1947-01-16 Mason City IA Globe-Gazette
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1947-01-16 Shreveport LA Times
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Cotsworth was a very thoughtful practitioner, and he was often
asked to opine about acting, and especially acting on radio.
1947-01-17 Newport News VA Daily Press
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1947-01-19 Sioux City IA Journal
Lesley Woods was certainly getting a lot of publicity from the Casey series,
but her tenure would be ending soon, in just two months from this news item.
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Post by Harlow Wilcox on 1/20/2020, 1:16 pm

Thank you greybelt! sunny
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Post by bojim1 on 1/21/2020, 4:23 am

Thank you sir!

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Post by greybelt on 1/21/2020, 4:32 am

Gray Kitten is a mainstream Casey program with a common OTR plot of marrying someone for their riches, doing away with them for the inheritance, and then starting the process over again. It's a tired plotline, but Cole infuses it with a cat and an interesting way of committing the crime that ends up taking care of the perpetrator, instead.

Bleyer's orchestra plays a little riff that sounds like a cat's mew. Some people say the Bleyer orchestra is the cat's meow (sorry, couldn't resist).

Casey, Ann, and Logan might as well be bystanders in this episode. Their presence develops the story but they don't really solve the case... the cat does! The three of them rush in at the final scene and take credit.

This story spans about four months. Most Casey stories cover a few days.

Carlos buried the body of his first wife at Greenwood Lake, according to the story. Cole may have been familiar with the resort there at the time. It was about 50 miles northwest of where Cole lived in Mount Vernon, NY. The resort attracted some celebrities who wanted a break from New York City.

One of Cole's frequent devices is the inclusion of superstition and reincarnation in the story. Some of his familiarity with it is from his work on Witch's Tale, which was, of course, his creation.

18:55 Ethelbert tells Grace to look out and then asks Casey if he saw what she did, and then they and Ann chuckle. They never say what... no sound effect, no lines for Grace, perhaps a near miss carrying plates and glasses. It's all up to the listener's imagination.

ADC notes

Carlos' wealthy wife Hestor disappears. Hestor's sister suspects she has been murdered by Carlos and notifies police. A gray kitten with a white streak is born in Hestor's room at 8:30 the night of Hestor's disappearance. Every time Carlos sees the kitten, or the mere mention of the kitten, throws him into a state of panic... Events disclose money-mad Carlos murdered his wife and he and his girlfriedn, Vera, planned to split the money and leave town... The police have no proof of this until the end of the story, therefore, Carlos is able to go along on his own... He remarries (again, a very wealthy woman) and plans his second murder for money... He and Vera plan to get rid of the second wife, collect her money, and live happily ever after. Carlos prepares a huge trunk with a snap lock and lined with glas tubes filled with gas which automatically break when someone is inside the trunk... This is the trunk he will use in the murder of his second wife... Vera asks him to demonstrate (to be sure trunk is big enough to hold his wife) ... Carlos gets in -- at that moment a gray kitten appears on the scene (just a stray cat that walked in through the window). At the sight of the cat, Carlos and Vera becomes panicky -- Vera lets go of the lid and Carlos becomes the victim of his own plot...

Casey 47-02-06 171 The Gray Kitten.mp3
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1947-02-06 Decatur IL Herald
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1947-02-16 Cincinnati OH Enquirer
Radio critic Magee Adams did not like ending of Gray Kitten
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* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Gray or grey? This episode usually circulates as "grey," but all of the documentation and newspaper clips use "gray." So I looked it up... "gray" was the typical US spelling of the word, with "grey" used elsewhere. My sense of it is that "grey" has increased in usage in recent years.
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Last edited by greybelt on 1/21/2020, 6:07 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Harlow Wilcox on 1/21/2020, 10:42 am

Thank you Greybelt!
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