True Crime stories (1953 - 54)
This show introduces itself succinctly… "A
series of true crime stories from the records and
newspapers of every land, from every time. Your host
each week, is Mr. Thomas Hyland- connoisseur of crime,
student of violence, and teller of murders."
Thomas Hyland is played by Lou Merrill, although you'd
never know it was an "actor" doing the part.
The great Elliott Lewis, actor, producer and director
of Suspense, Broadway is my Beat and On Stage is in
charge of this very intelligent and enjoyable show.
Lewis and his writers collected and developed true
crime stories expressly for Crime Classics.
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Thomas Hyland's delivery is measured and mild-mannered,
as if giving a college lecture. Would that all professors
were this interesting! The actors in the stories themselves
are uniformly. Sensitive orchestral scores by the
great Bernard Hermann, who did Orson
Welles' Mercury Theater old time radio show and then
Alfred Hitchcock's films, give the stories sophistication
and mood. So do the tasteful sound effects. There
is a wry, cool-blooded tone to the proceedings.
Each and every story, however bizarre, is actually
based on fact. For example, the show on the Younger
Brothers of the American West has some very interesting
background details concerning Quantrell's Raiders
and the Kansas Jayhawks. In the story of "John
Hayes, his Head, and How They Were Parted," we
hear the tale of a glassblower who blows glass perfectly
and completely surrounding the severed head of a unknown
deadman. Then it is placed in a museum where it remained
pending identification. Thus his killers were found
out by the dead man, using his head.
This show is a good companion to other old time old time radio shows that are historically-oriented, such as Cavalcade
of America, You Are
There, and American
Trail. For science and research, the shows
of the Air and Adventures
in Research are very good.