Lighthearted New York Gangster series
(1948 - early 50s)
In his book "Glenn Miller & His Orchestra",
George Simon wrote of Glenn Miller, "His favorite
author was Damon Runyon." Damon Runyan? He created
a little world of characters that live on even today
in the classic movie "Little Miss Marker,"
with Shirley Temple, and the Broadway and movie hits
Guys and Dolls, with Runyan's world as interpreted
by Abe Burrows for the stage.
"Broadway" takes the listener with him
to the inside world of some the Big Apple's toughest,
but yet charming perpetrators. John Brown is great
as Broadway, playing him as both a narrator and friend.
Solid radio professionals played the regular characters
on the show with the strange sounding names. There
was Harry the Horse, Dave the Dude (William Conrad,
Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke),
and Sorrowful Jones (Gerald Mohr, Philip
Marlowe.) Anne Whitfield played Little Miss
Marker. Occasional parts were taken by well-known
actors like Frank Lovejoy (Nightbeat,)
Jeff Chandler (Mr. Boynton on Our
Miss Brooks), Hans Conried and Parley Baer
(Chester on Gunsmoke.)
Damon Runyan was the master of the slang of this gangsterish
style, wherein each sentence carries with it a formality
that is often hilarious. Especially as we're dealing
with gangsters instead of diplomats. Some stories
are sweet and funny, some not so sweet, since these
characters inhabit a world where the palooka sometimes
get lucky, but as often takes the necessary dive.
If you like your crime with a grin, then you might
want to call Sam Spade,
or The Saint.