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Newspaper Dicks and Reporters in Old Time Radio


A society is usually driven by the politicians, industrialists, celebrities, and leaders who make things happen. Ideally, these forces work to better the lives of society's smaller figures, the down-trodden, the widows, orphans, working folks, and other ordinary people, but that is not always the case.

Sadly, things do not always work that way. However, one of the best ways to ensure that the powerful work for the best of all people is the exercise of a Free Press. Exposing wrong-doing to the light of day is not a sure way to correct or prevent it, but it certainly helps!

Newspaper reporters seem like an unlikely source for an Old Time Radio hero, but crusading reporters, in fact, take on aspects of white-hatted cowboys or grizzled Hard-Boiled Detectives. Detectives have more in common with heroic reporters; both seek the truth, both are seen as the enemy of bad guys who have something to hide, and neither have the best relationship with Law Enforcement even when their goals align.

The correlation between newsmen and the cowboys are not as obvious but includes the fact that both figures are mostly mythical. Defending freedom may inspire newsmen to get into the business, but as their careers progress they succumb to the temptations of increasing fame and success.


Big Town
Big Town
The immortal Edward G. Robinson is the hero of Big Town, as the managing editor of the local Illustrated News, Steve Wilson. The program revolves around the importance and the defense of the Freedom of the Press, which Wilson sees as a "Firey Sword". Wilson uses that sword to fight for justice and to stand up for all the "little guys" who are the heart and soul of Big Town.

Casey Crime Photo
Casey Crime Photographer
Often grouped with the Hard-Boiled Detectives, Casey, Crime Photographer generally has a more positive attitude about the world he inhabits. That world is sufficiently dark, with plenty of crime, a smokey hangout in the Bluenote Jazz Club, and the seedy side of the city. However, Casey's world is brightened by his pretty girl-reporter sidekick, the lovely Ann Williams, and the photographer's undeniable sense of right and wrong. Casey and Ann are not able to help everyone they encounter on their nighty rounds, but that doesn't keep them from trying.


Dashiell Hammett Collection
Widely thought of as "the grandfather of the Hard-Boiled Detective Genre", Dashiell Hammett was a controversial figure. His early writing gained popularity for its stark details based on his experiences as a Pinkerton Detective agent. The characters of the Continental Op and Sam Spade resonate with fans of Detective fiction. During WWII, Hammett served in the Aleutian Campaign where he edited a military newspaper. However, his radical and left-leaning past doomed his career during the early Cold War Red Scare.

Douglas of the World
Douglas of the World
Jack Moyles plays Brad Douglas, a globe-trotting foreign correspondent for The New York World newspaper in Douglas of the World. Produced by AFRS for a Military Audience in the aftermath of the Korean Conflict, Douglas seems to prioritize spreading "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" in a Cold War world than he is in getting the story, but It is usually a good story, nonetheless.Douglas of the WorldDouglas of the WorldJack Moyles plays Brad Douglas, a globe-trotting foreign correspondent for The New York World newspaper in Douglas of the World. Produced by AFRS for a Military Audience in the aftermath of the Korean Conflict, Douglas seems to prioritize spreading "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" in a Cold War world than he is in getting the story, but It is usually a good story, nonetheless.

European Confidential
Europe Confidential
Newspapermen are trained to gather information, and they are expected to turn up in unexpected places. This makes them great spies, which is the basis for Europe Confidential. Reporter Mike Connoy, played by Lionel Murton, writes a column for the Paris edition of an American paper and solves "the World's Greatest Mysteries" with a good deal of flair and creativity. Syndicated by the Herny Alan Towers Company, one of the show's hooks was to hire the great Basil Rathbone as host. It is well known that Rathbone was trying to shake the type-casting of years playing Sherlock Homes, but Confidential probably paid him a decent amount for not a lot of work.

Green Hornet
Green Hornet
Follow the "Flight of the Bumblebee", The Green Hornet, and his side kick, fierce fighter, skilled driver, and all around best pal Kato for even exciting listening.  Green Hornet's alter ego Britt Reid was a wealthy young publisher of the Daily Sentinel newspaper by day and crime fighter by night!

Front Page Farrell
Front Page Farrell
Most OTR Newspapermen are lightly disguised Hard-Boiled Detectives who use typewriters instead of snub-nosed revolvers, but Front Page Farell from the "Hummert Radio Factory" uses a different model. David Farrell is the Star reporter for the New York Eagle. Rather than depending solely on his own hard-nosed news instincts, Farrell is aided by his beautiful wife, Sally. This adds a Soap Opera element to the Journalistic action.

Night Beat
Frank Lovejoy was such a straight-shooter that we could tell how square-jawed and handsome he was just from the radio. Although he was typecast as a tough guy, he always played the characters with a sympathetic humanity. In Night Beat he plays a jaded yet optimistic reporter who looks for and finds stories in Chicago's seedy underbelly in the dark hours between midnight and the dawn. As Randy Stone, Lovejoy brought to life a "thinking man's investigator" who found surprisingly tender moments in the cracks of the hardened city streets.

Will Rogers
Rogers of The Gazette

Take your boots off and sit a spell with these heart warming old time radio stories starring Will Rogers Jr.

Night Editor
The Night Editor
The city room of a busy city newspaper is the setting for this collection of stories told by a battered old night editor to a fresh-faced reporter. Part of Night Editor's genius is the fact that Hal Burdick plays all the voices in the stories. The stories are generally of the heart-warming sort and have little to do with the 1946 B-Grade noir thriller that took the show's title.

Shorty Bell
Shorty Bell, Cub Reporter
One of the few MGM Child Stars to actually thrive under the pressures of Stardom, Mickey Rooney was everywhere in Showbiz. He also became one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood, so when he made a foray into radio the project was bound to be top-notch. Shorty Bell, Cub Reporter was the story of a vet who was determined to go into the Newspaper business, just like his old man. Rather than starting by setting the newsroom afire, Shorty begins in distribution, but he soon goes beyond delivering the news to making it. Shorty Bell only lasted for three months, but what a three months it was!

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