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Undercover in Old Time Radio

Working Undercover is filled with danger, but it can be the only way for the Cops to get the Bad Guys

Undercover

31 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 12 hours, 35 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
or
14 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from October 26, 1953:

"Dragnet - Big Fraud"



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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2022 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

One of the most popular tropes from cop movies and police procedural TV Shows explores the perils of the Undercover Operative. A cop working undercover faces many unique and dangerous challenges, both of the physical as well as moral and legalistic ones.

Undercover work certainly runs contrary to the expected operations of a legitimate Police Force in a Democratic Society. Cops have to follow the rules (even if the Bad Guys get to ignore them) and working Undercover seems to skirt, even ignore those rules. While attempting to infiltrate a Criminal Organization, a straight-laced Cop might have to break the Law in order to enforce it.

Undercover

Although Undercover Operations are a popular part of Police Fiction, Undercover Cops have been around nearly as long as there have been Uniformed Cops. Sir Robert Peel formed the Metropolitan Police of London ("Scotland Yard") in 1829, and from the beginning, the Yard made occasional use of Plain Clothed Detective Officers. The public raised an outcry against the use of Plainclothes men, fearing they would be employed in Political Suppression.

The New York City Police Department formed the Italian Squad in 1906 to combat Organized Criminals and Intimidation Rackets in the city's poorer Immigrant neighborhoods. The success of the Italian Squad inspired Charles Joseph Bonaparte, Attorney General under Teddy Roosevelt, to form the Bureau of Investigation, a forerunner of the modern FBI.

There are some obvious risks involved in Under Cover Operations, all of which can be played for effect in the fictional setting. The most obvious is that the officer, by working in disguise closely in a criminal organization is putting his head in the lion's mouth. To have his identity discovered by the bad guys will swiftly result in a dead cop.

A subtler danger to the operator is that he may be forced to engage in illegal activities as a means of maintaining his cover. A certain degree of prosecutorial immunity may be granted to the officer who is "just doing his job" of investigating the Bad Guys, but Cops are trained to stop crooks, not to become an outlaw. The actions necessary to maintain cover often present legal and moral quandaries.

It is important to distinguish between Undercover Work and Plainclothesmen or Detectives. Although the Police Uniform is a symbol of authority, often a senior officer will be more effective in his duties while wearing civilian attire. These detectives make no secret that they are acting for and with the full support of their Departments, whereas the Undercover Man can only depend upon his wits and experience.

As popular as Undercover Cops were in TV and Movies of the Sixties and early Seventies, they appeared on the Radio in the early Thirties. The popular West Coast Procedural Drama Calling All Cars focused on Uniformed Patrol Officers but frequently looked at Undercover Operatives. The Cold War drama, I Was a Communist for the FBI has its main character, Matt Cvetic constantly infiltrating the Nation's hidden enemies undercover at great danger. Plainclothes Detective Sergeant Joe Friday of Jack Webb's Dragnet showed the need for Departmental support on many Undercover operations.

  • This Is Your FBICalling All Cars, March 5, 1935, "Undercover Woman". Agent Madge Travers got hooked on Morphine when she was in the hospital but managed to beat the habit. There are reports that a pair of Chileans are in town to unload a stash of dope and Agent Madge Travers is ready to bring them down, but the waters she is swimming in are about to get very hot. The Dope Peddlers have long and vengeful memories. CAUTION: This episode contains Racist Portrayals. 
  • Suspense, November 23, 1943, "The Strange Death of Charles Umberstein".  The great Vincent Price plays an Allied Spy working in Berlin who has risen to a responsible position in a Nazi munitions factory. His cover is perfect, but he can feel the pincers of the Gestapo about to close. Where has he gone wrong? Perhaps, his cover is not as perfect as he believes.
  • This is Your FBI, August 17, 1951, "The Bogus Hijacking". Working Undercover means that Agents may face uncomfortable conditions while facing down our common enemy, the American Criminal.
  • Dragnet, October 27, 1951, "The Big Fraud". A gang of grifters is running a 'sweet scam'. The 'Mark' is spotted coming in on the morning train, one of them gets friendly with the Mark and puts him in a compromising position, then the rest of the gang swoops in disguised as cops. Naturally, Sergeant Joe Friday goes undercover to bring down the conmen.

See also: Espionage, Spies, and Secrets Agents of Old Time Radio Collection.  For more spies and undercover types, you can also see The Silent Men, Spy Catcher, Cloak and Dagger, Counterspy - David Harding!, Dangerous Assignment, The Adventures of Frank Race, Top Secret, Harry Lime (The Third Man),Secret Agent K7 Returns, and I Was a Communist for the FBI.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2022 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    31 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00. Total playtime 12 hours, 35 min
    31 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 12 hours, 35 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    1. 31 shows - total playtime 12 hours 35 minutes
    2. Bob And Ray 600107 139 Al Flaming.mp3
    3. Bob Barkley Undercover Agent 460000 Tyler Fore.mp3
    4. Calling All Cars 350305 Undercover Woman.mp3
    5. Calling All Cars 380602 Greasy Trail.mp3
    6. Challenge Of Yukon 490209 Sergeant Preston Faces Death.mp3
    7. Challenge Of Yukon 501030 Undercover.mp3
    8. Dick Tracy 440504 0299 Espionage Circus Jr Gone Undercover.mp3
    9. Dragnet 510531 Big Bindle.mp3
    10. Dragnet 530208 Big Press.mp3
    11. Dragnet 531027 Big Fraud.mp3
    12. Dragnet 540629 Big Chick.mp3
    13. Dragnet 550301 Big Set Up.mp3
    14. Dragnet 550823 Big Blonde.mp3
    15. Federal Agent 440919 21 Sabotage In Canada.mp3
    16. Firefighters 491222 029 Tim Undercover As Bum To Catch Boys .mp3
    17. Firefighters 491222 029 Tim Undercover As Bum To Catch Boys.mp3
    18. Forbidden Cargo 08 Black Book.mp3
    19. Ghost Squad Undercover Man 731228.mp3
    20. IWCF 520820 18 Red Record.mp3
    21. IWCF 521001 24 Pennies From Dead.mp3
    22. Iwcf 521105 29 No Second Chance.mp3
    23. Jimmie Allen 370000 1046 Looking Over Wreckage.mp3
    24. Let George Do It 520107 School Of Sharks.mp3
    25. Meet Press 611231 Allen W Dulles.mp3
    26. Mgm Theater Of Air 500728 40 Public Hero Number One.mp3
    27. Police Headquarters 320000 Episode 09 Wagner Hotel Murder.mp3
    28. Screen Guild Theater 490106 408 Notorious.mp3
    29. Sh 460204 Indescretion Of Mr. Edwards.mp3
    30. Suspense 431123 Strange Death Of Charles Umberstein.mp3
    31. Taos 460506 1283 Hate Mongers Organization Pt 15.mp3
    32. This Is Your Fbi 510817 333 Bogus Hijacking.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    31 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00. Total playtime 12 hours, 35 min
    31 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 12 hours, 35 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    1. 31 shows - total playtime 12 hours 35 minutes
    2. Bob And Ray 600107 139 Al Flaming.mp3
    3. Bob Barkley Undercover Agent 460000 Tyler Fore.mp3
    4. Calling All Cars 350305 Undercover Woman.mp3
    5. Calling All Cars 380602 Greasy Trail.mp3
    6. Challenge Of Yukon 490209 Sergeant Preston Faces Death.mp3
    7. Challenge Of Yukon 501030 Undercover.mp3
    8. Dick Tracy 440504 0299 Espionage Circus Jr Gone Undercover.mp3
    9. Dragnet 510531 Big Bindle.mp3
    10. Dragnet 530208 Big Press.mp3
    11. Dragnet 531027 Big Fraud.mp3
    12. Dragnet 540629 Big Chick.mp3
    13. Dragnet 550301 Big Set Up.mp3
    14. Dragnet 550823 Big Blonde.mp3
    15. Federal Agent 440919 21 Sabotage In Canada.mp3
    16. Firefighters 491222 029 Tim Undercover As Bum To Catch Boys .mp3
    17. Firefighters 491222 029 Tim Undercover As Bum To Catch Boys.mp3
    18. Forbidden Cargo 08 Black Book.mp3
    19. Ghost Squad Undercover Man 731228.mp3
    20. IWCF 520820 18 Red Record.mp3
    21. IWCF 521001 24 Pennies From Dead.mp3
    22. Iwcf 521105 29 No Second Chance.mp3
    23. Jimmie Allen 370000 1046 Looking Over Wreckage.mp3
    24. Let George Do It 520107 School Of Sharks.mp3
    25. Meet Press 611231 Allen W Dulles.mp3
    26. Mgm Theater Of Air 500728 40 Public Hero Number One.mp3
    27. Police Headquarters 320000 Episode 09 Wagner Hotel Murder.mp3
    28. Screen Guild Theater 490106 408 Notorious.mp3
    29. Sh 460204 Indescretion Of Mr. Edwards.mp3
    30. Suspense 431123 Strange Death Of Charles Umberstein.mp3
    31. Taos 460506 1283 Hate Mongers Organization Pt 15.mp3
    32. This Is Your Fbi 510817 333 Bogus Hijacking.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    31 recordings on 14 Audio CDs. Total playtime 12 hours, 35 min
    31 recordings on 14 Audio CDs
    total playtime 12 hours, 35 min

    Undercover Disc A001

    1. Forbidden Cargo 08 Black Book
    2. Police Headquarters 320000 Episode 09 Wagner Hotel Murder

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A002

    1. Calling All Cars 350305 Undercover Woman
    2. Jimmie Allen 370000 1046 Looking Over Wreckage

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A003

    1. Calling All Cars 380602 Greasy Trail
    2. Suspense 431123 Strange Death Of Charles Umberstein

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A004

    1. Dick Tracy 440504 0299 Espionage Circus Jr Gone Undercover
    2. Federal Agent 440919 21 Sabotage In Canada
    3. Bob Barkley Undercover Agent 460000 Tyler Fore

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A005

    1. Sh 460204 Indescretion Of Mr. Edwards
    2. Taos 460506 1283 Hate Mongers Organization Pt 15
    3. Screen Guild Theater 490106 408 Notorious

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A006

    1. Challenge Of Yukon 490209 Sergeant Preston Faces Death
    2. Firefighters 491222 029 Tim Undercover As Bum To Catch Boys
    3. Firefighters 491222 029 Tim Undercover As Bum To Catch Boys

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A007

    1. Mgm Theater Of Air 500728 40 Public Hero Number One

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A008

    1. Challenge Of Yukon 501030 Undercover
    2. Dragnet 510531 Big Bindle

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A009

    1. This Is Your Fbi 510817 333 Bogus Hijacking
    2. Let George Do It 520107 School Of Sharks

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A010

    1. IWCF 520820 18 Red Record
    2. IWCF 521001 24 Pennies From Dead

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A011

    1. Iwcf 521105 29 No Second Chance
    2. Dragnet 530208 Big Press

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A012

    1. Dragnet 531027 Big Fraud
    2. Dragnet 540629 Big Chick

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A013

    1. Dragnet 550301 Big Set Up
    2. Dragnet 550823 Big Blonde
    3. Bob And Ray 600107 139 Al Flaming
    4. Meet Press 611231 Allen W Dulles

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Undercover Disc A014

    1. Ghost Squad Undercover Man 731228

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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