Mystery Theater recommendations?
December 15, 2010 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Trying to separate the wheat from the chaff in the world of Mystery Theater.

I love old radio mysteries, and recently discovered that hundreds of episodes are available for free via iTunes and other sites. (On iTunes, for example, one can subscribe to and download from "Mystery Theater," "Old Time Radio Mysteries," "Old Time Radio Mystery Theater," and "Old Time Radio Thrillers.")

My problem is that the quality is hugely uneven, both in terms of the recording quality and the script.

Does anyone have suggestions for which series are well done? Or is there a blog with recommendations? There are too many available to list, but some that appear are: Rogue's Gallery; Casey Crime Photographer; Molle Mystery Theater; Nightbeat; The Falcon; Candy Matson; Case Dismissed; A Case for Dr. Morelle; The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; The Secrets of Scotland Yard; The Whisperer; Mystery Theater with a number; Nick Carter; and on and on and on. (Seriously, that is a random list that is only a small portion of what is available.)

I like witty dialogue and I like there to be at least one decent female character.
posted by ClaudiaCenter to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I love Candy Matson -- but mostly because of its "strong" female character who is very much an out-dated model of what a strong female character should be according to male radio writers in the late 40s/early 50s.

She lives in San Francisco and her side-kick/buddy is a very gay (or at least as gay as someone could be on the radio in 1949) former alcoholic named Rembrandt WATSON (get it?) And, of course, she has a sometimes-boyfriend who is a police detective who she always wants to get to take the relationship to the next level (because, of course, even awesome lady detectives want to get married) and he is, equally stereotypically, clueless to her hinting. This, however, doesn't stop her from having many other male suitors along the way.

In spite of the stereotypes, or perhaps, embarrassingly, because of them, I think the episodes I've heard are pretty enjoyable.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:07 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I really enjoyed the Paul Temple radio series. Very silly plots; Paul Temple and his wife, Steve, both (I think?) mystery writers, jet-set all over London and beyond solving highly unlikely crimes. Paul and Steve are sort of somewhere in between and Nick and Nora Charles and Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane. Or at least I think that's what they were going for. Paul Temple says "By Timothy!" a lot.

I heard a bunch of them on the BBC iPlayer a couple of years ago and I don't think they're available there anymore but if you run across them somewhere, check them out!
posted by mskyle at 12:50 PM on December 15, 2010

Best answer: Suspense had a very tight run from 1951 to 1956, the production tenure of the inventive Elliot Lewis. You can find his episodes here, starting with "True Report."

Not all of these shows will feature strong female characters, but you can probably pick out those that do by scanning this list of episodes and guest stars. Look for Lana Turner, Ida Lupino, Rosalind Russell...
posted by Iridic at 1:54 PM on December 15, 2010

Best answer: I'm not much a judge of quality, but to at least give you a bigger pool to pick from, please check out Old Time Radio Network. There are about 6K episodes, including Suspense, Lights Out, Inner Sanctum, orson Welles' Mercury Theater, The Whistler, The Saint, Charlie Chan. All free.
posted by timsteil at 3:22 PM on December 15, 2010

Response by poster: Sorry I left you all hanging here -- I ended up specifically looking for Candy Matson and also Nick Carter. I used iTunes and some of the links here. Still muddling through but enjoying!
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:57 PM on December 19, 2010

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