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Down These Mean Streets (Old Time Radio Detectives)

Radio Drama Podcasts

Presenting the best detectives from the Golden Age of Radio. Each week, we'll bring you an episode starring one of Old Time Radio's greatest detectives and the story behind the show. Join us for adventures of Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Johnny Dollar, and many more.

Presenting the best detectives from the Golden Age of Radio. Each week, we'll bring you an episode starring one of Old Time Radio's greatest detectives and the story behind the show. Join us for adventures of Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Johnny Dollar, and many more.


United States


Presenting the best detectives from the Golden Age of Radio. Each week, we'll bring you an episode starring one of Old Time Radio's greatest detectives and the story behind the show. Join us for adventures of Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade, Johnny Dollar, and many more.




Episode 447 – Your Police Force in Action (Dragnet)

Dragnet was an immensely popular radio, and later TV, series that entertained millions of Americans each week for over a decade. It was also strictly overseen by LAPD Chief William H. Parker, who made sure the show painted his department in the best light and glossed over its abuses of power. In the wake of calls for police reform and the systemic racism in law enforcement, it can be tough to separate the procedural storytelling elements from its role as propaganda, but we'll try as we...


Episode 446 – William’s Whodunnits (I Deal in Crime, Murder Will Out, & Barrie Craig)

William Gargan couldn't cut it as a private detective in real life, but he was terrific at playing a gumshoe on screen and on radio. We'll hear him in three old time radio mysteries. First, he's ex-sailor turned private eye Ross Dolan in I Deal in Crime in "The William A. Davis Case" (originally aired on ABC on April 5, 1946). Then, he's homicide Inspector Burke in the hybrid murder mystery-quiz show Murder Will Out. Four members of the studio audience try to solve "The Case of the Swindled...


Episode 445 – Summer Movies (Suspense & Screen Guild Theatre)

Make some popcorn for a double feature with two classic film noir dramas recreated for radio. First, Robert Ryan, Robert Mitchum, and Robert Young reprise their roles from Crossfire - a murder mystery that shines a spotlight on the horror of anti-Semitism recreated for Suspense (originally aired on CBS on April 10, 1948). Then, John Garfield and Lana Turner recreate their smoldering chemistry in James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, adapted for The Screen Guild Theatre (originally...


Episode 444 – Noses for News (Casey, Crime Photographer, Big Town, Night Beat, & Hollywood Sound Stage)

We're saluting the old time radio heroes of the fourth estate - reporters, editors, and photographers who solved the crimes they covered. We'll hear Staats Cotsworth as Casey, Crime Photographer in "Death in Lover's Lane" (originally aired on CBS on August 7, 1947). Then, the staff of the Illustrated Press hunts for a killer in "Death by Plan" from Big Town (originally aired on NBC on November 9, 1948). Frank Lovejoy is Randy Stone in Night Beat and "Wanna Buy a Story?" (originally aired on...


Episode 443 – God Save the Queen (Ellery Queen)

Six armchair detectives accept the challenge of master of mystery Ellery Queen to solve a baffling mystery before he reveals the solution. Carleton Young and Sydney Smith star as the brilliant amateur sleuth in three old time radio mysteries that present challenges in deduction to the guests in the studio and to you listening at home! We'll hear "The Adventure of the Singing Rat" (originally aired on NBC on January 9, 1943); "The Adventure of the World Series Crime" (originally aired on NBC...


Episode 442 – Fresh Basil (Sherlock Holmes & Screen Guild Theatre)

It's back to Baker Street for a belated birthday salute to Basil Rathbone, one of the great Sherlock Holmes stars of the big screen and the airwaves. We'll hear him, alongside Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson - in "The Notorious Canary Trainer" (originally aired on Mutual on April 23, 1945) and "The Case of the Out of Date Murder" (originally aired on Mutual on September 17, 1945). Then, he reunites with Bruce and joins Joan Fontaine in a Screen Guild Theatre production of Suspicion (originally...


Episode 441 – No One Else Could Love You Mohr (Philip Marlowe & The Whistler)

Gerald Mohr's voice blasted like a .45 automatic when he starred as Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe in one of radio's best hard-boiled detective dramas. But the actor could also be heard as the glib gumshoe Archie Goodwin and an amorous French teacher on Our Miss Brooks. We'll hear Mohr in a pair of Marlowe mysteries: "The Heart of Gold" (originally aired on CBS on October 24, 1948) and "The White Carnation" (originally aired on CBS on September 22, 1950). Plus, he's a murderer hiding out...


Episode 440 – A Shot of Bailey (Let George Do It & Johnny Dollar)

We're throwing an early birthday party for the great Bob Bailey, a radio legend who starred in a pair of long-running detective dramas. We'll hear him as George Valentine in "The Four-Sided Triangle" (originally aired on Mutual on March 21, 1949) and "Out of Mind" (originally aired on Mutual on May 2, 1949) from Let George Do It. Then, he's Johnny Dollar - "the man with the action-packed expense account" - in "The Markham Matter" (originally aired on CBS on November 18, 1956) and "The...


Episode 439 - The Price is Right (The Saint & Philip Morris Playhouse)

We're celebrating Vincent Price's birthday with three of his radio performances - shows that feature him as both sinner and Saint. First, he stars as Simon Templar in "Marvin Hickerson, Private Eye" (originally aired on NBC on December 3, 1950) and "Next of Kin" (originally aired on CBS on February 18, 1951). Then, he's a murderer haunted by his conscience in "Leona's Room" from The Philip Morris Playhouse (originally aired on CBS on February 25, 1949).


Episode 438 – Here’s to Hammett (Sam Spade & Suspense)

When Dashiell Hammett put pen to paper, he forever changed the genre of detective fiction. He created characters and stories that popularized the hard-boiled school, and those tales still entertain readers today. Hammett's works were adapted for successful films, television shows, and radio dramas. In this birthday salute to the author, we'll hear a pair of radio mysteries starring his master private detective Sam Spade: "The Quarter-Eagle Caper" starring Howard Duff (AFRS rebroadcast from...


BONUS - Death, Jokes, and Taxes (Fibber McGee and Molly & Abbott and Costello)

Tax Day has come and gone, and hopefully your interactions with the IRS were as smooth and painless as possible. This week, we'll hear some old time radio stars contend with the tax man. First, Fibber McGee gets a jump start on his accounting (originally aired on NBC on January 11, 1944). Then, Lou Costello has to come up with some quick cash to pay his tax bill (originally aired on NBC on March 14, 1946).


Episode 437 - Whistle a Happy Tune (The Whistler)

On May 16, 1942, listeners heard the first strange story told by The Whistler. The sinister narrator presented tales of men and women plotting and committing murder, only to see their plans undone in a final curtain twist. Bill Forman voices the Whistler in three shows that will keep you guessing: "Boomerang" (originally aired on CBS on March 11, 1946); "The Brass Ring" (originally aired on CBS on September 16, 1946); and "Return with the Spray" (originally aired on CBS on April 23, 1950)....


BONUS - At Home with the Harris Family (Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show)

We're spending time with Phil, Alice, Elliott, Julius, and the kids in a pair of shows from one of radio's best sitcoms. First, a new start time for the show causes trouble between Phil and his musicians (originally aired on NBC on September 30, 1951). Then, the kids are pressing Phil for a pool (originally aired on NBC on May 17, 1953).


Episode 436 – First Lady of Baker Street (New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes)

Without Edith Meiser, Sherlock Holmes might never have found enduring success and popularity in the United States. It was Meiser, a writer and Broadway actress, who persuaded a network and a sponsor that Holmes could be a viable radio property and she singlehandedly wrote his radio adventures for years. Along with faithful adaptations of classic stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, Meiser created her own original mysteries. In honor of her birthday, we'll hear three of those original Holmes...


BONUS - Another Side of Orson (Jack Benny Program)

When Jack Benny came down with pneumonia in the spring of 1943 and he had to miss a month of shows, an unlikely guest host stepped in to fill his shoes. For four episodes, Orson Welles poked fun at himself and joined in the jokes with Benny's gang - Mary, Phil, Dennis, Don, and Rochester - and showed off his comedy chops on one of the funniest shows of the era. We'll hear all four of those broadcasts from The Grape Nuts and Grape Nuts Flakes Program (originally aired on NBC on March 14,...


Episode 435 – Medium Welles (Campbell Playhouse & Lives of Harry Lime)

In the first part of a birthday salute to the great Orson Welles, we'll hear him co-star with My Friend Irma leading lady Marie Wilson in a screwball comedy-murder mystery from The Campbell Playhouse. They star as husband and wife private eyes in "There's Always a Woman" (originally aired on CBS on December 17, 1939). Then, Welles recreates his big screen role of Harry Lime in the continuing adventures of the international rogue of The Third Man. We'll hear "The Professor Regrets," a...


BONUS - An Apple for the Teacher (Our Miss Brooks)

The brilliant comedienne Eve Arden brought wit and charm to the role of Connie Brooks, Madison High School's favorite English teacher. She stood at the center of one of radio's best casts, and her performance makes Our Miss Brooks one of the best sitcoms of the era. In honor of her birthday, we'll hear a pair of episodes - first, there's a cafeteria boycott in the works at Madison (originally aired on CBS on March 13, 1949). Then, Miss Brooks joins her students in a summer job (originally...


Episode 434 – Diamond on the Soles of Her Shoes (Richard Diamond, Private Detective)

On April 24, 1949, radio fans met Dick Powell as Richard Diamond, Private Detective. The only radio gumshoe who wrapped up his case of the week with a song, Diamond was one of the best sleuths to come out of the radio era thanks to scripts from Blake Edwards and the smooth, polished performance of Powell - an actor who could play both comedy and crime drama. We'll hear three episodes of the series: "The John Blackwell Case" (originally aired on NBC on December 17, 1949); "The Martin White...


BONUS - Oscar Night (Lux Radio Theatre)

With the Academy Awards ceremony right around the corner, we'll hear a classic Hollywood comedy recreated for radio. My Man Godfrey picked up six Oscar nominations along with critical acclaim and box office success in 1936. When The Lux Radio Theatre dramatized the film (originally aired on CBS on May 9, 1938), stars William Powell, Carole Lombard, Gail Patrick, and Mischa Auer were joined by David Niven for the story of a bum who becomes a butler overnight and starts a new life with a...


Episode 433 – Matrimonial Mayhem (Thin Man, Mr. and Mrs. North, & Adventures of the Abbotts)

We're joining three pairs of husband and wife sleuthing teams as they mix date nights with dead bodies. First, Nick and Nora Charles solve "The Case of the Suspicious Hangover" on The Adventures of the Thin Man (AFRS rebroadcast from October 6, 1944). Then, Pam and Jerry receive an "Invitation to Murder" on Mr. and Mrs. North (AFRS rebroadcast from February 27, 1946). Finally, insurance investigator Pat and wife Jean investigate the mystery behind "The Rickshaw-Red Lipstick" (AFRS...