The Saint: A Real Gone Guy 6/2/50
The Saint was first brought to life on the radio in 1940 by Terence (aka Terrance) De Marney on Radio Athlone. It was then a five-year wait before NBC picked up the option which featured Edgar Barrier as Simon Templar, alias The Saint. In 1945, Brian Aherne took over the role when the show switched over to CBS. Then in 1947, probably the most famous Radio Saint of all-time, Vincent Price, added his golden voice to the role. Vincent Price was once quoted as saying the most difficult thing about the show was coming up with new and unique ways to get conked on the head. After a large number of episodes, Price finally left and his replacement Barry Sullivan only lasted a few episodes before the show was cancelled. It was resurrected due to public demand, with Vincent Price returning to save the day. In 1951, Tom Conway (George Sanders’ brother), of The Falcon and Sherlock Holmes fame, played The Saint for the last few episodes, with Lawrence Dobkin stepping in for a single episode when Conway was unavailable. Between 1953 and 1957, Tom Meehan starred as The Saint on Springbok Radio in South Africa with fresh Engligh-language adaptations of the original Charteris stories. These stories were so popular that many films (starring Tom Conway’s aforementioned brother, George Sanders), a successful television series starring Roger Moore as Simon Templar and one ghastly film with Val Kilmer in the title role were made. The 1997 film was deservedly panned by critics as well as by myself. The Saint returned to radio with new episodes in 1995, with Paul Rhys portraying Templar in three scripts taken directly from the original Charteris stories.
I was a communist for the FBI: The American Kremlin 6/11/52
Throughout most of the 1940’s, Matt Cvetic worked as a volunteer undercover agent for the FBI, infiltrating the Communist Party in Pittsburgh. In 1949, his testimony helped to convict several top Party members of conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. government. Cvetic sold his account to The Saturday Evening Post and it was serialized under the title I Posed as a Communist for the FBI. It later became a best-selling book. In 1951, Warner Brothers released a film based on these accounts entitled I Was A Communist For The FBI, starring with Frank Lovejoy as Cvetic. In 1952, in the midst of the Red scare of the 1950’s, the Frederick W. Ziv Company produced the syndicated radio series with the same title as the movie. It was produced without assistance from the FBI, which refused to cooperate. I Was a Communist for the FBI consisted of 78 episodes syndicated by the Frederick W. Ziv Company to more than 600 stations, including KNX in Los Angeles, California, with original episodes running from April 23, 1952 to October 14, 1953. Each episode ended with Dana Andrew’s well-remembered words, “I was a Communist for the FBI. I walk alone”.