Diary Of Fate and Mr. Keen, Tracer of lost Persons

Herb Lytton, The Voice of FATE

Herb Lytton, The Voice of FATE

The Diary of Fate was broadcast over KECA, an ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, which began broadcasting the show on September 6, 1947 and aired thirty-eight episodes through May 22, 1948. KECA originated Diary of Fate from its studios. Herb Lytton was the heavy handed host Fate, a somewhat sinister sounding character who delights in emphasizing how he manipulates events to force characters in the show to make life changing choices, usually the wrong ones thereby assuring their ultimate downfall. There are only thirty-eight known titles for Diary of Fate, with only twenty-four of those titles in current circulation. Many well known radio actors performed on the show including Hal Sawyer, Frank Albertson, Gloria Blondell, Jerry David Ellis, Lurene Tuttle, Lawrence Dobkin, Daws Butler, William Johnstone and Lou Krugman.
This episode, The Marvin Thomas Entry, originally aired June 8, 1948.

Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons was one of radio’s longest running shows airing from October 12, 1937 to April 19, 1955, continuing well into the television era. It was produced by Frank and Anne Hummert. The sponsors included Whitehall Pharmacal (as in Anacin, Kolynos Toothpaste, BiSoDol antacid mints, Hill’s cold tablets and Heet liniment), Dentyne, Aerowax, RCA Victor and Chesterfield cigarettes. It aired on the NBC Blue network until 1947, when it switched to CBS. With 1690 nationwide broadcasts, Mr. Keen was the most resilient private detective in a namesake role. The nearest competitors were Nick Carter, Master Detective (726 broadcasts), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (657) and The Adventures of the Falcon (473). However, only 59 of those 1690 Mr. Keen programs are known to exist. The cliches, stereotypes and simplistic dialogue of the show provided much fodder for Bob and Ray’s memorable parody, Mr. Trace, Keener Than Most Persons, broadcast in numerous variations. It was also satirized by Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis in Mad’s fifth issue as “Kane Keen!”
The character of Mr. Keen was referenced by Alfred Hitchcock in one of his television shows. Mr. Keen is also mentioned in the stage version of Bye Bye Birdie by the character Mr. Harry MacAfee, who was played by Paul Lynde.


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