Herb Lytton, The Voice of FATE

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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Fibber McGee & Molly and Boston Blackie

Chester Morris as Boston Blackie
Fibber McGee and Molly was an American comedy series which maintained its popularity over decades. It premiered on NBC in 1935 and continued until its demise in 1959. Jim and Marian Jordan, real-life husband and wife, met when they were their teens, married in 1918 and stayed together until Marian’s death in 1961. For station WMAQ in Chicago, beginning in April 1931, the Jordans and their writer Donald Quinn created Smackout, a 15-minute daily program which centered on a general store and its proprietor, Luke Grey (Jim), a storekeeper with a penchant for tall tales and a perpetual dearth of whatever his customers wanted: He always seemed “smack out of it.” Marian Jordan portrayed both a lady named Marian and a little girl named Teeny, as well as playing musical accompaniment on piano. During the show’s run, Marian Jordan voiced a total of 69 different characters in it. Smackout was picked up by NBC in April 1933 and broadcast nationally until August 1935.
The Fibber McGee & Molly show made good use of running gags, probably the most well remembered being McGee’s junk-filled closet, the contents of which always crashed down on anyone that happened to open the door.
This show, Big Money for Old Books, centers around Fibber’s Horatio Alger collection and originally aired 2/17/1948.

Boston Blackie: Polly Morrison’s Gun Collection
After several months of shows, I thought it was time to “come home” and present home town-guy Boston Blackie on the Matinee. Boston Blackie is old, much older than even the radio and film series which many of us have seen and heard. The original tales of Blackie were written by Jack Boyle in the early 20th Century. “The Price of Principle” was a short story in the July 1914 issue of The American Magazine. Boyle’s character also turned up in Cosmopolitan. In 1917, Redbook published the novelette “Boston Blackie‚Äôs Mary,” and the magazine brought the character back with “The Heart of the Lily” (February, 1921). Boyle’s stories were collected in the book Boston Blackie (1919), which was reprinted in 1979 by Gregg Press. There were even early film adaptations of the stories done in the silent era. Columbia Films revived the Boston Blackie film series in 1941 with a 58 minute story starring Chester Morris, who plays Blackie in our show tonight. The radio series began in 1944 as a summer replacement for Amos & Andy on NBC. It was revived on Mutual (starring Richard Kollmar) in April of 1945 and ran until 1949. But even then, Blackie was not finished as the show was developed into a television series in 1951 which ran for 58 episodes. As late as 2009, Boston Blackie is still thrilling audiences, this time in Graphic novel format. Boston Blackie: Bloody Shame (Moonstone Noir) by Stefan Petrucha (Author), Kirk Van Wormer (Illustrator), Chris Burnham (Illustrator) is available today at many bookstores and online. This episode originally aired on July 28th, 1944.

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