Friday, March 28, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FRANK LOVEJOY. The extremely talented character actor was born on this day in 1912 and died in 1962. Lovejoy was a familiar face in many, many films and was a hell of a good actor. You can see him in the Vincent Price 3-D spookfest HOUSE OF WAX, the film noir classic IN A LONELY PLACE and the very fine Ida Lupino-directed B-noir THE HITCH-HIKER. However, as good as these films are, I will always think of Frank Lovejoy as the star of the old radio show NIGHT BEAT -- one of my favourite radio dramas -- as Chicago Star reporter Randy Stone. This radio show had a strong noir flavour but it wasn't a "detective" show. Randy Stone was a reporter who covered the night beat -- in other words, he trawled around Chicago all night long looking for stories and stopped when the sun came up. While this doesn't really sound like my kind of show, I can tell you it captivated me the first time I heard it and quickly became a favourite. There are episodes available on tape and cd but
And they're all public domain. The writing for this 50's radio show was extremely good and holds up even now. Some episodes are tinged with crime, some are human interest stories which are actually INTERESTING (imagine that) and there are even some with a sprinkling of the supernatural. I can't recommend this radio show highly enough. Off the top of my head, I can recommend the episodes "The Night is a Weapon", "Number 13", "The Devil's Bible", "City at Your Fingertips", "The Black Cat" and "The Hunter Becomes the Hunted" as shows I remember fondly from the days when I recorded them off of WCAU AM radio in the 80's when they used to have a nightly "old time radio" programme. That's when I first heard the show and I've been a fan ever since.

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