Raymond Chandler’s celebrated hard-boiled private eye, Philip Marlowe, made his radio debut in 1945 on the Lux Radio Theatre with “Murder, My Sweet,” starring Dick Powell. Two years later, NBC brought the character to the air in his own weekly series starring Van Heflin, The New Adventures of Philip Marlowe. A summer replacement for The Bob Hope Show, the series was short-lived, ending September 9, 1947. CBS revived it in 1948 with The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, starring Gerald Mohr. With producer/director Norman MacDonnell at the helm, the series captured the largest audience in radio by 1949. Scripts were by Gene Levitt, Robert Mitchell, Mel Dinelli, and Kathleen Hite. While Chandler’s distinctive similes were largely lacking, the strong, dry, sarcastic narration was there, and the way Mohr delivered his lines made you forget they weren’t written by Chandler. Supporting Mohr were radio’s best, including Howard McNear, Parley Baer, Lawrence Dobkin, Virginia Gregg, and Lou Krugman. One of the best detective shows on the air at the time, it lasted until 1951.
“Red Wind” (aired September 26, 1948): In the first show in the CBS series, Marlowe finds himself dealing with dames, bullets, and a double cross.“The Persian Slippers” (aired October 3, 1948): Marlowe tries to find a woman who has left her husband and disappeared.“The Panama Hat” (aired October 10, 1948): Marlowe becomes involved with a gambling debt, an attempted murder, a kidnapping, a redheaded Dragon Lady, and the mysterious man in the Panama hat.“The Heart of Gold” (aired October 24, 1948): A $50 bill in advance and a heart-shaped locket lead to an apparent suicide and an old secret.“The Hard Way Out” (aired November 28, 1948): Murder at the Quigg & Slater Construction Company, and a surprising amount of luxury on $175 a week!“The Restless Day” (aired January 8, 1949): An inventor killed in an explosion aboard his yacht hires Marlowe to find his killer!“The Black Halo” (aired January 15, 1949): Marlowe is hired to find the missing Julia Perry. Murder and a suicide complicate the case and add a surprise ending.“The Orange Dog” (aired January 22, 1949): Multiple murders and a strange Chinese statuette lead Marlowe down a trail of violence and counterfeiter’s plates.“The Easy Mark” (aired January 29, 1949): Marlowe is hired to find a blackmailer but must soon solve a murder.“The Long Rope” (aired February 5, 1949): Marlowe gets involved with a man with a bad heart, a cash register receipt, a corpse, and $30,000!“The Green Flame” (aired March 26, 1949): Marlowe must solve a murder in Hollywood and thwart a blackmailer.“Mexican Boat Ride” (aired July 30, 1949): A girl who hated the water took a boat ride to old Mexico.
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