Rank #1: Agatha Christie Presents Hercule Poirot - Murder On The Links - Show One of Three (06-21-89)
Murder On The Links - Show One (Aired June 21, 1989) Hercule Poirot is a fictional Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie. Along with Miss Marple, Poirot is one of Christie's most famous and long-lived characters: he appeared in 39 novels and 50 short stories. Poirot has been portrayed on screen, for films and TV, by various actors including Albert Finney, Peter Ustinov, Ian Holm, Tony Randall, Alfred Molina and, most recently, and famously, David Suchet. Poirot was apparently born in Spa, Belgium and, based on the conjecture that he was thirty at the time of his retirement from the Belgian police force at the time of the outbreak of the First World War, it is suggested that he was born in the mid 1880s. This is all extremely vague, as Poirot is thought to be an old man in his dotage even in the early Poirot novels, and in An Autobiography Christie admitted that she already imagined him to be an old man in 1920. (At the time, of course, she had no idea she would be going on writing Poirot books for many decades to come.)
Rank #2: The New Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes - The Camberwell Poison (02-18-46)
The Camberwell Poison (Aired February 18, 1946) . According to Holmes, it was an encounter with the father of one of his classmates that led him to take up detection as a profession and he spent the six years following university working as a consulting detective, before financial difficulties led him to take Watson as a roommate, at which point the narrative of the stories begins. From 1881, Holmes is described as having lodgings at 221B Baker Street, London, from where he runs his private detective agency. 221B is an apartment up seventeen steps, stated in an early manuscript to be at the "upper end" of the road. Until the arrival of Dr. Watson, Holmes works alone, only occasionally employing agents from the city's underclass, including a host of informants and a group of street children he calls the Baker Street Irregulars. The Irregulars appear in three stories, "The Sign of the Four", "A Study in Scarlet" and "The Adventure of the Crooked Man". THIS EPISODE: February 18, 1946. Mutual network. "The Camberwell Poison". Sponsored by: Petri Wines. A family of four cousins is certain that cousin Gerald is going to murder them all and keep the inheritance. Cousin Gerald, however, is the one who's found murdered! A good story! The story is based on, "The Five Orange Pips" by Arthur Conan Doyle. Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Harry Bartell (announcer), Arthur Conan Doyle (author), Dean Fosler (music), Anthony Boucher (writer), Denis Green (writer), Edna Best (producer). 29:28. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.
Rank #3: Agatha Christie Presents Miss Marple - A Pocket Full Of Rye (Pt. 1 of 2) 11-09-53
A Pocket Full Of Rye (Pt. 1 of 2) November 9, 1953 Jane Marple, usually referred to as Miss Marple, is a fictional character appearing in twelve of Agatha Christie's crime novels. Miss Marple is an elderly spinster who acts as an amateur detective, and lives in the village of St. Mary Mead. She is one of the most famous of Christie's characters and has been portrayed numerous times on screen. Her first published appearance was in issue 350 of The Royal Magazine for December 1927 with the first printing of the short story "The Tuesday Night Club" which later became the first chapter of The Thirteen Problems (1932). Her first appearance in a full-length novel was in The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930. THIS EPISODE: November 9, 1953. "A Pocket Full Of Rye" - When a upper middle class Rex Fortescue dies while having black tea, the police are shocked. Mr. Fortescue died during his morning tea in his office and the diagnosis was that a poison, taxine - a poison found as a mixture of cardiotoxic diterpenes in the leaves, but not the berries (arils), of the European yew tree - had killed him. His wife was the main suspect in the murder, until she also was murdered, after she drank tea laced with cyanide. Her lover, Vivian Dubois, was the suspect next, as well as just about everyone that knew the family.
Rank #4: The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe - The Feminine Touch (05-07-49)
The Feminine Touch (Aired May 7, 1949) The first portrayal of Phillip Marlowe on the radio was by Dick Powell, when he played Raymond Chandler's detective on the Lux Radio Theater on June 11, 1945. This was a radio adaptation of the 1944 movie, from RKO, in which Mr. Powell played the lead. Two years later, Van Heflin starred as Marlowe in a summer replacement series for the Bob Hope Show on NBC. This series ran for 13 shows. On September 26, 1948, Gerald Mohr became the third radio Marlowe, this time on CBS. It remained a CBS show through its last show in 1951. THIS EPISODE: May 7, 1949. Program #32. CBS network. "The Feminine Touch". Sustaining. Murder on a motorcycle, as Marlowe goes to work for a millionaire trying to protect his daughter. Gerald Mohr, Barbara Eiler, Paul Dubov, David Ellis, Theodore Von Eltz, Virginia Gregg, Wilms Herbert, Roy Rowan (announcer), Peter Proust, Raymond Chandler (creator), Norman Macdonnell (producer, director), Mel Dinelli (writer), Robert Mitchell (writer), Gene Levitt (writer), Richard Aurandt (music). 29:42 Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.
Rank #5: The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes - The East End Strangler (02-28-49)
The East End Strangler (Aired February 28, 1949) According to Holmes, it was an encounter with the father of one of his classmates that led him to take up detection as a profession and he spent the six years following university working as a consulting detective, before financial difficulties led him to take Watson as a roommate, at which point the narrative of the stories begins. From 1881, Holmes is described as having lodgings at 221B Baker Street, London, from where he runs his private detective agency. 221B is an apartment up seventeen steps, stated in an early manuscript to be at the "upper end" of the road. Until the arrival of Dr. Watson, Holmes works alone, only occasionally employing agents from the city's underclass, including a host of informants and a group of street children he calls the Baker Street Irregulars. The Irregulars appear in three stories, "The Sign of the Four", "A Study in Scarlet" and "The Adventure of the Crooked Man". THIS EPISODE: February 28, 1949. Mutual network. "The Adventure Of The East End Strangler". Sponsored by: Clipper Craft Clothes. John Stanley, George Spelvin (a name traditionally used by actors who wish to remain anonymous), Cy Harrice (announcer), Basil Loughrane (producer, director), Albert Buhrman (music), Max Ehrlich (writer), Arthur Conan Doyle (creator), Ian Martin. 24:50. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.
Rank #6: Agatha Christie Presents Miss Marple - A Pocket Full Of Rye (Pt. 2 of 2) 11-09-53
A Pocket Full Of Rye (Pt. 2 of 2) Aired November 9, 1953 Miss Marple is able to solve difficult crimes not only because of her shrewd intelligence, but because St. Mary Mead, over her lifetime, has given her seemingly infinite examples of the negative side of human nature. No crime can arise without reminding Miss Marple of some parallel incident in the history of her time. Miss Marple's acquaintances are sometimes bored by her frequent analogies to people and events from St. Mary Mead, but these analogies often lead Miss Marple to a deeper realization about the true nature of a crime. Although she looks like a sweet, frail old woman, Miss Marple is not afraid of dead bodies and is not easily intimidated. She also has a remarkable ability to latch onto a casual comment and connect it to the case at hand. Miss Marple has never worked for her living and is of independent means, although she benefits in her old age from the financial support of Raymond West, her nephew (A Caribbean Mystery,1964).
Rank #7: Dragnet - The Spring Street Gang (12-01-49)
The Spring Street Gang (Aired December 1, 1949) Dragnet was a long-running radio and television police procedural drama about the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show takes its name from an actual police term, a "dragnet", meaning a system of coordinated measures for apprehending criminals or suspects. Dragnet debuted inauspiciously. The first several months were bumpy, as Webb and company worked out the program’s format and eventually became comfortable with their characters (Friday was originally portrayed as more brash and forceful than his later usually relaxed demeanor). Gradually, Friday’s deadpan, fast-talking persona emerged, described by John Dunning as "a cop's cop, tough but not hard, conservative but caring." (Dunning, 210) Friday’s first partner was Sgt. Ben Romero, portrayed by Barton Yarborough, a longtime radio actor. When Dragnet hit its stride, it became one of radio’s top-rated shows. THIS EPISODE: December 1, 1949. "The Spring Street Gang" - Program #27. NBC net. Sponsored by: Fatima, Grainger Pipe Tobacco. A gang of juveniles is hanging out on Spring Street. One of the gang members has been wounded, another is shot by a night watchman while committing a robbery. Jack Webb, Barton Yarborough. 29:14. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.
Rank #8: The Adventures Of Sam Spade - The Rowdy Dowser Caper (04-20-51)
The Rowdy Dowser Caper (Aired April 20, 1951) On the radio, Sam Spade was played by Bogart in a 1943 Screen Guild Theater production and a 1946 Academy Award Theater production. He was also played by Edward G. Robinson in a 1943 Lux Radio Theatre production. A 1946-1951 radio show called The Adventures of Sam Spade (on ABC, CBS, and NBC) starred Howard Duff (and later Steve Dunne) as "Sam Spade" and Lurene Tuttle as Spade's devoted secretary "Effie Perrine", and took a considerably more tongue-in-cheek approach to the character. George Segal played Sam Spade, Jr., son of the original, in the film spoof, The Black Bird (1975). The Black Bird was panned by both critics and audiences alike. THIS EPISODE: April 20, 1951. NBC network. "The Rowdy Dowser Caper". Sustaining. Spade travels to North Tacaloma to find $53,000 that has disappeared. Mr. Purse Snatcher is the suspect. Steve Dunne, Lurene Tuttle, William Spier (producer, director, editor), Harold Swanton (writer, who ought to be ashamed of himself), Peggy Webber, Verna Felton, Sidney Miller, Alice Wellman, Charles Smith, Nestor Paiva, Lud Gluskin (scoring), Robert Armbruster (conductor). 29:38. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.
Rank #9: My Favorite Husband - The Portrait Artist (08-06-48)
The Portrait Artist (Aired August 6, 1948) My Favorite Husband began as a radio sitcom on CBS Radio. The show starred Lucille Ball and Richard Denning as Liz and George Cooper (Liz and George Cugat in early episodes). The couple lived at 321 Bundy Drive in the ficticious city of Sheridan Falls, and were billed as "two people who live together and like it." The main sponsor was Jell-O, and an average of 3 "plugs" for Jell-O were made in each episode. The program ran from 1948 through 1951, throughout which 124 episodes were aired. The program initially portrayed the couple as being a well-to-do banker and his socially prominent wife. Shortly into the show's run, three new writers, Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Pugh, and Jess Oppenheimer took over the scripting tasks, and the characterization of the couple was altered somewhat. Along with the change of the couple's last name to Cooper, the couple was also portrayed as being more middle-class, and thus more accessible to the average listener. When Lucille Ball was asked to do a television version of the show (with Jell-O remaining as sponsor), CBS insisted on Richard Denning continuing as her co-star. However, she said that she would not do a husband-and-wife sitcom without her real-life husband Desi Arnaz being the husband.
Rank #10: The Great Gildersleeve - Leila's Returning (09-19-43)
Leila's Returning (Aired September 19, 1943) The Great Gildersleeve (1941–1957), initially written by Leonard Lewis Levinson, was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. Built around Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve, a character who had been a staple on the classic radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest success in the 1940s. Actor Harold Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in a quartet of feature films released at the height of the show's popularity. On Fibber McGee and Molly, Peary's Gildersleeve was a pompous windbag who became a consistent McGee nemesis. "You're a haa-aa-aa-aard man, McGee!" became a Gildersleeve catch phrase. THIS EPISODE: September 19, 1943. " Leila's Returning" - NBC network. Sponsored by: Kraft Parkay, Kraft Dinner. Leila Ransom is coming back to Summerfield. Gildersleeve sings, "Speak To Me Of Love." Claude Sweeten (music), Earle Ross, Harold Peary, John Whedon (writer), Ken Carpenter (announcer), Lillian Randolph, Lurene Tuttle, Richard LeGrand, Sam Moore (writer), Shirley Mitchell, Walter Tetley. 31:41. Episode Notes From The Radio Gold Index.