Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Old-Time Radio Theme Month, Day 2: "Drury's Bones"

Today's Halloween-themed offering is an episode of Suspense: "Drury's Bones," from January 25, 1945. It's the story of an amnesia victim who becomes a Scotland Yard detective. After years of service, he investigates what could be an old murder case and suddenly finds his memories returning.

It isn't a terribly complicated piece of radio drama, but it stands out for one reason: the starring player, Boris Karloff! Karloff's cultured voice adds depth to any role and even hints at menace where another actor (say, frequent Suspense star Herbert Marshall) wouldn't have succeeded. When I heard this program for the first time as a teenager in the 1990s, my imagination was working frantically to predict where this story was going, mainly because Karloff's presence suggested something truly terrifying.

You can download a copy of this radio show from archive.org here.


Tony said...

Old-time radio is TOTES AWESOME!

I distinctly remember "Drury's Bones." Maybe not the best old-time radio show that Karloff ever did, but it's still a lot of fun.

A few weeks ago, I had a terrible headache and couldn't do anything but lay in the dark with my eyes closed, but I found an archive of old-time radio shows and I listened to "Fort Laramie," "Box 13," "Philip Marlowe,"The Spike Jones Show" (with Peter Lorre!) and "X Minus 1." And that reminds me, I fell asleep listening to "The Whistler" and I meant to go back and listen again!

I have so many favorites! There's "Nightbeat," and "Tales of the Texas Rangers" and "Sam Spade" and Dimension X" and "Jack Benny" and "Burns and Allen."

But I'll probably listen to "Box 13" again because the secretary trips me out. And I'm trying to find the episode with Orson Wells and John Carradine just to make sure I didn't dream it.

Michael Hoskin said...

Hello Tony! I'm always glad to chat with fellow OTR enthusiasts!

I lean towards the "weird" shows (Suspense, Inner Sanctum, Quiet Please, X Minus One), but I have a lot of time for Jack Benny & Sam Spade too. All the shows you mention have their moments, even a syndicated beast like Box 13.

When I started out as a fan, I often mistook Paul Frees for Orson Welles; perhaps you heard a Box 13 with Paul Frees?

I'm afraid I don't know Carradine's voice terribly well, not unless he's singing "Night Train to Mundo Fine."

Tony said...

I've often wondered if that Orson Welles voice I heard was someone imitating Welles. The "Box 13" show I mentioned did not, unfortunately, have credits at the end.

Last night, I listened to the first two episodes of the "Star of Capetown Matter" serial, from "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar." It's really good! Something about those multi-part Johnny Dollar eepisodes ...

Carradine's performance on "Night Train to Mundo Fine" is very amusing, but it's not Carradine at his best. That would be either "The Grapes of Wrath" or "Voodoo Man."

Michael Hoskin said...

I'm afraid I've only seen the Grapes of Wrath once, so his voice didn't make a lasting impression in my memory. Heck, I watched him in Under Two Flags & the Last Gangster just weeks ago and don't remember much about his performances. I would say his performance in Voodoo Man was about as campy as anything he's done.

I did like him in the Court Jester, for the approximate 30 seconds he's on film.

Of all the Johnny Dollars, I do find those 5-parters with Bob Bailey are the best!