Monday, April 14, 2008

Pirates, smugglers and scoundrels of old-time radio

As I've mentioned in one or two earlier posts: Pirates are cool.

So, by the way, are old-time radio adventure shows.

And, it turns out, the two go together quite nicely. Here's a list of some of the best pirate stories from Radio's Golden Age:

The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen: "The Lily in the Chimolpo Bar" (7-31-47) Captain Carney accepts a valuable cargo aboard his ship, opening up a can of trouble that includes murder, betrayal and piracy.

You Are There: "The Hanging of Captain Kidd" (12-19-48) CBS News provides us with a first-hand account of the execution of the infamous pirate.

Escape: "Clear for Action" (6-14-53) In the early 19th Century, an American frigate hunts a French privateer across the Caribbean.

Escape: "The Cave" (12-24-50) A young boy stumbles into a fantasy world of pirates and captive princesses.

Escape: "Macao" (7-18-51) The beautiful leader of a gang of waterfront criminals learns it is possible to be too greedy.

Escape: "Misfortune's Isle" (3-21-48) When the plans of a merchant captain to attack a pirate base go awry, a beautiful stowaway becomes the only hope for the survival of both he and his crew.

Escape: "A Night in Havana" (10-22-49) A young criminal plans to go straight--once he settles a few minor matters involving mobsters, smuggling and stolen jewels.

I Love Adventure: "The China Coast Incident" (4-24-48) A gang of international criminals use a submarine and the threat of mass murder to gain possession of a secret formula. Can agent Jack Packard foil their plans and save 1100 lives?

Dimension X: "Shanghied" (9-26-48) The night before his wedding, a man is shanghied into the crew of an interstellar merchant ship--just as it begins its decade-long voyage to another star.

Lux Radio Theater: "Captain Blood" (2-22-36) Errol Flynn recreates his role from the classic film: Peter Blood, a doctor turned slave turned---PIRATE!!!

The Man Behind the Gun: "Prep Joe" (2-12-44) World War II PT boat commanders were the closest things to buccaneers in the modern navy, but here one new commander learns that war isn't very glorious.

Mercury Theatre on the Air: "Treasure Island" (7-18-36) Orson Welles heads up this excellent adaptation of the classic pirate story.

Suspense: "The Tramp" (7-25-56) Three criminals sign aboard a tramp steamer, plotting mutiny and murder.

Tarzan: "Pirates of Cape Bandeira" (4-26-51) If you are going to operate a pirate ship off the coast of Africa, do NOT shanghai the Lord of the Jungle into your crew. That won't work out well at all for you.

The Shadow: "Death from the Deep" (6-12-38) The Shadow matches wits with a modern pirate who uses a submarine.

The Shadow: "Aboard the Steamship Amazon" (7-17-38) Lamont Cranston's pleasure cruise is interrupted by murder and arms smuggling.

Your Truly, Johnny Dollar: "The Molly K Matter" (10-10-55 through 10-14-55) When a merchant ship sinks in San Francisco bay, it's up to ace insurance investigator Johnny Dollar to find out whether it was an accident--or sabotage.

All of these episodes are pretty easy to find, so if you are in the mood to listen to some nifty pirate and sea adventures, track them down and give them a listen.

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