Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday's Favorite OTR

The Thin Man: “Haunted Hams” 7/13/1948

The radio version of Nick and Nora Charles’ adventures was as delightful as the movie series upon which it was based. (By this time, Nick and Nora no longer had much of a connection with Dashiell Hammett’s original novel.) Claudia Morgan played Nora Charles throughout the show’s run, pretty much channeling Myrna Loy, while the various actors who played Nick patterned their performances after William Powell. Consequently, the radio show managed to generate the same charm, humor and sense of real marital love that Loy and Powell had brought to the film series. Les Tremayne plays Nick in this particular episode.

In most episodes, Nick and Nora would stumble across a murder victim and become involved in solving the crime. But in this very funny installment, no one gets killed. Nick and Nora, while vacationing in the country, get involved with a traveling theatrical troupe. Nora gets bitten by the acting bug and lands an important part in an upcoming play. But someone seems to be trying to sabotage her performance.

There’s no sense of danger here—the acts of sabotage involves things like luring noisy pigs and chickens into the barn where Nora is rehearsing. The story is played strictly for laughs. And it succeeds—providing all those involved with some drop-dead funny dialogue that parodies pretentious playwriting and egotistical show-business people.

It might normally be disappointing to listen to a supposed murder mystery in which no one gets murdered (or even commits anything that might be construed as a crime), but it really doesn’t matter. The show existed as much to allow us to spend time with Nick and Nora as it did to provide us with a whodunit. And Nick and Nora are always worth spending time with.

Click HERE to listen or download.

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