Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

August 21, 2020

Tom Conway as The Saint on radio (3 episodes, 1951)

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conway saint

It all makes perfect sense somehow: Tom Conway’s brother, George Sanders, played the Saint in a number of popular feature films at RKO; later, when RKO started another series with a similar suave and witty detective character, The Falcon, they brought back Sanders, but he left the series to be replaced by his brother Tom Conway, and Conway became most associated with The Falcon, with his own unique style and flair for comedy. That series made Conway a star in his own right, and after the Falcon series concluded, he played a number of other suave but witty detective roles based on his Falcon fame.

Thus, when the star of the radio version of THE SAINT, Vincent Price, needed some time off the series for some other commitments in the more prestigious and better-paying world of feature films, who better to take over the role for a while than Tom Conway, who’d never played The Saint, but who was known and loved by millions as the very similar character, The Falcon. And yes, Conway was tailor-made for The Saint. Many people today know The Saint via the successful 60’s TV series starring Roger Moore—-and Moore certainly made the role his own, the same way he did ten years later with James Bond—-but the character goes back a long way, to 1928, from author Leslie Charteris.

While Vincent Price was a magnificent Saint on radio (and you can easily find many of the Price shows online….and you should), I’ve always had a soft spot for the short run with Tom Conway in the role of Simon Templar, aka The Saint.

Below are links to three episodes of the Conway Saint, each running approximately 29 minutes. Enjoy!

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–PETER THE GREAT (June 24, 1951)


–MY DARLING DAUGHTER (July 15, 1951)


By the way, it’s comforting to know, as we’re informed at the closing of each show, that “The Saint comic book is available at all newsstands.” I have a number of issues myself, and I can do a post about the various comic book incarnations of the character at some future date.


April 8, 2020

Stand By For Crime! (radio crime series, circa 1953)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 5:25 pm
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As those of you who read my reviews over at BTC know, I have always been a devoted fan of what’s called “old time radio,” the surviving drama and comedy and mystery and music and variety shows broadcast between the early 1930’s and 1962, when YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR went off the air on CBS, generally considered to be the end of the radio drama era.

No one would consider STAND BY FOR CRIME! to be an all-time classic, but upon listening to an episode today while working, I just had to alert others to the show…and one particular episode.

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It stars the real-life husband and wife couple of Glenn Langan and Adele Jergens, who met during the making the 1949 Lippert production TREASURE OF MONTE CRISTO (which is available on one of those VCI/Kit Parker Films DVD collections devoted to obscure noir films). Langan plays Chuck Morgan, a radio newscaster/crime reporter at station KPO in Los Angeles. Jergens plays his secretary, Carol Curtis, whom he annoying calls “glamourpuss” multiple times in each episode.

This is a relatively low-budget radio show, so most of the episodes are narrated by Morgan who leads us into and provides the frame for shorter dramatic scenes with other actors. Sound effects are kept to a minimum, and the music is the old-fashioned organ accompaniment that was common in 30’s radio but somewhat old-fashioned by 1953. It required only one musician, though, and I would not be surprised to find, if I listened to ten episodes in a row, that there is a library of maybe 30 or 40 organ cues used in all episodes, put down on tape in an hour and then re-used whenever needed.

The episode I just listened to (I’ve heard most of the 26 surviving episodes at one time or another over the decades) is a gem, THE COMMUNIST MENACE. Chuck Morgan is getting ready to do his evening broadcast when the station owner gives him some new copy to read. After perusing the material, he storms into the owner/manager’s office and refuses to read it because it’s “pure Red propaganda.” The owner demands he read it on air (I wish we listeners could have heard a few lines ourselves), and then Chuck threatens to quit rather than read it. Then, when the owner sees he is serious, he tells Chuck the real reason for asking  him to do the Red broadcast. Have you ever seen one of those police films (I’ve seen this plot going back to the 1920’s!) where an officer agrees to be framed for some crooked act, taking a bribe or whatever, and is fired in public and only the chief and the officer know what’s going on, that it’s all phony. He loses all his friends, he gets spit on in the street, he doesn’t get service at the local hash-house in the neighborhood, and even his family members don’t want anything to do with him. He is shamed in the local newspaper and everyone knows he’s crooked. Eventually, broke and alone and defeated, he agrees to go over to the criminal side, but he’s really a plant, a deep undercover agent infiltrating the organization. That’s what’s going on here, but it’s the Communist Party, not the mob (this plot has been used in dozens of westerns too). Evidently, the FBI knows there is a Mr. Big Communist out there in L.A. but they do not know who it is. Good Citizen that he is, the radio station owner decides to volunteer his star reporter to go undercover and he agrees. He’s insulted, beaten up in the street, loses his friends, and can’t get a job. Then one night, a woman in a bar with a foreign accent chats him up, and when he says, “I have no friends,” she offers to introduce him to some “new friends.” Anyone familiar with I WAS A COMMUNIST FOR THE FBI can fill in the rest of the story. This kind of hyperventilating, hard-boiled Red Scare entertainment has always been enjoyable for me–as a ten or twelve year old I saw on TV films like THE WHIP HAND and MY SON JOHN, and I later read old 1950’s comics of a similar bent. In the last year, I reviewed a classic Columbia picture, shot on location in Boston, called WALK EAST ON BEACON (1952), based on a magazine story by J. Edgar Hoover himself. You can read that review here:              Bill Shute review of WALK EAST ON BEACON

It’s an excellent film that anyone who enjoys a hard-boiled Cold War police procedural will love–and the Boston location shooting circa 1952 is priceless. Agents even pose as Howard Johnson’s ice-cream men! It’s on You Tube–look for it.

If you don’t want something of feature film length, though, check out the 25 minute episode of STAND BY FOR CRIME called “The Communist Menace” at the link below. If you like it, there are 25 more episodes you can enjoy, and it will feed them to you one after the other without your having to do a thing. SO….

While you are stuck at  home, why not listen to some episodes of this vintage early 50’s cold-war era crime melodrama acted by a very talented couple who bring their salty B-movie personas to the show, making each episode sparkle and crackle with over-the-top hard-boiled excitement….if that’s what you want. I certainly do!

26 episodes of STAND BY FOR CRIME!

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April 3, 2020


Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 8:03 pm
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BILLY HALOP with Humphrey Bogart


It’s been a good week for this fan of BILLY HALOP, former leader of THE DEAD END KIDS and LITTLE TOUGH GUYS (the pre-Bowery Boys movie gangs….Leo Gorcey replaced Halop as the leader of the bunch when they moved to Monogram as the EAST SIDE KIDS). First, I catch him as a sniveling, gun-crazy punk who takes an entire hospital hostage (!!!!) on an episode of the HIGHWAY PATROL. Then, on a random 1958 episode of the classic YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR radio crime show I listened to tonight while exercising, Billy gets a plum role, as an ex-criminal who’s gone straight and is now an insurance agent….for retired criminals! As always, he’s instantly recognizable within five seconds with his raspy voice, and his tough-guy stance comes through clearly even on a radio show. What Billy Halop was, though, for 30+ years, was a fine character actor. Yes, he was typecast, and that New York accent wasn’t going away, no matter how long he lived and worked on the West Coast, but he ALWAYS gave the producers their money’s worth, which is surely the reason he worked steadily. It’s great finding him in a PERRY MASON episode or whatever, where he commands attention and pulls the audience in.

While stuck at home now, why not take 25 minutes to listen to BILLY HALOP work his Little Tough Guy magic on an episode of YOURS TRULY, JOHNNY DOLLAR from 27 April 1958. Billy also had great comic timing, and that’s in evidence here too as his character is almost heart-warming and will put a smile on your face!



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Billy as cab driver Bert Munson (with Carroll O’Connor) in All In The Family—-he appeared in 10 episodes as Munson, including the famous Sammy Davis Jr. episode


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Why not watch the entire feature film LITTLE TOUGH GUY and see Halop at his best. Take off your face-mask, crank up You Tube, and settle back….here it is:



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And here is the immediately post-World War II Halop in PRC’s bargain-basement attempt at doing a Little Tough Guys/East Side Kids/Bowery Boys-style franchise, THE GAS HOUSE KIDS, from 1946. Enjoy! Also stars the great Robert Lowery, 3 years before his turn as BATMAN (he is still my favorite Batman), in the 1949 serial BATMAN AND ROBIN, and Carl “Alfalfa” Switzer, of Little Rascals/Our Gang fame. The entire film is linked to below:


Stay indoors…. stay safe!

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