Listen to this episode of CALLING ALL CARS
CBS Pacific, 4 July 1934
This is a really vintage piece of old-time radio, an episode from a series
that ran between 29 November 1933 and 8 September 1939, sponsored by the Rio Grande Oil Company. Providing a template for classic police series such as Dragnet, the series carried home a
strong message heard in every instalment - "Crime does not pay!" Listeners were advised that a life in crime was indeed a
life wasted, and that anyone who strayed into the world of bootlegging, robbery and murder would undoubtedly meet a sad and
In this episode fireworks were being exploded within the city limits,
which had to be investigated by the police force. This led them into a complicated plot involving several car chases, an encounter
with a drunk, and a couple of frightened citizens. This was obviously a special broadcast: after the drama, the
anno Lindsley announced that "there were thirty-four characters (in the radio drama)...played by twelve people," and
unlike other programmes, named them all.
The drama itself has its origins in silent film, with a live orchestra linking each
scene with bursts of atmospheric music. Some of the attitudes would seem offensive now - especially the ways in which African-Americans
are represented - but the drama itself is a fascinating record of what people listened to during the so-called 'Golden Age'