Monday, April 19, 2010

Blast From the Past-Big Audio Special

No Movie Monday today due to disruptions in work schedule, so for one week only, enjoy this Big Audio Special.

In 1946, Standard Oil sponsored a splashy new radio show titled Let George Do It. It was a wacky comedy starring Bob Bailey as George Valentine, a veteran returned from the war who placed a classified ad in the paper advertising his availability as a troubleshooter.

Do you have a crime that needs solving? Do you have a dog that needs walking? Do you have a wife that needs spanking? Let George Do It.

He was aided in his adventures by his teenaged assistant Sonny Brooks and Sonny's gorgeous older sister, Claire. The production values were first-rate, including a full orchestra, though the writing was less so. There are only a few of the first season's adventures on Internet Archive, but they include mysteries and other capers like finding a wife for George's pig farmer cousin and helping a western movie star overcome his fear of horses.

By the second year, Sonny was gone, and Claire had evolved from Sonny's ingenue sister to "Brooksie," George's sexy secretary/girlfriend (played for mucht of the series by Virginia Gregg who, among a host of other roles, played the voice of Norman Bates's mother in "Psycho" and did the voice of Tara on The Herculoids). George was less wacky troubleshooter and more straight-up private eye and there was no more mention of dog-walking or wife-spanking. Instead, there was simply a terse statement along these lines (there were several different variations)

Personal Notice: Danger is my stock in trade. If the job's too tough for you to handle, then you've got a job for me, George Valentine. Write full details.

This would be followed by an excerpt from the letter from that week's desperate individual in need of help. Murder and fraud followed George everywhere he went. The show also featured several well-known radio voices as guest players, like Howard McNear and William Conrad.

In January 1949, the orchestra was replaced by an organ as the budget dropped. The show continued to run until 1954, with Olan Soule replacing Bailey for that last season and Pream Coffee Creamer replacing Standard Oil as the sponsor. Bailey moved on to star as my personal favorite radio detective, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.

You can find episodes here.

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