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Original Crime Correspondent header art

The Crime Correspondent Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Crime Correspondent

The Billboard review of  November 26, 1949 that may have guessed correctly at the reason(s) for Crime Correspondent's early demise
The Billboard review of November 26, 1949 that may have guessed correctly at the reason(s) for Crime Correspondent's early demise.

Crime Correspondent was another of the short-lived leading vehicles that CBS attempted to air for Paul Frees, their talented 'Man of A Thousand Voices.' Somewhat reminiscent of the earliest Dragnet episodes from Jack Webb, the series attempted to combine the realism of actual crime stories, a bit of actual crime detection, and the immediacy and urgency of a Radio crime correspondent racing against the clock to meet the deadline for his nightly Radio broadcasts.

Paul Frees' character, radio correspondent Larry Mitchell, signs off his nightly broadcasts with the parting postscript, ''Remember . . . Truth, like the sun, submits to being obscured. But like the sun, only for a time . . . ''

The series was written by Adrian Gendot and William Fifield. Gendot was a prolific crime and adventure writer, who went on to a successful career as a Television writer, for series such as Dangerous Assignment, The Whistler, Perry Mason, and Sky King, three of which Gendot penned for Radio as well. Though we've never been able to find any substantive biographical information regarding the mysterious Adrian Gendot, we suspect he or she was simply a blacklisted writer penning under a pseudonym (e.g., Adrian Gendot, as in "John Doe"), but we're still trying to nail it down.

An even better feature of the series was the excellent scoring of Martin Skyles--perhaps the short-lived production's best feature, although the plot for the one, circulating exemplar isn't half-bad in itself. The acting in the one circulating exemplar is somewhat below what we've come to expect from Paul Frees over the years, but with only one circulating example, its difficult to make such a harsh assessment. It clearly doesn't rise to the superiority of his Suspense, Escape!, The Player, or The Black Book performances.

Airing for a total run of only four weeks, it may well have been the following review by The Billboard, from November 26, 1949 that spelled the end for the short-lived series:

Radio and Television Program Reviews

Crime Correspondent

Reviewed Friday (11), 9:30-10p.m. EST. Sustaining via the Columbia Broadcasting System. Producer - director, Gordon T. Hughes. Writers, Adrian Gendot and William Fifield. Music, Marlin Skyles. Cast, Paul Frees (Larry Mitchell), others.

Crime Correspondent is a pseudodocumentary with dull dialog, badly timed sound effects and one of those omnipotent journalists as its amateur sleuth hero. However, if the series were programmed at an earlier hour it might prove a good cops-and-robbers draw for kid listeners. Last Friday's episodes, tagged Squeeze Play, pitted Larry Mitchell, crime reporter, against the town's vice syndicate. The sequence teed off with the murder of the gang's trigger man and Mitchell set out to track down a moppet pegged as the main suspect. The kid surrendered when big-shot-lawyer John West offered to defend him. However, "Honest John" turned out to be the real murderer and Mitchell finally trapped him, via a handy tape recording machine. "Scoop's" clue was that the lawyer had taken down all his campaign pictures and only a guilty conscience would make a politician hide his face.
Most in the cast keyed their performances to the comic strip plot and overplayed their roles, but the actor who played the young fall guy managed to be quite convincing.
Musically the show was far superior to its scripting. The imaginative score was so good that at times it almost sparkled with a dramatic pacing.
-- June Bundy.

We'll probably never know the real reason it was pulled. Perhaps as Ms. Bundy had suggested, CBS couldn't either reposition the series as a juvenile crime adventure, or it simply felt if it couldn't sustain a strong position during the holiday season in the N.A.B.-dictated curfew spot, it simply wasn't going to make a go of it.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Crime Dramas
Network(s): CBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 49-11-04 01 The Chair for Dino
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 49-11-04 to 49-12-02; CBS; Four, 30-minute programs; Fridays, 8:30 p.m.
Syndication: CBS Pacific Network Transcriptions
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Gordon T. Hughes [Producer/Director]
Principal Actors: Paul Frees
Recurring Character(s): Larry Mitchell, Radio Crime Correspondent [Paul Frees]; Lieutenant McCoy; 'Jeff', Larry Mitchell's assistant.
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Adrian Gendot, William Fifield
Music Direction: Marlin Skyles
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Paul Masterson
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
4
Episodes in Circulation: 1
Total Episodes in Collection: 1
Provenances:
Ben Kibler.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


While purported to be an audition, the circulating 'The Chair For Dino' exemplar contains network cues for shows in the then-current Saturday Night CBS line-up, consistent with an aired broadcast. Even though there are no other bumpers, this exemplar appears to be the actual premiere episode of the short-lived series. The fact that the circulating exemplar is clear and clean, simply supports the probability that it's simply a clean network transcription--as opposed to a recording from an aired broadcast.

Episode No. 1, The Chair For Dino, doesn't refer to the electric chair, but rather the chair in which Dino Ceroti apparently shot himself in his room at Mrs. Dillon's Boarding House.

A tip of the hat to Ben Kibler for helping us find the correct title for Episode No. 2, as Killer At Large.


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The Crime Correspondent Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
49-11-04
1
The Chair for Dino

Y
49-10-27 Daily Mail
Abe Burrows is giving up his comedy radio series on CBS after tomorrow night with the idea of going wholly into television. The radio show is called "Breakfast With Burrows" although it is broadcast at night. It will be replaced by "Crime Correspondent, a new "Who-Dun-It" out of Hollywood.

49-11-04 San Antonio Light - "Crime Correspondent" makes its debut Friday evening, a new seris of mystery and adventures stories. (KTSA, 8:30 p.m.)

49-11-04 Lowell Sun
CRIME CORRESPONDENT, new series starring Paul Frees; WEEI, 9:30.

Larry Mitchell announces '
Hangman's House' for next week.
49-11-11
2
Killer At Large
Hangman's House
N
49-11-11 San Antonio Express - "CRIME CORRESPONDENT," NEW CBS-CREATED mystery and adventure drama, makes its second broadcast Friday. Paul Frees stars as Larry Mitchell, daring radio broadcaster who concentrates, both on the air and off, on battling the forces of the underworld. KTSA--8:30 p.m.

49-11-18 Lowell Sun
9:30 WEEI--Crime Correspondent "
Killer At Large."
49-11-18
3
Firebug
N
49-11-18 San Antonio Express
WITH POLICE BAFFLED BY A FIREBUG WHO HAS started seven conflagrations, broadcaster Larry Mitchell uncovers a hit-and-run accident near the scene of crime that leads to its solution, in "
Firebug" on CBS' "Crime. Correspondent" Friday, Nov. 18, 8:30 p.m. Paul Frees stars as Mitchell. The script is by Adrian Gendot and William Fifield. Gordon T. Hughes directs and produces. KTSA—8:30 p.m.

49-11-18 Lowell Sun
9:30 WEEI--Crime Correspondent.
49-11-25
4
Squeeze Play
N
49-11-22 Sheboygan Journal
To make way for Hollywood Theater with a sponsor at 9:30 p.m. December 1, the Pursuit drama will change from Thursday to 9 p.m. Fridays. But this week will broadcast both nights from the Friday 9 time. Young Love, another drama, goes up to 8:30 the same night to take over from the recently introduced Crime Correspondent. That Who-Dun-It has gone off temporarily.

49-11-25 Chester Times
9:30 Crime Correspondent

49-11-25 Lowell Sun
9:30 WEEI--What Inventions Mean to You.






The Crime Correspondent Radio Program Biographies




Paul Frees [Solomon Hersh Frees]
(Larry Mitchell)

Stage, Screen, Television, and Radio Actor, Composer, Songwriter, Voiceover Artist, Director, and Author
(1920-1986)

Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Education:

Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA

Radiography:

1945 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 Maxwell House coffee Time
1946 Rogue's Gallery
1946 The Whistler
1946 The Casebook Of Gregory Hood
1946 The Alan Young Show
1946 Suspense
1947 Escape
1947 The Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 Ellery Queen
1948 Studio X
1948 The Player
1948 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1948 The First Nighter Program
1948 Family Theatre
1948 Let George Do It
1948 The Eternal Light
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1948 NBC University Theatre
1948 The Railroad Hour
1949 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1949 Prowl Car
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 The Prudential Family Hour Of Stars
1949 Rocky Jordan
1949 Pat Novak For Hire
1949 Special Care Program
1949 Box 13
1949 The Adventures Of Frank Race
1949 The Green Lama
1949 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 The Croupier
1949 California Caravan
1949 Crime Correspondent
1950 T-Man
1950 A Day In the Life Of Dennis Day
1950 Dangerous Assignment
1950 The Line-Up
1950 Tales Of the Texas Rangers
1950 Presenting Charles Boyer
1950 This Is Your F.B.I.
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1950 The Adventures Of the Saint
1951 Short Story
1951 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1951 Night Beat
1951 The Whisperer
1951 Romance
1951 Wild Bill Hickok
1951 Mr Aladdin
1951 Broadway Is My Beat
1951 This Is the story
1951 The Silent Men
1952 Hollywood Star Playhouse
1952 The Black Book
1952 The Pendleton Story
1952 I Confess
1953 Gunsmoke
1953 On Stage
1953 Confession
1953 Crime Classics
1953 Mr President
1954 That's Rich
1954 The Edgar Bergen Show
1954 Rocky Fortune
1954 Fibber McGee and Molly
1954 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1956 NBC Radio Theatre
1956 You Were There
1956 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1956 Those Young Bryans
1957 CBS Radio Workshop
1957 Heartbeat Theatre

Paul Frees, ca. 1952
Paul Frees, ca. 1952

Paul Frees, ca. 1949
Paul Frees, ca. 1949

Paul Frees with one of thousands of alter egos, Ludwig Von Drake, ca. 1953
Paul Frees with one of thousands of alter egos, Ludwig Von Drake, ca. 1953

Paul Frees as Etienne in The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1957)
Paul Frees as Etienne in The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1957)

Paul Frees, ca. 1975
Paul Frees, ca. 1975

Bust of Paul Frees ''The Man of A Thousand Voices'' circa 1978
Bust of Paul Frees ''The Man of A Thousand Voices'' circa 1978

Paul Frees in The Shaggy Dog (1978)
Paul Frees in The Shaggy Dog (1978)

Count the ways to measure Multimedia genius, then double it, and you have Paul Frees. Several famous voice artists have been tagged "The Man of A Thousand Voices." During his ambitious, but brief career, Frank Graham was dubbed the same before his suicide death in 1950. Mel Blanc held that moniker for years. The late, great Don La Fontaine was another worthy recipient. But with all due respect to those other great voice artists, I'm sure all would agree that Paul Frees remains rightful recipient of the tribute. Paul Frees is one of the top ten most memorable, often heard, and hardest working voice talents of the 20th Century.

Chicago-born Frees [birth name, Solomon Hersh Frees], was drafted into the Army during World War II, participating in the D-Day Invasion at Normandy. He was wounded in action and returned stateside for rest and recovery for just over a year. Upon obtaining his discharge, he began taking classes at The Chouinard Art Institute in downtown Los Angeles under his G.I. Bill. But his studies were curtailed when his first wife's failing health forced him to drop out and try his hand at Radio work.

He appeared frequently on the A-List Radio programs of the 1940s, including Lux Radio Theatre, Rogue's Gallery, The Whistler, Suspense, Escape radio series, including Escape, Ellery Queen, The First Nighter, Family Theatre, and NBC University Theatre. His first solo outing was as The Player (1948) with Frees both narrating and playing all of the parts. He alternated with William Conrad as the 'voice' of Suspense. His second solo outing was as Jethro Dumont in The Green Lama (1949), a summer replacement program. He followed that with a starring role in Crime Correspondent (1949). He also starred in The Croupier (1949).

Frees' contribution to radio noir was a perfect match for his range of voices. He appeared regularly in most of the detective genre dramas of the 1940s. Throughout the 1950s he was heard voicing regular or recurring roles in Gunsmoke (1953), Crime Classics (1953), This Is Your FBI (1950), and two prestigious network classics, Hallmark Hall of Fame (1954) and CBS Radio Workshop (1957). Frees' radiography in the RadioGOLDIndex is one of the longest in its database. But Radio was only the tip of the iceberg in Frees' storied career.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) cites over 370 entries for him, in Film, Television, and Animation. A college study once determined that so ubiquitous was Paul Frees voicework during the 1960s and 1970s, that there was literally not one day of Television or Radio during that period in which Paul Frees' voice was not heard.

Frees spent much of the second half of his career working with an unprecedented nine of the major animation production companies of the 20th century: Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz Studios, UPA, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, MGM Studios, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, Jay Ward Productions and Rankin/Bass. His work with the Walt Disney Studios led to a long collaboration with them, from voicing animated characters to recordings that brought some of the most compelling attractions at both Disneyland and Disney World to life.

His long association with Jay Ward Productions is most remembered for his narration of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, with William Conrad, and performing the voice of Boris Badenov, and multiple other characters. Accompanied by famous female voice talent, June Foray, their voices formed the very core of most of the Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes.

There is simply not enough space in this format to adequately recount Frees' body of work. Fortunately the vast majority of his work is still available through Golden Age Radio and Television recordings. Frees passed away unexpectedly in 1986, at his palacial Tiburon home overlooking San Francisco--from a massive heart failure. He requested that his ashes be scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Anyone knowledgeable of 20th Century mass communications would unquestionably cite Paul Frees as one of the top ten voices over any medium from the era, perhaps even one of the top five. We'd certainly have to concur with either assessment.



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