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Original Pursuit header art

The Pursuit Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Pursuit

CBS sold a package of targeted prime time spots to Ford for the roll-out of their 1950 line.
CBS sold a package of targeted prime time spots to Ford for the roll-out of their 1950 line.


1950 Ford Custom Sedan
Ford Motor Company briefly sponsored Pursuit for the roll-out of its 1950 line of automobiles.
Ford Motor Company briefly sponsored Pursuit for the roll-out of its 1950 line of automobiles.


Wrigley's Doublemint gum co-sponsored much of Pursuit's 1950 run
Wrigley's Doublemint gum co-sponsored much of Pursuit's 1950 run


Sterling Drug Sponsorship



Ironized Yeast Tablets
Ironized Yeast Tablets

Haley's M-O Laxative
Haley's M-O Laxative

Double Danderine Dandruff Preparation
Double Danderine Dandruff Preparation

Energine Cleaning Fluid
Energine Cleaning Fluid

Dr. Lyon's Tooth Powder
Dr. Lyon's Tooth Powder

Molle Brushless Shave Cream
Molle Brushless Shave Cream



Ben Wright as Inspector Peter Black
Ben Wright as Inspector Peter Black


Eddie Dunstedter circa 1941
Eddie Dunstedter circa 1941



Background

It was almost certainly Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fascinating and quixotic character Sherlock Holmes that ignited a great deal of interest in the inner workings of Great Britain's approach to crime. And in spite of Sherlock Holmes' somewhat lackluster opinion of Scotland Yard and its methods, history has shown worldwide interest and admiration for Scotland Yard, New Scotland Yard, and contemporary Great Britain's Metropolitan Police. Throughout the Golden Age of Radio New Scotland Yard and its extraordinary history were the subject of several popular Radio programs of the era:

  • Inspector White of Scotland Yard (1936) [Mutual]
  • Scotland Yard's Inspector Burke (1947) [Mutual]
  • Hearthstone of The Death Squad (1948-1952) [NBC/CBS]
  • Pursuit (1949-1952) [CBS]
  • Secrets of Scotland Yard (1950 from Radio Lourenço Marques--LM Radio--in Mozambique, 1951 to 1953 in Canada, then later in the U.S.) was also a Towers of London syndicated production. It should be noted that the first airing of Secrets of Scotland Yard, was out of the pirate station, Radio Lourenço Marques from Mozambique to South Africa. This would not have been a Scotland Yard-sanctioned production, despite the fact that the BBC would almost certainly have known the syndicated series was being broadcast in both Australia and via LM Radio to South Africa. One can only surmise that this was a 'wink-wink, nudge-nudge' means of skirting the BBC's proscriptions against commercial broadcasts of their programming.
  • WHItehall-1212 (51-11-18 to 52-10-26) was a fully NBC-produced and distributed network offering.
  • The Black Museum (1952 to 1953) was another Harry Alan Towers (Towers of London) syndicated production. Black Museum also aired out of a pirate station, Radio Luxembourg, beginning in late 1951, a practice that clearly would not have gained the overt support of Scotland Yard.
  • Dear Margie, It’s Murder (1953) [Mutual]

Scotland Yard's exploits continued to fascinate Television audiences during Television's Golden Age as well. The three Radio programs of the era that bore the most resemblance to each other were Scotland Yard's Inspector Burke starring Basil Rathbone, the Hummerts' CBS production Hearthstone of the Death Squad, and CBS' Pursuit initially starring durable character actor, Ted DeCorsia.

CBS doubles-down on Scotland Yard

The Mutual Broadcasting System's Scotland Yard's Inspector Burke series ran throughout 1947 starring Basil Rathbone, the actor most closely associated with Sherlock Holmes up to that point. Mutual, having abandoned a Scotland Yard Inspector series with star power, left the door wide open for another network to further pursue the concept. CBS reportedly began batting around just such a concept in 1948, with Film, Stage and Radio star Victor Jory in mind as the lead. For whatever reasons, the initial concept was abandoned until the Summer of 1949 when CBS revived the concept as simply "Pursuit" set in London with a Scotland Yard Detective Inspector as the protagonist.

In the meantime, CBS had been airing its Inspector Hearthstone of the Death Squad with Alfred Shirley, another Sherlock Holmes alumnus as Inspector Hearthstone. A Frank Hummert production, Inspector Hearthstone emerged during the CBS Mystery Theatre canon. Inspector Hearthstone began appearing more frequently during CBS Mystery Theatre until by 1951 CBS spun-off Inspector Hearthstone into the character's own series. Such was the thinking at CBS Programming during 1949 that the time might be right to introduce a Scotland Yard Inspector in a series of its own.

Durable character actor Ted de Corsia was cast in the role of first Inspector Harvey of Scotland Yard, then quickly changing to Inspector Peter Black of Scotland Yard by the second episode of the series. Airing sustained, Pursuit premiered on October 27th 1949 in a late Thursday night timeslot. Initially suffering the scheduling indignities of most network-sustained productions of the era, CBS moved Pursuit all over its programming schedule until Pursuit began attracting sponsors. And attract sponsors it did. . .

Over the course of Pursuit's compartively short run of sixty-five episodes, Pursuit found no less than nine national sponsors to one degree or another. Pursuit aired during a period of innovative sponsorship plans offered by all four major networks. Television was taking hold across America. Television receivers had become more affordable to middle America and the new medium was exponentially eating away at Radio's bottom line. CBS, NBC and Mutual were the most aggressive innovators in creating time-slicing or time-sharing packages for national, regional and local sponsors alike. From durable, big-name sponsors to the 'snake-oil' products of the era, CBS' own time-sharing plan--The Power Plan--provided smaller or low-budget sponsors the opportunity to participate in primetime week night programming by bundling their messages with those of other companies or sponsors. It also afforded some of the conglomerates of the era the opportunity to showcase their major lines over several primetime broadcasts during a predetermined block of popular network programming.

'Block-shared' programming wasn't particularly new for the era. All four networks had begun marketing specific blocks of primetime--and daytime--programming to share expenses between several sponsors and the respective network for as many as eleven years earlier by 1952. The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) called their version of block-sharing 'The Pyramid Plan' [an unfortunate moniker to be sure], as a further refinement of their previously failed 'Five by Five' plan. The Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) called their's 'MBS Plus.' In a further refinement of MBS Plus, Mutual introduced an exclusive ten-program package of MGM Transcriptions programming for 1952 only.

When Ted de Corsia left the production during March of 1950, John Dehner and Herb Butterfield were heard as Inspector Black. The series undertook a 'Mulligan' of sorts during its reintroduction in 1951. Versatile character actor Ben Wright assumed the role of Inspector Black, Eddie Dunstedter's organ transitions provided the musical accompaniment, Elliott Lewis continued as the series' director and Antony Ellis took the scripting duties.

Ben Wright snapshot bio from 1952's Who's Who In Radio and Television
Ben Wright snapshot bio from 1952's Who's Who In Radio and Television

Comparisons and contrasts

Whenever a Radio series undertook a face-lift it was a natural response to compare and contrast the respective differences in the production. To our ears, Ted de Corsia's interpretation of Inspector Black was entirely authentic. De Corsia's rendition has been criticized as sounding like an imitation of Ronald Colman. We're great fans of both actors. In fact the register and timbre of Ted de Corsia's voice was very similar to that of Ronald Colman. Through no fault of his own, any attempt by de Corsia to voice a British accent would necessarily result in a Colmanesque delivery--a circumstance Ted de Corsia simply couldn't help. Ben Wright, a former British citizen, quite effortlessly delivered Scotland Yard's Inspector Black, as might well be expected.

Ted de Corsia was also aided by two great writers of the era and two of the greatest Radio directors of the era. Morton Fine and David Friedkin wrote the scripts for the Ted de Corsia broadcasts and William N. Robson and Elliott Lewis directed the de Corsia Broadcasts. The de Corsia broadcasts also enjoyed the services of Leith Stevens and his brilliant music underscores. All told, the Ted de Corsia run enjoyed far greater polish--and budget-- than the Ben Wright broadcasts.

That being said, the somewhat more streamlined Ben Wright run of Pursuit enjoyed equally superb direction from Elliott Lewis, Norm Macdonnell and Antony Ellis, and the writing talents of the team of
John and Gwen Bagni, Louis Vittes, E. Jack Neuman, Les Crutchfield, Gil Doud and Antony Ellis himself. The reduced budget also resulted in the superb Eddie Dunstedter organ underscore for the Ben Wright run of Pursuit. Thus, CBS' deep West Coast talent pool allowed the slimmed down Pursuit to continue on throughout 1951-1952 with comparatively similar quality.

Both formal seasons of Pursuit suffered miserably at the hands of CBS schedulers. Depending on the season, Pursuit was tasked with opposing either NBC's Dragnet, Screen Directors Playhouse, Big Town, People Are Funny, Dimension X, American Portraits, Jack Pearl, or Fibber McGee and Molly. During its 1951-1952 Season Pursuit was also up against MBS' Mysterious Traveler. If that wasn't enough, during its last 13 episodes Pursuit also opposed New World A'Coming.

Either CBS greatly overestimated Pursuit's popularity or its scheduling decisions were influenced by Pursuit's sponsors. Whichever was the case, Pursuit never really had a reasonable chance to compete over Radio. That's truly a shame. Pursuit was a splendid production; well produced and directed, superbly written, and authentically performed.

CBS produced a Television series by the name of Pursuit in 1958. Broadcast for only one season, the CBS-TV rendition of Pursuit was redeployed as a mystery-adventure anthology with a different cast for every episode.

Series Derivatives:

AFRTS END-205 'Pursuit'
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Mystery Dramas
Network(s): CBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): 48-11-29 Aud The Hunters: You Take Ballistics
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 49-10-27 01 You Take Ballistics
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 49-10-27 to 52-03-25; CBS; Sixty-five, 30-minute programs;
Syndication: CBS
Sponsors: Sustaining
Ford Motor Company [1950 Ford rollout]
Wrigley
Sterling Drug: Ironized Yeast; Double Danderine; Haley's M-O; Molle; Lyons Tooth Powder; Energine Cleaning Fluid
Director(s): Tony Leder [Audition]

William N. Robson, Elliott Lewis, Norm MacDonnell, Antony Ellis
Principal Actors: Ben Wright, Ted DeCorsia, Bill Johnstone, Raymond Lawrence, Jay Novello, Ian Wolfe, Eleanor Audley, Ramsay Hill, Alec Harford, Doris Lloyd, Peggy Webber, Joseph Kearns, Lou Krugman, Jack Edwards, Alma Lawton,
Recurring Character(s): Detective Inspector Harvey of Scotland Yard
Detective Inspector Peter Black of Scotland Yard [Ted De Corsia, John Dehner, Herb Butterfield, Ben Wright];
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Cornell Woolrich [Audition]

Morton Fine, David Friedkin, Robert L. Richards, John Bagni, Gwen Bagni, Louis Vittes, E. Jack Neuman, Les Crutchfield, Gil Doud and Antony Ellis
Music Direction: Lud Gluskin [Audition]

Leith Stevens
Eddie Dunstedter [Organ]
Musical Theme(s): Leith Stevens
Announcer(s): Larry Thor, Joe Walters
William Conrad [Commercial performer for Ford]
Bob Stevenson [announcer and Sterling Drug commercial spokesman;
Bob Stevenson also acted as the announcer for the AFRTS-denatured episodes of Pursuit]
Bill Johnstone [Narrator]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
64
Episodes in Circulation: 13
Total Episodes in Collection: 20 [includes Audition and 6 AFRTS-denatured recordings]
Provenances:

The Billboard announcment of December 24th 1949 showing the rationale for Pursuit's move to Tuesdays in the timeslot vacated by Hit the Jackpot
The Billboard announcment of December 24th 1949 showing the rationale for Pursuit's move to Tuesdays in the timeslot vacated by Hit the Jackpot




Digital Deli contributors Stewart Wright and Joe Webb.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were Stewart Wright, The Thousand Oaks Library, the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

We greatly enjoyed Pursuit. Sadly, as with virtually every canon several commercial misfits of the OTR Community touch, several of the surviving circulating recordings have been systematically butchered through manufactured stereoization, monkeying with the pitch and/or speed, or truncating episodes to disguise their actual AFRS or AFRTS origin.


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The Pursuit Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
48-11-29
Aud.
The Hunters: You Take Ballistics
Y
[Audition for The Hunters, starring Victor Jory as Inspector Harvey of Scotland Yard]

Annunes George Sanders in 'Green Summit' as next






49-10-27
1
You Take Ballistics
N
[Premiere w. Ted de Corsia as Inspector Harvey; CBS sustained]

49-10-27 Mt Verson Register
CBS--9:30—Pursuit, Detective Drama.

49-10-27 New York Times
10:30--WCBS-Drama: Pursuit
49-11-03
--
Preempted
N
[Preempted for President Truman Speech]

49-11-03 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)

49-11-03 New York Times
10:30-WCBS-President Harry S. Truman Speaking from St. Paul. Minn.
49-11-10
2
Three For All
Y
[Premiere w. Ted DeCorsia as Inspector Peter Black; Artificially stereoized recording]

49-11-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)

49-11-10 New York Times
10:30-WCBS-Pursuit: Adventure Series
49-11-17
3
The D0uble-Faced Killer
N
49-11-17 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)

49-11-17 New York Times
10:30-WCBS-Pursuit: Adventure Series
49-11-24
4
The Veiled Hat
N
49-11-24 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)

49-11-24 New York Times
10:30-WCBS-Pursuit: Adventure Series
49-11-25
5
The Tear of Siva
N
[Moves to Fridays at 10 p.m.]

49-11-25 New York Times
10:00-WCBS-Pursuit: Drama

49-11-25 San Antonio Express
KTSA--9:00--Pursuit
49-12-02
6
Pattern for Homicide
N
49-12-02 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)

49-12-02 New York Times
10:00-WCBS-Pursuit: Drama
49-12-09
7
Death Is A Memory
N
49-12-09 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)

49-12-09 New York Times
10:00-WCBS-Pursuit: Drama
49-12-16
8
Murder Is the Cargo
N
49-12-16 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)
49-12-23
9
Five-Pound Killer
N
49-12-23 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)
49-12-30
--
Preempted
--
[Preempted]

49-12-30 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 p.m. -- Pursuit (WBBM)
50-01-03
10
The Tall Man

The Billboard announcment of December 24th 1949 showing the rationale for Pursuit's move to Tuesdays in the timeslot vacated by Hit the Jackpot
The Billboard announcement of December 24th 1949 showing the rationale for Pursuit's move to Tuesdays.

Y
[1950 Ford sponsorship;
Elliott Lewis assumes directorial duties; series moves from Friday to Tuesday, replacing the cancelled Hit the Jackpot; 1950 Ford sponsorship;
Circulating exemplar is too slow, pegged out (clipped), stereoized and truncated; Speed corrected by 92.7%]

50-01-03 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m.—Pursuit WBBM: moves to a new time.

50-01-04 Wisconsin State Journal
Elliott Lewis has been asked by CBS to take over production-direction of "Pursuit," his second such assignment in less than two months. His first was "Broadway Is My Beat," heard Saturdays on CBS. Lewis also continues as Frankie Remley.
50-01-10
11
The Pursuit of The Weymouth Killer
N
50-01-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m.—Pursuit (WBBM)
50-01-17
12
The Pursuit of The Wormwood Scrubs Murderer
N
50-01-17 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m.—Pursuit (WBBM)
50-01-24
13
The Pursuit of The Elusive Ransom
N
50-01-24 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m.—Pursuit (WBBM)
50-01-31
14
The Pursuit of The Lady In Waiting
N
50-01-31 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m.—Pursuit (WBBM)
50-02-07
15
The Pursuit On Lundy Island
Y
50-02-07 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-02-14
16
The Pursuit of The Wickham Killer
N
50-02-14 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-02-21
17
The Pursuit of The 44th Passenger
N
50-02-21 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-02-28
--
Preempted
--
[Preempted for Red Cross Campaign]

50-02-28 New York Times
10:30-11--Red Cross Fund Campaign: President Truman, Gen. George C. Marshall, Speakers; Drama: "Across the Street, Across the Nation," Henry Fonda, NarratorWOR, WJZ, WCBS, WNEW, WEVD; 11-11:30--WMGM (Recorded).
50-03-07
18
The Pursuit of The Firebird
N
50-03-07 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-03-14
19
The Pursuit In the Kingdom of Rossiter
N
50-03-14 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-03-21
--
Preempted
--
[Preempted for Fair Deal panel]

50-03-21
New York Times
10:30-11Forum: "Is the Fair Deal Endangering the American Way of Life?"--Gov. James H. Duff, Pennsylvania; Others--WCBS.
50-03-28
20
The Pursuit In Hammond Towers
N
50-03-28 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-04-04
21
The Pursuit of The Hollywood Killer 50-04-04 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-04-11
22
Pursuit . . . and The Man Who Confessed
Y
[Also AFRS;
Close clipped to destroy its provenance ]

50-04-11 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-04-18
23
Pursuit In Bassett Marsh
N
50-04-18 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-04-25
24
The Pursuit of The Commando Killers
N
50-04-25 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-05-02
25
Pursuit of The Man Who Smiled
N
[Last program of first season]

50-05-02 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-05-09
--
--
50-05-09 New York Times
10:30-WCBS--Adventures of Philip Marlowe





50-07-01
1
Pursuit of The Man Who Couldn't Go Home
Y
[Initially a Summer replacement for The Gene Autry Show, for Wrigley's; Saturday evenings
John Dehner as Inspector Black]

50-07-01 New York Times
8:00-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-07-08
2
Pursuit of The Masked Five
Y
50-07-08 New York Times
8:00-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-07-15
3
Pursuit of The Limehouse Killers
Y
50-07-15 New York Times
8:00-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-07-22
4
Pursuit In the North Sea
Y
[Last program for 1950]

50-07-22 New York Times
8:00-WCBS--Drama: Pursuit
50-07-29
--
--
50-07-29 New York Times
8:00-WCBS--Gene Autry show





51-07-10
1
Pursuit In Petticoat Lane
N
[Summer replacement for Life with Luigi; Tuesday evenings; with Ben Wright as Inspector Peter Black; Bob Stevenson as announcer; Eddie Dunstedter at the organ]

51-07-10 New York Times
9:00-WCBS--Play: Pursuit. With Ben Wright (Premiere)
51-07-17
2
Pursuit At Dunster Fair
N
51-07-24
3
Pursuit of The Killer Who Wasn't There
N
51-07-31
4
Pursuit of The Lonely Heart
N
[AFRTS Only]

51-08-07
5
The Boy Who Was Late
N
51-08-07 Clearfield Progress
9 Pursuit "
The Boy Was Late"
51-08-14
6
Pursuit of The Knife Boys
N
[AFRTS Only]

51-08-14 Clearfield Progress
9 Pursuit drama "
The Knife Boys"
51-08-21
7
Pursuit At the Vicarage
N
[AFRTS Only]

51-08-28
--
--
[Life with Luigi returns]

51-08-28
New York Times
9-9:30--Comedy: "Life With Luigi," With J. Carrol Naish--WCBS





51-09-11
--
--
51-09-11 New York Times
9:30-WCBS-Play: Meet Millie, With Audrey Totter

51-09-11 Long Beach Press-Telegram
6:30 P.M. KNX--"Meet Millie"
51-09-18
1
Pursuit and The Ladies of Farthing Street
Y
[Premiere of Second full season; Tuesday evenings; replaces Meet Millie's timeslot]

51-09-18 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Meet Millie, With Audrey Totter

51-09-18 Chicago Daily Tribune
8:30 P.M. WBBM--Meet Millie

51-09-18 Long Beach Press-Telegram
6:30 P.M. KNX--"Pursuit"

51-09-18 Bridgeport Telegram
9:30 WCBS Meet Millie
51-09-25
2
Pursuit of The Romeo and Juliet Killers
N
51-09-25 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit

51-09-25 Chicago Daily Tribune
8:30 P.M. WBBM--Meet Millie

51-09-25 Long Beach Press-Telegram
6:30 P.M. KNX--"Pursuit"

51-09-25 Bridgeport Telegram
9:30 WCBS Pursuit
51-10-02
3
Pursuit . . . and the Man Who Died Late
Y
[Ironized Yeast, Double Danderine, Haley's M-O and Molle sponsorship; Artificially stereoized recording]

51-10-02 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit

51-10-02 Chicago Daily Tribune
8:30 P.M. WBBM--Pursuit

51-10-02 Long Beach Press-Telegram
6:30 P.M. KNX--"Pursuit"
51-10-09
4
Pursuit of The Soviet Embassy Killer
N
51-10-09 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-10-16
5
Pursuit of The Parcels of Death
N
51-10-16 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-10-23
6
Pursuit of The Thief Who Had a Conscience
N
51-10-23 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-10-30
7
Pursuit of The Swindon Killer
N
51-10-30 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-11-06
8
Pursuit . . . and the Portrait of The Young Lady
N
51-11-06 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-11-13
9
Pursuit . . . and the Woman Who Died Alone
N
51-11-13 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-11-20
10
Pursuit On The Night Ferry
Y
[Energine and Molle as sponsors]

51-11-20 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-11-27
11
Pursuit 0f The Epsom Downs Killer
N
[AFRTS Only]

51-11-27 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-12-04
12
Pursuit of The Man Named Wong
N
51-12-04 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-12-11
13
Pursuit of The Loch Ness Killer
Y
[Artificially stereoized recording; Dr Lyons Tooth Powder and Molle as sponsors]

51-12-11 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-12-18
14
Pursuit of The Musical Killers
N
51-12-18 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
51-12-25
15
Pursuit of The Chief Inspector's Guest
N
[Christmas Program]

51-12-25 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-01-01
16
Pursuit In The English Manor
N
52-01-01 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-01-08
17
Pursuit of The Willesden Terrors
N
52-01-08 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-01-15
18
Pursuit . . . and the Wandsworth Prisoner
N
52-01-15 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-01-22
19
Pursuit of The Counterfeit Killers
N
52-01-22 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-01-29
20
Pursuit . . . and the Belden Motive
N
52-01-29 New York Times
9:30-WCBS-Play-Pursuit:
The Belden Motive
52-02-05
21
Pursuit of The London Terror
N
52-02-05 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-02-12
22
Pursuit of The Thames Pirates
N
[ AFRTS Only]

52-02-12 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-02-19
23
Pursuit of The Commando Killers
N
52-02-19 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-02-26
24
Pursuit of The Woman In Grey
N
[ AFRTS Only]

52-02-26 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Play: Pursuit
52-03-04
25
Pursuit In Clynewydd Mine
Y
[Widely identified as Pursuit in Clynewidd Mine; there is no Clynewidd Mine ]

52-03-04 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Pursuit
52-03-11
26
Pursuit . . . and the Asiatic Killer
Y
52-03-11 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Pursuit
52-03-18
27
Pursuit . . . and the Man From MI-2
N
52-03-18 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Pursuit
52-03-25
28
Pursuit of The Man With The Gun
N
[Final Program of the series; replaced by Louella Parsons]

52-03-25 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--Pursuit
52-04-01
--
--
52-04-01 New York Times
9:30-WCBS--
Louella Parsons (Premiere)





AFRS END-205 'Pursuit' Program Log

Generic Stars and Stripes masthead





Date AFRS # Title Avail. Notes
The Tall Man
N
The Pursuit of The Loch Ness Killers
N
Pursuit and The Ladies of Farthing Street
N
19
Pursuit . . . and the Man Who Confessed
Y
Pursuit of The Lonely Heart
Y
[Too slow, stereoized recording; Speed corrected by 93.2% ]
52-04-26 The Pursuit of the 44th Passenger
N
52-04-26 Stars and Strips [Europe]
AFNotes: At 4:00 pm Arturo Toscanini conducts the NBC Orchestra in a concert from the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City. The concert consists ot compositions by Von Weber, Rossini, and Elgar .... Join us at 8:30 in "
The Pursuit of the 44th Passenger" when Ted de Corcia, as Peter Black, picks up the danger laden trail from the smoldering ruins of an airliner to capture the 44th passenger, who escaped unharmed.
52-05-31 Pattern for Homicide
N
52-05-31 Stars and Strips [Europe]
AFNotes: "Pursuit" presents at 8:30 another impossible thriller once again starring Ted de Corsia as the hapless Inspector Black who studies "
Pattern for Homicide". . . .
55-06-28 Pursuit . . . and the Wandsworth Prisoner
N
55-06-26 Stars and Stripes [Europe]
Also on Tuesday, Inspector Peter Black of Scotland Yard seeks a cure for a sick mind when the "
Wansworth Prisoner" is aired on "Pursuit" at 10 pm.
26
Pursuit of The Knife Boys
Y
[Pegged out (clipped), stereoized recording]
27
Pursuit At the Vicarage
Y
38
The Pursuit of The Epsom Downs Killer
N
46
The Pursuit of The Thames Pirates
Y
[Stereoized recording, truncated to disguise its AFRS origin ]
47
The Pursuit of The Woman In Grey
Y






The Pursuit Radio Program Biographies




Edward Gildea 'Ted' De Corsia
(Inspector Peter Black)
Stage, Screen, Radio, and Television Actor
(1905-1973)

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

Radiography:
1934 Time Marches On
1939 Cavalcade Of America
1939 The Shadow
1939 What's My Name?
1940 Columbia Workshop
1941 Joe and Mabel
1941 Great Plays
1942 Suspense
1943 The Adventures of Ellery Queen
1943 Treasury Star Parade
1944 Columbia Presents Corwin
1945 Treasury Salute
1946 McGarry and His Mouse
1947 Theatre Guild On the Air
1947 Crime Club
1947 Casey, Crime Photographer
1948 Cavalcade of America
1948 Ford Theatre
1948 Gang Busters
1948 The Big Story
1948 Inner Sanctum
1949 My Favorite Husband
1949 Pat Novak, For Hire
1949 Let George Do It
1949 The Whistler
1949 This Is Your FBI
1949 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1949 Lux Radio Theatre
1949 Escape
1950 T-Man
1950 Pursuit
1950 Famiy Theatre
1950 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1950 The Adventures Of Christopher London
1950 Hallmark Playhouse
1950 Night Beat
1950 Screen Director's Playhouse
1950 The Adventures of Maisie
1950 Mr President
1951 The Adventures Of the Saint
1951 The Line-Up
1951 The Silent Men
1952 The Pendleton Story
1952 The Railroad Hour
1952 Wild Bill Hickok
1952 Errand Of Mercy
1952 Guest Star
1952 That Hammer Guy
1953 Stars Over Hollywood
1953 Hallmark Hall of Fame
1953 Dangerous Assignment
1953 Romance
1954 The Six Shooter
1954 Crime Classics
1954 Broadway Is My Beat
1955 You Were THere
1955 The Lone Ranger
1955 The Adventure of Captain Courage
1955 The Freedom Story
1955 By the People
1957 CBS Radio Workshop
1958 Frontier Gentleman
Ted DeCorsia circa 1955
Ted De Corsia circa 1955

Ted De Corsia (far left) appears with Harry Von Zell as one of the ensemble actors for Time Marches On (1934)
Ted De Corsia (far left) appears with Harry Von Zell as one of the ensemble actors for Time Marches On! (1934)
From the April 12, 1973 Edition of the Long Beach Press-Telegram:

Villain actor Ted De Corsia dies 

     Character actor TED De CORSIA, whose career included stints in radio, motion pictures and television died Wednesday at 69 in Encino.  Death was attributed to natural causes.
     Known best for his portrayals of villains, the veteran actor held radio series roles in March of Time, Ellery Queen and the Hallmark Theater.
     His movie credits include roles in "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," "Naked City," "Lady From Shanghai," "The Outriders" and "Folsom Prison."
     De Corsia played Mike Hammer in the 1950s in the "Mickey Spillane Mysteries" television series.
     He is survived by two daughters, DIERDRE De CORSIA of San Francisco and MRS. WILLIAM SHIRK of Santa Barbara.

We remain huge fans of Ted De Corsia's body of work over the years. We'd even take issue with the above obituary's characterization of Ted De Corsia as a 'Villain'. Though most of his Film credits were indeed as mostly heavies, we found the greater majority of De Corsia's Radio and Television work to be a wonderfully diverse mixture of characterizations.

If we have any regrets over Ted De Corsia's myriad characterizations, it's that he didn't appear in more series' as the lead. He certainly had the voice, talent and presence to command more leading roles. In all likelihood he was simply a victim of his own remakable success in portraying literally thousands of heavies or other gruff, blustering stereotypes over his long and distinquished career. Ted De Corsia had lead roles as Detective Dan McGarry in McGarry and His Mouse (1946), as Inspector Peter Black in Pursuit! (1950), as Mike Hammer in That Hammer Guy (1952) and as Captain Christopher Courage in The Adventure of Captain Courage (1955).

De Corsia's performances over both Radio and Television remain our overall favorites. Ruggedly handsome and imposing, when his millions of Radio fans finally got the opportunity to 'see' his visage in Television the voice clearly matched the 'presence.'

We've highlighted his work in many of our other articles, including 26 by Corwin, The Adventures of Maisie, Bold Venture, Boston Blackie, Columbia Workshop, CBS Radio Workshop, Christopher London, Dr. Kildare, Escape!, Frontier Gentleman, Great Plays, Hallmark Playhouse, Let George Do It, Line Up, Molle Mystery Theater, Murder Clinic, Mystery In the Air, Night Beat, Pat Novak for Hire, Pursuit, Richard Diamond, Rogues Gallery, Secret Agent K-7 Returns, The Silent Men, T-Man, That Hammer Guy, and The Saint.

Ted De Corsia had one of those voices that remain almost instantly recognizable, much in the vein of Jackson Beck, Raymond Burr, Robert Strauss, Bill Conrad, Marvin Miller, and Paul Frees. The type of 'register' that invariably gets the woofer vibrating well beyond the norm in anyone's home theater system. With that barrel chest, those piercing eyes, hands like hamhocks, and a neck like an ox, Ted De Corsia's presence in any medium always made itself known.

A life-long Brooklyn Dodgers fan, Ted De Corsia even went as far as to ask the announcer of one of his regular programs--Joe and Mabel (1941)--to announce on air The Bums' scores during relevant performances. During the New York broadcasts of The Adventures of Ellery Queen, Ted De Corsia owned a poultry farm near New York, often selling his eggs to other members of the Ellery Queen cast and production crew.




Ben Wright
(Inspector Peter Black)

Radio, Television, Film, Documentary, Animation and Stage Actor; Writer
(1915-1989)
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Radiography:

1939 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 The Adventures of Maisie 1946 Encore Theatre
1947 Holiday Wilde
1947 The Story Of Holiday Wilde
1947 The New Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1947 Mystery In the Air
1947 Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 Suspense
1947 The Whistler
1948 Escape
1948 Steve Canyon
1948 NBC University Theatre
1948 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1949 Our American Heritage
1949 Chandu the Magician
1949 Tell It Again
1949 The Green Lama
1949 Family Theatre
1949 Rocky Jordan
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1949 The Adventures Of Maisie
1950 T-Man
1950 Let George Do It
1950 Hallmark Playhouse
1950 The Adventures Of Christopher London
1950 The Halls Of Ivy
1950 Night Beat
1950 Pursuit
1950 The Log Of the Black Parrot
1950 Dangerous Assignment
1950 Romance
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1951 The Pendleton Story
1951 The Silent Men
1951 Stars Over Hollywood
1952 The Modern Adventures Of Casanova
1952 Screen Guild Theatre
1952 Short Story
1952 Broadway Is My Beat
1952 Crime Classics
1952 The Cisco Kid
1953 On Stage
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1953 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1953 General Electric Theatre
1954 Inheritance
1954 I Love A Mystery
1954 The Six-Shooter
1955 The Adventures Of Captain Courage
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1956 O'Hara
1957 Gunsmoke
1958 Frontier Gentleman
1958 Have Gun, Will Travel
1959 Heartbeat Theatre
1964 Arch Oboler's Plays
1973 Hollywood Radio Theatre
1979 Sears Radio Theatre
The Pendleton Story
Horizons West

Ben Wright circa 1955
Ben Wright circa 1955

Ben Wright from the Jim Bowie Television series circa 1958
Ben Wright from the Jim Bowie Television series circa 1958

Ben Wright was born May 15, 1915, to an English mother and an American father in London, England, UK. At 16, he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts where classmates included such future stars as Ida Lupino.

Upon graduating, he acted in several West End stage productions. When WWII broke out, he enlisted and served in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1946 to attend a cousin's wedding, eventually settling in Hollywood. He embarked on his American acting career in Radio, quickly establishing himself as a master of dialects with such roles as Hey Boy, the Chinese servant, on "Have Gun, Will Travel" with John Dehner, and another John Dehner vehicle, 'Frontier Gentleman." Indeed, Wright was to be given the lead, but got edged out by John Dehner. The last minute change didn't make the deadline for the newspapers of the era, almost all of which announced Ben Wright in the lead role of J.B. Kendall, Field Reporter for the London Times. Oops!

Ben Wright's talent for dialects also kept him busy in the many WWII-related films and TV shows of the 1950s and '60s wherein he played innumerable Germans and Frenchmen as well as a variety of both low brow and high brow Englishmen--for which he always took pains to ensure the dialects were accurate depending on which part of England they were from.

After years of radio, TV, stage and film work, he entered semi-retirement in the late 1970s, accepting occasional voice work and small guest appearances on TV. On June 16, 1989, after completing his last role, providing the voice of Grimsby in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), he entered St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank for quadruple bypass surgery from which he never recovered. He died of heart failure July 2, 1989.



Leith Stevens
(Composer, Conductor)

Stage, Radio, Television and Film Music Director and Composer
(1909-1970)

Birthplace: Mount Moriah, Missouri, USA

Education:
Horner Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Conservatory of Music
at the University of Missouri-Kansas City

Radiography:
1937 Saturday Night Swing Club
1937 Columbia Workshop
1938 No Help Wanted
1938 Men Against Death
1938 American School Of the Air
1939 Arch Oboler's Plays
1940 Big Town
1941 The Free Company
1945 The Doctor Fights
1945 Rogue's Gallery
1945 Request Performance
1946 Academy Award
1946 Encore Theatre
1947 Lights Out
1949 Escape
1949 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1949 Suspense
1950 The Miracle Of America
1950 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
1952 The Black Book
1952 Action Eighty
1952 The Judge
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1954 Anthology
1955 Biography In Sound
1956 CBS Radio Workshop

Caption: Leith Stevens is another ex-[Mark] Warnow arranger turned maestro (1938)
Caption: Leith Stevens is another ex-[Mark] Warnow arranger turned maestro (1938)

Leith Stevens circa 1939
Leith Stevens circa 1939

.
Leith Stevens circa 1944
Leith Stevens circa 1944

.
Leith Stevens obituary
Leith Stevens obituary

Leith Stevens was already a musical child prodigy at the age of 5. By the age of 14 he was making his performing debut. At the age of 16, he was Madame Schumann-Heink's accompanist and mentor to her own students. At the age of 21, the Columbia Broadcasting System wisely scooped him up as a network vocal arranger and within three more years he was a CBS composer/conductor for many of the network's top recurring programs.

From the Star-News - July 24, 1970, Pasadena, California:

Fatally Stricken
When Told Wife
Killed in Crash

HOLLYWOOD (UPI) — Leith Stevens, director of television music at Paramount Studios, was called to an extension telephone to take an emergency long distance call.

The party on the other end advised him his wife, Elizabeth, 40, had been killed when her car plunged over a 150-foot cliff in the Santa Rosa Mountains near Palm Springs.

Stevens, 60, nominated three times for Oscars for songs or movie scores took the telephone call about his wife on a Hollywood studio phone, put down the receiver, walked across the room and slumped in death Thursday, witnesses said.

Stevens was a composer and a conductor during his long career. He was nominated for an Academy Award three times. He was founder and first president of the Composers and Lyricists Guild of America in 1954.

Stevens' wife was driving with her three pet dogs when she was killed. The accident occurred on California 74, the co-called "Palms to Pines Highway," near where Jimmy Durante simulated an accident in the movie "Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The dogs escaped with minor injuries when the vehicle rolled over and landed upside down.


Oscar nominations were accorded Stevens' movie scores for The Five Pennies and A New Kind of Love. His melody Julie was given an Oscar nomination as Best Song.

What is the function of a director of television music at a studio producing many hours of video entertainment every week for the consumption of millions of viewers?

Does he select the composer? How closely does he supervise the work during writing? How much of his personal touch is reflected in the finished piece?
Leith Stevens, the bearded Director of Television Music at Paramount Studios, is eminently qualified to answer these questions regarding the writing of music lor television.

A child prodigy, Stevens took his first piano lesson from his father when he was five years old. He made his piano debut at 14, and when he was 18 he was a coach for the students of the legendary Madame Schumann-Heink. He subsequently went on tour with the contralto as her accompanist.

He was 21 when he joined CBS as a vocal arranger and three years later he was made a composer and conductor for many of the network's top radio shows. In 1941 he began composing for motion pictures--he had been nominated three times for an Academy Award--and when television came along he entered that field.

Stevens said that assigning a composer is like casting an actor for a part. "A composer is chosen whose particular talents fit certain dramatic problems." he explained. "This is usually done in conjunction with the series producer, who has specific ideas about what he wants the music to accomplish. My chore is to guide the composer right and see that he follows through."

"Bruce Geller has strong instincts in this area and almost without exception selects the composer for his productions of Mission: Impossible and Mannix." Bruce chose Lalo Schifrin, a comparative newcomer to the business, to write the theme for Mission four years ago. "Schifrin's ability to provide the right music in the right context is why Bruce also had him write the music for Mannix."

Stevens points out how it is possible to angle music several different ways, giving mysteries as an example. "A producer may wish to highlight the romance in a whodunit and play down the mystery." And then he may wish to go the other way. "I usually check the score while it is in progress and supervise the recording.", Stevens said. "But I try to keep my personal touch out of the work. I don't want our composers sounding like Leith Stevens. A composer's stock in trade is his own personal sound which gives a distinctive quality to his music and I wouldn't want to take that away from him."

Summing up his role as music director, Stevens said: "My function is not to have musicians do something I want them to do but to make sure that what the composer does is in his own style and that the result is right for the show."




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