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Original Top Secret header art

The Top Secret Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Top Secret

Lovely Ilona Massey (1943) as one might have envisioned her during an episode of Top Secret. In reality, Ms. Massey had aged rather uncharitably during the ensuing eight years
Lovely Ilona Massey (1943) as one might have envisioned her during an episode of Top Secret. In reality, Ms. Massey had aged rather uncharitably during the ensuing eight years.




Billboard Magazine announcement of a possible TV pilot of Top Secret from May 14 1955
Billboard Magazine announcement of a possible TV pilot of Top Secret from May 14 1955
From the July 14, 1950 Oakland Tribune:

Girls Invade Thriller Stuff On Network 

By JOHN CROSBY
 
     I think I detect the distant rumbling of a small trend in adventure stuff.  The girls are beginning to get into the act and the possibilities as any fool can plainly see, are limitless.  CBS televisions trying out a new series called "The Detective's Wife," in which the emphasis, as the title states, is clearly on the feminine side of the household.  And on NBC, you'll find "Top Secret" with Ilona Massey going through hell and high water on behalf of the Allies in the last war.
     I haven't caught "The Detective's Wife," but I'm growing very fond of "Top Secret" (KNBC, 9:30 p.m. P.D.T. Sunday).  Miss Massey, a bundle of blonde allure with a Hungarian accent, is cast in the role of a spy of the femme fatale type, which has not been seen in these parts since "Three Faces East."  Of course, things have changed a good deal in the femme fatale racket since I was a boy.  Back in those days, the girls used to wrest most of the enemies' secrets from them in the boudoir, exercising their feminine equipment in the traditional way.
 
SHE USES WITS
     Nowadays, if Miss Massey is any criterion, a girl's looks just get in the way.  In "Top Secret," Miss Massey, who plays the part of Baroness Karen Something-Or-Other, if forced to employ her wits rather than her face; her arms are used to slug it out with the German espionage agents rather than for embraces; and her legs come in handy for that good old-fashioned, though not very romantic, purpose of running as fast as possible from the Gestapo.  All the fun is gone out of the femme fatale business.  It's just plain hard work.  And dangerous too.
     As a preliminary to several of her recent adventures, Miss Massey wormed her way into the Hermann Goering household as personal maid to Frau Goering.  The use of real names in adventure series is a new one on me.  The program portrays Frau Goering as a querulous, decidedly unpleasant lady, and Hermann as a stupid, though sinister, lout.  (Hermann was a lot of things but he wasn't stupid.)
     During her stay with the Goerings, Miss Massey succeeded in plugging a leak in Allied intelligence in Tangiers, personally bumping off the Nazi counterspy with a monkey-wrench, and in discovering the plans and dates of the A-Day when the Germans planned to invade England.  (That stopped the invasion cold.) 

COSTS HER JOB
     That last adventure cost her her job with the Goerings, which seemed rather a pity.  I had begun to enjoy the Goerings as comedy characters.  Hermann, for example, blew in one morning with the Mona Lisa as an anniversary present for his wife.  Frau Goering was furious.  Said she wanted a sable coat instead.  She was right, too.  The Mona Lisa turned out to be a fake.
     Though she is described as a woman of surpassing beauty, Miss Massey gets belted around almost as much as Sam Spade.  In the last one, her leg was broken.  Later, the cast was broken off her still-unhealed leg with a cane; an excruciating operation designed to save her from even worse torment at the hands of the Gestapo.  She stood up under it nobly.  Next week, I'm told, she's off to Rome where she'll probably turn up as Mussolini's private secretary, beautiful as ever, though conceivably limping a bit.
     Still, if you can overlook the ossential malarkey, "Top Secret" is pretty good thriller stuff, tightly and competently written by Harry Junkin, and very well produced.  My only objection to Miss Massey and her Hungarian accent is that, in moments of great stress, she sounds more like Peter Lorre than a beautiful blonde spy.  This difficulty would be erased if they just put Miss Massey on television.  Unless my instinct for trends has gone hopelessly to pot, Miss Massey, or someone very much like her, will be on television eventually.  It--as they say in the trade--can't miss.
 
     Copyright 1950, for The Tribune.

Ilona Massey had already made a name for herself as an international Stage, Screen and cabaret singer by the waning days of The Golden Age of Radio. A classically trained opera singer, Ilona Massey's extraordinary singing talent belied her difficulty grappling with the English language, even as many of her contemporary films of the era continued to advance her career.

Ms. Massey's single lead in a Radio production arrived during the Summer of 1950, titled Top Secret. Given Ms. Massey's own strongly held political beliefs, Top Secret would seem to have been an ideal vehicle for her to both debut her acting talent over Radio, while at the same time promoting her strongly held idealogical beliefs against Communism and fascism, two ideologies she'd been all too familiar with growing up in the former Austria-Hungary region of Europe.

Having polished her command of English during the preceding ten years, her lingering heavy accent suited her characterization of 'Baroness Karin Geza' quite effectively. According to contemporary accounts, Ms. Massey's inspiration for the series had been a 'close friend' who'd actually served in the capacity of a spy for the Allies during World War II and its aftermath.

Running for only seventeen installments, Top Secret transported listeners to the four corners of the globe in a retrospective of seventeen of the more interesting espionage adventures of, purportedly, her close friends in intelligence and counter-espionage.

Gifted Canadian, Harry W. Junkin, both produced and directed the series, as well as writing almost half of the scripts for the production. He was aided by Allen Sloane and Charles Lee Hutchings in translating Ms. Massey's understandably sketchy espionage accounts into a series of fully-formed, riveting, suspenseful tales of espionage derring-do.

Ms. Massey was supported by some of the finest radio talent of the era, most prominently, Luis Van Rooten, Bryna Raeburn, Leon Janney, Bernard Grant, Ralph Bell, and Carl Emory, who formed the core of a highly versatile cast of ensemble players. No less than Dr. Leroy 'Roy' Shield, provided the musical atmosphere and underscoring for the entire run.

The series' ultimate success was hampered only by its status as an NBC sustaining production. NBC was absolutely notrious for shunting its sustaining productions all over the radio schedule if they failed to attract a sponsor by their eighth or ninth airing. Sadly it was all but impossible for contemporary listeners, let alone the newspapers of the era, to keep up with NBC's almost weekly schedule changes for Top Secret after the first eight to ten dramas had aired.

Those listeners who successfully found the latter half of the run were treated to increasingly competent performances by Ms. Massey. Though clearly new to Radio in a recurring role, Ms. Massey acquitted herself well as the series progressed. The messages within each episode expanded to include illicit drug trafficking, both Communist red-baiting and propaganda, and the ongoing need to maintain vigilance against the fascist and Communist threats of Top Secret's era--whether real or imagined. She dramatized her messages quite effectively in that respect. Indeed, as the program neared the end of its run, one is left wondering how much better the programs would have been had Ms. Massey been allowed even one more Summer season of productions.

As it was, the networks thought enough of her talent, and the Top Secret premise itself, to consider a Television incarnation of Top Secret for the 1955 season of their Television offerings. A pilot was reportedly prepared, but never filmed. In the end, the Top Secret franchise folded for good with its last Radio airing on October 26, 1950.

The series remains a favorite of fans of the espionage drama genre as much as for lovely Ilona Massey's heartfelt performances throughout the run.

Series Derivatives:

Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Espionage Dramas
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 50-06-12 01 Night Train To Berlin
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 50-06-12 to 50-10-26; NBC; Seventeen, 30-minute programs;
Syndication: NBC
Sponsors: Sustained
Director(s): Harry W. Junkin [Producer, Director]
Principal Actors: Ilona Massey, Bryna Raeburn, Luis Van Rooten, Bernard Grant, Tommy Frederick, Carl Emory, Earl Hammond, Ralph Bell, Scott Tennyson, Leon Janney, Connie Lumke, Lionel Wilson, Lester Fletcher, Ronald Long, Ruth York, Theo Gertz, Peter Cappell, Andrew Duggan, Alfred Shirley, David McKay, Guy Repp, Roy Irving, Inga Adams, Allen Stevenson, Ralph Camargo, Brooke Byron, Donald Buka, James Monks
Recurring Character(s): Baroness Karin Geza [Ilona Massey]
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Harry W. Junkin, Allen Sloane, Charles Lee Hutchings
Music Direction: Dr. Leroy 'Roy' Shield
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Fred Collins, Lionel Rico
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
17
Episodes in Circulation: 15
Total Episodes in Collection: 18 [includes 3 rehearsals]
Provenances:
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were the log of the radioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.

We invite you to compare our fully provenanced research with the Top Secret log from the '1,500 expert researchers' at the OTRR, which they claim to be correct according to their 'OTTER log' that they represent as the "most authoritative and accurate vintage Radio database in the world":

OTRRpedia

Quite simply, the OTRR's Top Secret log is a work of incomplete fiction. We've also provided a screen shot of their current log for comparison, HERE, to protect our own further due diligence.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

The OTTER logs are understandably flawed owing to being initially populated from arguably the most widely inaccurate, poorly spelled, unprovenanced collection of vintage radio logs in the history of the hobby--those of The Vintage Radio Place. Those source logs weren't created by an historian or researcher. They were created by an ambitious, highly commercial vintage radio recording marketer with one purpose--and only one purpose--in mind: to sell vintage radio recordings. The spelling alone, throughout all of those specious 'logs' is absolutely atrocious. But so what? They're not--nor ever were--intended to represent historical fact. They were assembled simply to catalogue an extensive collection of vintage radio offerings. The Vintage Radio Place logs are a collection of sales catalogues--period. Indeed, for anyone with more than a sixth grade literacy level, they're not even good sales catalogues at that. The audio-classic.com 'logs', while marginally less illiterate, are, for the most part, equally flawed for the very same reason: they're sales catalogues.

To sincere vintage radio historians, the Vintage Radio Place and audio-classics.com commercial catalogs provide about the same practical value as the hundreds of thousands of Sears and Roebuck catalogues sent out throughout the turn of the 20th century--they were dutifully stacked within arms reach in most of the outhouses throughout rural America.

Here's what's been demonstrably wrong with all Top Secret logs for the past 37 years:

  • No one who logged them ever actually listened to them.
  • Of the seventeen--and only seventeen--episodes--with the exception of two of the circulating exemplars which were intentionally clipped to disguise their continuity--each and every one of them announced their 'Assignment order' and/or provided easily identifiable clues to the episode to follow.
  • Two of the widely reported 'nineteen' episodes are simply duplicates, owing primarily to misinformation in sales catalogues such as those of The Vintage Radio Place and audio-classics.com.
  • Owing primarily to NBC's regrettable 'shell-game' with sustaining programming, Top Secret virtually disappeared from network radio for a period of almost six weeks after the first half of its run.
  • Owing, again, to NBC's jiggery-pokery, of the last five 'Assignments' one--or possible two--of them were aired out of 'Assignment order.'
  • The only reason we're unable, at present, to complete the log with authority, is due to the apparent efforts of one or more 'otr' sellers to obliterate the only means of identifying two of the circulating exemplars.
  • "Disaster" and "Lighter Than Metal" are the same recording
  • "The Drug of Death" and "The Dream That Meant Death" are the same recording.

The only 'top secret' method we employed in documenting this novel series is that we actually listened to the entire series. Indeed, that's our little secret in correcting all of these long-standing, inaccurately documented programs--we actually listen to each program.


What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever--in any way, shape, or form--in the 'otr community'--none. But here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here are the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No misrepresentations. No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.

We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it, before we cite you on it.

We continue to provide honest research into these wonderful Golden Age Radio programs simply because we love to do it. If you feel that we've provided you with useful information or saved you some valuable time regarding this log--and you'd like to help us even further--you can help us keep going. Please consider a small donation here:

We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.

All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2009 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.

[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]







The Top Secret Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
50-06-12
1
Assignment 1 - Night Train to Berlin
Y
[Premiere - Replaces Christopher London]
[Location: Berlin, Germany]

50-06-12 LaCrosse Tribune
TOP SECRET, a series dramatizing factual reports of American counter-espionage in World War II,
makes its debut on WKBH, NBC tonight at 9:30. The series stars Ilona Massey, blonde Hungarian film star.

50-06-12 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WMAQ): new series of war tales starring Ilona Massey as counter-espionage agent.

50-06-12 The Bee
Coming up tonight: NBC 10:30 new drama, "Top Secret," with Ione Massey of the movies as replacement for Christopher London, discontinued.
50-06-19
2
Assignment 2 - The Admiral's Strange Identity
Y
[Location: Rome, Italy]

50-06-18 Cedar Rapids Gazette
Singing Star Ilona Massey has turned to radio, for a Monday night NBC series titled "Top Secret"

50-06-19 Capital Times
8:30 p.m. — Top Secret: Ilona Massey, as spy,
risks death by suffocation—WMAQ.

50-06-19 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WMAQ): Baroness, played by Ilona Massey, risks suffocation in "
The Admiral's Identity."

50-06-20 The Bradford Era
Ilona Massey. a star of the NBC espionage series. "Top Secret''
heard Mondays at 10:30 p.m.. was named radio's best tailored woman in a recent poll of the Custom Tailors Guild of America

Announces "
Assignment 3 - A Blind Beggar" as next
50-06-26
3
Assignment 3 - The Package in Tangiers
Y
[Location: Rome, Italy]

50-06-26 Capital Times
8:30 p.ra. — Top Secret: Ilona Massey
poses as maid for Frau Hermann Goering—WMAQ

50-06-26 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WMAQ): Ilona Massey
poses as Frau Goering's maid.

50-06-26 New York Times - 10:30-11--Top Secret: "
The Cosmetics of Marshall G," With Ilona Massey--WNBC.

The Bazaar of the Singing Fountain

Announces "
Assignment 4 - Philip Cornelius" as next
50-07-03
4
Assignment 4 - Escape!
Y
[Location: Across Germany to Brussels]

50-07-03 Wisconsin State Journal - WMAQ 8:30 Top Secret.

50-07-08 San Mateo Times
Ilona Massey, as the Baroness Karen Gaza,
rescues an English flier stranded in Germany during World War II, in the episode of "Top Secret," on Sunday night at 9:30, over KNBC.

Announces
''the story of a theft'' as next
50-07-10
5
Assignment 5 - Saving The Mona Lisa
N
[Location: Berlin, Germany]

50-07-10 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WMAQ): starring Ilona Massey; on new schedule. Allied spy tries to smuggle Mona Lisa out of Germany.

50-07-10 Capital Times
8:30 p. m. — Top Secret:
Ilona Massey as Allied spy who tries to take Mona Lisa out of Germany—WMAQ.
50-07-1?
6R
Assignment 6 - Coming Disaster
Y
[Rehearsal - intro intentionally cut]
[Location: Rome, Italy]
50-07-17
6
Assignment 6 - Coming Disaster
N
[Location: Rome, Italy]

50-07-17 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): starring Ilona Massey; on new schedule. Baroness
moves to Rome for Allies.

50-07-20 Lime Springs Herald
ILONA MASSEY. has nad experience in playing a beautiful spy; she did It In two movies: "International Lady" and "Invisible Agent" so her role in the new NBC Monday night series. "Top Secret," is right up her alley. It is
based on the actual experiences of a spy whom she knows, but who could not possibly be so beautiful as Ilona. You've heard her sing in "Balalaika" and "Rosalie". She has fun as a comedian in her latest picture, the Marx Brothers' "Love Happy." By the time you read this she may have publicly announced that the marvellous new ring she wears on her left hand means that marriage is in the offing: as yet she hasn't admitted it.

Announces "Operation Dusk" as next
50-07-23
7
Assignment 7 - Midnight For Danger
Y
[Location: Basil, Switzerland]

50-07-23 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): starring Ilona Massey; on new schedule.

Announces
''the story of a mission"
50-07-30
8
Assignment 8 - The Story of The Unknown Mission
Y
[Location: Rome, Italy]

50-07-30 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): starring Ilona Massey; on new schedule. Countess
finds love and spying don't mix.

Announces
"next week, an assignment in England"
50-08-06
9
Assignment 9 - Disaster In London
Y
[Location: London, England]

50-08-06 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): starring Ilona Massey; on new schedule. Baroness Gaza
helps block bacteriological warfare.

Announces
"next week, the story of a castle in Scotland"
50-08-13
10
Assignment 10 - The Case of The Tattooed Pigeon
Y
[Location: Scotland]

50-08-13 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): "
The Case of the Tattooed Pigeon."

Fred Collins announces that '
'two weeks from tonight The American Album of Familiar Music returns to the air,'' Sunday, August 27th.''

Announces "The Church Without A Cross" as next
50-08-20
11
Assignment 11 - The Church Without A Cross
Y
[Location: Brussels, Belgium]

50-08-20 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): Baroness Gaza
hunts secret V-2 launching site.

50-08-20 La Crosse Tribune
"TOP SECRET!" Glamorous Ilona Massey as the intriguing Baroness Gaza ferrets out the location of a V-2 bomb launching cite . . . during the exciting program you'll hear tonight at 8:30.
Beginning September 1st, this story of adventure and espionage will be heard on Friday evenings at 7 o'clock.

Fred Collins announces that '
'one week from tonight The American Album of Familiar Music returns to the air,'' Sunday, August 27th.'' He further announces that Top Secret will be heard Friday evenings, beginning September 1st. Ilona Massey announces that The American Album of Familiar Music will replace Top Secret beginning Sunday, August 27th.
50-09-01
--
Title Unknown
N
[Moves to Fridays]

50-09-01 Hutchinson News-Herald
7:00 P.M. KWBW Top Secret

50-09-01 Paris News
7:00 Top Secret

50-09-01 Olean Times Herald
8:00
Top Secret, drama with Ilona Massey

50-09-01 Jefferson City Post-Tribune
7:00 Top Secret

50-09-01 Ogden Standard-Examiner
2:00 Mystery: Top Secret

50-09-08 Chicago Tribune
9:30 WMAQ--
Sports Newsreel.

50-09-01 New York Times
10:30 WNBC--
Sports--Bill Stern.
50-09-08
--
Title Unknown
N
50-09-08 Evening Independent
8:00 Top Secret

50-09-08 Hamilton Daily News Journal
NBC--9 Top Secret

50-09-08 Warren Times-Mirror
8:00--Top Secret--nbc

50-09-08 Chicago Tribune
9:30 WMAQ--
Sports Newsreel.

50-09-08 New York Times
10:30 WNBC--
Sports--Bill Stern.

50-09-11 New York Times
10:30-11--
The First Piano Quartet--WNBC
50-09-15
--
Title Unknown
N
50-09-15 Paris News
7:00 Top Secret

50-09-15 Hutchinson News-Herald
7:00 P.M. KWBW Top Secret

50-09-11 Chicago Tribune
9:30 WMAQ--
First Piano Quartet.

50-09-15
New York Times
10:30--WNBC--Sports--Bill Stern.
50-09-1?
12R
Assignment ?? - Confession
Y
[Rehearsal]
Locations: New York and Bulgaria]
50-09-18
12
Assignment ?? - Confession
Y
[Moves to Mondays]
[Locations: New York and Bulgaria]

50-09-18 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): Ilona Massey as spy
probing American's Communist "Confession."

50-09-18 Chicago Tribune
9:30 WMAQ--Top Secret.

50-09-18 New York Times
10:30-11--Drama: "Top Secret," With Ilona Massey, Others--WNBC

Announces
''the story of Basil Cajon on the San Francisco waterfront.'' Fred Collins announces ''brought to you now each Monday at this time.''
50-09-25
13
Assignment 14 - The Poisoned Hand of Friendship
Y
[Location: San Francisco]

50-09-25 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): baroness
recovers fantastic secret weapon, only to lose it.

Ilona Massey announces "Disaster" as next
50-10-05
14
Assignment ?? - Disaster
N
[Moves to Thursdays]
[Location: New York City]

50-10-05 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): baroness
saves miracle metal.

50-10-05 Capital Times
9 p. m. — Top Secret:
Ilona Massey saves miracle metal —WIBA.

a.k.a. Lighter Than Metal

[
Goldin: ''October 5, 1950. NBC net. "Disaster". Sustaining. Nikolas Kessler has died beneath the wheels of a New York City subways. The Baroness Karen Gheza retrieves "the greatest miracle ever known, more important than the atomic bomb! This great invention is referred to only as, "the metal." It's lighter than air and stronger than steel. The communists promptly steal it back.'']
50-10-13
15
Assignment 15 - The Document
Y
[Moves to Fridays]
[Tape stretch; speed inconsistencies]
[Location: New York City]

50-10-13 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): Ilona Massey's spy dramas on
new schedule.

50-10-17 Capital Times
NBC stations will carry a series of dramas about Wolfe at 7 p.m. Fridays, beginning this week,
apparently replacing Ilona Massey's "Top Secret," which has been shunted all over the night-time schedule for months.

Ilona Massey announces "a story of the true mystery of Shanghai."
50-10-19
16
Assignment 16 - The Dream That Meant Death
Y
[Poor recording]
[Location: Shanghai]

50-10-19 Wisconsin State Journal - 9 p.m.--Top Secret (WIBA): Baroness Geza battles opium ring.

a.k.a. The Drug of Death

Announces "The Plan for Sabotage" as next
50-10-2?
17R
Assignment 17 - The Plan For Sabotage
Y
[Rehearsal - End intentionally clipped]
50-10-26
17
Assignment 17 - The Plan For Sabotage
Y
[Last Episode -- End intentionally clipped]

50-10-26 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Top Secret: Ilona Massey in "
The Plan for Sabotage"--WIBA.





The Top Secret Radio Program Log [Scripted and Announced ''Assignment'' Order]

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
50-06-12
1
Assignment 1 - Night Train to Berlin
Y
[Location: Berlin, Germany]
50-06-19
2
Assignment 2 - The Admiral's Strange Identity
Y
[Location: New York City]
50-06-26
3
Assignment 3 - The Package in Tangiers
Y
[Location: Germany; Tangiers, Morocco]
50-07-03
4
Assignment 4 - Escape!
Y
[Location: Across Germany]
50-07-10
5
Assignment 5 - Saving The Mona Lisa
N
[Location: Berlin, Germany]
50-07-1?
6R
Assignment 6 - Coming Disaster
Y
[Rehearsal]
[Location: Rome, Italy]
50-07-17
6
Assignment 6 - Coming Disaster
N
[Location: Rome, Italy]
50-07-23
7
Assignment 7 - Midnight For Danger
Y
[Location: Basil, Switzerland]
50-07-30
8
Assignment 8 - The Story of The Unknown Mission
Y
[Location: Rome, Italy]
50-08-06
9
Assignment 9 - Disaster In London
Y
[Location: London, England]
50-08-13
10
Assignment 10 - The Case of The Tattooed Pigeon
Y
[Location: Scotland]
50-08-20
11
Assignment 11 - The Church Without A Cross
Y
[Location: Brussels, Belgium]
50-09-1?
12R
Assignment 1? - Confession
Y
[Locations: New York and Sofia,Bulgaria]
50-09-18
12
Assignment 1? - Confession
Y
[Locations: New York and Sofia,Bulgaria]
50-10-05
14
Assignment 1? - Disaster
N
[Location: New York City]
50-09-25
13
Assignment 14 - The Poisoned Hand of Friendship
Y
[Location: San Francisco]
50-10-13
15
Assignment 15 - The Document
Y
[Location: New York City]
50-10-19
16
Assignment 16 - The Dream That Meant Death
Y
[Location: Shanghai]
17R
Assignment 17 - The Plan For Sabotage
Y
[Location: New York City]
[Rehearsal - end intentionally clipped]
50-10-26
17
Assignment 17 - The Plan For Sabotage
Y
[Location: New York City]
[End intentionally clipped]






The Top Secret Radio Program Biographies




Ilona Massey [Ilona Hajmássy]
(Baroness Karin Geza)

(1910-1974)

Birthplace: Budapest, Austria-Hungary

Radiography:
1938 Good News
1941 The Old Gold Program
1945 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1946 Command Performance
1949 The Railroad Hour
1950 Top Secret
Proudly We Hail
Ilona Massey circa 1937
Ilona Massey circa 1937

Ilona Massey circa December 1948
Ilona Massey circa December 1948
From the August 21, 1974 edition of The Long Beach Independent: 

Ilona Massey, actress, dies 

     Ilona Massey, a Hungarian-born singer and Hollywood actress of the 1930s and '40s, died Tuesday at Bethesda, Md., Naval Hospital after an illness of three months.  She was 62.
     Miss Massey worked as a dress-maker and theater singer in her native Budapest to save money for a trip to Vienna, Austria, where she won the leading role in "Tosca" with that city's opera company.     Eventually she won a Hollywood contract after taking a screen test in London.  Her big break came in 1939, when she costarred with Nelson Eddy in "Balalaika."
  She made "Love Happy" with the Marx Brothers 10 years later.
     After the Soviet Union's invasion of Hungary in 1956, she became a familiar figure in demonstrations protesting the plight of her homeland and was active in relief efforts.  She became a naturalized American citizen in 1947 and lived in the Washington area in recent years.
     She had been married since 1955 to her fourth husband, retired Air Force Gen. Donald S. Dawson.  Her previous marriages ended in divorce.
     A memorial service is to be held later.




Harry W. Junkin
(Writer, Director, Producer)

Radio, Television, Film and Stage Writer, Screenwriter, Director
(1919 - ?)

Birthplace: Winnipeg, Canada

Radiography:
1948-1950 Radio City Playhouse
1949 Big Town
1950 Top Secret
1951 Mr. I. A. Moto
1952 The Chase
1952 Mr. District Attorney

Harry Junkin ca. 1947
Harry Junkin, ca. 1947
Harry W. Junkin ca. 1970
Harry W. Junkin, ca. 1970
Harry W. Junkin, a Canadian-born screenwriter, did most of his work from the late 1940s through the 1950s in the U.S., and from the 1960s to the 1970s in Great Britain. While attending school in Winnipeg, Junkin became interested in the entertainment industry.

He tried acting while attending the University of Manitoba in the late 1930s. After service in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, he went to work in advertising, first in Montreal and later in New York, before he decided to try writing scripts.

Initially, his work was limited to writing commercials, through which he also picked up experience as a producer. By the end of the 1940s, however, Junkin had graduated to authoring dramatic scripts and also producing radio shows, among them Radio City Playhouse from 1948-1949, Mr. I.A.Moto, Mr. District Attorney, Big Town, and Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons.

He made the leap to television in the early 1950s, and by the end of the decade had over a thousand radio shows to his credit as a writer, producer, or director, and 700 teleplays, for such series' as Studio One, Kraft Television Theatre, Lux Video Theatre, and Philco Television Playhouse, as well as the daytime drama Love of Life and network crime shows such as M Squad. Junkin also authored the screenplay to the MGM drama Slander (1956).

He moved to England at the end of the decade, and in the early 1960s served as script supervisor on the British television series' The Saint and Gideon's Way. He contributed scripts or served as a production executive on such subsequent series' as Department S and The Persuaders, and wrote the script for the two-part color Saint episode "Vendetta for the Saint," also released as a feature film. Junkin retired in the 1970s.



Luis d'Antin van Rooten
[a.k.a. Luis Van Rooten, Louis Van Rooten]

(Ensemble actor)
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor
(1906-1973)
Birthplace:

Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico

Education: B.A., Architecture, University of Pennsylvania

Radiography:
1938
Great Plays
1938
The Columbia Workshop
1941
The Free Company
1943
Words At War
1943
The Adventures of Nero Wolfe
1944
Everything For The Boys
1944
We Came This Way
1944
The Eternal Light
1945
Inner Sanctum
1946
The Molle Mystery Theatre
1947
Lux Radio Theatre
1947
Cavalcade of America
1947
Mystery In The Air
1947
Escape!
1947
Your Playhouse of Favorites
1948
Damon Runyon Theatre
1948
Ellery Queen
1948
Suspense
1948
Let George Do It
1948
Chandu The Magician
1949
The Adventures of Philip Marlowe


and hundreds more . . .

Luis van Rooten circa 1958
Luis van Rooten circa 1958

Luis van Rooten at The Mutual Broadcasting System circa 1952
Luis van Rooten at The Mutual Broadcasting System circa 1952

It's no coincidence that Luis van Rooten and Santos Ortega are on the same page of biographies for Nero Wolfe. Their names appear together within the logs of literally hundreds of series from The Golden Age of Radio. Both of their radiographies read like the A-List of programs from The Golden Age of Radio.

Between 1938 and 1962--virtually the entire span of The Golden Age of Radio--Luis van Rooten's name appears in the credits of every significant radio program within that 25-year span. Even more impressive is the fact that in parallel with that extraordinary Radio career, van Rooten's name appears in almost a hundred Film and Television credits.

Mexico born Luis D'Antin van Rooten wasted no time making his mark in The Arts of America. Raised in the U.S., he received his B.A. in Architecture from The University of Pennsylvania and had already developed a respectable career as an architect long before he entered the service during World War II. But ironically enough, it was in the Service that he became attracted to Drama. Upon returning to civilian life, he began getting involved with the Cleveland Playhouse. This led to some work in radio serials, and his title role as the great Nero Wolfe; certainly the kind of role any young actor could really sink his teeth into. Van Rooten's multiligual talents were also invaluable to his country helping with special French, Italian and Spanish broadcasts for the government throughout the War years.

While his Film and Television roles were usually limited to 'heavies', 'weasals', or one type of unsavory character or another, his Radio work spanned the depth and breadth of every dramatic genre imaginable. From action-adventure to crime, mystery and detective drama to the most sensitive straight dramatic portrayals of the era, Luis van Rooten's body of work dwarfs that of the vast majority of his peers.

This diminutive, bald, sensitive man with the voice of a giant remains part and parcel of the very best voicework of The Golden Age of Radio. A gifted dialectician, van Rooten's range was truly extraordinary. But in The Arts, van Rooten was truly a Renaissance Man of the highest order. In addition to his work on the Stage, in Film, Television and Radio, van Rooten also made his mark as both an accomplished artist and author, eventually becoming a respected authority on horticultural science as well.

Luis van Rooten left his mark in the world on many fronts, but it's the magic of Radio that will continue to capture the attention of fans--old and new--for generations to come.



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