Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, March 29, 2018

OLD-TIME RADIO: THE KING IN YELLOW

For the safety of your smile, use Pepsodent.

For the safety of just about everything else, call on Philip Marlowe.

Van Heflin stars as Raymond Chandler's iconic private eye in this episode of The Adventures of Philip Marlowe.  King Leopoldi, a trumpet player for "The Pepsodent Hour," is found murdered clad only in yellow silk pajamas.  Although yellow was his trademark color, the pajamas were not his.  Philip Marlowe is on the case.

Chandler's original story was first published in the March 1938 issue of Dime Detective, with the detective named Steve Grayce; the name was changed to Marlowe when the story appeared in book form in Chandler's 1945 paperback collection Five Sinister Characters.  The title harks back to Robert W. Chambers' classic 1895 supernatural collection The King in Yellow.

The Adventures of Philip Marlowe (as it was named then) ran from June 17, 1947 to September 9, 1947, as a summer replacement for The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope.  Eight, perhaps nine shows, were aired.The show, now titled The New Adventures of Philip Marlowe, next appeared on CBS radio and ran from September 26, 1948 to September 29, 1950 for 114 episodes.  Gerald Mohr replaced Heflin in the title role.  By 1949 the show had the largest audience in radio.

"The King in Yellow" (July 8, 1947) was the fourth episode featuring Van Heflin to be aired.  The show was adapted for radio by Milton Geiger.  The announcer was Wendell Niles.  Lyn Murray composed the music and conducted the orchestra.  Gerald Mohr (who would take over as Marlowe in 1948) evidently played King Leopoldi, the title character of the episode and the first murder victim.  

Raymond Chandler has little to do with the radio show and declined having script approval, which may explain in part why he was less than impressed with the Van Heflin series.

From a time when radio wasn't very hard-boiled, here's a hard-boiled private eye story.

Enjoy.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2SdUdgeSMI

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