Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Mr. Moto was a Japanese-American detective created by John P. Marquand, who created the character for The Saturday Evening Post to fill the void made by the death of Charlie Chan creator Earl Derr Biggers.  From 1935 through 1957, Marquand wrote six novels about the detective.  Today the character is probably best known through the eight movies that starred Peter Lorre from 1937 to 1939.  Moto also appeared in a better forgotten 1965 film with Henry Silva as the title character.  (One Moto book was also used as the "basis" of a 1957 movie although Marquand's plot was scrapped, as was the Moto character -- to be replaced by Robert Wagner.  Sic transit gloria.)  More recently Mr. Moto was featured in a comic book and a graphic novel from Moonstone Books.  Moto never gained the popularity or the success of that other Asian detective whose shoes he had been created to fill.

Mr. I. A. Moto ran on NBC Radio for five months from May 20 through October 20, 1951 -- a total of 23 episodes.  The show was produced by Carol Irwin (who would soon become increasingly involved with her hit television show Mama) and sometimes by assistant producer Doris Quinlan.  Harry W. Junkin (from NBC's hit Radio City Playhouse) was chosen to direct and write the series, although Robert Tallman (Cavalcade of America, Sam Spade, Suspense) actually wrote most of the scripts, with Jim Haines also penning some of the scripts.  Veteran stage and radio actor James Monks took to the radio waves as Moto, who was cast as an International Secret Agent who battled Communism and (occasionally) mundane crime.  The entire program was a class act, from the direction and writing to the acting;  many of the West Coast's best radio actors were used in supporting roles, including Mason Adams, Julie Stevens, William conrad, and Ross Martin.

"The Case of the Dry Martini" was the final show in the radio series.  Enjoy.

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