John P. Marquand's famous Japanese detective Mr. I. A. Moto made it to the radio airwaves on May 20, 1951. Taking the title role was veteran actor James Monks. Over his career, Monk appeared in some 500 radio productions, often while also appearing on stage (He had a forty year stage career, including 639 performances opposite Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame.) Monks very effectively mirrored the voice of Peter Lorre, who starred in Mr. Moto's popular movie adventures.
Mr. Moto did not have a regular sponsor -- something for which NBC Radio had short shrift. After the first thirteen episodes, NBC lowered the show's budget and replaced announcer Fred Collins with the less talented Ray Barrett. Producer Carol Irwin gave way to her associate producer. Spot promotional ads for the show began to disappear, as did releases for the print media. The show was dropped after just 23 episodes -- indicative of NBC's cutthroat approach. Many experts believe that, had Mr. Moto been allowed to continue for just a few more shows, it would easily have found a regular sponsor.
The eighth episode of the show (linked below), "Project 77," was first aired on July 8, 1951 and was written and directed by Harry W. Junkin. Features actors included Bill Smith, Connie Lemke, Bill Lipton, Scott Tennyson, and Ian Martin.
Enjoy this episode of the international detective who fights the evils of communism throughout the world.