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Variety reviews Cooper

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Posted Apr 09, 2004 - 4:29 PM:

Variety -- June 22, 1949

VOL. 1, NO.1
with Wyllis Cooper, Jack Lescoulie, Nancy Sheridan, Frank Thomas, Jr., Albert J. Buhrman, organist
Producer-Writer: Wyllis Cooper
Director: Alex Segal
30 mins., Thurs., 9:30 p.m.
From New York

Wyllis Cooper, who distinguished himself in radio with the "Quiet, Please" and "Lights Out" shows, has made a provocative start in video with his production of "Vol. 1, No. 1." He has applied techniques used in film and legit in a manner that makes the audience part of the show with his stationary one camera technique, and provides a story with an indefinite conclusion that leaves the viewers stewing in their intellectual juices groping for a plausible explanation.

Briefly, the yarn tells of a couple being shown to a hotel room by a bellhop. Said couple have just robbed a bank, killed a watchman and made a successful getaway to this hideout hotel. The moment the bellhop leaves, they discover their money and the gun missing, despite the fact that their luggage hasn't been switched. The bellhop seems to be the master of the situation. He strands them without food, water, cigarets, and without a possibility of making a getaway.

The focal point seems to center around the bellhop, played with just the right amount of puckishness by Frank Thomas, Jr. It's hard to make out exactly what he represents. He could be the personification of the couple's conscience or some supernatural being. The audience can apply any solution it likes and it will still be groping for explanations.

Jack Lescoulie and Nancy Sheridan as the embattled couple do excellent jobs that call for a graduated change of emotions from cockiness to stark terror.

Cooper has made the audience part of the show by using his single camera stationed behind what is purportedly a wall mirror. The camera range is limited to what can be seen by one peeking into the room. Cooper has seen to it that the audience is given a feeling of guilt by looking in on the show, especially when the absconding pair complain that they have the feeling that someone's watching them.

With the variation in story treatment, Cooper has also introduced some penetrating bits of business. At one point the siren of a passing ambulance merges with the loud swing record from the music store on the ground floor of the hotel in a manner that made it a completely harmonic composition and one that helps create an atmosphere that helps accentuate the feeling of terror that envelopes the twosome.

Cooper, who made a brief appearance to introduce the program, has contracted for an initial series of six shows. With the first of this series, it seems that he has fashioned an adult type of diversion for the higher IQ levels. He has provided an indication that the medium is growing up.



From an interview with actor Frank Thomas, Jr.:

... They finally talked [Cooper] into doing TV, and he agreed only to do these six stories. [June 16 to July 21, 1949 on ABC] For the first broadcast, we did something called "The Bellhop's Story," with only three characters, played by myself, Jack Lescoulie and Nancy Sheridan. Well, the next morning after the broadcast, at an ungodly hour, Bill [Cooper] called me up. I worked a great deal for him, so we were on friendly terms. I had worked on "Quiet, Please!" which is the [horror-fantasy] show he did after "Lights Out!" Anyway, he called and said, "Frank, have you seen Variety? Well, of course, you haven't seen it, I have an advance copy, I wanta read this to you, kid: 'Television Comes of Age with Wyllis Cooper's Volume One.'" And that was the review! It was indeed a very interesting script. ...

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Posted Apr 25, 2004 - 7:44 PM:

I suppose the question of the moment is

Can We get these episodes on either Videotape or DVD? grin

Edited by Paul on Aug 01, 2004 - 1:13 PM
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Posted Apr 27, 2004 - 8:03 PM:

I've looked but can't find 'em on the web. These were done live, not on film, so unless somebody made and saved kinescopes of the shows, they're lost forever. Don't know where the scripts might be either. So far, the only other info I've found is some cast lists, from the TV section of the New York Times:

No. 1 Jack Lescoulie, Nancy Sheridan, Frank Thomas, Jr.
No. 2
No. 3 Herb Sheldon, Edgar Stehli, Alice Reinheart
No. 4 Nancy Sheridan, James Monks
No. 5 Vicki Vola, Marie Kenney, William A. Lee
No. 6 Happy Felton, Abby Lewis, Alex Segal

Most of the actors listed above appeared on QP.

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Posted May 28, 2004 - 10:10 PM:

Variety -- July 3, 1946

"Lights Out"
With Carl Frank, Mary Wilsey, Eva Condon, Russell Morrison, Bob Lieb. Gene O'Donnell, Vaughn Taylor, W. O. McWatters, Thomas Healphy, Paul Keyes, Bob Davis, Harold Grou, Bill Woodson, narrator.
Producer: Fred Coe
Tech. Director: Bill States
Writer: Wyllis Cooper
Sets: Bob Wade
25 Mins.; Sun. (30) 8:45 p.m.

It's usually considered in bad taste for a reviewer to use superlatives in describing a show. Sometimes, however, such a course of action cannot be helped, as in this first televised version of the w.k. "Lights Out" radio spine-tingler. Utilizing a new device in which the camera itself is the murderer, the program was tops from start to finish and undoubtedly one of the best dramatic shows yet seen on a television screen.

Credit for the show's all-around excellence belongs jointly to scripter Wyllis Cooper and producer Fred Coe. Cooper was the last writer of the radio version with an eight week series on the NBC net last summer. (Show returns for eight weeks Sat. (6) as replacement for Judy Canova). He followed Arch Oboler at the task and has made the switch from radio to tele without a single letdown in the program's eerie quality. Coe, whose light on NBC television has been partly hidden in the past by Ed Sobol and Ernie Colling, both of whom won ATS awards this last year, has come into his own with this show and should now rank right at the top of the heap.

Story, titled "First Person Singular," concerned a psychopathic killer whose wife's constant nagging, extreme sloppiness, etc., led him to strangle her in their apartment on one of those blistering summer evenings. Killer was never seen, with the camera following the action and taking in just what the eyes of the murderer would see. Thoughts in the killer's subconscious, meanwhile, told what might go on in the mind of such a person as he contemplates his crime, is convicted in court and then hanged.

Coe achieved some admirable effects with the camera, drawing the viewer both into the killer's mind and into the action. Use of a spiral montage effect bridged the gap between scenes very well and the integration of film to point up the killer's dream of a cool, placid existence and to heighten the shock effect as the hangman ended his life was excellent. Technical director Bill States was on the beam with the controls in following Coe's direction.

Actors furnished an example of near-perfect casting. Carl Frank, as the murderer, though never seen, injected the right touches with his restrained reading of the script. Mary Wilsey was excellent as the wife. Her whining voice and little side-touches such as picking her teeth with her finger, all heightened by ultra-realistic makeup, brought forth a woman that even a sane husband might have wanted to kill. Supporting cast was uniformly good. Bob Wade's sets, though not as spectacular as in other shows, fit the program well.

Announcer Bill Woodson at the end of the show asked viewers to send in their reactions and advice on whether they wanted the series to be a regular weekly feature. Response should be unanimous in the affirmative.


Variety -- April 1950

Stage 13
With Alan Bunce, Peter Capell
Writer: Draper Lewis
Director-producer: Wyllis Cooper
30 Mins.; Wed., 9:30 p.m.
CBS, from N.Y.

Filling in the spot vacated by the Joey Faye show, "Stage 13" promises to develop into a good chiller series. While not attempting anything novel in the video conception of dramatic presentation, preem show demonstrated an ability to make maximum use of its resources via smoothly flowing production, minute attention to background details and expert handling of cameras and lighting. Theme of this series, while probably increasing the reservoir of superstitions among viewers, has also demonstrated its steady saleability on both radio and TV.

Kickoff program (19) was an eerily supernatural yarn that was covered with enough atmosphere to obscure the weaknesses in its structure. Story, which revolved around two men who disappeared completely after acquiring an undefined key to the universe, was handicapped by its narrative structure. Adroit manipulation of the camera angles around the two leads, Alan Bunce and Peter Capell, managed to lend the quality of dramatic action. Bunce and Capell, moreover, projected their parts with such persuasion and intensity that the play achieved a bigger impact than was warranted by the static scripting.

Wyllis Cooper, director-producer of the series, is effectively prefacing each show with a dry challenge to viewers to come up and see the spooks in his closet.


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Posted Oct 10, 2004 - 8:54 PM:

Reviews and other nuggets from the pages of Variety:

[July 10, 1946]

"Lights Out"
With Boris Aplon, John Barclay, Wilms Herbert; George Stone, announcer
Director: Albert Crews
Writer: Wyllis Cooper
30 Mins., Sat., 10 p.m.

NBC's oldtime thriller, first heard 11 years ago and a regular feature for several years thereafter, is back again as a summer replacement, this time for Judy Canova. (Last year it subbed for "Truth or Consequences.") Opening session of the eight-week revival Saturday (6), though interest, wasn't quite successful, however.

Show, which was a sort of modern version of the "Wandering Jew" theme, was a little too serious in content for a thriller. Religious background, philosophical discussion, and dream diagnosis gave program a slow, heavy pace from the start, and the whole thing, though it did pick up sharply in interest towards the close, was too talky and action-less. Sometimes plot was a little confusing, and one of the character's accent made the play that much more difficult to get. It's doubtful if this stuff suits for hot-weather escapist fare.


[June 11, 1947 - a column item reporting on a possible sponsor for QP:]

... American Transit Assn. is toying with the idea of dropping "Bulldog Drummond" in favor of the new Mutual show, "Quiet Please" ...

[June 18, 1947 - this review of QP episode "I Have Been Looking for You" contains spoilers!]

With Ernest Chappell, Claudia Morgan; Gene Perrazzo, organist
Producer-director-writer: Wyllis Cooper
30 Mins., Sun., 3:30 p.m.

This is a novel series that Mutual has slotted for a strawhat tryout in the web's popular "Juvenile Jury" spot. It's a quietly emotional narration by Ernest Chappell, with expressive organ backgrounding, of stories imaginatively scripted. The yarns range from the whodunit to the romantic, last Sunday's (15) being in the latter class. It was a highly sentimental piece -- reminiscent somehow of the song "Laura" -- of an unnamed young man's long, aching search for the girl of his dreams. The girl (played by Claudia Morgan, guesting on the show) also futilely searches for him. They meet death at the same instant, at the same spot, without meeting.

The piece suffered most from its drawn out length: by the half hour's end it was beginning to seem as never-ending and dreary as the man's search. It was quite a load for Chappell to sustain almost alone, although he gave the performance warm character. Miss Morgan did equally well. Direction was careful, the backgrounding (including sound effects by the organ) very effective, and the seguing throughout deftly done.

Judged by this stanza, the show isn't apt to set the Hooperatings afire, but it can provide a warmly appealing half-hour if given tales of sufficient substance. The scripting has colorful quality.



[August 6, 1947]

Eversharp Yanks 'Lights Out' Switch

Eversharp yanked the switch on "Lights Out" after last Wednesday's (30) broadcast, dousing the series after only three of a scheduled eight-week summer run. The sponsor is committed to the show's owner, Wyllis Cooper, for the contractual period, but is understood to have worked out a compromise payoff covering the cost of the scripts. Deal is also getting worked out with the ABC network, which will fill the unexpired weeks with a sustainer, for the time charges. This is believed to be part of negotiations with Mark Woods, ABC prez, and Martin Strauss, boss of the pen and razor firm, involving a reshuffle of the net's whole Wednesday night schedule for the coming fall-winter.

"Lights Out," horror series with a long and spotty history on both ABC and NBC, stumbled as a summer replacement from its first broadcast July 16. Although it was a minimum budget production, using old scripts originally written by Cooper when the series was launched a decade ago as a late-evening sustainer out of Chicago, it aroused the ire of Strauss, who ordered the Biow agency to yank it after the third installment. ...


[The February 4, 1948 Variety features a full page advertisement (on p. 35) announcing QP's switch to Mondays, calling it "radio's most talked about program," and quoting from reviews by a half dozen critics: Sid Weiss of Radio Daily (who calls the series "one of the few adult-thinking shows on the air"), Paul Dennis of the New York Post (who calls it "better than Benzedrine"), Paul Ackerman of Billboard Magazine, Ben Gross of the Daily News, and unnamed writers for Variety and Newsweek. The ad also quotes John Crosby's syndicated Radio in Review critique in its entirety. Apparently, the version of that review posted in another thread is incomplete -- here's a few missing sentences as they appeared in the Variety ad:]

They have an odd flavor, extremely difficult to describe, and they represent, I should say, PURE RADIO ... That's the sort of stories they are -- just weird -- and if you're of literal mind I suggest you avoid them. Their great charm for me is that I don't know what Mr. Cooper will do next. Also, these stories are handled with extreme skill. Mr. Cooper presents you with a fantastic idea, but he never piles the unlikely on top of the unlikely. Once you accept the original premise, the rest follows logically. Incidentally, the fantasies are never fully explained. There's the secret. Never explain anything fully. Leave 'em guessing.

[The ad also mentions the drama award QP won from the American Schools and Colleges Association and that the series' "personal and package representative" is Ted Lloyd, Inc. of 610 Fifth Avenue in New York City.]


[January 11, 1950]

("Rugged Journey")
With Charita Bauer, Richard MacMurray, Charles Egleston, Lawrence Fletcher
Scripter: Howard Rodman
Producer-director: Wyllis Cooper
30 Mins., Thurs. (5), 9 p.m.
CBS-TV, from N.Y.

New drama-fantasy series that preemed Thursday (5) with "Rugged Journey" shapes up promisingly. Opener showed imagination, style and some superior writing which made this an interesting half-hour. Story concerned a too-enterprising N.Y. reporter, who by investigating a story of a new invention by a transport tycoon, found himself marooned in the Arctic. Story covered a good deal of ground in 30 minutes, with tycoon and reporter flying to the far north on a magic carpet (a two-seater model); reporter resuming a love affair with an Eskimo gal started in the good old GI days, and tycoon and damsel flying back to the lusher purlieus of New York while the reporter was left behind to spend his days chewing seal meat in his igloo. Purpose of the new series is to dramatize escape from reality through fantasy and adventure, and it certainly succeeded here.

Good writing kept the show from going heavy-handed and an adept cast played it straight. Show sagged in the middle when the love interest entered, but righted itself toward the close to finish strongly. Production demands were simple, and direction good.


[May 13, 1953 -- A Variety TV critic watches an episode of "Robert Montgomery Presents" then changes the channel and catches the last half of a Cooper play on "Studio One":]

... A switchover to "Studio One" revealed the final half hour of an adaptation of Conrad Aiken's novel, "King Coffin," with Zachary Scott as a psychopathic writer bent on killing a stranger but winding up using a gun on himself. Atmosphere was highly unbelievable, with madness, potential murder, and final suicide an unpalatable combination of sensationalism.

No subject need be tabu on TV, but there should be more intelligent and responsible use of strong material.


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Posted Nov 21, 2004 - 11:25 PM:

[May 28, 1941]

With Frank Black Orchestra
30 Mins.
Thursday, 10:30 p.m.
WEAF-NBC, New York

NBC has 22 Latin-American programs in prospect for Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. The first was an introduction to all 'The Other Americas' (the frequently repeated catchphrase of the script by Wyliss [sic] Cooper) and each of those to follow will single out one of 21 republics for salute. The programs are likely to represent lots of musical and historic research and painstaking attention to the niceties and subtleties of national custom, pride and sensitivity.

Inaugural proved fast-moving and kaleidoscopic. By nothing more original than the 'caption' method, the script managed to crowd together and put across a mental image of colorful far-off places, thriving, if strange cultures and civilizations just as rich and usually considerably older than our own Yankee ways of life.

Voices with the accents of Spanish and Portuguese sounded the roll call of the republics. Other voices flung out the great symbolic names of the patriots -- Bolivar, Hidalgo, O'Higgins, Juarez. North Americans were reminded that when the dour, pious and hungry Pilgrims touched Plymouth Rock in a wilderness of Indians and pine trees the city of Havana already was 100 years old (and doing the rhumba?). And, Senor Yanqui, did you also know that when Harvard was just a couple of converted cow barns the University at Lima was 87 years established? Si, si and also tsk, tsk!

This is good stuff. North Americans are profoundly ignorant of their good neighbors, urgently in need of smartening up. They are some 450 years after Columbus, of course, but better to discover South America late, and with NBC's help, than not at all. The series will not be easy perhaps. There will, no doubt, be brass hats and protocol to ensnare author, director and network. But apparently there is lots of exotic anecdota and music to be woven together. The getaway program was workmanlike and vivid, making frequent uses of montage devices. Much of the music, notably an operatic overture by a Brazilian, was highly promising.

NBC bows off with an elegant declaration that it enjoys the endorsement of Vice-President Henry Wallace and Secretary of State Cordell Hull.



[September 1948]

With Ernest Chappell, Dan Sutter, Peggy Stanley, Athena Lord; Albert Buhrmann, organist; Ed Michael, announcer
Producer-director-writer: Wyllis Cooper
30 Mins., Sun., 5 p.m.
ABC, from New York

Wyllis Cooper is apparently an experienced hand in fashioning custom-built chillers out of comparatively insignificant occurrences. Many of his "Lights Out" sessions contained that theme. With the added experience of that series made good use of in his new show, "Quiet Please," new layout should be one of the more suspenseful items on the spectrum.

Initial show, "Anonymous," gave terrific promise. Story theme is extremely simple. A politico, between congratulatory letters and phone calls, gets an anonymous call from a femme urging him to drop dead. This occurrence preys on his mind until he obliges the lady.

Although an anonymous phone call is a pretty thin peg for the results attained, Cooper has built up his theme so that the key character's emotions are logically graduated from annoyance to fear.

Ernest Chappell, as the politico, gave a virtuoso performance. Entire session was practically a monologue with minor characters coming in at strategic points to heighten the basic interest.

The team of Cooper and Chappell gives promise that "Quiet Please" should be one of the most compact chiller series. It's sufficiently taut to drive the nervous away to another show early in the program.

On the initial show, Dan Sutter as the medico, Athena Lord as the politico's wife, and Peggy Stanley as the telephone voice, gave excellent accounts of themselves.

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Posted Jul 16, 2005 - 4:32 PM:

[December 25, 1940]

with Donald Cook, Florence Lake, Nelson Case.
15 Mins.
M-W-F, 11 a.m.
WABC-CBS, New York

From the characters and basic situation of several of his 'Short Short Story' programs for the same sponsor, Red [sic] Cooper has written this click comedy series as a replacement in the 11 a.m. spot on CBS for Campbell Soup. Show is deftly scripted, skillfully produced and directed and persuasively played. Only question of its success may be whether adult humor will appeal to dish-washers. For 'Charlie and Jessie' is essentially a night time show -- and a good one.

Donald Cook is Charlie, whose activities as star salesman for Bissell, Cartwright, Emerson and Speewack keep him so frantic he can't get away for a honeymoon with his bride of seven weeks, Jessie, played by Florence Lake. Both are solidly plausible and, by playing the funny lines and situations straight, accent their comedy. George Zachary's direction has crispness and fluency, with such touches as the musical bridging and other uses of music as whimsical italics to the story. Of course Cooper's witty plot and characters are the foundation.

Campbell's commercials, plugging its tomato juice, are the endless, hard-punching sort, but Nelson Case makes them as palatable as possible.

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Posted Aug 10, 2005 - 8:29 PM:

[February 23, 1932 - In addition to playing a supporting role (as a Spanish soldier named Mendoza), Cooper wrote the scripts for this series which was also known as "The Lost Legion" and "Tales of the Foreign Legion."]

With Ray Appleby, Vinton Haworth, Jack Daly, Don Ameche, W. O. Cooper.
WBBM, Chicago

This regular Sabbath day feature over the Columbia link has several points of merit found lacking in many other radio dramatic attempts. It is the mistake of radio dramas often to crowd too much into a 30-minute interlude. They attempt to make up for the bad writing and weak characterization by jumbling the plot in feverish and hectic twitchings. As a result the audience loses all interest in the characters and their troubles. Things happen so quickly and with such poor motivation that the element of suspense is entirely missing.

This series of tales is more rational and deliberate. Each session comprises an entirely distinct story, but belongs in sequence with the other interludes. Each broadcast, moreover, has only one major plot, instead of two or three dozen as in many other dramatic broadcasts. The characters remain long enough to impress themselves on the listener and each is sufficiently rounded and etched to enable the listener to draw a mental picture.

As the title states, these stories concern the French Foreign Legion. This time in Arabia. The various nationality types are there, the local color impresses as likely enough and a good deal of attention has been paid to the proper stressing of military details. All evidence careful and considerate writing.

Program is opened by a character radio trailer, each player being announced by actual and fictitious name, followed by a bit of speaking by the character in order to identify him with the audience. It's another sample of the thought expended on this program.

As for its appeal, there are hardly any limits. It encompasses the hearts of all ages and both sexes. Everything from adventure to romance and the good old triangle drama. Entire session shapes up as a cinch winner.


[April 17, 1940 article which reprints a 1935 review of "Immortal Dramas" - Cooper wrote the scripts for this series but Chicago drama critic Lloyd Lewis was credited as the author in 1935 publicity.]

Previous Radio Bible Dramatics For Montgomery Ward Ran 13 Wks.

Chicago, April 16

In connection with the question of General Mills' present adventure in Gospel melodrama [NBC's serial "Light of the World"], the Montgomery Ward Bible series is recalled. 'Immortal Dramas' (1935 review reprinted herewith) was an NBC owned and produced show and was submitted around generally. Montgomery Ward was a Lord & Thomas account but the agency couldn't be stirred on it. Hays MacFarland agency heard the show, got an option on it and sold it to MW through president Sewell Avery and general manager Walter Hoving (now president of Lord & Taylor in New York). It was the personal selection of Avery and Hoving, with none of the other execs at M-W consulted.

Clarence Menser, at that time production manager of NBC, produced the show with Roy Shields' musical background. Lloyd Lewis (drama critic of Daily News) was hired to write the synopses at a reported $600 weekly. Scripts were put in radio form by Bill Copper, [sic] at that time head of NBC continuity department.

The show was really and strictly institutional with merely a presentation announcement for Montgomery Ward at beginning and close. No plug for organization in any way, merely stating that it presented show.

The show went off at the end of the first 13 weeks, having done no selling job (though no selling job had been sought). Hoving was ill in the Bahamas at renewal time and no one else would take it upon himself to okay renewal. MacFarland, also, reportedly had no data as a good reason for renewal. Show had an 8 rating.

Montgomery Ward made a survey on its own for listeners and reported 94% of listeners in favor, 4% opposed and 1% noncommittal. At no time was mail sought or requested, with the mail therefore counted in hundreds rather than thousands.

Another reason for failure of show to renew is said to be internal wrangling among department heads, with the mail order department against the show due to its failure to seek mail response.

As far as church reaction, it was generally okay. There were reports of the show being publicly praised in pulpits, and that the Bible Readers Union attempted to work out some sort of tie-up with the show, but this was rejected by NBC and sponsor.

These were almost word-for-word dramatizations of the Bible, and no attempt to color as is with the current General Mills show. ...

(From Variety, Jan. 29, 1935)

Harvey Hayes, [Noble Cain's] A Capella Choir, Roy Shields Orchestra
Biblical Episodes
30 Mins.
Sunday Afternoon
WMAQ-NBC, Chicago

'Immortal Dramas' is from holy scripture. And for once the radio author is King. Auspices seem to have been smart enough first to hire a reputable writer, Lloyd Lewis, historian and dramatic critic of the Chicago Daily News, and then to keep the advertising from making a mockery, as could easily be done, of a reverent narrative.

Minimum of commercial copy. Only commercial plug on the entire show is the brief mention at the beginning and at the end: 'presented by Montgomery Ward.' No other copy is necessary, in fact, more copy would be detrimental. The very paucity of commercial copy enhances the single slug line so that the brief mention stands out more effectively than a 200-word spiel. The only danger now is that the mail order house may believe that it can, as time goes by, increase the amount of copy. If such a trick is attempted the company may lose the effectiveness of this program.

Riding for 30-minute period on Sunday early afternoon it is an almost ideal time for a Biblical series. Bible is loaded with dramatic values, with love and life and suspense and action.

Script-writing by Lloyd Lewis is a radio gem. Stark simplicity authentic in research and tempo marks Lewis' scripts.

Harvey Hayes serves as narrator, leading into the dialogue and he does the job well. Noble Cam [sic] A Capella Choir has been an NBC fixture here for several years and in this show finds a place in which it fits perfectly. Music by Shield and orchestra is excellent in keeping to the spirit of the show.


[ca. January 1940]

With Paul Stewart, Dolores Gillin
15 Mins.
Daily, 11 a.m.
WABC-CBS, New York

(Ward Wheelock)

New series started last week occupies the first 15 minutes of a half-hour slot taken by Campbell's, the latter half filled by a daily dramatic serial, 'Life Begins.' This three-a-week stanza is a series of separate, unconnected yarns of the type suggested by the title. According to last Friday's (26) edition, the scripts are considerably above the regular daytime serial level. It's all hoke, of course, but at least it's not a serial.

Story caught was 'Sing, Dance, Plenty Hot,' a romantic bit of flapdoodle about a song-and-dance team. Good scripting job from a commercial standpoint. Paul Stewart snapped across the part of the personality boy hoofer skillfully, while Dolores Gillin was acceptable as his wavering-but-loyal-in-the-end partner. Another part, that of the gal's amorous friend, was a humdrum character. Diana Bourbon produced, Willis Cooper scripted, and George Putnam was announcer.

Incidentally, all leading actors [on] the show seem to get elaborate billing.


[Other Variety items about SSS: series was rebroadcast to West Coast starting in May (05-01-40); Dorothy Mallinson substituted for director Orrie Hancock in July (07-17-40); comedian Tom Howard's daughter "Ruth Howard and Sanford Dickinson, who do a daytime program on WOKO, Albany, have been set for a guester" on SSS (11-6-40).]


[ca. November 1951]

With Harvey Hayes, Winston Ross, Horace Braham, Cathleen Cordell, Pat O'Malley
Writer-director: Wyllis Cooper
30 Mins.; Sun. 5:30 p.m.
NBC, from New York

NBC has come up with a top-flight mysterioso in "Whitehall 1212," based on actual cases from the files of Scotland Yard. It's beamed Sundays at 5:30 p.m. (although heard in N. Y. on WNBC at 10:30 p.m.). Research is handled by Percy Hoskins, chief crime reporter for the London Daily Express, with Wyllis Cooper ably writing and directing the series. On the preem Sunday (25) "Whitehall" proved itself a mature vehicle, treated in semi-documentary fashion, with emphasis on detection and deduction rather than blood-and-thunder.

In fact, there wasn't a single shot or slugging on the airer. There wasn't even a body (the Yard was called in after the murder, the victim having been tossed off a ship at sea.) Stress was placed on the technique of crime solution, with the Yardmen working on the case by remote control, since the vessel was still a week's sailing from port. Evidence finally narrowed the suspects down to two stewards, with the killer eventually trapped by a clever ruse. Suspense mounted nicely and stanza was directed with typical British understatement, some warm touches and a believable approach. If it lacked anything, it was having a yarn in which the victim's and the murderer's motivations were unimportant.

Framework of the series is the Yard's "black museum" of items figuring in the British force's cases. Harvey Hayes plays the museum curator, a standing role. Inspectors' parts will be rotated. Winston Ross, who handled the initial detective assignment, was clicko, with Cathleen Cordell putting over a characterization of a ship stewardess. Others in the capable cast included Horace Braham and Pat O'Malley.


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