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Contemporary Reviews of ILAM from VARIETY and RADIO GUIDE


        The same generous web site viewer who forwarded us his interview with Mr. Morse in the 1970s, also collected clippings about "I Love A Mystery" taken from contemporaneous (1939 to 1943) entertainment and media sources.  He laboriously transcribed some of these newspaper clippings for us to enjoy. 

        As a warning for the modern listener of ILAM, despite the popularity of the series, contemporary radio critics were unduly harsh in their views on the series. Some of their misplaced venom appears below.

::Brian:: 


Monday, April 10, 1939

 Variety

 'I LOVE A MYSTERY'

Cast: Michael Raffetto, Barton Yarborough, Walter Patterson

15 Minutes: Regional

Fleischmann Yeast

Daily, 2:15 p. m.

KFL, Los Angeles

       There was not very much to the initial installment of I LOVE A MYSTERY to support large expectations.  The show's title takes listeners under false pretensions - there is no mystery -just gab.  Nor are the characters sharply drawn, plausible or even likable.  Initial exposition skimpy.  "The Three Comrades" are silly Rover Boy types of characterizations.  One has an accent thick enough to pour over a bowl of grits. (Most cast members doubled over from One Man's Family) Serials are almost impossible to evaluate fairly on a single hearing. 

    Show originates in Hollywood and has 46 stations on NBC's Red Network.  Over KFL-Los Angeles.  The characters were rather laboriously "set" and the plot a long time in moving one and one half inches.  The first episode ended with the eccentric owner of an eccentric schooner announcing that the room steward had just been found murdered. 


Sunday, April 16,1939

Variety

 'I LOVE A MYSTERY'

Cast: Michael Raffetto, Barton Yarborough, Walter Patterson

15 Minutes: Regional

Fleischmann Yeast

Daily, 2:15 p. m.

KFL, Los Angeles

(J Walter Thompson)

Years ago, before 'One Man's Family', Carlton Morse whipped up this whodunit, but there were then no takers.  Now as a clicko author, the dusted-off manuscripts are marketable.  J. Walter Thompson liked 'em and so did JWT's alter-ego, Standard Brands.  Coast basic red network of five stations was bought for the test run, and when the leaves turn brown it may spread over the country.  It seems fairish entertainment of its kind. 

Morse, as he does on 'Family' writes, produces and casts.  Three leads and most of the supporting cast double over from 'Family.' 

Yam has to do with three comrades, hell-bent for adventure, who get into one jam after another.  Episode caught related their experiences tracking down a killer who made off with the body.  It's the usual detecketiving with a light vein of humor running through the plot.  Piece is themed with creepy music fore and aft, and trails off to the cliffhangers of the screen-don't miss next weeks episode. 

Three thrill-seekers are those named above.  Their tags of Jack, Doc and Reggie correspond with Paul, Cliff and Nicky of 'Family.' They perform with the customary demean of mystery characters and seemingly try hard to throw off the scent those dial-detectives who may attempt to pin down their dual radio lives.  They succeed fairly well, and may fool the legion of 'Family' followers if they don't get too nosy.  It's being kept pretty much of a secret, however, and they may even adopt phony names when the program goes cross country. 

As in nearly all script shows, the commercial is overlong and pounded at both ends, Judging from the harangue there are enough vitamins in the yeast peddled to keep one alive and well even if all other food is eschewed.

Helm


Friday, October 6, 1939

Radio Guide 

'I LOVE A MYSTERY'

 MYSTERY

Mon. through Fri.

NBC

        Meat for mystery-thriller fans is a new serial drama which e this week.  It is called "I Love-a Mystery." Carlton Morse, famous author of "One Man's Family." originated the idea, tried it out for several months on a West Coast network, and now launches it on a national hook-up.  To hold listeners in suspense for only a reasonable period and to avoid staleness, Morse solves a mystery a week.

Eastern                        Central                        Mountain                        Pacific

7:15 p.m.                     6:15 p.m.                     9:15 p.m.                        8:15 p.m. 


Monday, November 3,1941

Variety

 'I LOVE A MYSTERY'

Cast: Michael Raffetto, Barton Yarborough, Walter Patterson

Writer-Director: Carlton E. Morse

30 Minutes: Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 p. m.

Fleischmann Yeast

NBC Blue Network

 

    The new story line on I Love a Mystery is titled  "The Monster in the Mansion." Ben Alexander was cast as "the monster" he had a penchant for picking his victims to pieces


Wednesday, March 24,1943

Variety

 'I LOVE A MYSTERY'

Cast:   Michael Raffetto, Barton Yarborough, Gloria Blondell

Writer-Director: Carlton E. Morse

15 Minutes: Monday-Friday, 7 p. m.

PROCTOR & GAMBLE

WABC-CBS, New York

 (Compton)

After a couple of years off the air, 'I Love a Mystery' returns in its original five-a-week serial format.  Sponsorship has been taken over by Procter & Gamble, in place of Standard Brands, which formerly had the show as a strip and later as a weekly half-hour.  As he showed in this program and his current 'One Man's Family.' the latter still bankrolled by Standard Brands, Carlton E. Morse is a formula writer.  Thus, just as 'Family' never varies in mood or situation, 'Mystery' is the same brand of juvenile hokum it was before.  But, as the show's rating demonstrated previously there's a sizable audience for lively whodunit hoke, so 'Mystery' will probably cash in again.  After all, soap sells to a mass public. 

Opening episode Monday evening  (22) quickly tossed the gumshoe partners, Jack Packard and Texas accented 'Doc' Long, in the coils of lurid plotting.  The initial exposit on was pretty skimpy, but apparently the two stalwarts were sent by the Government to a secret rendezvous with sinister villainy-in this case a railroad freight yard where a wounded man gave them directions for boarding an open box car containing a trussed-up Chinese girl.  The current yam, it may be added is titled 'A Girl in a Gilded Cage.' 

Speed in which the yarn leaped into violent action was good, but the lack of detail and the faulty sound levels (the voices were barely audible against the sound .effects) make the story confusing.  Since the two principals, plus a femme secretary-sleuth, are apparently going to be regulars on the series, the lack of character development on the opener was probably pardonable.  Commercials were comparatively terse to a listener accustomed to day-time P. & G. plugs.  Opener went to Ivory soap and the closing to Oxydol.  Latter was a singing blurb, only mildly inane. 

'Mystery' is now packaged at $3.500 a week, compared with $3,000 as a five-a-week, and $2.400 as a single half-hour, when Standard Brands had it.

Hobe 


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