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Orginal Box Thirteen header art


The Box 13 Radio Program

Dee-Scription:
Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Box 13


Box 13 MP3 Cover Art
Box 13 MP3 Cover Art

Alan Ladd in publicity photo for Box 13 as Dan Holiday
Alan Ladd in publicity photo for
Box 13 as Dan Holiday


1. To Dan Holiday. writer--and adventurer--comes a letter strangely worded. Secretary Suzy listens as he reads aloud directions to go to a certain antique shop and pick up a particular clock: one that has stopped at nine! But adventure is Dan's business: he gets his hat and goes.

1. To Dan Holiday. writer--and adventurer--comes a letter strangely worded. Secretary Suzy listens as he reads aloud directions to go to a certain antique shop and pick up a particular clock: one that has stopped at nine! But adventure is Dan's business: he gets his hat and goes.

2. Here is the shop--dark, crowded, somehow sinister for the clocks that fill it are all very old. And presently Dan cocks an ear and hears ... only si1ence. All of the clocks are
set at nine o'clock, and a11 of them have stopped! How in Ihe world is he to decide which of the clocks his letter-writing client wants picked up?


3. With nobody around to answer his questions, Dan characteristically decides to investigate. Cautiously--for Dan is too experienced not to realize that he has been lured into a threatening situation--he begins to explore the dusty stockrooms at the back of the mysterious shop.


4. Suddenly he stumbles, and draws back. At his feet is the crumpled-up body of an elderly man, from whose hand Dan gently takes a scrap of paper. Pondering the paper's message--"nine o'clock"--Dan is off guard long enough for a heavy antique candlestick to do its crushing work.


5. When Dan revives, he faces a stranger who introduces himself as the owner of the shop. "But I thought he was the owner," Dan says. "Who?" asks the man, and Dan turns to find that the body has vanished. he is suspicious of the stranger, but cannot be sure the man is an imposter.


6. Still, Dan decides, no bona fide dealer in valuable curios would leave his shop untended and unlocked. Picking up an enameled vase, he remarks "This is a handsome piece; 16th-century Florentine, isn't it?" "Why, yes," says the stranger. Then Dan turns it in his hand and says coolly, "Maybe not, though. It looks more like 19th-century French." Confused, the stranger turns away from the accusing look in Dan's eyes.


7. With the "owner," Dan re-investigates the shop, only to find that now all the clocks are running--and all show different times. None of them shows nine o'clock. However, on one of the dusty counters Dan finds a round, clean spot. Something that stood there has been recently removed. Perhaps . . . the clock?


8. Dan raises his eyes from his discovery--and finds himself facing the "owner's" gun. But a quick maneuver changes the picture, puts the gun in Dan's hand with the cowering imposter at his mercy. Now Dan knows the missing clock must be valuable, for giving up his search the man might have escaped.


9. Dan deduces, from the fact that the bogus owner remained on the premises after murdering the real owner and striking Dan, that the clock must still be there too. After strenuous search, he finds it . . . and finds, too, a fortune of jewels hidden inside it. That's why it had been worth murder to the fake owner!


10. To a bewildered Suzy, Dan explains: two people knew of the fortune in the clock: his client, and the bogus "owner." Dan arrived too late to prevent the murder of the real owner, too soon to allow the fake owner to get away with the jewels. Now, the criminals have lost out.


Recording session for Box 13 with Frances Robinson
Recording session for Box 13 with Frances Robinson

Background

From the February 6th 1948 edition of John Crosby's syndicated column, Radio In Review :

Our Corpse
Supply Is
Threatened

By John Crosby

The trend in radio, I’m told by presumably informed sources, is away from murder stories and in the direction of straight adventure. I’m not sure what this means exactly but, if you’ll sit still and pay attention, I’ll advance a reasonable theory. It means more shooting but fewer corpses. In other words, in adventure dramas, they’ll miss more often but they’ll shoot farther. As practically every radio listener knows, the fashion in the last few years has been to shoot from a distance of no more than six feet and to empty the gun into the guy.

Now, if you can follow this delicate deviation, under the new system the hero and the tough guy will both get an opportunity to unlimber and they’ll shoot it out from a distance of, say, half a block. More suspense that way. Less bloodshed. It’s a radical step in radio drama and one not to be undertaken
lightly. A good many writers won’t be able to adjust themselves to this severe alteration in literary fashion and will have to turn the guns on themselves. Victims of progress. You know. Fidelis ad venestri. Sic semper pluribus. Hoc hoc. (Latin for pip pip.)

SLAYINGS POPULAR

This notable mutation in one of the fundamental forms of radio literature can’t be blamed on the fickleness of public fancy. Murder mystery of the goriest sort remains outrageously popular but the hue and cry against it by mothers and other vested interests has been so great that a good many advertisers don’t want their products associated with more than one corpse a week. All of which must be thoroughly understood before you can appreciate the nuances of “Box 13,” one of these new fangled adventure things. “Box 13,” a transcribed show on KGO (9:30 p.m. Wednesdays) and other stations throughout the country, stars Alan Ladd, the tough silent, steely-eyed man of the movies, arrayed in this case on the side of virtue, a quality he doesn’t seem altogether familar with. Ladd plays the part of a writer named Dan Holiday, who lusts after adventure so terribly he advertises for it in a newspaper. Go anywhere, Do anything. Write Box 13.

PLOT MATERIAL

This leads to adventure which Holiday, after subduing the forces of evil, turns into fiction and sells for vast sums to magazine editors. It appears a rather over-elaborate method of gathering material but then writers are known to go to fantastic lengths to find something to write about. (Some writers listen to the radio and write about that, implausible as it might sound.) Ladd’s adventures--he hasn’t had too many of them yet---are exceedingly ingenious and well worth whatever the editors pay for them.
There was one I liked particularly in which Ladd, or Holiday, was seated at a table in a crowded, fashionable restaurant, one of those places where they bring the telephones to the tables. Sooner or later this rococo flourish was bound to figure in an adventure story. Well, sir, the phone was fetched and the man on the other end of it informed Ladd that a gun was trained between his eyes by another diner at the same restaurant and that, if Ladd didn’t remove himself from the premises, the darn thing would go off. Ladd departed. Though the stories he appears in are above average, I have grave reservations about Ladd as a radio actor.

ACHING FEET?

In the movies, Ladd reduced acting to a series of breathing exercises combined with an expression of such fierce inscrutability that the observer could read into it anything he chose. The girl next to you, for instance, might assume Ladd was perspiring with love at the same moment you got the idea he was tormented by tight shoes. Both of you would be well satisfied with the performance. However, inscrutability doesn’t register well in radio. There are great stretches of “Box 13” where the listener will be in some doubt as to whether Ladd is still on the scene and, if so, what he’s doing there. On the whole Ladd’s talents may be more attuned to television. While “Box 13” emphasizes adventure in place of blood, it doesn’t violate all the old traditions. Like every other hero of this sort, Ladd has a secretary, girl by the name of Suzy, who plays straight man to Ladd’s heavy breathing. (She breathes first.) Incidentally, when Congress gets through investigating James C. Petrillo, it might look into these secretaries. Sounds like
featherbedding to me.

Oh yes, you’ll find at least one corpse in most of these adventures. Well, we must have a few corpses or how would we manage?

Copyright, 1948, for The Tribune


We could have simply posted Crosby's article and left it at that. It's pretty clear that the reviewer, John Crosby, listened to Radio for a living. Given the lofty heights Radio had climbed during the Golden Age of Radio, it goes without saying that he had some pretty heady productions to compare and contrast with Box 13. And after all, the reviewer is critiquing another writer as protagonist, so perhaps he's a bit harsher from his perspective.

So let's be fair to all concerned. Box 13 is still one of the most highly collected--but poorly documented--radio programs from that Golden Age. The sound quality in most exemplar recordings is superb, so it's apparent that someone loved Box 13 once upon a time. Frankly, we love it because the scripts, pace and situations are excellent. Add the 'noir' element of Alan Ladd's voice and you have all the radio noir aficionado needs to while away (yes, 'while away' not wile away--we're old school here) 26 hours.

The production values throughout all 52 episodes were absolutely superb. The review at left refers to a somewhat 'inscrutable' quality to Alan Ladd's big and little screen performances. But in the world of radio noir, less is usually more. In the gritty, dark alleys and dives that the radio noir detectives habituated there was as much to be observed in the shadows as in the light. Perhaps we're just 'glass half full' types, but we've always enjoyed Box 13 immensely.

Alan Ladd's early portrayals of Dan Holiday did tend to be a bit pat, somewhat sparse in depth, and even wooden in the beginning. Ladd hired some excellent voice talent for his project, and these superb, veteran Radio professionals set a pretty high bar for Ladd, himself. Box 13 is highly expositional, as are most programs of the genre, and Ladd's grovelly, gritty voice lends itself well to the production. But by Episode #6 it seems apparent that Alan Ladd was beginning to hit his stride in the role. What seems to get in the way for many reviewers of this program is its somewhat implausible premise. Dan Holiday was purportedly a successful fiction writer for the Star-Times news magazine who becomes disenchanted with the utter, mind-numbing routine of it. Dan Holiday opts out. He posts an ad reading "Go anywhere, Do anything, Write Box 13". This had become a pretty well-worked theme by 1948. Perhaps a bit too reminiscent of George Valentine's "Personal notice: Danger's my stock in trade. If the job's too tough for you to handle, you've got a job for me. George Valentine," from 1946's Let George Do It.

The gimmick certainly made for an open-ended range of potential adventures for Box 13's protagonist. And it resulted in some pretty outrageous assignments in the course of Holiday's fifty-two adventures. But adventures they are, which perhaps sets this erstwhile detective genre program as more of an adventure genre. Holiday isn't a detective per se. And it's clear that he's still interested in making some dough off the back end of his adventures--all perfect fodder for the Men's Adventure magazines so much the vogue throughout the 1940s and 1950s.

He's aided--or vexed as the case may be--by the requisite ditzy, attractive, uncharacteristically efficient Suzy, his personal secretary, portrayed by Sylvia Picker who coincidentally bore a striking resemblance to Frances Robinson of Let George Do It fame. Suzy is the overseer of Holiday's Box 13 mail drop. Suzy tends to play it a bit over the top, but she's clearly smitten with Holiday, which never hurts. Marvelous radio actor Betty Lou Gerson is heard in Episode #1, The First Letter and helps to set the tone for the noir adventures to come, with her characteristic breathless quality to every utterance. Indeed, Alan Ladd is aided by most of the better detective genre voice talent of the era, which gives the program the requisite atmosphere for the genre.

Alan Ladd promoted Box 13 in several of the trade magazines and journals of the era. This full page promotion appeared in the September 13th 1947 issue of The Billboard
Alan Ladd promoted Box 13 in several of the trade magazines and journals of the era. This full page promotion appeared in the September 13th 1947 issue of The Billboard

Billboard Magazine WOR sales pitch for Box 13, Bulldog Drummond and Five Mysteries from February 28 1948
Billboard Magazine WOR sales pitch for Box 13, Bulldog Drummond and Five Mysteries from February 28 1948

Alan Ladd developed and promoted the production himself under his Mayfair Transcription Company and clearly spared little expense creating a production up to his demanding standards. With radio actors of the versatility of Betty Lou Gerson, Paul Frees, Gerald Mohr, Herb Vigran, Joe Kearns, Ed Begley and Frank Lovejoy, Ladd guaranteed that the characterizations and tone of all 52 episodes would maintain the highest standards. Ladd's Production Supervisor was Vern Carstensen, a veteran of several equally well mounted detective genre productions of the era. Rudy Schrager's musical compositions and direction are a refreshing and effective atmospheric alternative to the often overbearing organ music so common to the genre. It also lends itself to the softer delivery of Alan Ladd's protagonist.

Box 13 Transcription Label
Box 13 Transcription Label

Mayfair licensed Box 13 to international Radio programming producer Harry Alan Towers for broadcast in South Africa under the Towers of London label. Mayfair subsequently ran afoul of the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) for broadcasting Box 13 outside the U.S. without compensating AFRA members for their participation. A three-man arbitration panel ruled in AFRA's favor, ultimately assigning a fine of $11, 591 against Alan Ladd and Mayfair.

Mayfair ran afoul of the AFRA when AFRA discovered that Box 13 had been licensed to Harry Alan Towers for broadcast in South Africa. An arbitration panel ruled in favor of AFRA's favor.
Mayfair ran afoul of the AFRA when AFRA discovered that Box 13 had been licensed to Harry Alan Towers for broadcast in South Africa. An arbitration panel ruled in favor of AFRA's favor.

Box 13 acquits itself well for the genre. The pace is just right, the acting is excellent, and the scripts wear as well 70 years later--as does the entire production overall. Ladd's detractors aside, this was a successful, well received radio noir adventure in its day, and bears hearing from start to finish every couple of years even now.

Series Derivatives:

AFRTS END-440 and R-Series (MBS); South African Syndication [Towers of London]
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Adventure Dramas
Network(s): ABC [KECA], CBS [KNX], MBS, and AFRTS [This was a syndicated program, marketed to any affiliate or independent radio outlet.]
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 47-10-17 01 The First Letter
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 47-10-17 through 1953; Fifty-two, 30-minute episodes; Fridays, 9:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. depending on market, year, and station
[NOTE: Log based on first known broadcasts with titles over KGNC, Amarillo, WPAY, Ohio, and WOR, New York City -- This was a syndicated program, marketed to any affiliate or independent radio outlet, so times and dates will necessarily vary.
[
Contributor Ben Kibler reports an even earlier series of grid listings beginning October 12, 1947 over Tucson's KOPO. Thanks, Ben.]
Syndication: Mayfair Transcriptions Company [Alan Ladd] (pressed by Radio Corporation of America); Towers of London [Harry Alan Towers]
Sponsors: Varied with local affiliates; Norge Appliances
Director(s): Alan Ladd, Ted Hediger, Richard Sandville; Verne Carstensen [Production Supervisor]
Principal Actors: Alan Ladd, Sylvia Picker, Betty Lou Gerson, Edmond MacDonald, John Beal, Paul Frees, Herb Vigran, Joseph Kearns, Frank Lovejoy, Ed Begley, Gerald Mohr, Elvia Allman, Frances Robinson
Recurring Character(s): Alan Ladd as Dan Holiday, Sylvia Picker as Suzy
Protagonist(s): Dan Holiday
Author(s): Russell Hughes, Alan Ladd, Robert Mitchell, Gene Levin, Frank Hertosig, Ted Hediger, Sal Shore, E. Jack Neuman, Charles Gannett, Robert Light, Oran Blackstone, Albert Wagner (adapter), Bernard Feins, Sam Walders, Arthur Boland
Writer(s) Russell Hughes, Alan Ladd, Robert Mitchell, Gene Levin, Frank Hertosig, Ted Hediger, Sal Shore, E. Jack Neuman, Charles Gannett, Robert Light, Oran Blackstone, Albert Wagner (adapter), Bernard Feins, Sam Walders, Arthur Boland
Music Direction: Rudy Schrager [Composer, conductor]
Musical Theme(s): Original Rudy Schrager composition
Announcer(s): Unknown at present
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
52
Episodes in Circulation: 52
Total Episodes in Collection: 52
Provenances:

Norge spot ad for Box 13
Norge spot ad for Box 13





Recording session for Box 13 with Frances Robinson
Recording session for Box 13 with Frances Robinson. Widely circulating
as a supposed photo of Alan Ladd
and Sylvia Picker, Frances Robinson
was seven years younger than Sylvia Picker, and markedly more attractive.




The actual Sylvia Picker, a noted comedienne and actress, circa 1936. She can also be seen in the first panel of the storyboard above.
The actual Sylvia Picker, a noted comedienne and actress, circa 1936. She can also be seen in the first panel of the storyboard above.


RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, 'The Directory of The Armed Forces Radio Service Series', Martin Grams' Radio Drama, The Portsmouth Times, Ben Kibler.

Notes on Provenances:

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


All above cited sources are in error in one form or another. The most helpful provenance was the log of the radioGOLDINdex. It's David Goldin's site that highlights the differing views of whether this program should be named Box 13 or Box Thirteen. In fact, both are accurate with respect to their source. The program name, Box Thirteen is the name Alan Ladd used on all of his Mayfair Transcription Company labels for the program, as can be seen in our completely recomposited Box Thirteen transcription cover art. But all of the promotional copy, flyers, and spot ads promote the Box 13 name for the program. Indeed, all radio listings of the era, all reviews of the program of the era, and all contemporaneous news references to the program from the era cite Box 13 as the name of the program.

OTRisms:

Box 13 has been mis-documented for over 35 years, the same errors and inaccuracies passed back and forth, anecdotally, from 'OTR' group to 'OTR' group, with no apparent attempt to vet the information being disseminated or provide a single, verifiable provenance as to the bases for all of that apocryphal misinformation. That's just not good enough. Even worse, several prominent authors from the commercial 'OTR' community have published such misinformation as fact--for as much as $90 a pop.

It's entirely understandable why, after some fifty years in circulation, commercially motivated catalogers can't--or won't-- accurately log the Box 13 canon on their own:

  • Episode No. 2 should be titled The Insurance Swindle Adventure
  • Episode No. 4 should be titled The Radio Actress Murder Case, not 'Actor's Alibi.'
  • Episode No. 9 should be titled A Book of Poems by Sir Walter Scott, not 'Book of Poems.'
  • Episode No. 11 should be titled Foreign Correspondent, not 'Suicide or Murder.'
  • Episode No. 48 should be titled The Biter Bitten, not The Bitter Bitten
  • Episode No. 49 should be titled A Perfect Crime not The Perfect Crime
  • Episode No. 41 should be titled The Treasure of Hang Li, not The Treasure of Hang Lee.
  • The OTRR's inaccuracy logging Box 13 can be easily explained if you simply visit their Box 13 References tab. It's obvious that they simply copied all of these inaccuracies from the equally inaccurate audio-classics.com log, the Vintage Radio Place log, the old-time.com log, the Thrilling Detective log, the Entering The Mind's Eye website, and of course the OTRR-authored Wikipedia Box 13 article.

In the sphere of 'commercial otr,' 'borrowing' has traditionally been it's own reward. "A" copies from "B", "C" copies "B" citing "A", "D" copies from "A", "B", and "C" citing same, and the world of commercial otr commerce and otr misinformation perpetuates itself smoothly.

Box 13 was a transcribed, syndicated production, with all the inherent caveats as to networks and markets in which it was broadcast, scheduling, time slots, etc. We also recognize that it took us less than seven hours of due diligence to accurately document this highly collected program. Apparently that's seven hours too much for several of the self-styled commercial 'researchers' and 'authors' that seem to infesting this hobby for the past several years. There's no excuse for shoddy scholarship--given commonly available resources. All that accomplishes is to make life miserable for new Radio collectors entering the hobby--not to mention tainting the reputations of genuine Golden Age Radio preservationists and archivists.

The almost universally disseminated broadcast dates for Box 13 are simply wrong--off by almost a year. The program first aired between October 12, 1947 and October 17, 1947. Indeed, even if you were to believe the otr sphere's assertions about Box 13 airing over WOR, Box 13 first aired December 31, 1947 over the very WOR that all of the 'authoritative' loggers allege began broadcasting the program in March of 1948. In the provenance at left [in the sidebar], you'll notice that WOR was flogging affiliate pickups of Box 13 in February 1948. Billboard Magazine maintained that KNX [CBS] and KECA [ABC] were the first networks to broadcast Box 13 in its entirety. The fact that it 'premiered' again in 1949, 1950, or 1951 is moot. The only airing of historical import is its first known broadcast--or paid distribution. It's clear from contemporaneous news articles that Alan Ladd was flogging Box 13 in every venue he could sell it--and why not? It was his dime. Well into 1948, when over half of his syndicated program had already aired, he found yet another 125 subscribers for his syndication. Naturally it would be heard as late as 1949--or as late as 1952 for that matter. It was a syndicated program.

What's most galling about the 'commercial otr' floggers of the past 35 years, are the ridiculous lengths they go, to sell yet another incarnation of Box 13 to unwitting prey--usually novices to the hobby that know little about the history of a specific program. One of the most absurd and disingenuous is the 'east-coast/west-coast' ploy. This is the shameful practice of selling a specific, tailored collection of unprovenanced, unverified sets of Box 13 with a purported veneer of 'uniqueness' owing to it's east-coast/west-coast broadcast originations. This was a syndicated program. It's academic where or when it aired after its first known broadcast run. Selling fabricated compilations of Box 13 is simply fraud.

As to other errors we found the following, while logging the canon:

  • Episode # 17 should be titled 'The Haunted Artist', not 'The Hunted Artist'.
  • Episode #31 was titled by the syndicator, 'One One Three Point Five', not '113.5'.
  • Episode #50 should be titled 'Archimedes and the Roman', not 'Archemedes and the Roman'.

What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever, in any way, shape, or form, in the 'otr community.' None. We're not 'important' in any way, certainly not as 'important' as all of the 'very important experts' cited above.

But here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here's the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.

We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it, before we cite you on it.

We continue to provide honest research into these wonderful Golden Age Radio programs simply because we love to do it. If you feel that we've provided you with useful information or saved you some valuable time regarding this log--and you'd like to help us even further--you can help us keep going. Please consider a small donation here:

We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.

All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2009 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.






Box 13 Series Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
47-10-17
1
The First Letter
Y
[ Premiere Episode ]

47-09-18 Portland Press Herald

Inside Radio

Here's an idea that we think is kinda cute. A Hollywood production firm is about ready to release a new transcribed series, starring movieman
Alan Ladd. It's titled Box 13 and features Ladd as a man of adventure who is willing to go anywhere and do anything. Just address your requests to Box 13 and around the more interesting suggestions, stories will be
woven for future episodes.

47-10-17 Amarillo Daily News
A new mystery show starts on KGNC Oct. 17 for regular Friday Night suspense at 9:30 p.m.. Alan Ladd stars in the half-hour thriller, Box 13. As
Dan Holiday, Ladd takes the role of a fiction writer who advertises for adventure, gets it, and thrills radio listeners with same.

47-10-17 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

47-12-28 New York Times
Wednesday, December 31, 1947 WOR--Box 13--Sketch: With Alan Ladd (
Premiere)

47-10-24
2
The Insurance Swindle Adventure
Insurance Fraud Scheme
Y
47-10-24 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-04-11 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Alan Ladd stars in "Box 13" with "
The Insurance Swindle Adventure" as the second program in the series. Ladd, who plays Dan Holiday, finds a letter in his mailbox from a deadly manhunter who puts him on the trail of a conspiracy to plan a huge insurance swindle.
47-10-31
3
Blackmail Is Murder
Y
47-10-31 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-04-18 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: When Dan Holiday, played by Screen Star Alan Ladd, opens "Box 13"
he finds a letter from a quaint detective story-loving old maid. The fireworks begin when fiction writer Holiday reads the letter, and a harrowing succession of mishaps threaten to land him in the morgue.

Elvia Allman as Agatha Marsh

47-11-07
4
The Radio Actress Murder Case
Actor's Alibi
Y
47-11-07 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-04-25 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "Box 13" starring Alan Ladd as Dan Holiday, presents "
The Radio Actress Murder Case". Fiction writer Holiday receives a ticket to a radio broadcast, which leads to the threatening of his life and the murder of a beautiful actress.
47-11-14
5
Extra! Extra!
Y
47-11-14 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen
47-11-21
6
Shanghaied
Y
47-11-21 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-05-09 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Alan Ladd plays the part of Dan Holiday, former newspaper reporter who advertises for adventure to get materials for his writing, in the new adventure series "Box 13". In tonight's story,
Holiday is blackjacked, shanghaied, abandoned in a small boat 10 miles at sea and otherwise put through the wringer.
47-11-28
7
Short Assignment
Y
47-11-28 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-05-16 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: In the "Box 13" adventure for tonight, Alan Ladd as Dan Holiday
becomes tied up with a tiny detective in a nerve-shattering succession of episodes that wind up in struggle at the edge of a ten-story drop from a penthouse terrace.

George Flit, tiny detective

47-12-05
8
Double Mothers
Y
47-12-05 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-05-23 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY: A mysterious letter summoning him to a park bench is found in "Box 13" by Dan Holiday, played by Alan Ladd.
He finds a book with a letter and before he realizes what he's getting into he's slapped down by a couple of desperadoes, bawled out by the head of the homicide division, and accused and scolded by two women, both claiming to be the girl's mother.
47-12-12
9
A Book of Poems by Sir Walter Scott
Book of Poems
Y
47-12-12 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-05-30 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Alan Ladd playing the role of Dan Holiday,
finds a book instead of a letter in "Box 13". The book contains a clue which leads him into one of the most hectic experiences of his career. Before he emerges, Holiday turns back the pages of time and uncovers the culprit who had murdered two peple a decade before, and brings the guilty one to justice.
47-12-19
10
The Great Torino
Y
47-12-19 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-06-06 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY: In "Box 13" tonight, Alan Ladd as Fiction-Writer Dan Holiday, finds a theater ticket and handbill.
He is invited on stage to take part in a magician's act, and a girl is mysteriously murdered before his very eyes. The police are baffled, but Ladd digs out the clues that lead to the murderer.
47-12-26
11
Foreign Correspondent
Suicide or Murder
Y
47-12-26 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-06-13 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
Foreign Correspondent" is the title of the adventure story tonight on "Box 13", starring Alan Ladd as Dan Holiday. The experience begins with a letter from a woman who refuses to believe her son has been killed in a fight, and it ends when Dan uncovers a fantastic and startling reason for the boy's death.
48-01-02
12
Triple Cross
Y
47-01-02 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-06-20 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: In addition to a letter, Dan Holiday
receives two one hundred dollar bills in 'Box 13". The money grows to over one hundred thousand dollars—and murder, all surrounded by adventurous incidents. Alan Ladd plays the part of Holiday, former newspaperman turned fiction writer.
48-01-09
13
Damsel in Distress
Y
47-01-09 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-06-27 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: In tonights "Box 13" story there are
two frightened teen-agers, and a letter to one of them threatening her life unless she pays a thousand dollars. Then, she sees Dan Holiday's advertisement in the possinewspaper and answers it, landing Dan in a twisted plot stranger than" the fiction he writes, Alan Ladd stars as Holiday.
48-01-16
14
Diamond in the Sky
Y
47-01-16 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-07-04 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: The letter which Dan Holiday finds in "Box 13" today
takes him to Paris, and whirls him into the middle of a plot that involves a diamond worth a million dollars. The story also involves a mysterious man named Marlin who smokes peculiar cigarets and wants nothing to do with Dan--even though he did ask him for help. "Box 13" stars Screen and Radio Actor Alan Ladd as Dan Holiday.
48-01-23
15
Double Right Cross
Y
47-01-23 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-07-11 Portsmouth Times - 8:30 p.m.--WPAY-CBS:-CBS: In tonight's "Box 13" story, Dan Holiday, played by Alan Ladd
becomes involved- with a fighter, Johnny Capelli. It appears that Capelli has thrown a fight which meant a crack at the world's championship. But Holiday thinks differently about it, and, because he does, he plunges into the problem of finding out why Johnny took a beating and why a mysterious, elusive person bet against the fighter.
48-01-30
16
Look Pleasant, Please
Y
47-01-30 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-07-18 Portsmouth Times - 8:30 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Dan Holiday finds a letter in "Box 13" from
a woman who wants to have her picture taken with him. When he accepts, he not only finds himself engaged to be married but also is involved in murder. Alan Ladd stars as Holiday.
48-02-06
17
The Haunted Artist
Y
47-02-06 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-07-25 Portsmouth Times - 8:30 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Movie star Alan Ladd portrays Dan Holiday, an aggressive and successful young fiction writer who gets plots for his stories by advertising for adventure in the want ad columns of the newslpaper in the "Box 13" series. Because he advertises for adventure and says he'll go any place and do anything, he gets some strange calls. In tonight's episode,
he gets a call from an artist who couldn't finish his painting because a "ghost" was ruining it for him.
48-02-13
18
The Sad Night
Y
47-02-13 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen
48-02-20
19
The Hot Box
Y
47-02-20 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-08-08 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
The Hot Box"
is the title of tonight's adventure for- Alan Ladd in "Box 13". Dan Holiday, played by Ladd, tells the story, of how four people tried to obtain possession of an old Chinese teakwood box. One was lulled before he had a chance to see what the box contained another needed the box to protect himself from the law; still other person wanted it to protect a dead man; and Holiday chased the box until he found it—empty! The mystery of what, was in it and why it was so important will be divulged on "Box 13".
48-02-27
20
The Better Man
Y
47-02-27 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-08-15 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: This week's story on "Box 13" is titled "
The Better Man". Dan Holiday, portrayed by Alan Ladd, tells the story of a millionaire who had too much money and too little fun out of life. So he wrote a letter to "Box 13" and when Holiday answered he found himself mixed up in a hunt for a hundred thousand dollars. Pitted against Dan was a killer, who would stop at nothing to get the money.
48-03-05
21
The Professor and the Puzzle
Y
47-03-05 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-08-22 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS:"
The Professor
and the Puzzle
" is the title of tonight's adventure on "Box 13". The police say that Professor Gardner, who provided Dan Holiday (Alan Ladd) with plenty of adventure material, killed himself. There was no apparent reason for doing it, although his niece had broken off her engagement with the man she loved to become engaged to a man she hated. 'The whole story fails to make sense to Holiday as he steps in to help a friend.
48-03-12
22
The Dowager and Dan Holiday
Y
47-03-12 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen
48-03-19
23
Three to Die
Y
47-03-19 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-09-05 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: In tonight's "Box 13" story Dan Holiday, played by Alan Ladd,
risks his life 45 feet below a river bed, working as a sandhog in a vehicular tunnel, in an effort to unravel a mystery. Two men had already died, and superstition said the third was close to death! The third one, of course, was Holiday.
48-03-26
24
The Philanthropist
Y
47-03-26 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen
48-04-02
25
Last Will and Nursery Rhyme
Y
47-04-02 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen
48-04-09
26
Delinquent's Dilemma
Y
47-04-09 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen

49-09-26 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: This week on "Box 13", Dan Holiday, as playeed by Alan Ladd, tells about an adventure which started with
a letter from a worried mother concerning her sixteen-year-old son, whom she loved dearly. The boy had been arrested once and put on probation, but then he confessed to a crime that would mean prison. The confession came after a previous denial. Dan Holiday gets the answer to the mystery adventure
48-04-16
27
Flash of Light
Y
47-04-16 Amarillo Daily News
9:30 p.m. Box Thirteen





48-xx-xx
28
Hare and Hounds
Y
48-05-30 Long Beach Press Telegram
7:00— KNX— Movie star Alan Ladd plays the role of Dan Holiday, a fiction writer- who advertises for adventure in the story of "
Hare and Hounds" on tbe fine mystery presentation, ''Box 13."

49-10-10 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: There's an old game played by children called "
Hare and Hounds". Most children seem to enjoy it, but when it's played by grownups with murder in their hearts, it's no longer fun, Dan Holiday discovers on "Box 13". When Holiday, played by Alan Ladd, answers a letter sent to Box 13, he finds himself in the middle of a murder charge, and a chase through the city one jump ahead of a killer and the police.

48-06-17 Oakland Tribune
Alan Ladd's "Box 13," the story of fiction-writer Dan Holiday, who does his research by advertising for trouble, returns to KGO tomorrow night (Friday) at 10 p.m. complete with sponsor — your Norge dealers. One of the big reasons Box 13 is back again is because
almost 2000 KGO listeners wrote in last month asking us to keep Alan Ladd in at 10 p.m.
48-xx-xx
29
Hunt and Peck
Y
48-06-06 Long Beach Press Telegram
7:00—KNX—A story entitled "
Hunt and Peck" Involves Dan Holiday (Alan Ladd) during the mystery thriller'"Box 13."

49-10-17 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
Hunt and Peck" is the title of tonight's story on "Box 13". The man who calls on Dan Holiday for aid is in the death cell at the penitentiary and has exactly 48 hours to live. He says he is innocent and asks Holiday to help. The letter throws fiction-writer Holiday, played by Alan Ladd, into a maze of adventure.
48-xx-xx
30
Death Is A Doll
Y
48-06-13 Long Beach Press Telegram
7:00--KNX--
A witness to an actual murder and a rap on the head faces Dan Holiday, Alan Ladd, in another adventure story on "Box 13."

49-10-24 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m. — WPAY-CBS: "
Death Is A Doll" is the title of this week's adventure on "Box 13", starring Alan Ladd as Dan Hoiday. The question that arises is whether a man can be killed by a simple rag doll which he has not seen but only knows exists somewhere. This is the problem facing Dan Holiday when heleaves for the Bayou, country of Louisiana on a weird chase. The chase leads him into the dark mazes of superstition and evil and takes him back a thousand
years.
48-xx-xx
31
One One Three Point Five
Y
49-10-31 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY: "Box 13", starring Alan Ladd as Dan Holiday, a fiction writer who advertises for thrilling escapades and gets them will present a story titled "
One One Three Point Five". Holiday is faced with the problem of finding a hidden book which is worth a fortune. Along with this, he faces a theft, a murder, and a mysterious disappearance.
48-xx-xx
32
Dan and the Wonderful Lamp
Y
49-11-07 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "Box 13" tonight will tell of "
Dan and the Wonderful Lamp". Going to a charity bazaar sounded like fun to Dan Holiday, portrayed by Alan Ladd, but he didn't know that it would involve a fantastic mixup of intrigue, mystery and adventure ending in a frantic search for a diamond worth a fortune in a city dump.
48-xx-xx
33
Tempest in a Casserole
Y
48-xx-xx
34
Mexican Maze
Y
48-xx-xx
35
Sealed Instructions
Y
48-08-13 Oakland Tribune
Box 13: Alan Ladd, as Dan Holiday,
meets up with a particularly baffling situation on another "Box 13" adventure tomorrow night at 10 over KGO. "
Sealed Instructions" is the title of the chapter, explaining why Dan finds himself in the Philippine Islands with only a vague idea of why he's there and what will happen next. The ending is one ot. those kind the writers call a "snapper"—surprise with a punch.

49-11-28 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Alan Ladd, starring as Dan Holiday in "Box 13" takes a trip to war-torn Manilla with "
Sealed Instructions" from a certain man to bring something back with him. In Manila, Holiday finds that other people also are interested in the instructions, forcing him to call on the Filipino police. He returns to the United States, not with what he was sent after, but with a fitting memento for the man who sent him on the adventure.
48-xx-xx
36
Find Me, Find Death
Y
49-12-05 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
Find Me, Find Death" is the title of this week's story on "Box 13". Dan Holiday, playled by Alan Ladd, receives an anonymous letter telling him he is going to be searched out and killed infour days, but if he finds out within those four day who wrote the warning he may be able to save his life. Holiday, the adventue-loving fiction writer, immediately sets out to find the person who is determined to kill him. He not only finds what he's looking for, but plenty more.
48-xx-xx
37
Much Too Lucky
Y
49-12-12 Portsmouth Times
Mystery fare tonight on WPAY will include "Box 13" at 8 p.m. followed by "Adventures of Frank Race". On the first program, Alan Ladd will star as Dan Holiday in a story titled "
Much Too Lucky". It is a story of the race track, in which a small group of people thought they had a sure-fire scheme whereby they could win at will on the horses. They had visions of making a fortune, until Dan Holiday started nosing around for the sake of a betting agent, and adventure.
48-xx-xx
38
One of These Four
Y
49-12-19 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
One of These Four" is the title of tonight's story on "Box 13" starring Alan Ladd. In the episode four people, including Dan Holiday, are led into one of the most exciting adventues of their varied careers. The entire action takes place on the yacht of a wealthy man who has devised a clever plan to get proof on a murderer, who is one of the four extremely confused guests.
48-xx-xx
39
Daytime Nightmare
Y
48-xx-xx
40
Death Is No Joke
Y
50-01-04 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: For this week only, "Box 13" is being aired at this time tonight. "
Death Is No Joke" is the title of this weeks story. A close friend has invited Dan Holiday, played by Alan Ladd, to visit him at the country home of a relative. The visit is not be be a vacation, but an investigation of practical jokes. At first the jokes were funny, and began very simply. But each joke became a little more serious and a little more vicious, until one of the jokes finally crosses up the jokester and solves the mystery.
48-xx-xx
41
The Treasure of Hang Li
The Treasure of Hang Lee
Y
50-01-09 Portsmouth Times - 8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "The Treasure of Hang Li" is the title of tonight's story on "Box 13". The adventure takes Dan Holiday (Alan Ladd) to Chinatown, where he becomes involved in the search for three mysterious pieces of jade. People have died seeeking the jade, and Holiday comes very close to joining them.
48-xx-xx
42
Design for Danger
Y
50-01-16 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
Design for Danger" is tonight's story on "Box 13", starring Alan Ladd. This week's adventure takes place in the tough, mysterious water-front district, and involves a charming girl who has called on Don Holiday to help her with Johnny Tide, the boy she loves. Johnny has just been released from the penitentiary after serving time for a crime in which he was framed. She is afraid he is coming back to get rvenge and will get himself into serious trouble.
48-xx-xx
43
The Dead Man Walks
Y
50-01-23 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
The Dead Man Walks" is the title of this week's episode on "Box 13". Alan Ladd has the starring role of Dan Holiday. Tonight's story is a tale of an old man who is trying to go straight after paying his debt to society. He had been the engraver of counterfeit money. But because the plates are still in existence and only he knows where they are, his life is made miserable by former associate who still are in the business. He disappears, and it is Dan Holiday who finally locates him--dead.
48-xx-xx
44
Killer at Large
Y
48-xx-xx
45
Speed to Burn
Y
50-02-06 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: The story on "Box 13", starring Alan Ladd, is '
Speed to Burn", drama of the stolen car racket. Ladd plays the role of Dan Holiday, who gets right into the center of a dangerous stolen car syndicate, all for the sake of obtaining-material for his stories.
48-xx-xx
46
House of Darkness
Y
48-xx-xx
47
Double Trouble
Y
50-02-20 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Another adventure in the "Box 13" series is broadcast at this time. Alan Ladd appears as Dan Holiday in a story called "
Double Trouble". Holiday, an adventure-seeking fiction writer, is in one of the tightest spots of his career as the logical suspect in a murder case.
48-xx-xx
48
The Biter Bitten
The Bitter Bitten
Y
50-02-27 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
The Biter Bitten" is the title of this week's story on "Box 13". Alan Ladd, as the adventure-loving fiction writer, Dan Holiday, is asked to help find a deadly poisonous cobra snake. He finds the snake, almost face to face, but not before some exciting experiences.
48-xx-xx
49
A Perfect Crime
The Perfect Crime
Y
50-03-06 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Alan Ladd stars as Dan Holiday, adventure-seeking fiction writer, in "Box 13".
He receives an invitation to act as the audience for a perfect crime, which is being planned by a well-known university professor of criminology. The professor almost gets away with his experiment and Holiday doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it.
48-xx-xx
50
Archimedes and the Roman
Y
50-03-13 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: "
Archimedes and the Roman" is the title of this wee's story on "Box 13". The setting of the drama is the lonely, routine silence of an observatory, high atop a mountain, which suddenly is ripped wide open with danger and action. Alan Ladd portrays Dan Holiday, adventure-loving fiction writer.
48-xx-xx
51
The Clay Pigeon
Y
50-03-20 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: Alan Ladd stars in the "Box 13" series. In this week's episode a mysterious person instructs Dan Holiday (played by Ladd) to make an appointment with an equally mysterious doctor. Because of his curiosity and sense of adventure Holiday keeps the appointment and
becomes involved in a series of events that puts him right in the middle of a revenge plot
48-xx-xx
52
Round Robin
Y
[ Last Episode ]

50-03-27 Portsmouth Times
8 p.m.--WPAY-CBS: In tonight's episode of "Box 13", Dan Holiday's advertisement for adventure brings him a real problem, which he calls "
Round Robin". Finding himself in the middle of a black-mail plot he manages to work everything out to a happy ending, but not without first experiencing many unhappy and suspenseful moments






Box 13 Biographies




Alan Waldbridge Ladd
(Dan Holiday)

(Producer, Director, Writer, Actor in Film, Television, and Radio
(1913-1964)

Birthplace: Hot Springs, AR, USA

Radiography:

1937 Jerry At Fair Oaks
1939 Lux Radio Theatre
1943 Wings To Victory
1943 Soldiers With Wings
1944 Suspense
1944 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1944 Silver Theatre
1944 Cavalcade Of America
1944 THe Eddie Cantor Show
1945 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
1945 The Lucky Strike Program
1945 Birds Eye Oopen House
1945 Command Performance
1945 G.I. Journal
1946 THe Rudy Vallee Show
1946 Theatre Of Romance
1946 Hollywood Star Time
1948 Box Thirteen
1949 Camel Screen Guild Theatre
1949 Opportunity U.S.A.
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 Guest Star
Hollywood Hightlights
Bud's Bandwagon

Earliest known publicity still of Alan Ladd circa 1939
Earliest known publicity still of Alan Ladd circa 1939
Alan Ladd autograph
Alan Ladd's second wife Sue Carol the actress turned agent who 'discovered' Ladd and promoted Ladd's Radio and Film career circa 1937
Alan Ladd's second wife, Sue Carol the actress turned agent who 'discovered' Ladd and promoted Ladd's Radio and Film career circa 1937

Ladd served briefly in the Army during World War II but a double hernia cut his service short
Ladd served briefly in the Army during World War II but a double hernia cut his service short


Ladd's break-out role as 'Raven' the psychotic killer from 1942's This Gun for Hire
Ladd's break-out role as 'Raven' the psychotic killer from 1942's This Gun for Hire
Alan Ladd much as we might imagine him in Box 13
Alan Ladd much as we might imagine him in Box 13.

Recording session for Box 13 with erstwhile love interest Frances Robinson
Recording session for Box 13 with erstwhile love interest Frances Robinson

Alan Ladd publicity still circa 1947
Alan Ladd publicity still circa 1947

Alan Ladd, son David and wife, Sue Carol grabbing a quick lunch circa 1952
Alan Ladd, son David and wife, Sue Carol grabbing a quick lunch circa 1952
A couple 'a mugs Humphrey Bogart and Alan Ladd--Film Noir style with two very mature 'babies circa 1943
A couple 'a mugs, Humphrey Bogart and Alan Ladd--Film Noir style with two very mature 'babies circa 1943
Ladd's last known publicity still, at only 50--not his most flattering showing the effects of prescription drug and alcohol abuse on his features. Another of Hollywood's cautionary tales
Ladd's last known publicity still, at only 50--not his most flattering showing the effects of prescription drug and alcohol abuse on his features. Another of Hollywood's cautionary tales.
To say that Alan Ladd's life was a wild roller-coaster ride would be putting it mildly. Alan Ladd's mother immigrated to the U.S. from England at age 19. His father, an accountant, had died when Alan was four. By age five young Master Ladd had burned his apartment playing with matches, and his mother moved the family to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Alan Ladd was malnourished, undersized for his age and maturity, and nicknamed 'Tiny', a moniker he grew to detest. Ladd's mom eventually remarried--a house painter who moved them to California on the heels of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl era, when Ladd was eight.

The adolescent Alan Ladd picked fruit, delivered papers, and swept stores. While in high school he discovered track and swimming, and by 1931 he was training for the 1932 Olympics, but an injury sidelined any hopes of Olympic glory.

Ever the entrepreneur, a young Alan Ladd opened a hamburger stand he inexplicably named Tiny's Patio, given his hatred for his childhood nickname. But that led to some work as a grip at Warner Brothers Pictures. He married friend Midge [Margorie Harrold] in 1936 but it was a struggle, so the newlyweds were forced to live apart for several months. In 1937 they shared a friend's apartment and soon after, their son Alan Ladd Jr. was born. Shortly after their son was born, Ladd's now destitute, alcoholic mother moved in with them. A few months after her arrival, the again struggling Alan Ladd was forced to witness the aftermath of his mother's suicide from taking ant poison.

Told that his size [5'5"] and coloring were regarded as not right for movies, he worked hard at Radio where talent agent and former actress, Sue Carol discovered him early in 1939. After shopping him through bit parts, she got him tested for This Gun for Hire (1942) late in 1941. His fourth-billed role as the psychotic killer Raven, became his break-out role and made him a star. He was drafted into the Army in January 1943, but discharged by that November with an ulcer and double hernia.

Throughout the 1940s Ladd's tough-guy roles filled theaters and he was one of the very few males whose rugged good looks in cover photos helped promote movie magazines. But this was also the period that saw the birth of his children Alana and David, to whom Ladd was absolutely devoted. By the 1950s Ladd was performing in lucrative--but unrewarding--films. The notable exception during this period was what both critics and fans, alike, regard as his greatest role, in 1953's "Shane". But by the end of the 1950s, alcohol, a string of tepid films, and episodic periods of estrangment from the family he'd adored were taking their toll. This was a frustrating time all around for Ladd. Throughout the mid-1950s he was fruitlessly pitching a Television version of his Radio hit, Box 13--to no avail. By his early 40s, he looked in his mid 50s. The ravages of alcohol abuse were pocking his face, his rugged, trim physique was fading fast, and his reputation among Studio executives was fading even faster.

Seeking solace from the numbing affects of the 1950s, Alan Ladd retreated to Palm Springs, eventually opening a hardware store there that existed until 2002. Yet again the entrepreneur, according to local Palm Springs lore, Alan Ladd went shopping at the local hardware store to stock his house. Despite his large purchase, the store refused to deliver. Threatening to go elsewhere, Ladd was told they were the only hardware store in town. "Tomorrow," Ladd retorted, "there will be two hardware stores in Palm Springs." Local builder Bob Higgins--a North Hollywood High School buddy--and Ladd opened Higgins-Ladd Hardware, located at 53 South Palm Canyon Drive--and yes, they delivered.

The store took off, becoming a staple for Sue Carol as an alternative family business--Alan Ladd Hardware and Gifts, catering to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Red Skelton, Mrs. Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, George Hamilton, Lucille Ball, and Chuck Connors. She turned it into a souvenir stand-cum-hardware outlet-cum-interior design studio and it did very well, until it finally closed in 2002. It's slogan had been, "Palm Springs Wouldn't Be Palm Springs Without Us."

By the late 1950s, Ladd's downward spiral was ever more the roller-coaster ride his whole life had been. Sadly, this leg of the ride had the most devastating affect on his life and the lives of those who loved him. Ladd had been a relentless hustler his entire life, scrapping and fighting for everything that eventually came his way. But he'd grown to take many aspects of his own press clippings a bit too much to heart, and the growing realization that his career had already pretty much arced by 1958 was a bitter pill. It became a destructive vortex that was sucking everything and everyone he loved into it.

Calling this period a mid-life crisis in Ladd's life belies what had become an entire, life-long series of crises, punctuated by all too brief bouts of rapidly arcing success, only to bottom out to the fickle mistress that Hollywood fame all too often reveals itself to be. While still married to Sue Carol, Ladd had fallen into a hopeless love affair with June Allyson, who was still married to Dick Powell. The predictable ensued--Allyson reconciling with Powell, and Ladd seeking consolation in sedatives and alcohol. Soon after his break-up with Allyson in November 1962, Ladd was found unconscious in a pool of his own blood and a bullet wound near his heart. He recovered physically, but the now unstoppable downward spiral continued.

In January 1964 he was found dead, apparently due to an accidental combination of alcohol and sedatives. An ignominious end to the life of a man forced to fight so doggedly--and so often--to make a name for himself. The news was devastating to his fans and Hollywood alike, raising the inevitable questions about the hows and whys of his demise.

An all too oft-repeated, cautionary tale of Hollywood fame, perhaps. But perhaps it's also an appropriate moment for reflection on the career of a man who overcame obstacle after obstacle -- both physically and socio-economically -- to achieve. And of course, so many what-ifs. But what-ifs can be either the most encouraging or discouraging moments in any human's life. Alan Ladd overcame more than his share of what-ifs and missed opportunities, and yet bounced back from all of the external influences that affected his life and his career. It was only his personal demons that he never seemed to come to grips with in the end.

Real Life is no cliché. What is cliché is to simply and dismissively ascribe the almost predictable dynamics of Alan Ladd's later years to mere Hollywood fame and its often inevitable boom and bust cycle. We all experience Life's ups and downs, just not on the Public Stage. And for those who are more private about their personal lives, it can become increasingly difficult to separate those private personae from the public personae.

Alan Ladd was a fine actor, a hard-working provider and an adoring father. He experienced moments of greatness in several venues in Life, and at his best, loved sharing them. At his worst, he grew increasingly impatient with fickle and fleeting fame, but he left a legacy of some wonderfully compelling roles in both Film and in Radio.

Box 13 stands as a fascinating footnote to a great career, and thousands of new listeners have grown to appreciate him through Box 13, alone. We all leave our mark in one form or another. Alan Ladd's career was far more than a mere footnote in History, and deservedly so.



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