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Original Pete Kelly's Blues header art

The Pete Kelly's Blues Radio Program

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Our orginal Pete Kelly's Blues MP3 Cover Art
Our orginal Pete Kelly's Blues MP3
Cover Art

Ray Heindorf's annotaed sheet music

Ray Heindorf's annotated "Pete Kelly's
Blues" theme music for the1955 feature
film, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn.

June 26, 1951 article on the search for a cornet for Pete Kelly's Blues thumb
June 26, 1951 article on the search for
a cornet for Pete Kelly's Blues

Jack Webb as Pete Kelly, holding his prized, 1920s Cornet.
Jack Webb as Pete Kelly, holding his prized, 1920s Cornet.

Pete Kelly's Blues review of July 10, 1951
Pete Kelly's Blues review of
July 10, 1951

Pete Kelly's Blues Spot Ad from July 25 1951
Pete Kelly's Blues Spot Ad from July 25 1951

Radio and TV Mirror feature of November 1951 indicates Jack Webb's inspirations for Pete Kelly's Blues. Caption reads -- 'It pays to collect! His collection of old jazz records and a 1920 cornet resulted in the airing of Pete Kelly's Blues.
Radio and TV Mirror feature of
November 1951 indicates Jack Webb's
inspirations for Pete Kelly's Blues.
Caption reads -- 'It pays to collect! His
collection of old jazz records and a
1920 cornet resulted in the airing
of Pete Kelly's Blues.


While only thirteen Pete Kelly's Blues programs ever aired, its popularity and historical significance far outweigh the length of its run. Pete Kelly's Blues was a favorite project of creators Jack Webb and Richard L. Breen. A short-lived, summer replacement program for NBC, Jack Webb would go on to help develop and star in the feature film Pete Kelly's Blues (1955) and an eventual Television version of Pete Kelly's Blues (1959) for his Mark VII, Limited production company. Both the radio program and film met critical success, but the television program jumped the shark after one season.

A life-long Jazz fan, Jack Webb eventually compiled a collection of over 6,000 classic Jazz albums. Indeed, Webb's first wife was Julie London, a prominent female Jazz vocalist. Jack Webb's first gig in Radio was as a disc jockey playing late night Jazz over the San Francisco area airwaves.

The San Francisco connection was a fertile one for Jack Webb. He based both his 1946 crime drama Pat Novak. . . for Hire, and his 1947 crime drama Johnny Madero, Pier 23 in the San Francisco area. One of his first dramatic breaks in Radio was with the San Francisco-based couple Monte Masters and Natalie Park in Monte's Spotlight Playhouse (1946). Webb followed up Johnny Madero and Pat Novak. . . for Hire with Jeff Regan, Investigator (1948), and ABC's 1949 revival of Pat Novak, for Hire, much in the same radio noir genre. Indeed, Webb appeared several times as a recurring character in The New Adventures of Michael Shayne (1947), again much the same radio noir genre.

Webb's association and friendship with William Conrad, Raymond Burr, Wilms Herbert, the Masters, Wally Maher, Herb Butterfield, Tudor Owen and other young West Coast-based radio performers would provide him with a ready pool of talent for his projects to come. By the time Webb was ready for the Pete Kelly's Blues project, his 1949 Dragnet radio series was gaining popularity and critical acclaim nationwide. Webb threw all of his talent and interest into Pete Kelly's Blues, going so far as to launch a nationwide search for just the right period cornet for the project. Indeed, the Pete Kelly's Blues radio concept of combining at least two live Jazz numbers into the format of a period crime drama made headlines throughout the entertainment sections of the nation's newspapers.

From the July 3rd, 1951 edition of the Canton Repository:

 Pete Kelly's Blues Replaces Ivy head

Webb, shown in suitable attire for his role, portrays a jazz cornetist in Pete Kelly's Blues beginning Wednesday at 7.

AN ADDITION to the small but popularity-high list of realistic radio drama programs on the airwaves may be made in the new show, "Pete Kelly's Blues," which debuts Wednesday at 7 over NBC-WTAM.  The series, which has a setting and theme quite different from the usual radio dramas, also boasts the services of James Moser and Jack Webb, producer and star, respectively, of the highly-realistic and much-praised NBC production "Dragnet."
     "Pete Kelly's Blues" takes place in the jazz era in the early twenties.  The main character, as portrayed by Webb, is a young cornet player.  The action occurs in Kansas City, circa 1922, and the trademarks of that time--the gangsters, flappers, prohibition agents and jazz music--will figure in the plot.
     At least two full musical numbers will be played during each program of the show.  Webb, who is an avid jazz fan in private life, has collected all the musicians who will play on his show.
     Dick Cathcart, a young 24-year-old cornetist, will play for the leading character.  Discovered by Webb while playing in a small Los Angeles club, the young musician will also conduct the jazz musical group.  Matty Matlock will arrange and play the clarinet.  Elmer Schneider will be heard on trombone, Ray Sherman on piano, Bill Newman on guitar, Morty Corb on bass and Nick Fatool on drums.
     On the initial program, a down-and-out friend of Webb is unjustly accused of murder.  Webb searches through the city trying to aid his friend and meets colorful citizens of the jazz and prohibition era along the way.
     "Pete Kelly's Blues" replaces for the summer another show often cited for its realistic characteristics, "The Halls of Ivy."

From the July 14th 1951 edition of The Oregonian:

Though 'Pete Kelly's Blues debuted on a Wednesday--and held its Wednesday night slot over most outlets, a few outlets aired the program on Saturdays.
Though 'Pete Kelly's Blues debuted on a Wednesday--and held its Wednesday night slot over most outlets, a few outlets aired the program on Saturdays.

Jack Webb was a life-long perfectionist. His Pete Kelly's Blues project was no exception. Webb obtained the talents of the finest jazz performers available to assemble his "Big 7" Jazz Band for the series. Brothers Ray and Moe Schneider joined famed cornetist Dick Cathcart, Nick Fatool, Matty Matlock and Bill Newman to form the core of the group. Their performances during each of the thirteen episodes of the radio program were as eagerly anticipated as the drama itself.

It didn't hurt that Webb had often life-long relationships with these performers. Dick Cathcart, especially was a close friend of Webb's, going onto a long career with Lawrence Welk after Pete Kelly's Blues, and marrying Peggy Lennon, of The Lennon Sisters. And Meredith Howards, appearing as Maggie Jackson, the Blues vocalist in the series was a classmate of Jack Webb when they attended Belmot High School together. The camaraderie shows thoughout all seven circulating productions--the two circulating rehearsals, especially.

You get something of a feel for Jack Webb's directorial technique as well from his direction of The Big 7 on air--tough, demanding perfection in every performance. That was Webb's hallmark, both in front of and behind the mike. Webb was equally demanding of himself. A great deal of each of the circulating scripts of Pete Kelly's Blues is exposition, delivered as only Jack Webb can deliver it.

From the August 19th 1951 edition of the Canton Repository:

John Crosby -- 'Gunfire, Metaphor and Horn-Playing' head

"PETE KELLY'S BLUES," the saga of a trumpet player in what a press release
    describes as "the roaring '20's" may be a harbinger of the future of radio.  That is, it combines tough gangster talk with music--two old standbys that have survived the inroads of television better than the comedians, the quiz shows and the rest of them.
     Pete Kelly, played by the soft-spoken and engaging actor Jack Webb, who also plays Sergeant Friday in "Dragnet," is, strictly speaking, not a trumpet player but a cornetist in a speakeasy.  A very tough speakeasy.  What with the shootings and the gang plottings and especially the dolls that hang around, he hasn't much time left over for cornet blowing.  The little horn-playing you do hear, though, tootled by Dick Cathcart is very, very good.
     I just wish there were more of it.  But I can understand Mr. Kelly's problem.  The last time I looked into his speakeasy it and the surrounding landscape were littered with four corpses--three of them murdered and one a suicide.  I didn't realize the 1920's maintained such a sustained roar as all that.  Caught in the middle of all this gunfire, Kelly had to keep hopping to keep from having all these murders pinned on him.  The way things were gling, as he remarked grimly, the cops would eventually prove that he shot McKinley.
     THAT'S THE WAY life is for horn players, at least on the radio.  A man just wants to make sweet music to the accompaniment of that specialized prose which has been built up around jazz.  ("Punch a little more.  You're dragging."--"I know.  I'm not with it.")  Then the blond comes in, all by herself.  Trouble, as they say on these things, in spades.  Pete Kelly never gets into trouble in diamonds or any of the minor suites, just the top one.  If you ask me about this particular misadventure, I would say he was in trouble in no trump and that he should have finessed a cople of thse blond queens out of dummy, ruffing a gangster or two on the way.  But nobody asked me.
     The blonds who swarm all over horn players are a race apart--harder than icecubes and brimful of elaborate prose.  "Let's blow town.  We'll have breakfast at midnight and throw gin bottles at the sunrise."  That's a splendid example of the imagery on "Pete Kelly's Blues"--nocturnal and alcoholic and very hardboiled.  "He was deader than a bottle of booze at an Irish wake."  That's the way they talk, these blonds.  Set 'em up again, bartender.  I'll have Scotch and metaphor and go easy on the metaphor.
     GUNFIRE, METAPHOR and horn playing.  It's quite a formula all right, so long as they keep figures of speech in line.  ("If I find you got a thumb in this pie, I'll break your wagon" is one sentence I've been working on for some time.  Never did straighten it out.)
     At that, I like the stuff better than the prose on "The Private Files of Rex Saunders," another NBC enterprise (9:30 p.m. E.S.T. Wednesdays) which stars Rex Harrison.  Just why Mr. Harrison, a very fine actor, is mixed up in such a stale, dull operation is beyond me.  Perhaps he needs the money.

As you can read from the contemporaneous newspaper reviews on this page, Pete Kelly's Blues was more than just a novelty summer series for the reviewers. They knew this was something new in Radio, and you can feel the excitement about this series in every article written about it. Contrary to the nonsense you'll find in the Wikipedia articles about the Pete Kelly's Blues was a highly influential program for its time.

Indeed, Jazz was making little mainstream headway in Radio during the late 1940s and early 1950s. The appearance of a program like Pete Kelly's Blues, very much in the mainstream and from a very mainstream network, set a new standard of acceptability for Jazz over Radio. And it opened doors for even more mainstream Jazz programs to air during the remainder of The Golden Age of Radio.

Pete Kelly's Blues remains a fascinating mixture of the back-story of Jack Webb's entire life. It's set in the speakeasy '20s, the same era into which Webb was born. Its ground-breaking crime drama/variety format was completely new in Radio. And it's gritty, realistic Roaring 20s crime situations were a predictor of Webb's future impact on the crime drama format over Radio.

From the January 2nd 1954 edition of The Billboard:

Webb Sees Prospects Good For New 'Kelly's Blues' Role head

     HOLLYWOOD, Dec. 26.--From reactions he's received to date, Jack Webb is "hopeful" there will be a good sponsor and agency acceptance of his decision to concurrently portray leads in two telefilm series.  His newest--or at least the initial episode of "Pete Kelly's Blues"-- goes before the Mark VII Productions' cameras in early February, he said this week.
     "Pete Kelly's Blues" admittedly will become Webb's "Labor of Love," a property he owns outright and has desired for some time to make into a telepix series.  It formerly aired on NBC radio, but the net dropped it upon expiration of the option.
     The tele versionof the projected series will be filmed entirely in color, Webb said.  Whether production will be spurred after the initial seg is not kown at this time, Webb said, as the entire problem is now in the planning stage.
     The actor-director admits that next year's schedule would allow for production since all half-hour episodes of "Dragnet" are in the can for next reason's requirements.  Webb said that 100 of the 195 episodes called for in the five-year contract with NBC-TV and Liggett & Myers already has been shot, and that production of future "Dragnet" episodes would not be resumed until next October.  The remaining episodes, he said, would be shot in black and white as have all theother shows with the exception of the Christmas story.
     Speculation that he might rid himself of hte "Dragnet" property was denied with the reservation that if a satisfactory offer were to be made, "I certainly wouldn't refuse."  Meanwhile, Mark VII is in the market for new physical production quarters.  The production company must move from its present Walt Disney Studio space to make room for a major Disney production, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," slated for early rolling.
     By February 1, Webb said that Mark VII's schedule should be pretty well established.  This allows for the staff to continue its current planning for the future and permits Webb a long delayed vacation.
     Public acceptance of his portraying two different leads at the same time is uppermost in Webb's mind, he admitted.  But he reasons that a comparison can be made with theatrical motion picture stars who have demonstrated their histrionic versatilities by playing in various type roles, and then in relatively few full-length pictures annually.  "They're not considered out of the business just because of this," Webb explains.
     Webb also points out that "Dragnet" and "Pete Kelly's Blues" are diametrically opposed in format.  "Blues" is a story laid in the 1920's, with a cornet player the central figure along with his Dixieland band group  "This permits for broader entertainment for the home which is what we have attempted to do with 'Dragnet'," Webb declared.
     Since he owns the property 100 per cent, this is something to be determined later, Webb said.

As more information surfaces about Pete Kelly's Blues, it becomes even more collectable. Hopefully we'll soon see a complete run of Pete Kelly's Blues from 417 Cherry Street, Kansas City, so as to better evaluate the entire 13-week run.

Series Derivatives:

AFRTS END-238, Pete Kelly's Blues
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Crime Dramas [often referred to as Variety in contemporaneous radio listings]
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): 51-02-13 [Aud] Gus Trudeau
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 51-07-04 01 Title Unknown
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 51-07-04 to 51-09-26; NBC; Thirteen, 30-minute episodes; Wednesday evenings in most markets, Saturdays in others.
Syndication: Rosenberg Agency [Mike Meshekoff, Agent]
AFRTS END-238, Pete Kelly's Blues
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): George Voutsas
Homer Canfield [Producer]
John Robinson [NBC Producer]
Principal Actors: Jack Webb, William Conrad, Roy Glenn, Jack Kruschen, Meredith Howard, Tudor Owen, Barton Yarborough, Homer Welch, Stacy Harris, Vic Perrin, Herb Butterfield, Peggy Webber.
Recurring Character(s): Cornetist Pete Kelly [Jack Webb] and his 'Big 7' Jazz group; Dick Cathcart [cornet], Matty Matlock [clarinet], Moe Schneider [trombone] and Ray Sherman [piano], Marty Corb or Judd Burnette [bass], Bill Newman or George Van Epps [guitar], and Nick Fatool [drums].

'Red' the bass player [Jack Kruschen/Barton Yarborough].

George Lupo inherited the speakeasy at 417 Cherry Street, Kansas City. "He's a quiet little guy who wouldn't give you the sweat off an ice pitcher."

Barney Rickett [Tudor Owen], a former bootlegger, and the only honest man Pete Kelly knows.

Maggie Jackson [Meredith Howard], the singer at Fat Annie's, a speakeasy just outside of town.

Augie, the Piano Player [Roy Glenn (uncredited) in the rehearsal for 'Gus Trudeau].

Rosie, the Piano Player.

Protagonist(s): Pete Kelly
Author(s): Richard L Breen [Creator]
Writer(s) Jo Eisinger, Joan Flint, James Moser, Jack Webb; Maggie Jackson's songs written by Arthur Hamilton
Music Direction: Matty Matlock [scoring]; Arthur Hamilton [composer]; Ray Heindorf

Budd Tolefson, Wayne Kenworthy [Sound Engineers]

Musical Theme(s): Dick Cathcart [performing]
Announcer(s): George 'This one's about Pete Kelly' Fenneman; Don Pardo
Estimated Scripts or
1951 Summer Run: 13
AFRTS Syndication: 6
Special Recordings: 3
Episodes in Circulation: 1951 Summer Run:7
AFRTS Syndication: 6
Special Recordings: 3
Total Episodes in Collection: 1951 Summer Run:7
AFRTS Syndication: 3
Special Recordings: 0
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, 'The Directory of The Armed Forces Radio Service Series', Life Magazine.

Notes on Provenances:

All above cited provenances are in error to one degree or another. The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc

Pete Kelly's Blues, although having received a great deal of press at the time, was very poorly documented in local newspapers with respect to the actual programs that aired. But it's also very clear that virtually all information regarding its episode sequencing or program names were simply made up out of whole cloth for the last 58 years of documenting and archiving its run sequence.

In researching the newspapers from the period, we could turn up only eight solid sketchy references to synopses of its thirteen-program run--and yes, THIRTEEN, not twelve; fourteen, counting the NBC-ordered audition. Fortunately those five references have helped us nail down the five corresponding episodes they refer to. Given the ambiguity of all previous attempts at naming these 13 episodes, we've also begun identifying the music selections employed by both Pete Kelly's Big 7 and Maggie Jackson (Meredith Howard). Our findings follow, in chronological order:

The alleged 51-02-13 Audition of Veda Brand: We could find no information whatsoever substantiating either the date or title of this audition. Its existence remains purely anecdotal. While we have every reason to believe that NBC would have required an audition for Pete Kelly's Blues, given its innovative format, we can find no reference to it. But also note below the March 4th 19 Bridgeport Sunday Post reference to NBC Auditioning Pete Kelly's Blues in that timeframe. [UPDATE: We're becoming increasingly convinced that the circulating Gus Trudeau Rehearsal is actually the audition for Pete Kelly's Blues. See our discussion below for more.]

51-07-04, Program #1: We can prove that the first episode aired over NBC from 19 different newspapers we consulted. But no reference is made in any of them as to the content of this first program, nor the musical numbers to be performed by The Big 7. It remains Unknown for the present.

51-07-11, Program #2, Veda Brand: For years, the AFRTS transcribed Little Jake program occupied the Program #2 position, but we can now determine from contemporaneous newspaper accounts of the plot that Veda Brand was the second program of the run. We've also indicated the two music selections by The Big 7 and Maggie Jackson's solo for the episode. We can go either way with this episode. The 'otr community' seems to want to accept the clearly 'doctored' circulating exemplar of Veda Brand with the announcement of the premiere of Meredith Willson's new program in the close. If they wish to insist that the circulating doctored recording is Episode No. 2, we're willing to go along with that. That way we have eight exemplars instead of seven.

51-07-18, Program #3, The Stockbroker's Daughter: The title, while admittedly anecdotal, is derived directly from the contemporaneous radio listing description for Program #3. We have no exemplar of this episode with which to either confirm or dispute this provisional title.

51-07-25, Program #4, Little Jake: Although the anecdotal title for this program has apparently always been Little Jake, the underlying plot of the program is accurately described in contemporaneous newspaper descriptions as involving some 'hot letters' or gangland papers that are being sought by competing gangland interests. They've been given to Pete Kelly to hold without opening them. Little Jake, the young altar boy accidently killed before the break was, though tragic, only incidental to the underlying plot. There appears to be a growing movement to retitle the Little Jake episode, 'Hot Letters.' While probably still not the title of the original script [if there even was one] Hot Letters is probably the better title for this episode. We would add, however, that we understand the AFRS/AFRTS repository's exemplar of this program is annotated 'Little Jake.'

51-08-01 through 51-08-15, Programs #5 and #7 remain Unknown for the present. We found no contemporaneous descriptions for these programs, nor any exemplar recordings of these programs.

[UPDATE] 51-08-08, Program #6 remains ambiguous for the present. A contemporaneous promo at the end of the Pete Kelly broadcast from 51-08-08 cites an episode of The Falcon, to follow, and a 9:30 airing of the first At Home with Meredith Willson program, an impromptu replacement for The Private Files of Rex Saunders. And indeed, the contemporaneous listings for that timeslot mention the Meredith Willson program replacing Rex Saunders on 51-08-08. We can reasonably surmise that whatever script was to have aired on 51-08-08 was replaced at the last minute. It appears that it was a rebroadcast of the "Veda Brand" program that aired. If it weren't for those two announcements, the order of the two circulating Veda Brand exemplars could never be resolved--despite the underhanded efforts of some of the hobby's most morally challenged vendors. We can understand the confusion, since most circulating exemplars of the rebroadcast of Episode 6 have been altered to eliminate the closing announcement of the debut of the At Home with Meredith Willson program. They simply cut and paste--or cut and splice--the NBC Chimes immediately after the announcement of the availability of the music from the program. Those fortunate enough to possess an intact exemplar can quite easily tell how the bogus circulating episodes were altered.

It appears, for the forseeable future at any rate, that there remain two diametrically opposed movements in the Vintage Radio Collecting hobby: 1.) commercial otr dealers, groups, and book sellers enriching themselves at their clients' unfortunate historical ignorance, and 2.) historical preservationists revealing and defending the rich--and accurate--history of the Golden Age of Radio and its legacy. The nonsense and 'otr lore and hearsay' long associated with Pete Kelly's Blues is a perfect example of the current dichotomy. [Thanks again to Ben Kibler for helping nail down the run sequence for the series]

51-08-21, Program #8R, Gus Trudeau: The existence of this rehearsal has been a point of controversy for some time. Given that the alleged 51-02-13 Audition for Pete Kelly's Blues has yet to surface, it's quite possible that rather than a rehearsal, this program is in fact the audition for Pete Kelly's Blues. What remains indisputable are the distinct differences between this program and its production rendition:

  • The scripts are different: The expositional reference at the beginning of the program refers to a piano player named Augie. The broadcast script refers to the Big 7's regular piano player named Rosie.
  • In what we refer to as the production, as-broadcast version, the script is set on New Year's Eve, with Pete returning to the stage before being taken aside by Eddie Newman, to play a few bars of Auld Lang Syne at midnight. Revelers in the background are heard saying 'goodbye 1921, hello, 1922.' The audtion [or rehearsal] doesn't set the backdrop of the script on New Year's Eve, nor does Pete return to the stage before being taken aside by Eddie Newman.
  • The actors are different: though uncredited, the actor portraying Augie the piano player is Roy Glenn, and the actor portraying Newman is William Conrad.
  • The musical selections differ: The Big 7 play "Jazz Me" and "The Blues in B-flat" in the audition [rehearsal] and "Auld Lang Syne", "Sensation" and "The Blues in B-flat" in the as-broadcast version.

[UPDATE] 51-08-22, Program #8, Gus Trudeau: As indicated above, there are several material differences between the program we cite as the Program #8 Rehearsal for Gus Trudeau, but we reserve the belief that the above referenced recording may very well be the original audition for Pete Kelly's Blues. In any event, the plot for this program is referenced in contemporaneous newspaper descriptions of this program. Our belief that the episode we currently refer to as Program #8, Rehearsal for Gus Trudeau is actually the audition for the series is based on the following train of logic:

  • Rosie the Piano Player, had been well established by Program #8. Why then, if the rendition we've been referrring to was a rehearsal for Program #8 would the writers and Webb have changed the name of the already well established piano player from Rosie to Augie? It makes no sense
  • What makes more sense is that Program #8, Rehearsal for Gus Trudeau is actually the long believed surviving audition for Pete Kelly's Blues. There'd have been no continuity reason to change a--by then--well established member of the Big 7's name from Rosie to Augie for a rehearsal. But for an audition--fully six months prior to the script for Program #8--it would have made far more sense.
  • We're calling the non-broadcast rendition of Gus Trudeau an audtion until proven otherwise.

51-08-29, Program #9, The Young Girl and The Mug: The previously circulating title for this episode is anecdotal, as it's derived from the description of the program aired this day in contemporaneous newspaper listings. We have no exemplar of this episode with which to either confirm or dispute this provisional title. The actual title appears to be "The Veda Brand Story', as confirmed by NBC production script.

51-09-05, Program #10, Zelda: Though also anecdotal, this circulating title is appropriate. Key to the identification of the sequence and chronology of this program is an important provenance immediately following the credits: NBC announces the return of The Great Gildersleeve later that night as part of NBC's Silver Jubilee celebration. The Great Gildersleeve returned to the air after its summer break on September 5, 1951, so the provenance for this dating of Zelda is well supported, as is its program sequencing.
[Update} -- The Canton Repository of 51-09-05 cites "A Little Hole In The Wall" as the probable title for Expisode #10.

51-09-12, Program #11, Dr. Jonathan Budd and The Dutchman: This title is an almost verbatim description of the program that aired this date in contemporaneous newspaper listings. Some confusion has arisen over the years between this episode and Gus Trudeau, since both refer to a 'Dutchman". In Gus Trudeau it's 'Dutch Courtney' and in this script it's simply, 'The Dutchman'. It's quite possible that both references over the five-script arc refer to the same gangland figure. Be that as it may, this script and the Gus Trudeau script are clearly different scripts. Another point of ambiguation over the years has the program in this sequence anecdotally named 'The Senator'. And in fact this program does make reference to 'The Senator', simply as a throwaway line. 'Red' refers to Dr. Budd as 'The Senator' as slang for a well dressed, well heeled patron, when talking to Pete Kelly. The observation has no further import in the script.

51-09-19, Program #12, June Gould: This title is also anecdotal, but well supported. Its description in contemporaneous newspaper listings supports both its plot and title.

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Pete Kelly's Blues Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
Gus Trudeau
Veda Brand

[ Roy Glenn as Augie and Wm. Conrad as Newman]

The Big 7 plays "Jazz Me" and "The Blues in B-flat"
a.k.a. Dutch Courtney

51-03-04 Bridgeport Sunday Post
NBC is auditioning a musical dramatic show, "Pete Kelly Blues" starring Jack Webb ("Dragnet" star) with a dixieland band.

51-04-03 Tucson Daily Citizen
Another summer replacement in prospect for NBC, Pete Kelly's Blues, a drama of the prohibition era, is to step in for Halls of Ivy.

51-06-26 Bridgeport Telegram
Jack Webb, radio actor heard as Sgt. Joe Friday on NBC's "Dragnet" series is searching the natino for a Boston three-star cornet to lend authenticity to "Pete Kelly's Blues," a new NBC series starting July 4 at 8 p.m., in which he stars as a speakeasy cornetist in the Roaring Twenties. Boston three-star cornets were the lead instruments in speakeasy jazz combos during the Charleston era. Dick Cathcart, young jazz cornetist, will play the instrument (if one can be found in good condition) on hte broadcasts.

The Gus Trudeau Story
[ Premiere Episode ]
Summer Replacement for "The Halls of Ivy"

51-07-04 Portsmouth Times
The Turbulent '20's with their music, "trouble" and "big roar", will be re-created on "Pete Kelly's Blues", a new half-hour radio drama starring Jack Webb, commencing tonight at 7:30 on NBC.
Webb will be heard in the title role of the new show as a young jazz cornetist in a Kansas City speakeasy, circa 1922.
The gangsters, the flappers, the prohibition agents and the music, of that era will be presented as the adventures of Pete Kelly are unfolded. Under the present format jazz will figure prominently in the series with at least two full numbers being played on each show.

51-07-04 Syracuse Post-Standard
The "big Music," "big trouble" and "big roar" of the turbulent Twenties will be re-created on Pete Kelly's Blues, a new half-hour radio drama starring Jack Webb, which will start at 8 to 8:30 p.m. today over WSYR. Webb, noted for his portrayal of Det. Sgt. Friday on NBC's award-winning "Dragnet" series, will be heard in the title role of the new show as a young jazz cornetist in a Kansas City speakeasy, circa 1922. The gangsters, the flappers, the prohibition agents and the music of that era will come to life once more as the adventures of Pete Kelly are unfolded.

51-07-04 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m. — Pete Kelly's Blues (.WIBA): Jack Webb in new series about young cornetist during prohibition era; cast
includes seven -piece jazz band.

The Dangerous Assignment episode of 51-07-04
Pete Kelly's Blues beginning tomorrow. The announcer refers to Pete Kelly's cornet as a 'Boston Triple Crown Cornet.'

[ Regular Cast and Script]
The Big 7 plays "Sensation" and "The Blues in B-flat"
a.k.a. Dutch Courtney

The Veda Brand Story
51-07-11 San Diego Union
Jazz Cornetist Pete Kelly (Jack Webb of "Dragment" fame) is ordered to drive the wife of a mobster home from his night club and she ends up dead in her apartment. This, of course, bodes ill for Kelly, on the "Pete Kelly's Blues" show tonight over KFSD, 6:30 p.m.

51-07-11 San Mateo Times
Pete Kelly is ordered to drive the wife of a mobster home and she ends up dead in Kelly's flat during the "Pete Kelly Blues" on KNBC al 6:30.

The Big 7 plays "Till We Meet Again" and "Singin' The Blues"

Maggie Jackson sings "
He Needs Me"

The Stockbroker's Daughter
51-07-18 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m. — Pete Kelly's Blues
bootlegging broker hunts missing daughter

51-07-18 San Mateo Times
Pete Kelly finds that a respected daughter of a stock and bond broker is the brains behind a big bootlegging ring on KNBC at 6:30.

51-07-18 Canton Repository
A bond broker in search of his missing daughter comes to the speakeasy where Pete Kelly plays his jazz cornet during "Pete Kelly's Blues" at 7 over NBC-WTAM.

51-07-18 Times-Picayune
Pete Kelly's Blues on NBC-WSMB (7 p.m.)
when cornet player Pete gets mixed up with a pair of murders while his combo plays "Louisiana."

Hot Letters
[AFRTS Only]

51-07-25 San Mateo Times
Pete Kelly, the most abused cornet player in all history,
gets involved in a blackmail scheme on "Pete Kelly's Blues" heard over KNBC at 6:30.

51-07-25 Ludington Daily News
NBC—7—Pete Kelly' Blues, "
Hot Letters;"

51-07-25 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m. — Pete Kelly's Blues (WIBA): cornetists
meets blackmail and gangsters

Austin Daily Herald
NBC—7 Pete Kelly s Blues Hot Letters

51-07-25 Syracuse Post-Standard
Speaking of jazz, you'll find plenty of it on Pete Kelly's Blues at 8 p.m. over WSYR. Jack Webb of Dragnet fame stars in this series of the Roaring '20s and the speakeasy era. While not another Dragnet, Webb has come up with a good show--tough, wild and entertaining.

51-07-25 Times-Picayune
Dixieland music is blaring out in a speakeasy when cornetist Pete Kelly becomes involved with gangsters and blackmail during the Wednesday broadcast of Pete Kelly's Blues on NBC-WSMB (7 p.m.).
A packet of letters, containing explosive information, is sought by both mobsters and police. The drummer in Kelly's jazz combo is "fingered" and kelly comes to his aid. Weaving through the roaring '20s adventure, will be the ad lib music of yesteryear and blues songs of Maggie Jackson. Jack Webb of NBC's Dragnet show, takes the title role.

51-07-25 Capital Times
Dixieland music is blaring out in a speakeasy when cornetist Pete Kelly becomes involved with gangsters and blackmaill during tonight's broadcast of "Pete Kelly's Blues " over WIBA and WIBA-FM at 7. Jack Webb is starred as Pete.
A packet of letters containing explosive information is sought by both mobsters and police. The drummer in Kelly's band is 'fingered' and Kelly goes to his aid. Weaving through this adventure of the roaring '20's is the music of yesteryear and the blues sung by Maggie Jackson.

The Big 7 plays "
Who's Sorry Now" and the blues number, "Someday, Sweetheart".

Little Jake

Title Unknown
51-08-01 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m. — Pete Kelly's Blues
(WIBA): Jack Webb, prohibition era action, and- jazz,

The Veda Brand Story
[Rebroadcast of 51-07-11]

51-08-08 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m. —
Pete Kelly's Blues (WIBA) Jack Webb, speakeasy jazz age drama.

51-08-08 Zanesville Signal
8:00pm--WHIZ-Pete Kelly's Blues

51-08-08 Syracuse Herald Journal
8:00pm--WSYR-Pete Kelly's Blues

51-08-08 Traverse City Record-Eagle
8:00pm--NBC-Pete Kelly's Blues

51-08-08 Racine Journal Times
New program due tonight: NBC radio, 7, At Home With Meredith Willson, music and variety series replacing Rex Harrison and his Who-Dun-It, "The Files of Rex Saunders."

51-08-08 Mt Vernon Register News
New Program Due Tonight:
7:00 At Home With Meredith Willson, Music and Variety Series Replacing Rex Harrison and His Who-Dun-It, "The Files of Rex Saunders."

51-08-08 Clearfield Progress
On the air tonight (Wednesday):
NBC — 8 Pete Kelly's Blues

51-08-08 The Daily Republic
On the air tonight (Wednesday):
NBC7 Pete Kelly's Blues.

51-08-08 Austin Daily Herald
TONIGHT NBC—7 Pete Kelly s Blues

The Big 7 plays "Till We Meet Again" and "Singin' The Blues"

Maggie Jackson sings "
He Needs Me"

Title Unknown
51-08-15 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 7:00 Pete Kelly's Blues

Gus Trudeau [ Rehearsal]
[ Brock Peters as Augie and Wm. Conrad as Newman]
The Big 7 plays "Jazz Me" and "The Blues in B-flat"
a.k.a. Dutch Courtney

The Marie Walters Story
Gus Trudeau
The Veda Brand Story
The Young Girl and The Mug
[ Episode number, Title and Broadcast date confirmed by NBC script]

51-08-29 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m. — Pete Kelly's Blues (WIBA): drama and jazz of speakeasy days, starring Jack Webb

51-08-29 San Diego Union
KFSD, 6:30 p.m.--Pete Kelly's Blues, starring Jack Webb,
introduces a pretty girl to the musician.

Provisional title
A Little Hole in the Wall
51-09-05 Canton Repository
Pete Kelly and his jazz combo go to "
A Little Hole in the Wall" to cut a recording during "Pete Kelly's Blues" at 7 over NBC-WTAM.

51-09-05 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m. — Pete Kelly's Blues
(WIBA): Jack Webb as cornetist
involved with wife of recording company owner

The Big 7 plays "
Dixieland One-Step" and "June Night"

Maggie Jackson sings "
Come To Fat Annie's"

[Gildersleeve Return announced 51-09-05]

Dr Jonathan Budd and the Dutchman
51-09-12 Canton Repository
A quiet cultured man spends most of his time with Kansas City's hardest criminials during "Pete Kelly's Blues" at 7 over NBC-WTAM.

51-09-12 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m.— Pete Kelly's Blues (WIBA): jazz-age cornetists
comes to aid of a cultured man mixed up with hoodlums.

The Big 7 plays "Goose Pimples" and " Pigeon-Toed Joe"

Maggie Jackson sings "
I Ain't Goin' Nowhere"

a.k.a. The Senator

June Gould
[AFRTS Only]

51-09-19 The San Mateo Times
Pete Kelly attempts to locate an elderly lady for her daughter on "Pete Kelly's Blues" on KNBC at 6:30.

51-09-19 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m.— -Pete Kelly's Blues (WIBA): Jack Webb as jazz-age cornetist

The Big 7 plays "
Whispering" and "The Blues in B-flat"

Maggie Jackson sings "
What Have I Done?"

The Kidnapping
[ Last Episode ]

51-09-26 San Diego Union
KFI, 6:30 p.m.--J
ack Webb and his "Pete Kelly's Blues" series deals with a kidnapping.

51-09-26 The San Mateo Times
The final session of "Pete Kelly's Blues" will be heard over KNBC at 5:30 Wednesday night. The "Halls of Ivy" return the following Wednesday, October 3.

51-09-26 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m. —Pete Kelly's Blues (WIBA): starring Jack Webb

[Replaced by The Halls of Ivy's 3rd Season]

51-10-02 Canton Repository
ALSO ON Wednesday,
. . . NBC's popularity-high "Halls of Ivy" takes over for the equally superior-rated summer program "Pete Kelly's Blues" (NBC-WTAM at 8 p.m.).

Pete Kelly's Blues Supplemental Recordings Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
"Louisiana" and "Funny Man"
Capitol Records No. 1753
Pete Kelly's Blues Film Soundtrack
Performed By:
Janet Leigh, Jack Webb, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Dick Cathcart
Pete Kelly's Blues Movie Promo
Performed By:
Jack Webb, Nick Fatool, Moe Schneider, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Dick Cathcart, Ray Heindorf, Matty Matlock, Eddie Miller, Nick Fatool, George Van Eps, Ray Sherman, Jud DeNaught
Musical Excerpts from the Pete Kelly's Blues Film

Pete Kelly's Blues AFRTS Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
51-01-29* Wanted Man
51-02-20* Gus Trudeau
[ Regular Cast and Script]
The Big 7 plays "Sensation" and "The Blues in B-flat"
a.k.a. Dutch Courtney
51-07-11 Veda Brand
The Big 7 plays "Till We Meet Again" and "Singin' The Blues"

Maggie Jackson sings "He Needs Me"
Hot Letters
The Big 7 plays "Who's Sorry Now" and the blues number, "Someday, Sweetheart".

Little Jake
51-09-19 June Gould
The Big 7 plays "Whispering" and "The Blues in B-flat"

Maggie Jackson sings "
What Have I Done?"

Pete Kelly's Blues Biographies

John Randolph 'Jack' Webb
(Pete Kelly)

Radio, Stage, Screen and Television Actor, Radio Disc Jockey, Recording Artist, Producer, Director, and Writer

Birthplace: Santa Monica, CA

Education: Belmont High School, Los Angeles, CA


1945 The Little Man Inside
1946 Spotlight Playhouse
1946 The Jack Webb Show
1946 Are These Our Children?
1946 One Out of Seven
1947 The New Adventures Of Michael Shayne
1947 Johnny Madero, Pier 23
1947 Suspense
1948 Murder and Mr Malone
1948 Escape
1948 The Whistler
1948 Ellery Queen
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1948 Errand Of Mercy
1948 Guest Star
1948 The Anacin Hollywood Star Theatre
1949 Three For Adventure
1949 Pat Novak For Hire
1949 Dragnet
1949 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1950 Family Theatre
1950 Night Beat
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1951 Pete Kelly's Blues
1953 The Martin and Lewis Show
1953 The Bob Hope Show
1959 Hollywood Salutes the National Guard
1963 Weekend Sound Flights
1969 The Charlie Greer Show
1969 Special Delivery: Vietnam
Three For Adventure

Mark VII, Limited Productions:

Mark VII Logo, 1953

1951-1959 Dragnet
1956-1957 Noah's Ark
1959 The D.A.'s Man
1959 Pete Kelly's Blues
1962-1963 General Electric 'TRUE'
1967-1970 Dragnet
1968-1975 Adam-12
1971-1972 The D.A.
1971-1972 O'Hara, U.S. Treasury
1972-1979 Emergency!
1972-1974 Hec Ramsey
1973 Escape
1973-1974 Chase
1974 Sierra
1975 Mobile One
1978-1979 Project UFO

August 16, 1951 Article on Jack Webb's Work Ethic
August 16, 1951 Article on Jack Webb's Work Ethic

Jack Webb ca. 1955
Jack Webb ca. 1955

Jack Webb (lower right) at Belmont High School ca. 1938
Jack Webb (lower right) at Belmont High School ca. 1938

Jack Webb ca. 1948
Jack Webb ca. 1948

Jack Webb as Joe Friday, ca. 1951
Jack Webb as Joe Friday ca. 1951

Jack Webb, providing direction to Ella Fitzgerald, ca 1954
Jack Webb, providing direction to Ella Fitzgerald, ca 1954

Jack Webb and first wife famed Jazz songstress, Julie London ca 1955
Jack Webb and first wife famed Jazz songstress, Julie London ca 1955

Jack Webb at home with his first daughter, Stacey ca. 1953
Jack Webb at home with his first daughter, Stacey ca. 1953

Jack Webb, reading a script on set, ca 1953
Jack Webb, reading a script on set, ca. 1953

Webb, with Peggy Lee and George Jessel at 1953 Cerebral Palsy Fund Raiser
Webb, with Peggy Lee and George Jessel at 1953 Cerebral Palsy Fund Raiser

Ben Alexander and Jack Webb confer in the Radio studio for Dragnet, ca. 1953

Ben Alexander and Jack Webb confer in the Radio studio for Dragnet, ca. 1953

Jack Webb, resting on a lighting board for the production set of Pete Kelly's Blues, ca. 1955
Jack Webb, resting on a lighting board for the production set of Pete Kelly's Blues, ca. 1955

Jack Webb, ca. 1965
Jack Webb, ca. 1965
Born in Santa Monica, California, on April 2, 1920, Jack Webb's father had already left home before his birth and Jack Webb would never know him. John Randolph Webb was raised by his mother and maternal grandmother amidst the poverty immediately preceding the Great Depression.

To make matters worse, Webb suffered from acute asthma from the age of six until his death, despite a cigarette intake that often reached three packs a day throughout his adulthood. Even as a young man, Jack Webb's great passion was movies, and he dreamed of one day directing them. His other passion--Jazz, was the gift of an ex-jazz performer who lived in Webb's Bunker Hill, L.A. apartment building. He gave Webb an LP of the legendary Bix Beiderbecke, the first of over 6,000 jazz recordings Jack Webb would collect over his lifetime.

Jack Webb served in the U.S. Army Air Forces as a crewmember of a B-26 Marauder medium bomber during World War II. Upon receiving his discharge, he relocated to San Francisco, working first as a late night disc jockey, then starring in his own radio show, The Jack Webb Show (1946), a half-hour comedy that aired on the West Coast over ABC Radio.

His first acting roles in Radio were in San Francisco-based Monte Masters' Spotlight Playhouse (1946) performing with Masters' wife Natalie Park (later of Candy Matson fame), 1947's The New Adventures of Michael Shayne, and his own Johnny Madero, Pier 23. He would later spin off his Johnny Madero character into Pat Novak for Hire and Jeff Regan, Detective before he refined his crime drama sights to the more realistic and subdued Joe Friday character in Dragnet. Most notable--and personal--of his early projects was One Out of Seven (1946) in which Webb performed all the voices, attacking many social ills of the era, including race prejudice, corrupt politicians, and Red-baiting.

Jack Webb had an extraordinary ear for the 'throwaway line' most often associated with the work of Raymond Chandler. But it was Webb's genius for drolly and cynically delivering those Chandleresque lines, that made every radio program he recorded during that era some of the most often revisited recordings among Golden Age Radio collectors. Nevermind the fact that he was bouncing those memorable, hard-boiled retorts off of the likes of Raymond Burr, William Conrad, Wilms Herbert, Tudor Owen, Herb Butterfield--and yes, even the famous Carlisle Bibbers. Webb's influence continued throughout most of the radio noir genre detective and crime dramas that followed, even though Webb's own Joe Friday character never uttered a Chandleresque line himself during any of the iterations of Dragnet that followed.

Indeed it was a small role as a crime lab technician in the film noir classic He Walked by Night (1948) that led him to the creation of "Dragnet." Dragnet first aired over NBC radio on June 3, 1949, and moved to TV ("Dragnet" (1951)) on December 16, 1951, where it ran until September 1959. Webb also appeared in the famous Billy Wilder film, Sunset Boulevard (1950) as William Holden's energetic best friend. But it was the influence of the gritty, hyper-realistic He Walked By Night, that linked Webb to Detective Sergeant Marty Wynn of the Los Angeles Police Department. Wynn was a technical consultant for He Walked By Night, and with Wynn's assistance--and entre to legendary LAPD Chief William H. Parker--that Webb mapped out the pains-taking, hyper-realistic model for Dragnet.

Dragnet's ground-breaking influence was being felt in both Radio and Television. Webb's star continued rising fast, and the 1950s saw him become a film director, directing (and starring in) five features: Dragnet (1954), Pete Kelly's Blues (1955), The D.I. (1957), -30- (1959), and The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961). Webb's famous--or infamous--attention to the minutest details made him a natural behind the camera, but his last two directorial outings were box office flops.

Jack Webb's personal life was also arcing from the mid-1940s through the 1950s. He met and married beautiful Jazz songstress and actress Julie London, in 1947. The couple had two daughters, Stacey (1950) and Alisa (1952) and Webb was a doting father, albeit greatly compromised for quality time throughout what came to be the most active and demanding years of his professional life.

The compromises inevitably took their toll, and the couple divorced in 1953. Webb would marry three more times during his life; to Dorothy Towne (2 years), Jackie Loughery (6 years), and Opal Wright (2 years). After his divorce from Jackie Loughery in 1964, Webb would remain single until he married Opal Wright in 1980, just two years before his sudden heart attack just before Christmas of 1982.

Webb's return to Television in 1962 led to his appointment as Head of Production for Warner Bros. Television in February 1963. Webb had taken over from William T. Orr as executive producer of the hit ABC detective series 77 Sunset Strip (1958). Webb demanded wholesale changes in the program, retaining only Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., in the role of Stuart Bailey from the previous rotating ensemble cast of Zimbalist, Ed Byrnes, Roger Smith, Louis Quinn, Jaqueline Beer, and Richard Long. The result was a predictable disaster. Its ratings plummeted, and Warner Bros. canceled the Webb-helmed series midway into its sixth season. Apart from the poor box office showing of Webb's two previous films, Webb's reputation as one of Hollywood's wunderkind had continued to rise. The loss of his position with Warner Bros. was the first significant stumble of Webb's career

Following two years of unemployment--and reflection, Universal Studios invited Webb to do a new Dragnet as a TV movie. The result so pleased NBC and Universal that they offered Webb a new Dragnet series--Dragnet 1967. The new, updated series was an almost instant hit, and Dragnet 1967 ran for three seasons, followed by over ten years in syndication. Webb leveraged Dragnet 1967's success into a second hit, Adam-12 (1968), which gave both Jack Webb and his Mark VII, Limited production company a new lease on life. Webb's success developing new television programs with Mark VII continued through the 1970s, right up until the time of his unexpected passing in 1982. Webb's daughter Stacy tragically died in an automobile accident in 1996.

Jack Webb was a tireless champion of both social justice and the peace officers he so respected throughout his adult life. Jack Webb's mark in Radio influenced hundreds of other productions throughout the 1940s and 1950s. His influence on Television is felt to this day.

But for his Radio fans, his body of work--and its far-reaching influence--carries on, generation after generation through the magic of The Golden Age of Radio and the wonderful recordings we've managed to preserve from the era.

Rest In Peace, Detective Sergeant Friday

William Conrad [William Cann]
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor, Director, Producer, Narrator

Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky


1944 The Whistler
1945 Destination Tomorrow
1946 Dark Venture
1946 Strange Wills
1946 I Deal In Crime
1946 Favorite Story
1946 Cavalcade Of America
1946 Meet Miss Sherlock
1947 Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1947 Johnny Madero, Pier 23
1947 Mr President
1947 Escape
1947 Lux Radio Theatre
1947 Shorty Bell, Cub Reporter
1948 The New Adventures Of Michael Shayne
1948 Damon Runyon Theatre
1948 The First Nighter Program
1948 Ellery Queen
1948 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1948 Let George Do It
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1948 Hallmark Playhouse
1948 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1948 Prudential Family Hour Of Stars
1948 Command Performance
1948 Hawk Larabee
1949 Pat Novak For Hire
1949 Our Miss Brooks
1949 This Is Your FBI
1949 Hollywood Mystery Playhouse
1949 Rocky Jordan
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 Box Thirteen
1949 The Green Lama
1949 Dangerous Assignment
1949 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 The Adventures Of the Saint
1949 The Count Of Monte Cristo
1950 Dragnet
1950 The Halls Of Ivy
1950 The Adventures Of Frank Race
1950 Night Beat
1950 Rocky Jordan
1950 T-Man
1950 Philip Morris Playhouse
1950 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1950 Romance
1950 Broadway Is My Beat
1950 Hollywood Star Playhouse
1951 Hedda Hopper's Hollywood
1951 The Man Called X
1951 Tales Of the Texas Rangers
1951 Pete Kelly's Blues
1951 Mr I.A. Moto
1951 The Silent Men
1951 The Railroad Hour
1952 Gunsmoke
1952 Stars Over Hollywood
1952 The Line-Up
1952 Jason and the Golden Fleece
1952 Tums Hollywood Theatre
1953 Bakers' Theatre Of Stars
1953 The Six-Shooter
1953 Crime Classics
1953 On Stage
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1953 Fibber McGee and Molly
1954 High Adventure
1955 The Adventures Of Captain Courage
1955 I Was A Communist For the FBI
1955 Mystery Theatre
1956 The Key
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1958 Heartbeat Theatre
Bold Venture
The Clock
Secret Mission
The Roy Rogers Show
The Pendleton Story
The Adventures Of Maisie
At Ease

William Conrad, ca. 1943
William Conrad, ca. 1943

William Conrad in Killers (1947)
William Conrad in Killers (1947)

William Conrad as Matt Dillon, ca. 1953 (Courtesy of Harry Bartell)
William Conrad as Matt Dillon, ca. 1953 (Courtesy of Harry Bartell)
William Conrad, for ABC, ca. 1957
William Conrad, for ABC, ca. 1957

William Conrad and Jack Webb, in Webb's Film --30-- (1959)
William Conrad and Jack Webb, in Webb's Film, --30-- (1959)

Conrad in Cannon publcity still, ca 1971
Conrad in Cannon publicity still, ca 1971
Bill Conrad, ca. 1972
Bill Conrad, ca. 1972
William Conrad was born William Cann in Louisville, Kentucky. He started work in radio in the late 1930s in California. During World War II, Conrad served as a fighter pilot. He returned to the airwaves after the war, going on to accumulate over 7,000 roles in radio-by his own estimate. We can attest to at least 2,000--Conrad had been a fighter pilot, after all.

Conrad's deep, resonant voice led to a number of noteworthy roles in radio drama, most prominently his role as the original Marshal Matt Dillon on the Western program Gunsmoke (1952–1961). For the Gunsmoke purists, we'd remind them that the two actors that technically preceded Conrad in the role--Rye Billsbury and Howard Culver--auditioned as Mark Dillon, not Matt Dillon.

He was considered for the Television role of Matt Dillon when the series was brought to the small screen in 1955, but increasing obesity led to the casting of James Arness instead. As it turned out, relatively few of the other cast members were cast in the TV version.

Other radio programs to which Conrad contributed his talents included
The Whistler, Strange Wills, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, Johnny Madero, Pier 23, The New Adventures of Michael Shayne, Ellery Queen, The Adventures of Sam Spade, Jeff Regan, Investigator, Let George Do It, Pat Novak for Hire, Escape!, Suspense and The Damon Runyon Theater. One particularly memorable radio role was his breathtaking performance in "Leinengen Vs. The Ants" first heard in the January 14, 1948 broadcast of Escape!, and in a later rendition in the August 25, 1957 Suspense broadcast of "Leinengen Vs. The Ants." Conrad, of course was also memorable as the 'voice' of Escape!.

Conrad's long association with Jack Webb produced some of radio noir's most memorable moments as well. Conrad was heard in every Jack Webb production he ever mounted, and the chemistry between the two of them is one of radio's greatest pairings. From Johnny Madero, Pier 23, to Dragnet--and beyond, the verbal interplay between Conrad and Webb always made for fascinating radio--and Film.

Conrad's possessed an amazing gift for creating bone-chilling Radio characterizations of a seemingly endless array of toughs, gangsters, hard-boiled cops, corporate magnates, and hundreds of other commanding, self-assured, scoundrels and heroes alike. Those roles created a Radio following for him rarely equalled in Radio History. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1997.

Among Conrad's various film roles, where he was usually cast as threatening figures, perhaps his most notable role was his first credited one, as one of the gunmen sent to eliminate
Burt Lancaster in the 1946 film The Killers. He also appeared in Body and Soul (1947), Sorry, Wrong Number and Joan of Arc (1948), and The Naked Jungle (1954). And again, his characterizations of tough guys, aided by his amazing deep baritone and chillingly authoritative presence made for some of Film Noir's most enduring depictions.

Conrad moved to television in the 1960s, first guest-starring in NBC's science fiction series The Man and the Challenge. Conrad guest-starred--and directed-episodes of ABC's crime drama Target: The Corruptors! (1962). Indeed, both Conrad and the legendary Sam Peckinpah directed episodes of NBC's Klondike (1960–1961). He returned to voice work, most notably as narrator of The Fugitive (1963–1967) and as the director of Brainstorm (1965).

Conrad is as fondly remembered for his voice work in Animation. He narrated the animated Rocky and Bullwinkle series from 1959–64 (as "Bill Conrad"), and later performed the role of Denethor in the animated Television version of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Return of the King (1980).

The 1970s brought him further small-screen success with leading roles in Cannon (1971-1976), Nero Wolfe (1981) and Jake and The Fat Man (1987-1990). Conrad was also the on-camera spokesman for First Alert fire prevention products for many years, as well as Hai Karate men's cologne.

Conrad's credits as a director include episodes of The Rifleman, Bat Masterson, Route 66, Have Gun, Will Travel, and 77 Sunset Strip, among others, and feature films such as Two on a Guillotine.

Conrad had one son, Christopher, with his first wife, Susie. When Susie died after thirty years of marriage, Conrad married Tippy Stringer Huntley, a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park and widow of famed former NBC newscaster Chet Huntley.

Conrad died from congestive heart failure on February 11, 1994, in Los Angeles, California. He is interred at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Lincoln Terrace.

Charles Richard 'Dick' Cathcart
(Cornetist/Theme Performer)

Radio, Television and Film Artist, Performer and Composer

Michigan City, Indiana, U.S.A.

1951 Pete Kelly's Blues
1957 Stars For Defense
Here's To Veterans

Dick Cathcart, performing on The Lawrence Welk Show
From the October 7th 1951 edition of the Cumberland Sunday Times:

Record Rendezvous head

     HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 6 (INS) -- It's a far cry from being an actor-producer of police and crime shows to putting out one of the top blues programs on radio (despite its newness) but Jack Webb made the step.
     Jack, as radio fans will know, is responsible for the series "Dragnet," which has featured true crime cases from the files of the Los Angeles Police Department.  But recently Webb came up with a brand new program called "Pete Kelly's Blues."
     Jack signed a chap by the name of Dick Cathcart as "Pete Kelly" to blow the 1920-era cornet passages which provide the background of the Kansas City speakeasy which is the locale of the new show.
     The strange thing about Dick is that he's never considered himself a Jazz or Dixieland musician.  In fact, he had never heard a Beiderbecke record until Webb played some for him.  Yet most musicians would swear that Cathcart must have been bred and raised in the hangouts of New Orleans.
     Dick was born in Michigan City, Ind., in November, 1924.  Four years later he was tooting his first instrument, a clarinet.  Apparently he showed a good deal of talent, for at the age of five Dick conducted the Elston High School Orchestra in a special program.
     When Dick was thirteen years old he switched to the trumpet and cornet and a short while later he earned his first money as a musician--playing a local dance with the Bloomington High School Orchestra in Michigan City.
     In 1946 after a stint in uniform Dick's genuine professional career began.  He joined Ray McKinley's first band and toured for about four months.  Then he was with Alvino Rey for nine months.  Following this he joined Bob Crosby and then moved on to play in radio studio orchestras.  For the next two years Dick worked at MGM studios, playing for film backgrounds.  About a year ago he obtained a job with Ben Pollack's Dixieland Band and played at the Beverly Tavern, a jazz hangout in L.A.  It was then that Jack Webb, who had been listening to scores of cornetists seeking the right man for the embryonic radio show, heard the now thoroughly experienced Dick Cathcart.
     As Webb tells it, he heard this cornet, then he closed his eyes and swore he was listening to a reincarnated Beiderbecke.  When the band broke for a smoke, Webb walked to the stand and offered him the job of being the music of "Pete Kelly" while he, Webb, would be the voice.
     Capitol records thought enough of the performance that Cathcart, Webb, et al was signed to put on record the music played on the radio series.  Now the first disc is out, pairing "Louisians" and "Funny Man."  Maggie Jackson, another Webb "Discovery," sings a bluesy vocal of the latter air.  We think you'll like the new "Dixie" sensaton.

From the November 12th 1993 editiion of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Cathcart: Charles Richard "Dick" Cathcart, who provided the trumpet licks for the 1955 movie Pete Kelly's Blues and played with The Lawrence Welk Show band, died of cancer Monday in Los Angeles. He was 69. Mr. Cathcart also performed around Southern California in The Pete Kelly 7 and provided music for the TV series Dragnet. It was on the Lawrence Welk Show that he met his wife, Peggy Lennon of the singing Lennon Sisters.

Tudor Owen
(Barney Rickett)

Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor, Director, Producer

Birthplace: Wales, U.K.

1949 Pat Novak For Hire
1949 Chandu the Magician
1949 NBC University Theater
1949 Family Theater
1949 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1949 Escape
1949 Lux Radio Theatre
1950 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1950 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1950 Night Beat
1950 Presenting Charles Boyer
1950 The Story Of Doctor Kildare
1951 The Adventures Of the Saint
1951 The Pendleton Story
1951 Stars Over Hollywood
1951 Suspense
1952 Pursuit
1952 Hallmark Playhouse
1952 Crime Classics
1953 Errand Of Mercy
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame

Tudor Owen as Bishop Minter in The Lone Wolf (1954)
Tudor Owen as Bishop Minter in The Lone Wolf (1954)

Tudor Owen as Don Pedro Miguel Hernandez Santiago O'Sullivan in The Return of Don Pedro O'Sullivan from The Lone Ranger (1956)
Tudor Owen as Don Pedro Miguel Hernandez Santiago O'Sullivan in The Return of Don Pedro O'Sullivan from The Lone Ranger (1956)

Tudor Owen in The Case of The Malicious Mariner from Perry Mason (1961)
Tudor Owen in The Case of The Malicious Mariner from Perry Mason (1961)

Tudor Owen in Perry  Mason (1961)
Tudor Owen in Perry Mason (1961)
Though born and raised in turn of the century Wales, proud Welchman Tudor Owen clearly wasn't above portraying Scots and Irishmen for the vast majority of his career.

To the last couple of generations of TV and film viewers, Tudor Owen is simply ''one of those Irish guys who used to be on TV and in the movies''. To dyed in the wool character actor aficionados, Tudor Owen's brilliant, and almost always highly sympathetic characterizations of ethnic British Empire characters, were always examples of understated acting craft, personified.

Though he could be bombastic in any role he chose--on Television and Film anyway, his mere presence in the cast could be intimidating. But in almost every instance, once Tudor Owen made his entrance the viewer knew he or she was in for an interesting ride, irrespective of the actual duration of Owen's performance.

Tudor Owen's Radio fans, by contrast, had known that about Owen for well over a decade by then. Though the breadth and depth of Tudor Owen's radiography spans the entire second half of The Golden Age of Radio, Tudor Owen's most ardent fans almost certainly refer to his work with Jack Webb as some of Owen's most memorable performances. Tudor Owen appeared with Webb in Johnny Madero (Father Leahy), Pat Novak for Hire ('Jocko' Madigan), and Pete Kelly's Blues (Barney Rickett). Though playing four different characters, Tudor Owen's basic role in each of the Webb vehicles was almost the same: Jack Webb's conscience, advisor, and severest critic.

The remainder of Tudor Owen's Radio work genuinely ran the gamut of West Coast drama. He made numerous repeat appearances in University Theatre, Escape, Suspense, Family Theatre, Lux Radio Theatre, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, Crime Classics and The Lone Ranger--in all, some 1,200 appearances in Radio over a relatively short, 9-year career.

Tudor Owen was reported to have been appearing in Stage plays throughout the North Bay area of California through the 1920s and 1930s. But it was Owen's Film and Television work that occupied the lion's share of his time throughout The Golden Age of Television years. And although Tudor Owen actually appeared in his first credited Film in 1926, it wasn't until almost 22 years later, in 1948, that Owen acquired his next Film credit--the first of the forty that followed--in The Pilgrimage Play (1949) as Nicodemus. Owen's absence from the public spotlight for those missing twenty-two years is probably a fascinating tale in itself.

Between the 1950s and the mid-1960s, he added another 100+ Television credits to his 40+ Film credits. Seen in virtually every prime time, popular, recurring drama series, Tudor Owen found himself even more in demand on Television than in Film. An inveterate scene-stealer, Owen could clearly suppress his often overwhelming personality when the script called for it. But his most emblematic performances were as irrascible Irish -- Scots -- Welch scoundrels who, by script's end, whether a villain or hero, captured the imagination of every viewer watching him.

Tudor Owen's longest running recurring role was as first mate ''Elihu Snow'' in the South Seas adventure series Captain David Grief (1957-1960), based on the stories of Jack London. Saturday morning Television fans from the 1950s may remember Owen as Sgt. Tim O'Gara in My Friend Flicka (1956) for several episodes.

Owen appears to have retired from Acting in the mid-1960s. He passed away in 1979 at the age of 81. To those readers who knew Tudor Owen's name only from Radio, we hope we've helped you place a background and face with this fine, underrecognized character actor. For those of you who may be only recent fans of Tudor Owen you can now fit a 'face' to all of his amazing characterizations over Radio.

And for all of us, this simple reminder of the timelessness of Tudor Owen's performances-- and his ability to make us smile--continue to remind us of the natural genius of his portrayals, on big screen, small screen, or no screen.

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