Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lighthouses on Old Time Radio - The Sinister Lighthouse from This is Your FBI (1946)

Here is the second entry in my Lighthouses on Old Time Radio series.  This story is from a long-running radio program titled This is Your FBI, and is called "The Sinister Lighthouse."

This is Your FBI was a long running radio show on the ABC Radio Network (also known as the Blue Network before it spun off from NBC) that spanned from 1945 to 1953.  The show was endorsed by the FBI and they shared case files with the show's producers - making the stories all "from the files of the FBI." The stories are really well done and provide scenes showing not only the execution of the crime, but also the way that the FBI solved it.  Each story opened the same way -

"The official broadcast from the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The incidents used in
tonight’s Equitable Life Assurance Society broadcast are adapted from the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, all names used are fictitious, and any similarity to names of persons living or dead is accidental." 
- From Derral Cheatwood Images of Crime and Justice in Early Commercial Radio—1932 to 1958 Criminal Justice Review March 2010 35: 32-51,

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse (Presque Isle, Michigan) - October 10, 2014

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse (Presque Isle, Michigan) - October 2014 (I was hoping I had a picture of a Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse - this seemed close to me - at least one of the inland ones)!

The opening of this particular story was somewhat chilling...

"As we speak to you tonight, an unprecedented tidal wave of crime is sweeping our country from coast to coast. Through village, and hamlet, and town, and city, destroying lives and property and smashing savagely at the very pilings on which rests the whole structure of American society.  It is the biggest crime wave in the history of our country.  As to its magnitude, we need say no more than this - that major crimes alone, one of which we report tonight, are being committed at the rate of almost 5,000 every 24 hours."

This story involves a second honeymoon taken by a wounded war veteran and his bride on the very first day that he was in "civvies." When he was in the South Pacific, he wrote to his wife and said he wanted to get their honeymoon at an old abandoned lighthouse.  His wife looked over and over and found one on the Chesapeake Bay that they could stay in.  Everything was perfect as they drove down from Westchester County in New York.  The veteran even carried his wife across the threshold into the lighthouse.  Their wonderful day turned on a time - when they found themselves smack dab in the middle of a kidnapping.

As a teaser for the way the crime was solved - there are two different imprints that gave away the criminals.  The first was fingerprints.  The second was a tune - whistled so many times it wormed its way into the ears of the young couple who found more than a lighthouse on this trip.

What is also interesting is the integrated advertising for the Equitable Life Assurance Society's new home ownership program.  It essentially is mortgage insurance that pays off the loan should anything happen to the owner of the house.  It is called "America's Finest Plan for Home Ownership."  At the beginning of the broadcast, the announcer suggests that the wives pull their husbands into the room within 14 minutes to learn about this important new insurance product.

Please enjoy this great episode.  This is a real treat and a great way to continue my Lighthouse Old Time Radio series.  I will have another entry in about a week!

The Sinister Lighthouse (June 7, 1946)

Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and This is Your FBI:
Lighthouses on Old Time Radio:

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