So with this, I am highlighting for Day 8 Frank Sinatra as Rocky Fortune in The Plot to Murder Santa Claus. (Here is a link to all the 2014 OTR Christmas entries). If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148). He does a great job of showcasing great holiday themed episodes, especially as we get closer to Christmas and the end of December.
Antique Postcard of the NBC Radio Studios in Hollywood, California
The first time I heard Rocky Fortune...I was not hooked. The series was created in 1953 to showcase the great American singer, Frank Sinatra. Sinatra was showcased in a large number of musical specials in the 1940s and 1950s - some of which I will share later this holiday season. But there was this one series where he was featured for his speaking voice - not his singing. Rocky Fortune was on NBC from October 6, 1953 through March 30, 1954. The timing for the end of the series was not a fluke. A few days before the last episode aired, Frank Sinatra won the 1954 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the 1953 From Here to Eternity. With that, Sinatra's career portraying Rocky Fortune (Rocko Fortunato if you are not into the brevity thing) came to an end.
Rocky Fortune was a "footloose and fancy-free young man" who was always searching for the next job - since he started most episodes without one. In the series, he was a social director at a Catskills Resort, a truck driver, an oyster shucker, and just about anything else. There is, however, a real charm in Sinatra's hard-luck Rocky as he fumbles through missed opportunities and problems with both the police and bad guys. While many called this a "B grade series," I enjoyed it a great deal and sometimes wish there were more than 25 episodes.
On December 22, 1953, The Plot to Murder Santa Claus was aired over the NBC Network. In this episode, Rocky is employed as an assistant store detective for the Krackenbaum Department Store in New York City. They had just had a theft at the store of $8,000 in pearls and they were still missing. Rocky finds himself in the middle of the entire situation when he discovers that in addition to be the assistant store detective, he also needs to play Santa when the main one had lunch. That leads to him meeting a young girl and his older sister as they tried to tell Santa about the Elf doll she wanted. Turns out, the little girl had expensive taste!
This is a great episode for the holidays - enjoy!
The Plot to Murder Santa Claus (December 22, 1953)
Here are some links to programs relating to Rocky Fortune:
- Rocky Fortune radio program episodes via the Internet Archive
- Rocky Fortune on the Radio - great information from Digital Deli
- Rocky Fortune on Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs
- Rocky Fortune on Thrilling Detective
- Frank Sinatra's website
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links
- 2015 Day 1 - Honest Harold's Christmas Party
- 2015 Day 2 - The Innocent Santa Claus (This is Your FBI)
- 2015 Day 3 - Christmas Story from The Mysterious Traveler
- 2015 Day 4 - All is Bright (the story of Silent Night)
- 2015 Day 5 - Beeker's Barn (a Christmas tale from Gunsmoke)
- 2015 Day 6 - Santa Claus of Bums' Boulevard (Casey Crime Photographer)
- 2015 Day 7 - Dr. Sixgun's A Pony for Christmas
- 2015 Day 8 - The Plot To Murder Santa Claus (with Frank Sinatra as Rocky Fortune)
- All my entries covering OTR and Christmas
- All my OTR blog posts
- Also visit 500 OTR Christmas Shows from the Internet Archive.
- Christmas Programs from Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs
- Christmas Scripts at Generic Radio Workshop - no they are not from Abbot and Costello!
- Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148)
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)
- Day 1 - Nick Carter's Christmas Adventure
- Day 2 - The Saint is No Santa Claus
- Day 3 - Stolen Rings at Christmas with Boston Blackie
- Day 4 - Dragnet's Christmas Episodes
- Day 5 - Nero Wolfe & the Slaughtered Santas
- Day 6 - The Plot To Murder Santa Claus (with Frank Sinatra as Rocky Fortune)
- Day 7 - Christmas at Mission San Gabriel with Romance of the Ranchos
- Day 8 - Arch Oboler's Christmas 1918
- Day 9 - The Story of Silent Night (Hallmark Playhouse)
- Day 10 - Juggler of Notre Dame (with Nelson Eddy)
- Day 11 - Candy Matson's Christmas Episodes
- Day 12 - Lionel Barrymore's Mayor of the Town
- Day 13 - More Radio Adaptations of a Christmas Carol
- Day 14 - Tales Of The Texas Rangers (not those Rangers)
- Day 15 - Christmas in Connecticut (with Ronald Reagan)
- Day 16 - Holidays with Connie - Our Miss Brooks
- Day 17 - The Whistler's Christmas Episodes
- Day 18 - Detroit's WXYZ & The Lone Ranger
- Day 19 - Johnny Dollar and the Nick Shurn Matter
- Day 20 - Christmas Shopping with Jack Benny
- Day 21 - Gunsmoke's Christmas Story
- Day 22 - Bob Hope's Christmas Shows
- Day 23 - Christmas with Mel Blanc
- Day 24 - Bing Crosby's Christmas Shows
- Day 25 - Elgin Watch Christmas Specials
- Day 26 - Five Days Off For Christmas with Night Beat
- Day 27 - Let George Do It Christmas Episodes
- Day 28 - CBS Radio Workshop's All is Bright
- Day 29 - Hotpoint's The Man Who Came to Dinner (with Jack Benny)