Richard Rogue – Pros, Cons, and Annoyances

I’ve been listening to a lot of Rogue’s Gallery lately. He’s the typical hardboiled detective with plenty of wisecracks regardless of whether he’s dealing with the bad guys, the ladies, or the cops. In fact, he’s almost too generic in his ways.

When the police investigators let justice fall through the cracks, he’s all too ready to rub their noses in it when he hands the bad guys over in a neat package. He’s also handy with the ladies, but when he gets snubbed, it’s because either it’s convenient for comic affect, or the lady is involved in the crime. He turns his nose up at petty investigations, until his client can lure him into something interesting and juicy. Of course, he faces off with the bad guys and hard cases, managing to outwit them and make narrow escapes from death at their hands. However, he’s not immune to a few thumps on the head where he wakens safe and ready to go back on the attack.

Oh wait… I just described almost every radio detective out on the market. What is it that makes Richard Rogue identifiable?

It has to be that while he gets knocked out, he has an inner voice. The extremely annoying Igor. I don’t think the character serves any other purpose other than to taunt Rogue in his screaching voice, and that cackling laugh during those times when Rogue is unconscious. I know that I could do without his presence, but if it weren’t for Igor, Rogue just wouldn’t have anything going to set him apart from any of the other detectives. Sad.

Despite the lack of identity, the writing, acting, and the stories themselves are good ones. As with any program, it has it’s finger on the pulse of pop culture of the times, and I get a kick out of the cutting edge sophistication as folks saw it back then. An interesting history lesson of a different kind.

Who’s on First – Name a Better Skit

It’s probably the most recognized routine from the era. It’s the word play on words with double meanings. Costello is focused on interpreting the words in their strict usage in grammar, while Bud has changed their meanings as pronouns or phrases to be proper nouns as the names of the players. Though it ought to be an obvious miscommunication between the two, neither can remove his thought process outside his own definition of that word.

They had a similar routine using the old U-Drive company, later to become known as the Hertz Rental Car company. A name change that didn’t help out their act so much.

A lot more of their comedy centered on relationships from dating, to marriage, to divorce. Animals and kids were frequent themes, as when Bud and Lou went to the circus, or on a lion hunt.

Memorable moments on the radio include such things asJack Benny’s responce to getting robbed and confronted with the line, “Your money or your life!”

Catch phrases and signature lines like:
* Taint funny McGee,
* If I dood it I’ll get a whipping
*That ain’t the way I heared it
*Gildersleeves laugh,
* Jimmy Durant’s nose
* Fibber McGee’s closet
* Abner Peabody getting confused over Lum’s common figures of speech. (Old Eddards sayings)
* Fibber and Molly getting Mayor Latrivia flustered over his use of a harmless figure of speech.

Those character trademarks make for a flexible platform to set up any number of situations, using the same routine, but with any variety of variables to make the routine a little different every time. The same, but a little different, and when we begin to recognize the set up, we wait to see what new creation the characters will come up with this time.

We can always count on Crosby and Hope bickering like an old married couple. For that matter, the Bickersons bickering like an old married couple. Jack Benny created his stingy, insecure, childish, bossy persona over years to be a routine in itself that can be plugged into any setting to put his comic flavor in it.

Plenty of comedy formulas to be sure, but when it comes down to a complete comedy routine, that has stood the test of time, I think the “Who’s on First” routine is hard to beat. It’s one that can be easy to ad lib, the structure of the humor is there, and it’s always funny.

PS: This article is in response to a discussion on <a href=”http://otrcommunity.com”>OTR Community.</a> Visit the site, sign up, and get talking about OTR with other fans. Pop in to see how the rest of this conversation is going.

Flying with Captain Midnight

Some time ago I ran a short serial of the Carlton E Morse series, I Love a Mystery. It has come to an end. Though I stretched it out over several weeks, it originally ran on a daily basis, and only lasted for about two weeks. There are more in that series besides the Million Dollar Curse, and if I can find more, I’ll bring it back. The characters of Doc Long, Reggie York, and Jack Packard made it into several of the Carlton E Morse shows. Actress, Mercedes Cambridge was a regular in the show as well, but she played different characters.

To take over the slot, I found this show, Captain Midnight. I don’t have the full run, but I do have several. I’ll have to check to see how many exist, and if I can get them. It’s a little corny, and designed for the kiddie set. Captain Midnight is the fearless, brave airplane pilot who faces dangers in the air from enemies. When he isn’t in the air there’s plenty of sneaky doings with his ground crew on the ground. They fight off foreign spies, face kidnapping, sabateurs, and always manage to come out on top.

Still, Captain Midnight is a fun show and worthy to follow along with the adventure as it continues from week to week. Though I’ve posted about all I can find, I somehow manage to keep turning up a few more. I’ll keep them coming for as long as I can manage.