OLD TIME RADIO - 1 CD-ROM - 3 mp3
Total Time: 1:26:05
Inspector Hearthstone of The Death Squad held some promise to breathe new life into the franchise with distinguished actor Alfred Shirley (of Sherlock Holmes fame) in the role of Inspector Hearthstone. Inspector Hearthstone was first introduced in February and March episodes of CBS's 1949 Mystery Theatre run. From 1949 to the Fall of 1951, Inspector Hearthstone of The Death Squad appeared in all but a few of the remaining Mystery Theatre programs, until CBS simply changed the production name to Inspector Hearthstone of The Death Squad on August 30, 1951.
One can only surmise CBS' rationale for preserving the name Mystery Theatre while producing only Inspector Hearthstone programs for almost two years. It would seem as if Frank Hummert was more comfortable working with a single protagonist for his programs, hence his almost universal focus on Inspector Hearthstone of The Death Squad as the central figure in almost all of the CBS Mystery Theatre programs from 1948-1951. One of CBS Mystery Theatre's most redeeming elements--annotator Geoffrey Barnes--was eliminated with the solo Hearthstone of The Death Squad that followed. The Hummerts chose, instead, to go with a melodramatic intro to each program more reminiscent of Challenge of The Yukon or The Lone Ranger, than the CBS Mystery Theatre format of the previous two years. Indeed, by 1952, Hearthstone of the Death Squad was being heard virtually every day of the week--somewhere, usually in repeats. CBS had apparently abandoned any further promotion of the series. Throughout most of 1952, Hearthstone of the Death Squad was in disarray. As it was, Inspector Hearthstone of The Death Squad finally left the airwaves December 31, 1952--for the most part in repeats in various small outlets and at varying days and times.
By the beginning of Hearthstone of The Death Squad in 1951, Television had already taken root. To further complicate the Radio and Television choices, a competing Mystery Theater from ABC aired on October 3, 1951 running in parallel with both CBS Mystery Theatre's Hearthstone of The Death Squad and ABC's Mystery Theater featuring Inspector Mark Saber of the Homicide Squad. If the intent was to confuse, both programs succeeded, and both came in for tepid reviews--at best. In addition there were parallel Television programs titled both Mystery Theater and Homicide Squad. It's apparent that Radio and Television programmers had finally taken off the gloves in earnest. In the final analysis, the Inspector Hearthstone of The Death Squad run from 1951-1952 appears to have been nothing more than thirteen or so original Hearthstone programs intermixed with a year's worth of repeats of CBS Mystery Theatre programs.
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Hearthstone of the Death Squad 51-08-30 (01) The Unheeded Warning Murder Case
Hearthstone of the Death Squad 51-12-13 (16) Marriage Annulment Murder Case
Hearthstone of the Death Squad 52-01-10 (20) Terrifying Letter Murder Case