“Here’s the dope, Bob…” — former Chief Henderson.
A few episodes ago Betty and Bob Drake convinced their corrupt city’s former police chief to become an investigative reporter on their paper, The Trumpet.
In this episode, he lets them know what he’s found out about the new city manager and the politicians who put him in power: Henderson Has News About City Corruption.
The chief’s report is more “private eye” than news reporter — personal dirt about council members’ personal weaknesses (debt, ambition, women), not anything that will become a story very soon. Apparently with its star reporter murdered and Bob Drake hospitalized for some weeks, The Trumpet was left without a reporter who could dig into the ouster of the old city manager and installation of a new one.
After hearing from former Chief Henderson, Bob Drake, newspaper publisher, admits that he hasn’t given the City Council the attention it deserves. Finally, there’s news about another accident involving the new city manager’s reckless daughter. Will the Drakes agree to suppress the story, the way they did an earlier one? Will they get to talk to the real power-broker on the City Council? Tune in here next week!
The announcer wraps up:
“Well! Betty and Bob are beginning to uncover the ways of a corrupt political machine in taking over a city. Bribe your way in, threaten your way in, and promise your way in. Find ever man’s weakness and play up to it. But how can these forces of corruption be joined in battle and defeated? That’s what Betty and Bob have got to find out.”
Unfortunately, this recording has a few skips in the audio that make this rather poor listening — two minutes actually repeat around the 11-minute mark.
A full and accurately dated collection of “Betty and Bob,” one of radio’s first soap operas, does not appear to be available, but the Internet Archive includes 40 scattered episodes including two steady sequential runs. This is the fourteenth in a series of 16 dated June and July 1947, but probably first broadcast a decade earlier. (The transcription discs were reissued in syndication.)
As I mentioned last week, the radio soap opera’s focus on the publishers is quite different from the tales of crime-busting reporters and editors of other programs, from Big Town and Crime Photographer to The Green Hornet.
This storyline is a June-July 1947 sequence from the Archive.org collection of 40 Betty & Bob episodes.