Hot Copy

“And now, a new and exciting chapter in the career of Ann Rogers, girl reporter, whose newspaper stories are always — in the words of her adventurous profession — ‘Hot Copy.'”

For background on the series that rated such an introduction, see the “A Nose for News…and Clues” chapter in Jack French’s book “Private Eyelashes,” and give a listen to Jim Widner’s Radio Detective Story Hour podcasts below.

J.David Goldin’s RadioGoldIndex lists four episodes from 1944, including the two Widner presented on his podcast. I haven’t found sources of the others.

As suggested by the inclusion of “Hot Copy” in Jack French’s book about women detectives, Ann Rogers is solidly in the tradition of reporter-as-sleuth. She asks tough questions, listens well, can tell when someone is lying to her, and employs enough deductive reasoning for a colleague to call her “Miss Sherlock.”

“You’ve got detecting on the brain,” the same news photographer friend tells her in “Smooth as Silk.” He’s also the kind of photojournalist who takes secret photos with a hidden camera and a release bulb in his pants pocket — a sign of shaky ethics?  Would “Casey Crime Photographer” approve?

Incidentally, the “Smooth as Silk” episode is about a World War II racket in black market nylon stockings, when nylon fiber was restricted for military use. (In fact, there was a similar racket-busting “A Pair of Nylons” episode of The Green Hornet a couple of years later.)

Beyond the audio archives, nearly 50 scripts of the “Hot Copy” series are among author Nelson Slade Bond’s papers donated to the Special Collections department at the Marshall University library. The titles promise plenty of danger and adventure:

  1. “Double Trouble,” NBC, Hot Copy, 14 Nov 1943.
  2. “Sweet and Hot,” NBC, Hot Copy, 21 Nov 1943.
  3. “The Kiss of Death,” NBC, Hot Copy, 28 Nov 1943.
  4. “Torch of Liberty,” NBC, Hot Copy, 5 Dec 1943.
  5. “This Pen for Hire,” NBC, Hot Copy, 12 Dec 1943.
  6. “Dead Cargo,” NBC, Hot Copy, 19 Dec 1943.
  7. “Darkness Before Dawn,” NBC, Hot Copy, 20 Dec 1943.
  8. “Troubled in Tunisa,” NBC, Hot Copy, nd.
  9. “The Blond Avenger,” NBC, Hot Copy, 26 Dec 1943.
  10. “Death Makes a Date,” NBC, Hot Copy, 16 Jan 1944.
  11. “Murder on the Air,” NBC, Hot Copy, 23 Jan 1944.
  12. “Weed of Violence,” NBC, Hot Copy, 10 Jan 1944.
  13. “No Motive for Murder,” NBC, Hot Copy, 6 Feb 1944.
  14. “Death Scores a K.O.,” NBC, Hot Copy, 13 Feb 1944.
  15. “So Peaceful in the Country,” NBC, Hot Copy, 20 Feb 1944.
  16. “Death Studies in Angles,” NBC, Hot Copy, 27 Feb 1944.
  17. “Mind Over Murder,” NBC, Hot Copy, 9 Jul 1944.
  18. “‘Oh, Dm Golden Slippers,’” Hot Copy, 5 Mar 1944.
  19. “Death to Play and Mate,” NBC, Hot Copy, 12 Mar 1944.
  20. “Blue Star of Brazil,” NBC, Hot Copy, 19 Mar 1944.
  21. “Something for Nothing,” NBC, Hot Copy, 26 Mar 1944.
  22. “‘Heavy, Heavy,’” Hot Copy, 2 Apr 1944.
  23. “Illegal Tender,” NBC, Hot Copy, 9 Apr 1944.
  24. “Murder on the Halfshell,” NBC, Hot Copy, 23 Apr 1944.
  25. “Hide and Seek,” NBC, Hot Copy, 30 Apr 1944.
  26. “Death in the Driver’s Seat,” NBC, Hot Copy, 7 May 1944.
  27. “Murder in 2/4 Time,” NBC, Hot Copy, 14 May 1944.
  28. “Dark Horse,” NBC, Hot Copy, 21 May 1944.
  29. “Out of the World–#1,” NBC, Hot Copy, 28 May 1944.
  30. “A Slight Case of Arson,” NBC, Hot Copy, 11 Jun 1944.
  31. “A Bid for Trouble,” NBC, Hot Copy, 18 Jun 1944.
  32. “Corpse Was in the Kitchen,” NBC, Hot Copy, 25 Jun 1944.
  33. “Sing a Song of Sabotage,” NBC, Hot Copy, 16 Jun 1944.
  34. “More Truth than Poetry,” NBC, Hot Copy, 23 Jul 1944.
  35. “Appointment with Death,” NBC, Hot Copy, 30 Jul 1944.
  36. “Smooth as Silk,” NBC, Hot Copy, 6 Aug 1944.
  37. “Out of Thin Air,” NBC, Hot Copy, 13 Aug 1944.
  38. “Death Dons a Disguise,” NBC, Hot Copy, 20 Aug 1944.
  39. “The Case of the Lucky Pearl,” NBC, Hot Copy, 27 Aug 1944.
  40. “Death and Taxes,” NBC, Hot Copy, 3 Sep 1944/
  41. “Murder in Clod Blood,” NBC, Hot Copy, 10 Sep 1944.
  42. “Murder by Moonlight,” NBC, Hot Copy, 17 Sep 1944.
  43. “Sweet and Lowdown,” NBC, Hot Copy, 24 Sep 1944.
  44. “Thicker than Water,” NBC, Hot Copy, 1 Oct 1944.
  45. “They Tell No Tales,” NBC, Hot Copy, 8 Oct 1944.
  46. “A Little Gift of Murder,” NBC, Hot Copy, 15 Oct 1944.
  47. “Compliments of a Killer,” NBC, Hot Copy, 22 Oct 1944.
  48. “There’s No Case Like Homicide,” NBC, Hot Copy, 29 Oct 1944.
  49. “The Drums of Death,” NBC, Hot Copy, 5 Nov 1944.

From the Marshall library page:

“Hot Copy recounts the adventures of Ann Rogers, girl reporter, who uncovers and solves crimes with the help of her friends.

“Betty Lou Gerson, who had a very distinctive voice, played the role of Ann Rogers. She appeared in a few movies in the 1950s, and later in a variety of television shows. Her voice caught the attention of Disney Studios, which used her as the “Narrator” in Cinderella and later as “Cruella de Vil” in the popular animated feature, 101 Dalmatians. She died at the age of 84 in 1999.”

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