Crime Classics - Single Episodes

(4.6 stars; 124 reviews)


Crime Classics came to CBS September 30, 1953 and was a neat little series of "true crime stories". This show introduces itself succinctly: "A series of true crime stories from the records and newspapers of every land, from every time. Your host each week, is Mr. Thomas Hyland -- connoisseur of crime, student of violence, and teller of murders. " Thomas Hyland is played by Lou Merrill, although you'd never know it was an "actor" doing the part. The great Elliott Lewis, actor, producer and director of Suspense, Broadway is my Beat and On Stage is in charge of this very intelligent and enjoyable show. Composer Bernard Herrmann duplicated authentic music of the era being dramatized, and Morton Fine and David Friedkin were the writers. Lewis and his writers collected and developed true crime stories expressly for Crime Classics. Thomas Hyland's delivery is measured and mild-mannered, as if giving a college lecture. Would that all professors were this interesting! The actors in the stories themselves are uniformly. Sensitive orchestral scores by the great Bernard Hermann, who did Orson Welles' Mercury Theater radio show and then Alfred Hitchcock's films, give the stories sophistication and mood. So do the tasteful sound effects. There is a wry, cool-blooded tone to the proceedings. Cases ranged from seventeenth-century murder to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Each and every story, however bizarre, is actually based on fact. For example, the show on the Younger Brothers of the American West has some very interesting background details concerning Quantrell's Raiders and the Kansas Jayhawks. In the story of "John Hayes, his Head, and How They Were Parted," we hear the tale of a glassblower who blows glass perfectly and completely surrounding the severed head of a unknown deadman. Then it is placed in a museum where it remained pending identification. Thus his killers were found out by the dead man, using his head. This show is a good companion to other old time radio shows that are historically-oriented, such as Cavalcade of America, You Are There, and American Trail. For science and research, the shows Science Magazine of the Air and Adventures in Research are very good. Information for this description came from John Dunning's "Tune In Yesterday The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio".

NOTE: Updated Release! Corrected episode titles and MP3 tags, and removed Windows sounds from "53-07-20 (06) The Death Of A Picture Hanger" (04-Oct-2011).

From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.



The Crime Of Bathsheba Spooner (aud) 29:09
Crime Of Bathsheba Spooner 30:01
The Shockingly Peaceful Passing of Thomas Edwin Bartlett 27:49
Sudden Death of Colonel James Fisk 28:49
The Shrapnelled Body Of Charles Drew, Senior 30:23
The Terrible Deed of John White Webster 30:24
The Death Of A Picture Hanger 29:42
The Final Day Of General Ketchum and How He Died 29:19
Mr Thrower's Hammer 30:21
The Axe and The Droot Family - How They Fared 30:22
The Incredible Trial Of Laura D Fair 30:05
The Alsop Family - How It Diminished And Grew Again 29:46
Your Loving Son, Nero 29:13
The Torment Of Henrietta Robinson and Why She Killed 29:41
The Bloody, Bloody Banks Of Fall River 29:16
The Hangman and William Palmer - Who Won? 29:58
The Seven Layered Arsenic Cake Of Madame Lafarge 29:14
Billy Bonney, Bloodletter - Also Known As The Kid 30:55
John Hayes - His Head and How They Were Parted. 29:43
Raschi Among The Crocodiles and The Prank He Played 30:18
Blackbeard's Fourteenth Wife - Why She Was No Good For Him 29:39
The Triangle On The Round Table 29:41
The Killing Story Of William Corder and The Farmer's Daughter 28:07
If A Body Need A Body, Just Call Burke and Hare 26:07
The Assassination Of Abraham Lincoln 29:38
John and Judith - Their Crime and Why They Didn't Get To Enjoy It 31:41
Coyle and Richardson - Why They Hung In A Spanking Breeze 29:54
The Younger Brothers and Why Some Of Them Grew No Older 30:13
How Supan Got The Hook Outside Bombay 30:34
Madeline Smith, Maid Or Murderess 29:42
The Hangman 30:09
The Incredible History Of John Shepard 30:27
Twenty-three Knives Against Caesar 30:15
Jean Baptiste Troppmann 28:10
The Good Ship Jane 28:47
Roger Nems 27:43
Brad Ferguson 31:17
_I 30:35
Robby-Boy Balfour 28:00
_The_Linen_Closet 29:48
James Evans, Fireman 30:19
Cesare Borgia - His Most Difficult Murder 29:18
The Three Gypsies 29:46
Bunny Baumler - His Close Brush with Fame 29:18
Mr Clarke's Skeleton In Mr Aram's Closet 30:33
The Lethal Habit of Marquise De Brinvilliers 29:40
Mr Jonathon Jewett 30:30
The Assassination Of Leon Trotsky 29:32
_Friend 29:50
Ali Pasha - A Turkish Delight 29:38
Good Evening, My Name Is Jack The Ripper 29:25


I second that emotion!

(5 stars)

I'm going to say 'ditto' to everything Luckypug says. And p.s. after reading about Mr. Thrower's Hammer I have to add that the writing on this series is so fine! Check out just the first act of Mr.T and tell me it isn't ! It's the witty tone and unexpected phrasing and word choice. It just makes you laugh and shake your head in admiration! so give that writer lots of posthumous honors,laurels, awards, and extra time off harp playing wearing an angel suit. Just heard the credits and there are two worthies: Morton Fine and David Friedkin. The music is perfect.... was there actually an orchestra and conductor in the studio? How sublime to imagine...I wonder if there is any film if so. Certainly photos. I bet the forum at relic or librivox archives


(5 stars)

These shows are great! The funny thing is the two things that make this show unique seem to be contradictory. The first is the ironic tone of the narrator, and the second are the gorgeous, brooding scores of Bernard Herrmann. It all works though.

Very Good Show!

(5 stars)

I really enjoyed this show. Previous to finding this site the only otr I listened to was Sherlock Holmes w/Basil Rathbone. Its very exciting finding shows like this. A few cases I never heard of plus the old favorites like Jack the Ripper. Very well done and interesting. Wish they were still making them.

True Crime Gem

(5 stars)

I adore this radio show. It is pure historical true crime told in a sort of jovial way. Too bad there aren't that many episodes, but every one is worth it's weight in gold. Every time I listen to an episode, I find myself researching the actual true crime!

Great Show

(5 stars)

One interesting thing: a lot of amoral women in these episodes. The stereotype of the conniving, grasping shrew appears often. So, perhaps a bit of a sexist slant, but if that doesn't offend you too much, then these shows are highly recommended.

R ight on the money, the title says it all.

(5 stars)

I just LOVE these non fiction stories. I normally listen to mysteries, but I'm so glad I gave this a try. So far no trouble with the application, this is a must have.

great entertaining show

(5 stars)

excellent show! I love the fact that the stories are based on true events! the sound effects are great and the music blends so well. Ithis show is a must hear! ;)

I love this!!

(5 stars)

This is the most entertaining radio show I've ever heard. I absolutely loved each episode. Thank you for your hard work and devotion to preserving history in all forms.