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Caesar Kluck, soft-drink magnate, is found dead in the office of a big radio-broadcasting company. Benjamin Franklin Butts, a sound engineer, discovers that Kluck met his death from cyanogen gas, administered in some mysterious fashion. Harry Jones, head of the company, fires Butts for making the public. Kluck has made many enemies and there are numerous suspects, including Christina "Steenie" MacCorkle, who is in love with Butts; her brother Alexander; radio announcer Dave Chapman; Tony Lisotti, the janitor who had discovered that Kluck was making love to his daughter Maria' Kluck's physician, Doctor Leonard sylvester, and Joe Carney, a racketeer who had been doing Kluck's dirty work. Butts pursues his investigation and his only clue is a deflated toy-advertising balloon he has found next to Kluck's body. Later, Butts discovers Tony;s body in a broom closet and, nearby, finds another deflated balloon, a straw and a pin. He then calls all the suspects together...and solves the mystery. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Universal's Crime Club series lasted 7 films from 1937 to 1939, of which "Danger on the Air" was number 4, the last to co-star Donald Woods and Nan Grey, previously seen in the second, "The Black Doll" (also 1938). Lecherous sponsor Caesar Kluck (Berton Churchill) dies during a live radio broadcast, with hard working engineer Benjamin Franklin Butts (Woods) deducing murder from poison gas, and Kluck's physician, Leonard Sylvester (Edward Van Sloan), insisting it was a heart attack. The ventilating system has clearly been tampered with, and a persistent gangster (Joseph Downing) was also hanging around, plus the station janitor (Lee J. Cobb), who was angered by Kluck's advances toward his young daughter (Louise Stanley). The adorable and capable Nan Grey gets top billing over Donald Woods this time, but he again solves the case. Also on hand are William Lundigan, George Meeker, Tom Kennedy, and a young Peter Lind Hayes, future songwriter and TV personality, doing a variety of impressions like Bing Crosby (he also name drops Rudy Vallee). All of the Crime Clubs are quite entertaining, and the final three were included in the popular SHOCK! package of classic Universal horror films issued to television in the late 50's ("The Last Warning," "Mystery of the White Room," and "The Witness Vanishes"). Only "The Black Doll" and "Mystery of the White Room" were shown on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater, so it was many years before I discovered the other five in the brief series, lesser known than the Inner Sanctums but in some ways superior. The next Crime Club would be "The Last Warning."
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