Western stories and legends based, and filmed, in and around Death Valley, CA. One of the longest-running Western series, originating on radio in the 1930s. The continuing sponsor was "20 Mule Team" Borax, a product mined in Death Valley.
Commander Corey and youthful Cadet Happy roam the 30th century universe in their ship "Terra" fighting super-villains Mr. Proteus and Prince Baccarratti and other badguys. Captured badguys ... See full summary »
Marshal Earp keeps the law, first in Kansas and later in Arizona, using his over-sized pistols and a variety of sidekicks. Most of the saga is based loosely on fact, with historical badguys... See full summary »
Herbert Philbrick was a young professional and pacifist in 1939 Boston. He joined an anti-war group and quickly found himself caught up in the secret world of underground communist activity... See full summary »
Live dramatic shows featuring Hollywood stars. Initially, the show was a 30-minute weekly show but when it moved to NBC in August 1954, the show was extended to 60-minutes and the plays ... See full summary »
In the RACKET SQUAD comic, Captain Braddock's name was changed to John. J. O'Malley and he was dropped after about ten issues, although the stories that feature him were reprinted in later issues. See more »
[Epilogue to each episode]
[to the camera]
I'm closing this case now - or rather, the courts will - but there'll be others, because that's the way the world is built. There are people who can slap you on the back with one hand and pick your pocket with the other. And it could happen to you.
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All of those Cons, Tricksters, Grifters, Pick Pockets and Sneak Thieves and not one Heart-o-Gold Among them! What would Damon Runyan say?
Forget about Gun Play, Car Chases and Grueling Interrogation Rooms. You won't see any of them in RACKET SQUAD(1950-53). That stuff just is not there, just as it usually is not in real life. That, Schultz, would make it much more realistic.
The format was very simple, yet it was probably perfect for these half-hour dramas. Following some opening credits, we were brought by the camera to the Desk, complete with a uniformed copper manning the desk. As the telephone rings, in a sort of a deep, sort of gravely voice, he answers the phone, "Rrrrracket Squad!" We then meet Captin John Braddock(Hollywood Veteran & my own personal Favourite "Zorro", Reed Hadley). After that we get a typical opening monologue about how "......the Confidence Man, whose carefully worked out schemes are responsible for taking more money from the American Public than all the Thieves and Thugs with their violence!" Break for Commercial, and then; the uniformed Desk Officer (who by the way is decked out with earphones and switch board), buzzes on the intercom, "Captain Braddock, Captain Braddock! Ready! And then the good Cap'n 'ould start off the story. Captain reappears after second break with the stock remark (and stock film)remarking, "Let's see how this Case is progressing!", while reading from the file.
In the stories, all sorts of devious Criminal ploys and scams are dramatized and thus exposed to the viewers. In some of the episodes we have, we see A Phony Spiritual Reader & Medium, bogus Charities, phony "Gasoline" tablets,a Dance Studio/Black Mail scam, a Crooked Used Car Salesman(imagine that!) and Counterfeit Firemen's Charitable Organization. And by the way, all of the Cons dramatized are real, having been used then and even now, as you read this, Schultz! And good use was made of the practice of having Guest Stars in the Episodes. Just off the top of my head, I can recall Billy Halop, John Ducette, Jimmy Gleason, Allen Jenkins, Eddie Keane, Anthony Caruso and even Henry Kulky in various supporting roles.
And RACKET SQUAD had no stated locale, nor even an implied one. So, the stories could be in any kind of terrain, just as long as it was in the "good old" USA. A farm area one week, a busy inner-city locale the next and finally an "upscale" community/neighborhood the following, they'd all get their turn, and did.
As for our friend, Captain Braddock, you never hardly saw him in the story itself; but he almost always showed up in the end for making "The Pinch."* He had a sufficient number of Detectives and Uniformed Cops with him. They would then presumably take 'em all downtown!(We weren't sure, 'cause we then saw another commercial.
After the final commercial break, we were back in Captain Braddock's Office for the sign-off and his final words of wisdom:
"Remember, there are people who can slap you on the back with one hand. and Pick Your Pocket with another! And it could happen to you!" God, how we loved that show! It was so informational and entertaining! And it proclaimed and endorsed a closer, more decent way of life. And it possibly had just about as good a thumbnail sketch of what Policemen and Police Departments are all about.
Thank You again, Lord, for my VHS and DVD's and for making RACKET SQUAD available!
NOTE: * The "Pinch", term first heard by my little ears from my own Dad, while watching RACKET SQUAD! Thanks, Dad!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John T."Red" Ryan is a lifelong Chicago Resident, a Veteran "Bumper Morgan-Type" Street Cop, Retired after 35 years. He now just watches the grass grow and helps out the Wife, Deanna, with her Real Estate Business. Their Nest is now empty, with both Daughters, Jenn and Michelle(Notre Dame Grads,both), living in the D.C.area.
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