13 user 6 critic

Danger on the Air (1938)

Approved | | Adventure, Crime, Drama | 1 July 1938 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »


Otis Garrett


Betty Laidlaw (screenplay), Robert Lively (screenplay) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Nan Grey ... Christina 'Steenie' MacCorkle
Donald Woods ... Benjamin Franklin Butts
Jed Prouty ... Harry Jones
Berton Churchill ... Caesar Kluck
William Lundigan ... Dave Chapman
Richard 'Skeets' Gallagher ... Finney Fish (as Skeets Gallagher)
Edward Van Sloan ... Dr. Leonard Sylvester
George Meeker ... Tuttle
Frank Milan Frank Milan ... Alexander MacCorkle
Lee J. Cobb ... Tony Lisotti
Johnny Arthur ... Aiken (as John Arthur)
Peter Lind Hayes ... Harry Lake (as Lind Hayes)
Louise Stanley ... Maria Lisotti
Eloise Rawitzer Eloise Rawitzer ... Miss Bello
Joe Downing Joe Downing ... Joe Carney (as Joseph Downing)


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 <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Did You Know?


This was the last of four Universal Crime Club features to be telecast on New York City's Dumont Television Station WABD in November-December 1946, marking the first breakthrough of major studio films being telecast in the postwar era; this actually came about because, by this time, they had fallen into the hands of Astor Pictures Corporation, who had been distributing them theatrically for the past four years. The three that preceded it were The Black Doll (1938), The Lady in the Morgue (1938), and The Westland Case (1937). It would not be until ten years later that Universal itself, and the rest of the majors, opened their vaults to their longtime rival. In Washington DC it first aired Monday 21 July 1947 on WTTG (Channel 5), in Chicago 11 March 1948 on WBKB (Channel 4), and in Baltimore Saturday 8 May 1948 on WMAR (Channel 2), in Cincinnati Friday 19 August 1949 on WKRC (Channel 11), and in Albuquerque Saturday 22 October 1949 on KOB (Channel 4). On the West Coast it received its earliest documented telecasts in San Francisco Tuesday 13 December 1949 on KPIX (Channel 5) and in Los Angeles Sunday 5 February 1950 on KTLA (Channel 5). See more »


Where Are You?
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Melody by Jimmy McHugh
Played on piano by Christina "Steenie" MacCorkle (Nan Grey) in Kluck's apartment.
© 1937
See more »

User Reviews

An Unctuous and Bloviating personality no one was going to miss
26 February 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

With a cast full of familiar faces who have experience in playing sinister and villainous roles it will be hard to pick who did the murder here. In fact during the course Danger On The Air another homicide is committed.

Berton Churchill is our victim and the setting is a radio studio. Churchill is once again an unctuous bloviating personality who thinks the world revolves around him and his product. He was killed during a broadcast of his program in a most unique manner which I won't reveal except to say a variation on the method was used in one of the Boris Karloff Mr. Wong movies.

The only member of the radio staff who actually stands up to Churchill is sound engineer Donald Woods and its Woods together Nan Grey who solve the mystery. Churchill was not the kind of guy anyone was going to mourn, but the other death is that of the station janitor Lee J. Cobb in an early role for him and it was simply a byproduct of the Churchill homicide.

Special attention should be paid to Peter Lind Hayes who plays a young usher at the station who treats us all to a series of imitations of various radio personalities of the day including Bing Crosby, Ben Bernie, and Rudy Vallee and many more.

The only hint I'll give you is the eventual killer is not one you would think capable.

A good B picture cast gave Universal a good programmer.

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Release Date:

1 July 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Perigo pelo Rádio See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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