Box 13 - Single Episodes

(4.8 stars; 113 reviews)


"Adventure wanted -- will go anywhere, do anything -- Box 13." The premise of the program was that Dan Holiday was an author who wrote mystery novels. To get ideas for his novels he placed an advertisement in a newspaper saying "Adventure wanted, will go anywhere, do anything, Box 13." The ads always brought fun adventures of all kinds: from racketeer's victim to psychotic killer looking for fun. Most of the episodes were based on Dan Holiday replying to a letter he received at Box 13. He would generally solve a mystery in the process, and return to his office in time to enjoy a hearty laugh at the expense of Suzy, his amusingly stupid secretary. He would certainly not meet the strictest requirements for private eyes (not licensed, collected no fees from clients), but the definition should stretch to sneak him in under the rope. In total there were 52 episodes of this radio program created. It was heard over the Mutual Broadcasting System as well as being syndicated. The series was produced by Mayfair Productions. Box 13, starring Alan Ladd as Dan Holiday. Sylvia Picker played Suzy, Dan Holiday's secretary and Edmond MacDonald as Lt. Kling. Other stars in the series were Betty Lou Gerson, Lurene Tuttle, Alan Reed, Luis Van Rooten, John Beal and Frank Lovejoy. Music was by Rudy Schrager and the writer was Russell Hughes. Announcer/Director was Vern Carstensen. The series was produced by Richard Sanville with Alan Ladd as co-producer. 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.



What's in Box 13?

(5 stars)

Easily my favorite radio show of all time. Alan Ladd and his Mayfair Productions company really made this show pop in a radio detective drama I had previously been unaware of: the classifieds detective. I don't have another title for it, but it fits in with "Let George Do It" and (somewhat)"Rocky Fortune" as an altruistic investigator who happens upon adventure through relative unintentional means. 52 episodes were not enough, but if you listen to this and are eager for more, check out both of the previously mentioned. "Let George Do It" is especially similar, started earlier and even has a much more independant female lead. There's something really fantastic about "Box 13", regardless. A brief summary is Dan Holiday (even sharing a similar name to "George"'s George Valentine), a bored and uninspired fiction writer, takes out an add in the paper, offering his help in, well, anything, as long as it results in an interesting adventure. Being a classic radio hero, he often gripes about the situations he gets himself in, but always comes out the hero, regardless. His sounding board is Suzy, a flaky secretary who constantly misinterprets things. She can be seen as offensive to women, but I see her more as her own woman who is just silly for the sake of silliness. There are plenty of stong women in the show, otherwise. Dan also has his very own policeman foil who becomes a great character in his own right and really comes through as helpful, as the series goes on, rather than an obstacle, like many other shows (Boston Blackie, being an example). His role teeters off towards the end, which is really a shame, but I'm guessing the writers may've seen him as an ex machina, Dan's "get out of trouble" card, and in some ways, the episodes without him are the stronger for it. All in all, a great show for fans of the genre.

The Haunted Artist

(5 stars)

I have done my best to transcribe one episode, in an act of appreciation. If anyone wishes it to be taken down, I will happily comply. Thankyou. Box Thirteen - Episode 17 – The Haunted Artist INTRO MUSIC ANNOUNCER – Box Thirteen with the star of Paramount Pictures, Alan Ladd, as Dan Holiday. MUSIC OVERLAP FADING OUT FADE IN MICHAEL DAVIS - … Box 13, care of Star Times. I don’t know whether going after a ghost is your idea of an adventure but I think I may have one for you. I don’t believe in ghosts either. At least I … don’t think I do. However, if you’re interested my name is Michael Davis. I’m an artist and my studio is at 183 Lincoln Mews I’m there almost all day… MUSIC MUSIC OVERLAP FADE OUT FADE IN DAN HOLIDAY - … Is at 183 Lincoln Mews. I’m there almost all day and any day. So if you’ll drop around, this may be interesting. Michael Davis. So Mr. Michael Davis didn’t believe in ghosts. Well, neither did I. Until I met Mr. Davis. MUSICAL INTERLUDE AD SPACE MUSIC ANNOUNCER - And now back to Box Thirteen and Dan Holiday’s newest adventure, the haunted artist SUZIE - Ghosts? Gee Mr. Holliday, are there such things? HOLIDAY - Ever see a bank account after March the fifteenth? SUZIE - Huh? HOLIDAY - Skip it Suzie. Michael Davis. SUZIE - He says he’s an artist. HOLIDAY - Do you know anything about art, Suzie? SUZIE – Well, I’ve been to the museum where they have that statue of the Venus B. De Mille. HOLIDAY - That’s Venus de Milo. SUZIE - The one without arms? HOLIDAY - Uh huh. SUZIE - Oh. HOLIDAY - Well art is long and time is fading (?) and the same goes for Dan Holiday - and it looks like a trip to Mr. Michael Davis is in order. See ya later Suzie. Musical interlude fade into… HOLIDAY - A half hour later Michael Davis and I were introducing ourselves and shaking hands. I liked him. And he looked like an artist. Except when he grinned. Then he looked and seemed a lot younger then his - oh thirty-three or four . And he grinned as he said… DAVIS - So you advertise for adventure just to get plots for your stories, huh? HOLIDAY - Yes, that’s the general idea. Maybe I’ll be able to use yours. DAVIS - Well, this sounds insane, but I think this studio is haunted. Or I am. HOLIDAY - Why, do you hear the patter of cold little feet and the clank of chains at night? DAVIS - I wish I did instead of… well, come and look. You see that easel in the corner? HOLIDAY – Mhmm. DAVIS - There’s a painting on it. I’ve got it covered now but… HOLIDAY - But what? DAVIS - Well, look. Take a good long look. HOLIDAY - I did. What I saw was one of those surrealist things. It was a desert with queer figures raising their arms to a brassy sky and a vicious looking sun. Well, some how it gave me the shivers. I was staring at it when… DAVIS - Well Holiday, what do you think of it? HOLIDAY - What am I supposed to think of it? DAVIS - Meaning you don’t like it. HOLIDAY - Well I don’t know. DAVIS - I hadn’t intended you to criticize it. Just look at it and see if you notice anything wrong. Go ahead, I’ll keep quiet. HOLIDAY - I looked again and something did strike me as being a little odd. I moved in for a closer look, stood there for a moment. DAVIS - Uh huh. You’ve got it Holiday. That stone quarry painted in the right-hand portion of the canvas. HOLIDAY - Yes it doesn’t belong I mean, I mean, it’s out of place. DAVIS - I didn’t paint it HOLIDAY - Maybe we better go over the signals again Mr. Davis, I uh, lost the ball on that play. DAVIS - I don’t blame you. But it’s the truth. I did not paint that quarry in there. Look at it, the technique is different. HOLIDAY - Yes, the brushwork’s not like the rest. DAVIS - Exactly and that painting has to be done in three days. I’ve been working at it for seven months and it has to be finished. HOLIDAY - Why what’s the rush? DAVIS - Well, I’ve been invited to hang a canvas in the Bernier Galleries. HOLIDAY - Oh, which means you’ve arrived. Bernier’s being to art what the big leagues is to baseball. DAVIS - Exactly. You see Holiday , I started the painting seven months ago, everything was fine for a time…. Fading into Musical interlude Fade Out of musical interlude…. HOLIDAY - What Davis told me was this. He’d finish work in the evening, cover the painting and turn in. Then in the morning when he took the cover off the canvas, the quarry would be painted in. It happened six times. The last time was the night before he wrote his letter to Box Thirteen. He was sure no one had entered his studio during the night. He’d locked his window and doors, but still it happened. DAVIS - It’s driving me crazy. I’ve lain awake at night trying to catch the person responsible, but nothing doing. He never shows up when I’m waiting for him. HOLIDAY - Have you told the police? DAVIS - Oh sure. They thought I was just two steps ahead of the man in the white coat. HOLIDAY - You’re sure you’ve locked up every night. DAVIS - Look at the door. New locks. Two of them. Even the window fasteners are brand new. HOLIDAY - Those are the only entrances. DAVIS - And exits. No Holliday, no one comes in through the doors or windows, I’ll swear to it HOLIDAY - But someone has to Davis. DAVIS – Unless, unless I am leaving the rails. HOLIDAY - No I don’t think so. DAVIS - Thanks. Even my best friends won’t tell me that. HOLIDAY – Well… BETTY HARPER - Michael darling, I brought dinner…oh. DAVIS - Come on in Betty. BETTY HARPER - Here Mike, here take some of these packages. DAVIS - Betty this is Dan Holliday. Dan this is my fiancé Betty Harper. BETTY HARPER - Hello Dan, and my name is Betty. HOLIDAY - Well thanks I’ll use it. BETTY HARPER - Mike darling I invited Kit and Ann for dinner. Is that all right? DAVIS – Sure, will you stay Dan? HOLIDAY - Oh I’m afraid I can’t, beside I’m unexpected. BETTY HARPER - Oh no we’ve got plenty, spaghetti, salad, wine. Be careful of that bottle Mike. Here let me have it bags bursting. DAVIS - Please I’m not a child HARPER - That’s a matter of opinion. You will stay wont you Dan? HOLIDAY - Well I… DAVIS - Oh please do we can talk some more about my problem. HARPER – Problem… your problem Mike? DAVIS - Why yes, Dan’s going to help about the painting. SOUND EFFECT – BOTTLE SMASHING HARPER – Oh! DAVIS - And I’m a child huh? There goes the wine. HARPER - That was clumsy wasn’t it. HOLIDAY - Accidents will happen Betty, if I can put in that bromide. HARPER - Oh Mike, I just remembered we’re to go to the Suttons after dinner. DAVIS – Huh? Oh that wasn’t a promise. HARPER - We can’t refuse them again. DAVIS - But Dan’s going to… HOLIDAY - As a matter of fact, I can’t stay anyway, I have an engagement too. DAVIS - Well all right, but, you will return tomorrow, won’t you? HOLIDAY - Sure I’ll be glad to. Good night. MUSICAL TRANSITION Holiday – Well, well I liked this. It looked good. Especially when Mike’s own girlfriend was anxious to deal me out. That Betty didn’t want me on the team. It was as easy to see as the brass button in a collection plate. She didn’t drop that bottle of wine, it jumped out of her hands when Mike said I was going to help. Why. I’d have to find that out. I got to my apartment after diner and sat down to think about it when… SOUND EFFECT – RINGING PHONE HOLIDAY – Hello? MYSTERY CALLER - Is this Dan Holliday? HOLIDAY – Yes it is, who’s this? CALLER - Well never mind I …just a moment. HOLIDAY – Hello? Hello? CALLER – Holliday, you’re to keep away from Michael Davis, forget the whole thing understand? HOLIDAY - Well frankly no. Am I supposed to? CALLER - Well yes… I… I mean… look here Holiday, it’ll be awkward for you if you continue. HOLIDAY - Go on, I’m interested. CALLER - All right just remember what I said keep away from Michael Davis or you’ll be sorry. HOLIDAY – [laughing] CALLER - Now listen this is no joke. HOLIDAY - But I’m laughing. CALLER - I warn you good night. SOUND EFFECT - PHONE HANGING UP HOLIDAY – Brother, whoever you were, that was the worst imitation of a squeeze play I ever heard. MUSICAL TRANSITION DAVIS - Are you kidding Dan? HOLIDAY - No, someone called me

more sophisticated than most.

(5 stars)

By the end of the era, most of the detective series had become so formulaic that it was difficult to tell one episode from another. Box 13 was a well produced break from the standard cliches. It was more sophisticated than most and had both dialog and sound effects that gave the stories a richness that was fading fast by the time the war ended. Alan Ladd was superb and his supporting cast was fun with complete characters and a marvelous sense of timing. The plots were usually not as hokey as the standard radio show of it's time and there was something about the banter that gives the show a flow. The actors never seemed bored or burned out. Perhaps that is just the benefit of only doing 52 shows, but I like to think not. I like to read the old pulp detective story collections from that time and Box 13 is far ahead of most of them. Johnny Dollar with Bob Bailey is another one that is never tiring. Let George Do It, also with Bob Bailey is probably my favorite, but the race between Let George Do It and Box 13 is too close to call. I want to thank who ever uploaded these. It is a treasure.

thanks to VTDorch for the transcript.

(5 stars)

Reviewer: VTDorch - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 14, 2019 Subject: The Haunted Artist I, for one, enjoy actually reading the lines, the dialog, studying (if one is a writer or a noir fan) the way each comment adds either to the character, the plot, or the moment. The moving drama is always (if you like it) involving, but style and command can be learned from the text. I am not a great scholar, but I do enjoy reading Shakespeare as well as listening or watching either recorded or live the performance. The creation of a moving work of performance art is (almost always) carefully composed/created to move. The moving scene of the performance is often lost in the blur of the moment. Like driving through a landcape, or standing and seeing, or staying in place and experiencing a whole day or night. Thank. you for this single and significant effort to appreicate and enlighten via words. On paper. Great. Thank you, VTDorch. The scriptwriter(s) and lovers of OTR thank you. Den NC USA

Alan Ladd Appreciation

(5 stars)

I'm writing this as appreciation for Box 13's lead actor, Alan Ladd. Great voice. He's not playing a cop, merely an amateur sleuth who happens to be a writer looking for new story inspirations. Ladd proved in his movies he was capable playing a hard-boiled detective, and it's his narratives that guide listeners through Box 13 scenarios he gets involved in. "Double Mothers" episode finds him caring for a child (probably an adult actress imitating a child), Ladd displays subtle compassion that later gave depth to his portrayal of movie gunfighter "Shane." If Ladd had not died so unexpectedly, he could have made a living as narrator, doing voice-over audio for media. At least we have this radio show. Judging by the success of his offspring, they learned-inherited a lot from him.

OTR Genius

(5 stars)

Box 13 has become a favourite in my house - great listening for all ages. The plots are simple & effective and the characters are brilliantly archetypal! Keeps me entertained for hours! oh, and anyone whinging about Suzie, sexism & all the rest has missed the whole point - suzie is dumb because suzie is dumb, not because she's a woman! There are a great many smart, beautiful women and girls in these stories & some dim-witted fellas - its NOT about that! & it wasn't produced in 2019 where PC has gone bonkers!

Second Time Around

(5 stars)

At least, but this otrs is so good that it is worth listening to time after time, Alan Ladd is such a fine actor and a very good narrator, he brings Dan Holiday alive and the plots and storyline is superb. I do wish that there were many more episodes, if anyone has any please offer them up to Librovox so we can all benefit from listening although saying that I assume this is all the episodes. But thank you for sharing this wonderful show, as you can tell I loved them. πŸ˜€πŸ˜πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜†πŸ˜€πŸ˜πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜†πŸ˜€πŸ˜πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜†πŸ˜€πŸ˜πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜†πŸ˜„πŸ˜…β˜ΊοΈπŸ™‚πŸ˜„πŸ˜…β˜ΊοΈπŸ™‚πŸ˜€πŸ˜πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜†πŸ€£πŸ˜„πŸ˜…β˜ΊοΈπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Box 13

(5 stars)

Well I just finished all the episodes of Box 13. I know I will miss Alan and his witty character. Alan left us way to soon before his time. I use to have a mailing address, R.R Box 13 years ago, long before I ran across this fine gem of a series. Thanks to all who keep old time radio alive for those who enjoy the past.