Philo Vance - Single Episodes

(3.7 stars; 80 reviews)


Philo Vance was the detective creation of S. S. Van Dine first published in the mid 1920s. Vance, in the original books, is an intellectual so highly refined he seems he might be ghostwritten by P. G. Wodehouse. Take this quote from The Benson Murder Case, 1924, as Vance pontificates in his inimitable way: "That's your fundamental error, don't y' know. Every crime is witnessed by outsiders, just as is every work of art. The fact that no one sees the criminal, or the artist, actu'lly at work, is wholly incons'quential." Thankfully, the radio series uses only the name, and makes Philo a pretty normal, though very intelligent and extremely courteous gumshoe. Jose Ferrer played him in 1945. From 1948-1950, the fine radio actor Jackson Beck makes Vance as good as he gets. George Petrie plays Vance's constantly impressed public servant, District Attorney Markham. Joan Alexander is Ellen Deering, Vance's secretary and right-hand woman. The organist for the show is really working those ivories, and fans of old time radio organ will especially enjoy this series. Perhaps one reason the organist "pulls out all the stops" is because there seems to be little, if any, sound effects on the show. Philo Vance, the radio series, does pay homage to the original books in that both were, even in their own time, a bit out of date and stilted. From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.

Updated with Version 2 Files on 24-May-2007

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.



The Case of the Cellini Cup 29:38
The Girl Who Came Back 23:18
The Case of the Strange Music 28:53
The Eagle Murder Case 26:26
The Merry Murder Case 26:33
The Poetic Murder Case 26:23
The Coachman Murder Case 26:02
The Midget Murder Case 26:42
The Blue Lady Murder Case 26:43
The Backstage Murder Case 26:48
The Argus Murder Case 27:00
The Bulletin Murder Case 26:55
The Cover Girl Murder Case 26:40
Heavyweight Murder Case 26:12
Tree Trunk Murder Case 26:10
Blackjack Murder Case 26:53
Star Studded Murder Case 26:56
Murdock Murder Case 26:41
Vanilla Murder Case 26:47
Rhumba Murder Case 26:46
Magic Murder Case 26:53
Idol Murder Case 26:50
Golden Murder Case 26:50
Flying Murder Case 26:52
Butler Murder Case 26:50
Herringbone Murder Case 26:57
Listless Murder Case 26:46
Curtain Call Murder Case 26:53
Million Dollar Murder Case 26:48
White Willow Murder Case 26:56
High Hat Murder Case 26:55
Movie Murder Case 26:46
Green Girls Murder Case 27:00
Cardinal Murder Case 26:54
Cipher Murder Case 26:54
Masters Murder Case 26:42
Meanest Man Murder Case 25:06
Butterfly Murder Case 26:44
Hurdy Gurdy Murder 26:48
Red Duck Murder 26:43
Mistletoe Murder 26:37
Combination Murder Case 26:34
Peacock Murder Case 26:43
Motor Murder Case 24:51
White Murder Case 26:00
One Cent Murder Case 27:57
Racket Murder Case 25:15
Cheesecake Murder Case 26:32
Tick Tock Murder Case 26:39
Deep Sea Murder Case 26:38
Johnny a Murder Case 27:23
Blue Penny Murder Case 26:40
Brotherly Murder Case 26:45
Oxford Murder Case 26:45
Checkerboard Murder Case 26:40
The Penny Ante Murder Case(partial) 13:29
The Shoeless Murder Case(partial) 13:03
Black Gold Murder Case 26:34
Tea Cup Murder Case 24:40
Meeker Murder Case aka Necktie Murder Case 26:59
Deathless Murder Case 27:27
Little Murder Case 26:37
Nightmare Murder Case 26:37
Thundering Murder Case 26:30
Birdcage Murder Case 26:35
Grey Glove Murder Case 26:32
Chop Suey Murder Case 26:37
Identical Murder Case 26:51
Tip Top Murder Case 26:57
Left Handed Murder Case 26:36
Talking Corpse Murder Case aka Catty Corpse Murder Case 26:43
Music Box Murder Case 26:41
Sterling Murder Case 26:44
Chicken Murder Case 26:35
Scarface Murder Case 26:33
The Psychic Murder Case(partial) 13:25
The Big Nick Murder Case(partial) 13:27
Church Murder Case 26:39
Mathematical Murder Case 26:30
Jackpot Murder Case 24:45
Ivory Murder Case 26:10
Mimic Murder Case 27:29
Nylon Murder Case 27:59
Golden Key Murder Case 26:28
Shower Bath Murder Case 26:43
Rooftop Murder Case 24:48
Whistling Murder Case 24:27
The Manicure Murder Case 26:42
The Money Machine Murder Case 26:30
The Whirlaround Murder Case 24:36
The Alibi Murder Case 25:24
Full Dress Murder Case 25:12
Prize Ring Murder Case 24:30
Argyle Murder Case 26:12
Muddy Murder Case 26:12


Confusing and messy

(3 stars)

I'll start with the con(only 1)- quality of recordings is petty good, you can hear actors pottery clear. However, the whole show is very confusing and frustrating to listen to, since the whole time you're trying to figure out what's going on. Voices are very similar to each other and it's hard to understand who's speaking. Also, stories will start with some random conversion, and only after several minutes there is a chance that one could deduce what's going on. In majority of episodes, the main character doesn't walk in till a half way into the episode. Moreover, the crime doesn't happen till halfway through the episode (in majority of episodes), and it gets resolved in confusing way (most of the time it's not even clear that the case was solved or not). And, the sound effects, especially music (the organs), are not pleasant. PS- episodes that are listed 2 or 3 minutes are actually full episodes, it's just not possible to fast forward or rewind past that minute (it doesn't show up on the timeline).

Philo, Naked

(3 stars)

I'm not used to shows without ads or announcers or a melodic theme. The series has good plotting but seems to have been made on a budget. Organ music is a bit jarring. Acting is good, all in all above par for detective shows of the era.

I wish these were better

(2 stars)

For context, I'm a big Philip Marlowe/Sam Spade OTR fan. This series just doesn't work for me. I listened to a few episodes, and the quality of the writing just isn't up to Marlowe/Spade snuff, and nor is the acting. The cop in the series is of the Hollywood variety - painfully inept. Every episode I listened to ran the same stereotype into the ground. I wanted to like this series, but just can't recommend it.

Good Entertainment

(4 stars)

Miss Deering is actually given decent lines instead of being the usual vapid and imbecilic foil for Mr Big. Sadly but typically, the organist has not been credited for his sometimes heavy handed contributions. Geez-some of those chord choices! However difficult for us more contemporary listeners, it is part of the history of this wonderful genre; more, please.

Organ Hell

(2.5 stars)

I loved the dramatic episodes, however, the Organ music was annoying,obnoxious, dreadful, horribly distracting & completely unnecessary. Ruined the entire atmosphere the actor's tried to create...Oh Well.

I love this program

(3 stars)

I love a detective story this is entertaining worth listening to.

(4 stars)

Fun. Sounds like William Powel who did Vance in the movies.

Use link for OTRR Certified Set

(0 stars)

The zipped download file on this page expands to only 3 episodes. You can listen to all series episodes individually. To download all episodes use the OTRR Certified Set link in the Notes section. Takes you to an OTRR page where you can download 653.8 MB and 666.9 MB Zip files. I'll rate the series after listening to more episodes. Not sure how I'll respond to OTR with a great organist but few sound effects.