Tuesday, June 5, 2012

BIG TOWN "Cartoon Crimes"

Besides police and private detectives, another profession's practitioners solve crimes...
Art by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson
Reporters, photographers, editors, even publishers, battled evil, usually with their words and pictures, but sometimes with their fists, as shown in the cover story from Big Town #19 (1953)!
Written by Dave Wood, penciled by Manny Stallman, inked by John Guinta.

Most of the time, editors sit behind a desk and send reporters and photographers out to cover stories, sometimes making them risk life and limb.
Not Steve Wilson, managing editor of Big Town's The Illustrated News!
From 1937 to 1952, Steve personally used the Power of the Press on the weekly radio series Big Town.
Aided by assistant editor/society editor-reporter Lorelei Kilbourne, Steve didn't hesitate to roll up his sleeve and dive into the thick of things, somehow always managing to meet deadlines despite the fact he was rarely in the office!
Wilson was technologically-savvy, using then-state-of-the-art equipment (mostly listening devices, wiretaps, mini-cameras, and even radio phones) in his battles against evil.
Once he had the info he needed, Wilson would contact District Attorney Miller or one of the numerous detectives he personally-knew, and turn the info over to them, usually in exchange for an exclusive on the story for The Illustrated Press, and a chance to participate in the "take-down"!

Like most successful radio shows, Big Town became a multi-media franchise including a comic book series, four B-movies, and a tv series that ran simultaneously with the radio show from 1950 to '52 (when the radio series was cancelled), and stayed on the air until 1956.

The first radio Steve Wilson was none other than Edward G Robinson, who managed the weekly live broadcast from Hollywood despite an incredibly-hectic movie career!
He finally had to give it up in 1942, when the show moved to New York City for the remainder of it's run.
The four B-movies featured Hillary Brooke (later the beautiful comic foil on The Abbott & Costello Show) as Lorelei Kilbourne!

Special Treat: Link to mp3s of the Big Town radio show (Some eps with Edward G Robinson!)

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