This morning Mmmm was playing some blues and jazz on the radio in the bathroom and I remarked that it reminded me of a radio program that we had listened to long ago, years before we were married. It was called Pete Kelly’s Blues. Wikpedia gives the following information:
Pete Kelly's Blues was an American radio drama which aired over NBC as an unsponsored summer replacement series from July 4 through September 19, 1951. The series starred Jack Webb as Pete Kelly and was created by writer Richard L. Breen, who had previously worked with Webb on Pat Novak for Hire; James Moser and Jo Eisinger wrote most of the other scripts. Set in Kansas City in the 1920s, the series was a crime drama with a strong musical atmosphere (Webb was a noted jazz enthusiast).
Pete Kelly was a musician, a cornet player who headed his own jazz combo, "Pete Kelly's Big Seven." They worked at 417 Cherry Street, a speakeasy run by George Lupo, often mentioned but never heard, who Kelly, narrating the series, described as a "fat, friendly little guy." The plots typically centered around Kelly's reluctant involvement with gangsters, gun molls, FBI agents, and people trying to save their own skins. The endings were often downbeat.
The supporting cast was minimal; apart from the off-mike character Lupo and occasional speaking parts by the band members (notably Red the bass player, played by Jack Kruschen), the only other regular role of note was Maggie Jackson, the torch singer at another club (Fat Annie's, "across the river on the Kansas side"), played by blues singer Meredith Howard. Boozy ex-bootlegger Barney Ricketts would show up occasionally, an informant not unlike the character Jocko Madigan on Webb and Breen's Pat Novak for Hire. The episodic roles were filled by William Conrad (as various mob bosses), Vic Perrin, and Roy Glenn, amongst others.
The music dominated the series. In addition to one song by Maggie Jackson, each episode boasted two jazz numbers by the "Big Seven."
I thought it ran a lot longer than that. I can remember standing and ironing in my little apartment close to the courthouse, listening to the sounds of Blues and Jazz drifting out into the hot summer evening air.
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