Grace Gibson Productions have restored another batch of vintage Australian radio serials for your listening pleasure.

Fans of legal drama will enjoy Indictment, a serial which was produced in 1956 and which features actual court cases from Australia, England, America, France and Germany. We are taken step-by-step from the indictment through to the final verdict being handed down to innocent and guilty alike. In each self-contained episode, we hear cases involving murder, treason, forgery, espionage and much more.

Power and passion create plenty of tragedy in The Walls of Jericho, a serial which originally exploded onto the airwaves back in 1961. Adapted from Paul Wellman’s best-selling novel, the drama opens with newspaper owner Tucker Wedge (Malcolm Billings) arriving back in the small town of Jericho with his new wife Algeria (Judi Farr). On seeing the town Algeria wonders how she’s going to put up with this backwater for the rest of her life but any thoughts of boredom soon disappear when the newlyweds find themselves engulfed in scandal. This is a town which cannot hold the passions of its population with manslaughter, robbery, romantic heartache, dirty political dealings, and the tragic death of an adopted child. The cast includes Leonard Teale, Georgie Sterling, Ruth Cracknell, John Alden and Charles Tasman.

Right: Criminals are sent down in Indictment. Left: A town is engulfed in passion in The Walls of Jericho.

There is plenty of intrigue in The Hidden Truth, a serial produced in 1962 by Hilda Scurr, which is based on the files of the scientific criminologist Leonarde Keeler who conducted over 30,000 polygraph (lie-detector) tests during the course of his career. Harp McGuire stars as Keeler and finds himself dealing with some of the most baffling human dramas of our times.

A juvenile delinquent is accused of being a pyromaniac, a wife appears to have been murdered for her life insurance policy, and multiple employees have been ripping off a casino. A girl claims that she was hypnotised into becoming a murderer by her crippled bed-ridden aunt, two murderers are sent to the electric chair, a woman comes unstuck when she tries to gun down the pusher who has been supplying her son with drugs, and over at the Detroit Waste Works the management receives a cryptic message written in blood from an inmate at the local mental hospital. A whistling killer is on the prowl, and a female welder is in the frame when a plane crashes exposing the remains of a woman in its gas tank.

Main Picture: Will criminals fool the polygraph machine in The Hidden Truth? Left: Lew Luton of Crossroads fame guest stars in several episodes of The Hidden Truth. Right: Thelma Scott from Number 96 stars in The Hidden Truth.

We soon learn that dishonesty and crime cannot be hidden from science, and the all-star guest cast in The Hidden Truth includes Thelma Scott from Number 96; Lew Luton and Annette Andre from Crossroads; Gordon Glenwright from Class of 74; Lola Brooks from Emergency- Ward 10; Moya O’Sullivan from Cop Shop; and June Salter from The Restless Years. Other well-known performers cropping up during the investigations include John Meillon, Wendy Playfair, Richard Meikle, Aileen Britton, Charles Tasman, Margo Lee, Queenie Ashton, Judi Farr, Ken Fraser, James Condon, and Georgie Sterling.

On a lighter note the June and July releases of the political satire How Green Was My Cactus, look at Bill’s car crash, the Queen and Pauline, bogan voting, nature’s tradie, bogan pokies and the Pope at Kirribilli. There are more hijinks in volume 4 of the long-running sitcom Life with Dexter. In this box set Dexter Dutton (Willie Fennell) finds himself embroiled in a crazy publicity stunt with KG Wilmott (Kevin Brennan) in which they decide to get lost on a desert island. The Dutton and Wilmott families go on a fitness challenge to win the battle of the bulge, and KG decides to play a practical joke on his jealous wife Clara (Neva Carr Glyn) by making out that he’s seeing an imaginary blonde. The drama continues for Dexter when he quits his job, he suffers from a bout of insomnia and then gets mixed up with hypnotism with hilarious results.

All of these radio classics are available to listeners worldwide on CD and as digital downloads exclusively from the Grace Gibson Productions website.

Left: You’ll be laughing like a drain with How Green Was My Cactus. Right: The hijinks continue in Life With Dexter.

Selected photographs copyright IRS Grace Gibson Productions. Lew Luton courtesy of the ATV News archive.
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