Rocky Jordan

Created by Ray Buffum (?)

ROCKY JORDAN was the title character of one of the better and more exotic radio detective series\. In fact, it's one of the best detective series I have ever heard. The series had two separate incarnations. The first, A Man Named Jordan, started as a daily 15-minute show and after about six months changed to a weekly 30-minute show. It took place in Istanbul and the Café was described as "a small restaurant in a narrow street off Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, permeated with by the smoke of Oriental tobacco, alive with the babble of many tongues, and packed with intrigue." The second incarnation, Rocky Jordan, was a weekly 30-minute series which took place in Cairo -- "the gateway to the ancient East where adventure and intrigue unfold against the backdrop of antiquity."

Jordan was a hard-boiled owner of the Café Tambourine who spent most of his time solving mysteries that he usually became involved in by accident. During the Cairo-based run, he often encountered Captain Sam Sabaaya of the Cairo police. John Dunning in his On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio describes Jordan as

... a rugged hero who each week was confronted by a crime, a mystery, a beautiful woman or a combination of the three. It was a detective show with a difference: the Oriental background was played to the hilt, giving it a sound like no other."

The writers worked hard to give it authenticity -- actual places and streets in Cairo were often and accurately mentioned. The music score also added to the exoticness of the series. Moyles, a veteran of radio, was much more believable in the role than Raft, who starred in the late-in-the-game remake, which nonetheless ran for two years.

The show was one of the best examples of the so-called "amateur detective" or "unlicenced private investigator" type that were a recurring theme for radio series. It was a common way of putting a different and fresh twist on the basic private detective theme, an extremely popular genre on the radio. The main character had a stated, non-investigative occupation, but he or she always got involved with solving mysteries and crimes. Jordan passes the Chandler test: "trouble" was definitely his "real" business.


    (1945 - 1947, CBS West Coast)
    15 minute episodes, nightly, until June 29, 1945; switching to 30 minute weekly episodes for the remainder of the run
    First Broadcast: January 8, 1945
    Last Broadcast: April 20, 1947
    Written by Ray Buffum
    Directed by Ray Buffum
    Starring Jack Moyles as ROCKY JORDAN
    with Dorothy Lovett as Toni Sherwood (Rocky's girlfriend)
    Also starring Paul Frees and Jay Novello.
    (1948-50 CBS West Coast)
    First Broadcast: October 31, 1948
    Last Broadcast: September 10, 1950
    Writers: Larry Romero, Gomer Cool, Anderoux Bittar, Cliff Howell
    Directed by Cliff Howell
    Produced by Cliff Howell
    Announcers: Larry Thor
    Music by Richard Aurandt, Milton Charles
    Starring Jack Moyles as ROCKY JORDAN
    and Jay Novello as Captain Sam Sabaaya
  • "Count Me Out" (November 6, 1948)
  • "Man in the Morgue" (November 20, 1948)
  • "Ace High Straight" (December 11, 1948)
  • "Up in Flames" (December 18, 1948)
  • "Everything Shipshape" (March 26, 1949)
  • "Portrait of Rocky" (April 2, 1949)
    (1951-53, CBS)
    First Broadcast: June 27, 1951
    Last Broadcast: June 26, 1953
    Writers: Larry Romero, Gomer Cool, and Anderoux Bittar, Cliff Howell
    Directed by Cliff Howell
    Produced by Cliff Howell
    Announcers: Larry Thor
    Music by Richard Aurandt
    Starring George Raft as ROCKY JORDAN
    and Jay Novello as Captain Sam Sabaaya

Profile respectfully by Stewart Wright (May, 1999). And thanks, Kathleen, for keeping us on our toes.

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