Bulldog Drummond (radio program)

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Bulldog Drummond
Other namesThe Adventures of Bulldog Drummond
The American Adventures of Bulldog Drummond
GenreCrime drama
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited States
StarringGeorge Coulouris
Santos Ortega
Ned Wever
Cedric Hardwicke
Everett Sloane
Luis Van Rooten
Rod Hendrickson
AnnouncerTed Brown
Henry Morgan
Written byAllan E. Sloane
Leonard Leslie
Edward J. Adamson
Jay Bennett
Directed byHiman Brown
Produced byHiman Brown
Original releaseApril 13, 1941 – March 28, 1954

For a broader look at the character on which this program was based, see Bulldog Drummond.

Bulldog Drummond is a radio crime drama in the United States. It was broadcast on Mutual April 13, 1941 – March 28, 1954.[1] Garyn G. Roberts wrote in his book, Dick Tracy and American Culture: Morality and Mythology, Text and Context, "With its trademark foghorn, Bulldog Drummond was one of the premiere mystery programs of its time."[2]


Bulldog Drummond was "a British investigator called 'Bulldog' because he was relentless in the pursuit of criminals."[3] The character was created by British author H. C. McNeile.[4] In addition to McNeile's books, Drummond was featured in a series of films from Paramount Pictures in the 1930s.[5] Drummond was described as "a polished man-about-town, whose hobby is crime detection and the apprehension of criminals."[6]

Radio historian John Dunning commented, "With his sidekick Denny, Captain Hugh Drummond solved the usual run of murders, collected the usual run of bumps on the head, and ran afoul of underworld characters ranging from radium thieves to counterfeiters."[5] In a 1948 column in the Oakland Tribune, media critic John Crosby called the program "the first of the more successful exemplars of radio espionage and intrigue."[7]

One notable aspect of Bulldog Drummond was its opening (created by producer-director Himan Brown), which "evoked a London ambiance with footsteps, a foghorn, shots, and three blasts of a police whistle."[8] Following the sound effects, an announcer introduced the program with the line, "Out of the fog ... out of the night ... and into his American adventures ... comes ... Bulldog Drummond."[9]

The program was initially set in Great Britain, but after two months the setting was moved to the United States,[1] thus leading some sources to identify it as The American Adventures of Bulldog Drummond.[3] In another change from the books, the radio program omitted Drummond's wife "and his gaggle of ex-army comrades."[10] He did, however, keep his butler, Denny.[10]


Drummond and Denny were the series' only regular characters. Over the years, Drummond was played by George Coulouris, Santos Ortega, Ned Wever, and Cedric Hardwicke. Actors portraying Denny were Everett Sloane, Luis van Rooten, and Rod Hendrickson.[1] Others appearing frequently on the program were Agnes Moorehead, Paul Stewart, Ray Collins,[9] and Mercedes McCambridge.[11]

Announcers for Bulldog Drummond were Ted Brown, Henry Morgan,[4] and Robert Shepard.[12] The show's writers were Allan E. Sloane, Leonard Leslie,[1] Edward J. Adamson, and Jay Bennett.[9]


Bulldog Drummond was first broadcast on WOR in New York City. From there it was distributed nationwide on the Mutual Broadcasting System.[5] It was also carried in Canada.[13][14]

In 1948, distribution shifted from Mutual's network to syndication via electrical transcription. The program continued to originate at WOR, with the Chartoc-Coleman company handling syndication.[15] An ad in the trade publication Billboard touted: "Year after year, since 1941, 'Drummond' has rung up top ratings ... The name alone pulls listeners ... Want a low-priced show to do a top-price selling job? Don't pass up 'Bulldog Drummond.'"[16]

1953 brought a new version of Bulldog Drummond, once again on Mutual. Sir Cedric Hardwicke had the title role in what the network promoted as "a strengthened program structure" that also included Counterspy, and Starlight Theatre.[17] The network also introduced "a new plan to pay stations in 'top-quality' programs instead of cash," with the revived Bulldog Drummond as one of "18 new 'star-name' shows."[18] Those efforts were largely ineffective, however, as the final network version of Bulldog Drummond was broadcast only January 3, 1954 – March 28, 1954.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. p. 123.
  2. ^ Roberts, Garyn G. (1993). Dick Tracy and American Culture: Morality and Mythology, Text and Context. McFarland. p. 231. ISBN 9780786416981. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b Reinehr, Robert C. and Swartz, Jon D. (2008). The A to Z of Old-Time Radio. Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-7616-3. pp. 49–50.
  4. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (1981), Radio's Golden Years: The Encyclopedia of Radio Programs 1930–1960. A.S. Barnes & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-498-02393-1. p. 5.
  5. ^ a b c Dunning, John. (1976). Tune in Yesterday: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, 1925–1976. Prentice-Hall, Inc. ISBN 0-13-932616-2. p. 102.
  6. ^ Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1947). Radio Daily presents the 1947–48 Edition of Shows of Tomorrow. Radio Daily Corp. p. 37. "The Adventures of Bulldog Drummond" (PDF). Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  7. ^ Crosby, John (January 2011). "Air Villains Chased Again By 'Mr. X'" (PDF) (Number 53). Old-Time Radio Researchers. The Old Radio Times. pp. 7–12. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  8. ^ Balk, Alfred (2006). The Rise of Radio, from Marconi through the Golden Age. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2368-2. p. 173.
  9. ^ a b c Buxton, Frank and Owen, Bill (1972). The Big Broadcast: 1920–1950. The Viking Press. ISBN 9780810829572. p. 42.
  10. ^ a b DeForest, Tim (2008). Radio by the Book: Adaptations of Literature and Fiction on the Airwaves. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-3972-0. pp. 36–40.
  11. ^ "Mercedes McCambridge: Radio star shows her versatility". Life. September 23, 1946. p. 55. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  12. ^ "Main Street" (PDF). Radio Daily. March 2, 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  13. ^ "O'Cedar" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 22, 1945. p. 65. Retrieved 15 February 2015.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "CKLW Solving War Shifts With A.M. Gaff". Billboard. February 27, 1943. p. 6. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  15. ^ "Bulldog Drummond On E.T. Next Month". Billboard. December 30, 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  16. ^ "(WOR ad)". Billboard. February 28, 1948. p. 9. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  17. ^ "MBS Sales up Nearly 10% in '53" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 4, 1954. p. 68. Retrieved 16 February 2015.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "MBS Sets Lineup for Program Plan" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 28, 1953. p. 73. Retrieved 16 February 2015.[permanent dead link]

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Streaming audio[edit]