Counterspy (radio series)

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Other namesDavid Harding, Counterspy
GenreSpy drama
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited States
SyndicatesBlue Network/ABC
StarringDon MacLaughlin
AnnouncerRoger Krupp
Bob Shepherd
Created byPhillips H. Lord
Written byMilton J. Kramer
Stanley Niss
Emile C. Tepperman
Directed byBill Sweets
Marx Loeb
Leonard Bass
Robert Steen
Victor Seydel
Produced byPhillips H. Lord
Original releaseMay 18, 1942 –
November 29, 1957
The radio program also found its way onto television. Pictured are Mandel Kramer as Peters (left) and Don McLaughlin as David Harding in 1952.

Counterspy was an espionage drama radio series that aired on the NBC Blue Network (later ABC) and Mutual from May 18, 1942, to November 29, 1957.[1]

David Harding (played by Don MacLaughlin) was the chief of the United States Counterspies, a unit engaged during World War II in counterintelligence against Japan's Black Dragon and Germany's Gestapo.[2] United States Counterspies was a fictional government agency devised by the program's creator, Phillips H. Lord after Lord "had a certain amount of difficulty with J. Edgar Hoover over story content in Gang Busters."[3] Mandel Kramer played Peters, Harding's assistant.[4]

The program's plots progressed through three phases. During World War II they involved "threats from the Axis powers."[5] After the war ended, Cold War threats took precedence. In the third phase, "they addressed all manner of illegal activities.[5]

Scriptwriters for the series included Milton J. Kramer, Emile C. Tepperman and Stanley Niss.[1]


The radio drama was adapted to film twice, as David Harding, Counterspy (July 1950) and as Counterspy Meets Scotland Yard (November 1950). Both Columbia Pictures productions starred Howard St. John in the title role.[5]

An unsuccessful pilot for a television version of Counterspy was produced in England in 1958, with Don Megowan as David Harding.[3] The trade publication Broadcasting also reported on plans of Bernard L. Schubert Inc. to produce 39 episodes of David Harding, Counterspy with Reed Hadley in the title role[6] and Telestar Films' releasing of Counterspy for syndication.[7]

A Spanish version of Counterspy was transmitted to South America via shortwave radio in 1942. An article in Broadcasting reported that commercial were deleted and that the effort was "in cooperation with the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs."[8]


  1. ^ a b Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. p. 181.
  2. ^ 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. 69–70.
  3. ^ a b Erickson, Hal (2014). From radio to the big screen: Hollywood films featuring broadcast personalities and programs. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-7757-9. pp. 253–255.
  4. ^ Buxton, Frank and Owen, Bill (1972). The Big Broadcast: 1920–1950. The Viking Press. SBN 670-16240-x. p. 62.
  5. ^ a b c Blottner, Gene (2012). Columbia Pictures Movie Series, 1926–1955: The Harry Cohn Years. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-3353-7. pp. 80–83.
  6. ^ "Program Notes" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 7, 1959. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Three New Series Syndicated To Stations by Telestar Films" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 16, 1958. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  8. ^ "'Counterspy' in Spanish" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 26, 1942. Retrieved 13 August 2014.

External links[edit]



TV pilots[edit]

Magazine article[edit]