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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

The Green Hornet -- "Paroles for Sale"

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The Green Hornet (1936-1952) aired "Paroles for Sale" on August 23, 1941 as its 519th episode out of over 1,000. The Green Hornet was created specifically for radio by producer George Trendle and director James Jewell. The first episode aired January 31, 1936. The series proved so popular its run lasted sixteen years, with its final episode airing in late 1952. The 1940s saw two movie serials featuring the Green Hornet and his staunch ally Kato (The Green Hornet--1940, and The Green Hornet Strikes Again!--1941), which only served to heighten the popularity of the radio show. Several attempts at Green Hornet movies have been made (most recently in 2011) but none have proved as successful as the radio show (this includes the short-lived Green Hornet TV show from the 1970s, which nevertheless catapulted Bruce Lee to stardom in his role as Kato). Over its long radio run four actors were the voice of Britt Reid/the Green Hornet. From the show's inception in 1936 through January 1943 Al Hodge (1912-1979) was the voice of the Hornet (photo top right). In later years he would take on the role of Captain Video (1950-55, photo at right) for the early television show Captain Video and His Video Rangers (1949-55), the first show of its kind on American television.

The Green Hornet's real identity is Britt Reid, publisher of the Daily Sentinel. During a visit to the Far East, Reid saved Kato's life. Kato now links his fortune to that of Reid as a faithful companion, driver of the Black Beauty (forerunner of the Batmobile), and all-around aide-de-camp. (Cover at left from The Green Hornet #1, December 1940.)

"Paroles for Sale" is the story of a Ward Boss and his corrupt political machine. His cronies/political operatives (thugs mostly) make sure that the votes he needs for re-election are locked in as usual, but Boss Kendall has other irons in the fire, as he is also the head of the parole board where, for a price and to enrich his own coffers, he paroles select convicts. A rather blatant case of "pay for play" if you will. As publisher of a major newspaper, this puts Britt Reid in position to learn of crime, corruption, and racketeering of all kinds, and so as the Green Hornet he sets out to expose Boss Kendall and his shady operations. The Hornet does so in clever fashion and "Paroles for Sale" makes for a fine episode. Also worthy of note is the PSA (Public Service Announcement) airing in the middle of the show, which urges Americans to vote, reminding everyone that "ballots are better than bullets." Given the fact that the 2016 U. S. Presidential election was held a mere four days ago, this is a rather unexpected but timely coincidence. Listen now as the Green Hornet fights corruption when a crooked politician uses his office and power for personal gain and offers "Paroles for Sale."

Play Time: 31:02

{Though glad to see the Green Hornet beat the bad guys once again in this episode, politics was not an issue the neighborhood gang paid much attention to, so when they headed for the corner newsstand they sought some of their favorite SF magazines, a few of which are shown below. Astounding was forever a favorite and once again held to its monthly schedule in 1941. Captain Future--while it lasted--was one of the pulpiest of adventure space opera pulps for youngsters. It ran from 1940-44 and saw 17 quarterly issues before its demise. Planet Stories was another splashy pulp featuring colorful, exciting adventure tales. It enjoyed a nice long run, from 1939-55 and featured many top names in the SF field (even though its pay was below other SF magazines of the time). In August of 1941 it was a quarterly.}

[Left: Astounding, Aug. 1941 - Center: Captain Future, Summer 1941 - Right: Planet Stories, Summer 1941]


To view the entire list of weekly Old Time Radio episodes at Tangent Online, click here.