Rocky Jordan — “The Veiled People”

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Rocky Jordan aired “The Veiled People” on December 11, 1949 as its 58th episode. Rocky Jordan ran from October 21, 1948 through September 5, 1950 and starred Jack Moyles as Rocky Jordan. There were several iterations of the show, the first of which aired in 1945 under the title A Man Named Jordan. Only two episodes of this early precursor are known to still exist. This version was set in Istanbul, Turkey but was otherwise the same as its successor. An attempt to revive the series with famed Hollywood actor George Raft aired for one season from 1950-51. A couple of half-hearted attempts were made at further revivals in 1955 and ’57, but none of these fifteen-minute episodes survives.

Rocky Jordan was modeled on the classic, much revered movie Casablanca, which premiered in New York on November 26, 1942 and then in general release on January 23, 1943. Casablanca starred Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, the American exile who ran Rick’s Cafe Americain in Casablanca, Morocco, an unallied country during world War II located in northwest Africa and bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Rocky Jordan is set in Cairo, Egypt, in northeast Africa, said country also bordering the Mediterranean. Rocky calls St. Louis home (but was chased abroad by his enemies), whereas Rick hailed from New York; both are intimated to have shady pasts. The counterpart to Rick’s Cafe Americain is Rocky Jordan’s Cafe Tambourine, not far from the “mosque Sultan Hassan,” (photo above left) where Rocky finds himself routinely involved with “crime, mystery, and beautiful women.” Much like Rick’s Cafe Americain which is set during WW II, Jordan’s Cafe Tambourine, while set a few short years following the war, is a magnet for all ethnicities and types, from the respectable to the rogue.

As you might imagine, Rocky seems always to find himself at the center of trouble. Egyptian-Muslim police Captain Sam Sabaaya (married with four children) plays it straight and by the book but helps Rocky when he can, while Sabaaya’s Sergeant Greco dislikes Jordan and attempts to pin every mishap and crime on the part-time detective and foreigner.

The writers always strove for authenticity in Rocky’s adventures, researching names of streets and places for accuracy, and the show’s producers even hired an Egyptian writer/consultant in later episodes for further accuracy of detail in regard to the locales and various cultures, Cairo being a centuries-long crossroads and melting pot of the Middle East.

This episode begins when a pair of tall tribesman from the depths of Africa find themselves at the door of the Tambourine. Dressed in elegant blue robes from head to toe–and wearing veils–these traditionally reserved only for women, they have an altercation with Rocky which begins an adventure of intrigue and murder (and of course a female is involved), and which of course Rocky finds himself in the middle of. To discover the secret behind “The Veiled People” — they who come from a land with a more matriarchal society unlike any other — then give a listen to this curious episode.

Play Time: 25:07

{The cold weather in December of 1949 could not deter the most hardy science fiction fans from bundling up and making it to their precious corner newsstand. While warming their hands and stomping their feet the neighborhood gang had plenty of adventurous reading, and colorful covers, from which to choose, several of their choices appearing below. Astounding was, as always, solid with its monthly schedule, and this particular issue held the now classic story by James H. Schmitz, “The Witches of Karres,” while Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories kept also to their expected bi-monthly schedules, with both sporting cover stories by the incomparable Murray Leinster (Will. F. Jenkins).}

[Left: Astounding, Dec. 1949 – Center: Startling Stories, Nov. 1949 – Right: Thrilling Wonder, Dec. 1949]


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