The Affairs of Peter Salem

by Jim Widner


Created by Louis Vittes (Two on a Clue, Adventures of the Thin Man, The Saint, Mr. & Mrs. North ) and starring Santos Ortega as Peter Salem and Jackie Grimes as Marty this series thought for many years to be lost now has a five minute clip of the series was discovered. The clip was in the collection of Dr. Brooks Blevins, a professor at Lyon College in Arkansas. Santos OrtegaDr. Blevins contacted Jack French of the Metro Washington Old Time Radio Club and with Jack's help, the clip is now moving into general circulation.

Now another discovery of a fifteen minute portion of the series was discovered in the archives of WRVO-FM by Mark Lavonier, a producer and host of an old time radio program in upstate New York. Here is Mark's account of his discovery:

My name is Mark Lavonier, and I host a classic radio show in Upstate New York, called the WRVO Playhouse. Every weeknight I produce a 5-10 minute segment called the, "WRVO Playhouse Highlight Reel" which is a calendar year of special moments of the golden age of radio, an actor's birthday, a show debut, etc. and I was working on one for September 7th, and decided to pursue the radio career of Mende Brown, the director of "The Affairs of Peter Salem" according to John Dunning's, "On the Air". With this, I searched through our electronic catalog of 11,000 shows and turned up nothing, and it wasn't until I referenced our handwritten catalog of several thousand shows, that I ran across the first 15 minutes of a show dated 12/14/49 called, "The Affair of the Horrible Hitch". Internet research and referencing Jay Hickerson's catalog of available broadcasts lead to me thinking that this might be a rare and unique find. The web then lead me to article featuring Professor Blevins at Lyon College, etc. and I'm happy to contribute this rare find for further research and enjoyment. A copy has been sent to Jack French and the son of the writer, Edward Vittes.

The director of the series was Himan Brown. Mutual aired The Affairs of Peter Salem, a 30 minute show, from New York City from May 1949 to April 1953. The core strength of this adventure series, about a small-town detective who used his wits to thwart big-city lawbreakers, was its superb writing. Santos Ortega was one of the most highly sought actors for crime dramas in the Golden Age of Radio; he played Nero Wolfe, Charlie Chan, Perry Mason, and Bulldog Drummond on other networks. Also starring in the series were Everett Sloane, Ann Shepherd, Luis Van Rooten



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