Chick Carter, Boy Detective

Chick Carter, Boy Detective is a 15-minute American old-time radio juvenile crime drama. It was carried on the Mutual Broadcasting System weekday afternoons from July 5, 1943 to July 6, 1945.[1]

Chick Carter, Boy Detective
Leon Janney - child.jpg
Leon Janney played Chick Carter beginning on July 3, 1944.
Country of originUnited States
StarringBill Lipton
Leon Janney
AnnouncerKen Powell
Written byFritz Block
Walter B. Gibson
Ed Gruskin
Nancy Webb
Directed byFritz Block
Produced byCharles Michelson
Original releaseJuly 5, 1943 (1943-07-05) – July 6, 1945 (1945-07-06)


Chickering "Chick" Carter was the adopted son of (and assistant to) Nick Carter[2] of Nick Carter, Master Detective fame, making this program a spinoff of the elder Carter's show.[3] Episodes of Chick Carter typically ended with a cliffhanger, enticing young listeners to tune in again for the next installment of the program.[4] Although Chick Carter ostensibly had a young audience, both it and the older Carter program "kept fans of varying ages engrossed in their crime-stopping pursuits."[5] Officials at WOR (AM), Mutual's flagship station in New York City, believed the duo to be "the first related pair of adult and juvenile series in radio."[6]

Both programs were products of the Street & Smith publishing company, which 11 years earlier put The Shadow on radio to promote the company's Detective Story Magazine. The trade publication Billboard reported that the broadcasts combined "the public yen for escape with [Street & Smith's] need for protection against further cuts in paper" during World War II.[7] Street & Smith's writers provided scripts for the programs at no charge if the shows were not sponsored.[7]

Inner Circle ClubEdit

Followers of either or both of the Carter programs could join the Inner Circle club, which provided a membership card and a folder that contained background information on the casts of the two shows. Initially, membership was available only to listeners of WOR.[8]


Bill Lipton initially had the title role, with Leon Janney taking his place beginning July 3, 1944. Sisters Jean and Joanne McCoy played Sue, and Gilbert Mack played Tex. In supporting roles, (Neither Sue nor Tex had a last name on the program.) Bill Griffis played Rufus Lash, and Stefan Schnabel played the Rattler. Ken Powell was the announcer. Fritz Block directed and was one of the writers. Walter B. Gibson, Ed Gruskin, and Nancy Webb also wrote for the program.[1] Charles Michelson was the producer.[9]

Unauthorized broadcastsEdit

In 1971, Charles Michelson, president of Charles Michelson Inc. (a program distributing company in New York) threatened to launch legal action against radio stations that were airing unauthorized broadcasts of Chick Carter or any of seven other old-time radio shows for which his company held the copyrights. He said that about 300 radio stations were broadcasting at least some of the series after having bought the rights to use them. In some cases, those stations had notified Michelson of other stations in their markets that were broadcasting the programs illegally.[10]


  • The film serial Chick Carter, Detective (1946) was based on the Chick Carter, Boy Detective program.[11]
  • Chick Carter, Boy Detective was the basis for a comic strip that ran in Shadow Comics Magazine.[12]


  1. ^ a b Cox, Jim (2002). Radio Crime Fighters: Over 300 Programs from the Golden Age. McFarland. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-0-7864-4324-6.
  2. ^ Mayer, Geoff (2017). Encyclopedia of American Film Serials. McFarland. p. 73. ISBN 9781476627199. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. p. 74.
  4. ^ Hart, Melissa (2008). Media Literacy: Grade 6. Teacher Created Resources. p. 51. ISBN 9781420627794. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  5. ^ Cox, Jim (2009). American Radio Networks: A History. McFarland. p. 82. ISBN 9780786454242. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Nick and Chick Carter" (PDF). Tune-In. May 1944. p. 26. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Pulpies Sell Mags, Sponsors For Publishers and Stations". Billboard. June 19, 1943. p. 10. Retrieved 16 February 2017.  
  8. ^ "For Carter Fans" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 11, 1943. p. 50. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  9. ^ "(photo caption)" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 24, 1944. p. 65. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Michelson warns on pirated programs" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 26, 1971. p. 41. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  11. ^ Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "8. The Detectives "Gangbusters!"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 182 & 184. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  12. ^ "Comic Strip Basis" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 29, 1943. p. 24. Retrieved 16 February 2017.

External linksEdit