The Five Mysteries Program
Such mysteries were produced and syndicated (1945-48) to individual local radio stations as a "barter-trade" program to sell advertising to local merchants or trade the advertising announcements for goods, services or premiums, such as prizes awarded to listeners in radio station contests or promotions. To facilitate personalizing the shows to individual stations and insert the local ads, the producers put musical interludes in the shows with enough time for a local announcer to introduce the episode, present the advertiser's message and wrap things up with other local information.
Each 30-minute show featured five mini-mysteries dramatized with actors, organ music and sound effects. Solutions to each mystery were then suggested by a panel of listeners and studio guests. The panelists sometimes shared a common background; for example, on the April 14, 1949 program, the amateur sleuths were gas industry officials.
While the premise was simple, the mysteries were well written, requiring some thought to come up with the right answer. Similar to the Ellery Queen's Minute Mysteries, one listened to the story, evaluated the clues, and at the conclusion, matched wits with the sleuths to correctly identify the suspect. It was one of the few interactive radio shows.
- American Gas Association Monthly. American Gas Association, v.31, 1949.
- Cox, Jim, The Great Radio Audience Participation Shows : Seventeen Programs from the 1940s and 1950s, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2001, pp 222-223