Old Time Radio
When a radio actor is really good, you can find his name on the cast list of, sometimes, hundreds of radio episodes across all genres. Frank Lovejoy was that kind of actor and it carried over into his film career. If you pay attention, you can hear him on shows like Box 13, Suspense, Escape, Gang Busters and so many more shows.
He also had his opportunities as starring roles. He played police officer turned superhero, The Blue Beetle, he was also the narrator on This is Your FBI. His most famous starring turn, however, was as the never-give-up reporter Randy Stone on Night Beat.
The Blue Beetle
The Blue Beetle radio show started as a comic book in 1939. He was created for the Mystery Men comic books by Charles Nicholas and appeared in the first book in the series. Eventually, Blue Beetle got is own comic book, newspaper comic strip and radio show. Blue Beetle is actually Dan Garrett, a young policeman who saw a need to put more fear into the criminals he pursued by day. As Blue Beetle, Garrett wore a strange suit of blue chain mail that was "smooth as silk" and took a super vitamin to give him super powers.
The radio show first aired in 1940 with Lovejoy starring as the Beetle for the first 13 episodes. The first show debuted in April 1940 and continued twice weekly until July 1940. After Lovejoy left the role, an uncredited actor completed the series.
Night Beat is Lovejoy's best known radio show. Set in downtown Chicago, the main character is newspaperman Randy Stone (sometimes Lucky Stone) who writes for the Chicago Star on the night beat. The beginning of each show always starts the same way, "Stories start in many ways...." followed by an introduction to the story.
Stone always starts the night not knowing what he is going to write about or where the night will take him. During the course of the night he meets someone and gets pulled into a mystery. One of the best things about Night Beat is sometimes Stone doesn't solve the mystery in time and he is fallible. He also gets personally involved with the subjects of his stories when reporters are supposed to report the news as a disinterested observer.
Lovejoy played all of these situations with real emotion. You can hear the anger, the anguish and the amusement in every situation. That ability is what made Lovejoy a great character actor.