Mathew Slade

Created by Robert Frederick & Brian Adams

How can we miss you if you don’t go away?

It’s hard to believe, but Mathew Slade, Private Investigator, which initially aired in 1964, was billed as a sort of revival of the glory days of Old Time Radio detectives right from the get-go.

Despite the fact that OTR had barely ended just a decade earlier, and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, one of the all-time great radio detective shows of that Golden Age, had stopped running just two years earlier.

The show was a presentation of The Pacifica Players of Pacifica Radio of Berkeley, California and the Pacifica Foundation of North Hollywood, California, and premiered as a “Starlight Mystery Theater” production on July 5, 1964 over Pacifica Radio’s affiliate stations. The show’s initial run kicked off in August 1965, but it sputtered out, only thirteen episodes later, in November.

MATHEW SLADE (sometimes spelled with an extra “T”) was suitably hard-boiled and suitably hard-drinking, with a voice full of Jack Webb deadpan and a sprinkling of ratatatat wisecracks. He worked the mean streets of San Francisco, and came fully equipped with a long-suffering secretary/girlfriend (Loretta “Jonesy” Jones) and a cop frenemy, in this case Sgt. Sid Donelli of the Homicide Bureau.

The initial case, “Day of The Phoenix,” was a three-parter, and, according to the Digital Deli Too, was “clearly an homage to Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon–in this instance it’s a statuette of a jade Phoenix that’s missing. Times have changed, however, and Mathew Slade isn’t a ‘$50.00 a day man’. 1964’s Slade asks ‘$200 per day — plus expenses’.” And just in case listeners weren’t getting the connection, the client’s name was… Marlowe.

The show certainly didn’t revive OTR, but it did offer an entertaining, gentle lampooning of those old radio detectives, never straying too far from what fans, going through OTR withdrawal, expected, although a few of the shows edged closer to parody than others. Nazi mad scientists, anyone?

The show was picked up by The Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) in 1966, and and The Far East Network (FEN) broadcast it in 1968.


  • Mathew Slade: Private Detective wears very well. It maintained many of the ‘set’ pieces–boozin’, floozin’ male protagonist; sexy, leggy secretary/love interest; grumpy old Police Detective nemesis… the performances feel just as over the top as they should be, as an homage, and they remain some of Radio’s most entertaining detective dramas of the genre, despite their ‘revival apostrophe’ in the lexicon of Radio.”
    — The Digital Deli Too


    (aka “Starlight Mystery Theatre”)
    (1960’s, Pacifica Radio)
    30-minute episodes
    Writers: Robert Frederick, Brian Adams
    Directors: Brian Adams
    Starring William Wintersole as MATHEW SLADE
    Also starring Sylvia Wheeler as Jonesy
    Norman Belkin as Sgt. Sid Donelli
    and Karl Swenson as Lt. Barney Flagg
    Featuring: The Pacifica Players (William Wintersole, Sylvia Walden. Norman Belkin, Joyce Reed, Michael Fox, Barton Heyman, William O’Connell, Mary Kate Denny, John Anniston, Maureen Mcllroy, Valora Noland. Stuart Levin. Joyce Reed, Barton Heyman, Ed Cooper, Karl Swenson, Edward Ashley, Bob Legionnaire, Lou Krugman, Sondra Rodgers)
    • “Day of The Phoenix (Part One)” (July 5, 1964)
    • “Day of The Phoenix (Part Two)” (July ?, 1964)
    • “Day of The Phoenix (Part Three)” (July ?, 1964)
    • “The Avarice Heir” (July 19, 1964)
    • “The Bachelor’s Club” (August 8, 1964)
    • “A Case of Murder” (August 16, 1964)
    • “A Case of Murder” (August 30, 1964)
    • “Find Julie Raydon” (September 13, 1964)
    • “A Sweet Scent of Mystery” (September 27, 1964)
    • ‘Pattern for a Frame” (October 11, 1964)
    • “The Secret Grey Man” (October 25, 1964)
    • “Passage to Tangiers” (November 8, 1964)
    • “Who Killed My Pen Pal?” (November 22, 1964)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith, with contrbutions from Jack French, Alan Williams and The Digital Deli Too.

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