Calling All Cars
Popular vintage radio show “Calling All Cars” broadcast from 1933 to 1939. One of the first radio police dramas, the program used actual Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) crime stories.
The show’s structure was uncomplicated and efficient. Chief James E. Davis, the show’s host and the actual chief of the LAPD at the time, gave an introduction at the start of each program. The show’s narrator would then take listeners on a journey through the investigation and ultimately the capture of the offender after he gave a quick outline of the crime depicted in that episode.
The usage of sound effects and music in the presentation was noteworthy since it added to the sense of drama and excitement. Each episode featured the sounds of sirens, gunfire, and screeching tires, and the soundtrack frequently reached a crescendo once the culprit was arrested.
The 1929 North Hollywood Shootout was the subject of one of “Calling All Cars” most well-known episodes. In the 1934 episode, which was broadcast, witnesses and police officers who took part in the firefight were interviewed. The episode was so well-liked that it was often shown over the years.
The social aim of “Calling All Cars” was in addition to its entertaining appeal. The purpose of the event was to improve public support for law enforcement and to advance a favorable perception of the LAPD. The 1930s saw the LAPD come under fire for its oppressive methods and corruption, but “Calling All Cars” did a lot to dispel some of that bad press.
In general, “Calling All Cars” was a ground-breaking program that contributed to creating radio’s gold standard for police dramas. It was a hit with audiences and left a lasting impression on radio history thanks to its creative use of sound effects and music and emphasis on true crime stories.
Take a listen to enhance audio version of a classic episode of Calling All Cars!