The Whistler

The Whistler was a classic American radio mystery drama which ran from May 16, 1942, until September 22, 1955, on the west-coast regional CBS radio network. The Whistler was also broadcast in Chicago and over Armed Forces Radio.

On the west coast, it was sponsored by the Signal Oil Company. There were also two short-lived attempts to form east-coast broadcast editions – from July 3rd to September 25th, 1946, sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company – and then again from March 26th, 1947 to September 29th, 1948, sponsored by Household Finance.

The program was also adapted into a film noir series by Columbia Pictures in 1944.

According to the Internet Archive, The Whistler was most-likely inspired by The Shadow, which began nearly a decade earlier. Like the Shadow, the Whistler seemed to enter and exit the criminal underworld without ever being seen. His voice sounded equally sinister to The Shadow, as well. Both series had similar opening lines: The Shadow “knew what evil lurked in the hearts of men”, whereas The Whistler “knows many strange tales hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows.”

Several different actors played the title role over the course of The Whistler series. Bill Forman played it the most, but his announcer (Marvin Miller) substituted for him during the six months of his army duty. Gale Gordon and Joseph Kearns voiced the Whistler in earlier days, while Everett Clarke played the character in 1947 and Bill Johnstone did in 1948.

Contributor: René Carson