I've been listening to a lot of Old Time Radio (as it is now known) at work lately - mostly old radio plays: the Shadow, the Clock, Dimension X, etc. All are pretty delightful, especially when they have arrived on my computer with the ads intact - that's how I learned that Blue Coal was America's finest anthracite, after all. Most recently, I've been on a big Green Hornet kick and am loving it.
Here's the skinny on the Green Hornet for you poor saps who don't make a habit of listening to 1950s radio programs. Real name: Britt Reid, dashing young newspaper publisher. Britt's got a gas gun, a fancy car called the Black Beauty and a Filipino valet (pronounced vallit) named Kato. He brings crooks to justice as the Hornet and then has folks write about them in his paper, The Sentinel.
The first thing that I love about the Green Hornet is the fact that - despite the fancy car and the gas gun - his most useful superpower (equivalent) is that he's a wanted criminal, and not in a Spider-Man kind of way. The police legitimately think that he's killed a guy, as well as that he's involved in basically every major crime that pops up in the city. Britt's most effective tactics are either to show up somewhere as the Hornet to attract police attention to where it is needed or to rile up crooks into doing something stupid by pretending to muscle in on their rackets. I swear, he gets most of his crime-fighting done just by showing up places.
The second thing that I love is the cast. Specifically, I love the fact that most of them are Irish. There's always a couple of scenes that take place at the police station, where all of the cops are Irish. Lower-class women are almost always Irish. Axeworthy (possibly Axeford), one of Britt's top reporters, is a former cop and thus is Irish. And Gunnigan, one of the two other major newspaper characters, is also for some reason Irish. The total effect is pretty great, if occasionally confusing. Britt occasionally seems like a token American in an Irish radio program.
On top of all that, the villains are nice and evil, even though most of them are white-collar con menwho are trying to score fat civic contracts and such. Oh, and the theme music is 'Flight of the Bumble-Bee.' Whee!