For over two years from February 1950 through September 1952, NBC played host to the adventures of Randy Stone, wisecracking, tough guy reporter with a heart of gold. Nightbeat clearly stands out as one of the best remembered shows from Radio’s Golden era, even though it only lasted 28 months in its initial run.
Nightbeat: Night Stories, a collection of new tales written about Randy Stone and his Chicago from Radio Archives welcomes readers into what was basically a dream project for its editor. A long time fan of Old Time Radio, Tommy Hancock, editor and a writer for the collection, wasn’t around when Nightbeat originally aired, but became a fan early on in his life.
“I was eight years old in a small Arkansas town,” Hancock says. “I’d found a station out of a college about 100 miles away that played the neatest stuff I’d yet to hear. Shows that were like television programs, but on the radio! My favorite hands down was Nightbeat.”
“There’s something basic that appeals to anyone familiar with Nightbeat,” explains Hancock. “Some stories are two fisted pulpy tales of action and crime, while others are really human interest tales dressed up in the ebony of the night.”
As he became a writer, publisher, editor, podcaster, and convention organizer, Hancock carried the memories of Nightbeat with him, always wanting an opportunity to put his own spin on the classic concept. “Nightbeat: Night Stories is the realization for me of not only telling those type of stories, but actually being involved in stories continuing the exploits of Randy Stone and his Chicago. Radio Archives recognizes the strength of the concept of the original show and the appeal that these types of stories carry for readers even still today.”
Nightbeat: Night Stories are all new tales written by a variety of talented modern writers, but set squarely in the 1950s Chicago Randy Stone called home. Paul Bishop, Will Murray, Mark Squirek, Bobby Nash, and Howard Hopkins, and Hancock bring Randy to life once more. And just as the show did, each story covers the spectrum, from true human drama to adrenaline filled action.
Will Murray is the uncrowned King of all Pulp, and heavy hangs the head of he who must write Doc Savage novels, co-edit the Sanctum Books reprints of Doc, The Shadow, and The Avenger, and helps oversee the Will Murray Pulp Classics line of audiobooks and eBooks produced by RadioArchives.com. Over fifty-plus novels, uncounted short stories, and innumerable articles, Murray has striven to be worthy to stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before him.
Murray’s story, Puzzle in Purple begins with jigsaw pieces that lead Randy to a greater mystery. “Although it stars a newspaper reporter, not a private eye,” says Murray, “Nightbeat: Night Stories is in the great trench-coated tradition of the hardboiled pulp writers who contributed to Black Mask magazine during its heyday when Carroll John Daly, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler were top contributors. I see Nightbeat as a 1950s incarnation of the great 1930s tough guys.”
Paul Bishop is a thirty-five year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department. Paul has had twelve novels published, including five novels in his L.A.P.D. Detective Fey Croaker series.
Paul has also written feature film scripts and numerous episodic scripts for television, including such shows as Diagnosis: Murder, LA Dragnet, The New Detectives, and Navy Seals: The Untold Stories. Paul is currently writing and editing the monthly Fight Card series, 25,000 word e-novels inspired by the fight pulps of the 1930s and ‘40s
The Chicago Punch, Bishop’s tale, reaches into Randy’s boxing past and brings a one-two punch to his present. Bishop states, “The Nightbeat stories originally spoke – literally – to a generation hungry for upstanding heroes. The Nightbeat stories thrill us because, while they entertain, they also inspire us to believe we can each make a difference.”
With an interest in multiple genres, Bobby Nash writes a little bit of everything. From his secret lair in the wilds of Bethlehem, Georgia, Bobby has penned novels, comic books, short prose, novellas, graphic novels, screenplays, media tie-ins , and even a little pulp fiction.
Nash’s story, The One That Got Away reunites Randy with an old flame that may burn him alive this time. “Randy Stone,” says Nash, “is one of those great pulpy noir characters that are so much fun to write. He’s more than just a rough and tumble guy. Stone’s a thinker. By it’s very format, Nightbeat allows writers to tell a variety of stories. Randy Stone’s job is anything but boring.”
Mark Squirek has published several short stories in the pulp fiction field. He has written for The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, Comic Book Marketplace, Comics and Games Weekly, Hogan’s Alley, and many other magazines. He is currently a staff reviewer for The New York Journal of Books. A half dozen of his plays have been produced in the Baltimore area over the last six years.
Down Addison Road, Squirek’s entry in the collection, follows Stone as he fights to keep a young boy off the wrong road. Squirek says, “Writing a Nightbeat story was a dream for me. I love Chicago. It is one of the greatest of all American Cities and I had the privilege of living there for a year while I was in school in the late eighties. The radio show is a classic and to listen to them again today with fresh ears was a joy.”
Howard Hopkins wrote 31 westerns under the pen name Lance Howard and horror stories under his own. Howard began his writing career in the late 1980s. His interest in pulp magazines led him to create a magazine of his own. He produced and edited Golden Perils, a journal for fans of the magazines, and went on to produce other fanzines as well and write modern Pulp stories for Moonstone Books. Howard passed away in January 2012. His story, Strangler pits Randy against a murderer of women who may add the reporter to the kill list.
Tommy Hancock, also a writer, contributed a tale to the collection. Lucky centers around the mystery of a reporter’s death, a reporter named Stone.
Nightbeat: Night Stories brings six stories from six talented writers together, but this eBook is really more than that. It is the continuation of the adventures of a truly iconic character for both longtime fans and new readers to enjoy.