The Whistlerwas one of radio’s top mystery programs airing from May 16, 1942 untilSeptember 22, 1955. The Whistler was an ominous narrator who opened eachepisode with, “I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk bynight. I know many strange tales, many secrets hidden in the hearts of men andwomen who have stepped into the shadows. I know the nameless terrors of whichthey dare not speak.” The opening dialog was heard over the echo of footstepsand Wilbur Hatch’s haunting signature thirteen-note theme, whistled each weekby Dorothy Roberts. The stories followed an effective formula in which a person’scriminal acts were typically undone by their own missteps. The Whistler narrated,often commenting directly on the action in the manner of a Greek chorus,taunting the criminal from an omniscient perspective.
One of the show’s trademarks was the ironic twist endingsthat helped serve as a payoff for the listener. Bill Forman had the title roleof host and narrator the longest. Others who portrayed the Whistler includedGale Gordon, Lucille Ball’s future television costar; Joseph Kearns, Mr.Wilson on the television series Dennis theMenace; Marvin Miller, soon to be television’s Michael Anthony on The Millionaire; Bill Johnstone, theShadow on radio from 1938–1943; and Everett Clarke.
Episodes include “Night Melody,” “Seven Steps to Murder,” “Safety in Numbers,” “A Woman’s Privilege,” “Mavis Cameron Disappears,” “The Lady and the Knife,” “The Blank Wall,” “Backlash,” “The Black Book,” “Fateful Friday,” “Caesar’s Wife,” and “Juggernaut.”