The opening was pure radio, with the drone of a plane and Hop's voice asking for clearance to land:
CX-4 to Control Tower. CX-4 to Control Tower, standing by -
Control Tower back to CX-4. Wind South East, ceiling twelve hun-dred. All clear!
OKAAAY, this Hop Harrigan coming in!
Hop Harrigan - "America's Ace of the Airwaves" - made his debut in All-American Comics #1 in 1939. Hop Harrigan had been orphaned by his father, a legendary pilot, who disappeared on a flight to South America to see his wife. By the time Hop Harrigan had almost grown, his neighbor tried to destroy a biplane that once had been in the possession of Hop's father. Seeing this, Hop angrily knocked the old man to the ground and escaped in the biplane, not planning to return. He arrived at an airport where he saved the life of mechanic Tank Tinker, who became his friend and companion. Tank gave Harrigan his nickname when he said, "Some hop, Harrigan." Later, Hop, Tank along with help from a heiress (who later became Hop's girlfriend), set up the All-American Aviation Company, a company that dealt with a variety of exciting adventures.
Right off the bat, there was a club devoted to Hop Harrigan - with Flying Club wings, a patch, a membership certificate, and more.
It wasn't long before Hop made his way to radio, voiced by Chester Stratton, and the air ace ran on the air from 1942 - 1948 on ABC and the Mutual network. In fact, World War I flying aces and creators of Jimmie Allen and Captain Midnight, Bob Burtt and Bill Moore, even contributed to a few of Hop's adventures!
Now, Hop started his radio years amid World War II - and his adventures reflected it. With his mechanic buddy Tank Tinker at his side, he travelled around the world fighting Nazis and other Axis powers with brilliant heroism. The occasional quiz was even thrown into the show to keep listeners sharp. And each episode always began with a word from announcer Glenn Riggs, who emphasized the importance of aviation with various stories from real missions. He would always end his spot by declaring, "America needs fliers." Needless to say, an entire generation of future aviators was inspired by these messages!
Once the War ended, Hop continued to battle assorted evildoers. Lack of war proved not to mean a lack of adventure! In fact, 1946 even saw the release of a 15-episode Hop Harrigan movie serial from Columbia Pictures (available from the Serial section of this website). As you can imagine, Hop's reign produced plenty of merchandise and premiums : model planes, rings, advertisements, fun books, patches, photos, badges and in 1947, a Compass Ring. They are all highly prized by collectors today.
Now to what's survived:
Unfortunately, episodes from the Hop Harrigan Radio Show prior to July 1947 are in short supply and lack continuity because they aren't sequential - not good for a serial but nonetheless these episodes are full of dramatic worth - battling Nazis and Japs, Hop & Tank encounter secret weapons, spies, Russian guerrillas, the French Underground etc
Only 42 episodes have survived from this period - not a lot from a 5 year period, but FUN and worth a listen!
On 7th July 1947 a new series of The Hop Harrigan Radio Show began. Hop was still played by Chester Stratton, with Jackson Beck playing Tank and Hop's (girl?) friend, Gail Nolan, voiced by Mitzi Gould. Glenn Riggs provided narration and interesting information about post WWII flying in the USA. He "talked up" innovative uses for war surplus planes, as well as the latest scientific developments in aviation.
The 15 minute episodes ran on the Mutual Network 5 days per week until 6th February 1948. In that time 155 episodes were broadcast embodying 7 different adventures. Thankfully all but 3 episodes of this great 1947/48 series survive. And luckily, those missing 3 episodes aren't all from the same adventure, are neither the first nor last episode of a particular adventure and their lack of occurrence doesn't detract from the narrative flow.
The last episode of the seventh and final adventure (The Airline Protection Racket) was broadcast on 6th February 1948. At the conclusion of the adventure, announcer Glenn Riggs indicates that after 6 unbroken years, "the boys are taking a well earned break" and that "if you want them back" then "drop a line to the radio station". Hop and Tank then say goodbye in what turns out to be the final US broadcast of Hop Harrigan - not a happy moment.
Want to check out a few episodes of this wonderful 1947/48 series? - why not "taste & try"?
These episodes are the first 4 of the new 1947/48 series which began The Mystery of the Vanishing Men adventure - great listening - they can be freely downloaded to your computer - just right button click on any link below and chose "Download Linked File" (or words to that effect). The file is on an average about 9Mb - download time will depend on your (broadband) speed:
The Australian Radio Series
But Hop did return to the airwaves 6 years later in Australia with The Air Adventures of Hop Harrigan. It broadcast here in Australia on the Macquarie Network from 1954 to 1958.
The series was at first based on American scripts, but later it was written as an original. Artransa produced the series and both Bruce Stewart & Stewart Ginn played Hop during the 5 year run. John Ewart played Tank and Marcia Hathaway played Gail Nolan.
There were 1024 episodes of the Australian series but alas only 22 have survived, but of those that have survived:
Episode Nos. 1 & 2 from 1954 have been found, two consecutive episodes from 1955, a good 8 episode run from 1956, a nice 6 episode run from 1957 as well as a 4 episode run from 1958 (which concludes the Antarctic Adventure)
In 1999 noted Australian radio historian Bruce Leonard as part of his Theatre of the Mind radio series broadcast a documentary about the Australian edition of Hop Harrigan - itŐs a very informative 30 minute listen which includes two episodes from the radio show (the last two from the Antarctic Adventure)
Want to check out a few episodes of this Australian series? - why not "taste & try"?
These episodes are the last 4 of Hop's Antarctic Adventure from 1958 - exciting listening and a good basis for comparison with the 4 episodes from the US series above - they can be freely downloaded to your computer - just right button click on any link below and chose "Download Linked File" (or words to that effect). The file is on an average about 10Mb - download time will depend on your (broadband) speed:
These three MP3 Discs contain all 7 complete adventures from the 1947/48 series (152 episodes), all 42 surviving episodes from the pre July 1947 era, the 22 episodes of The (Australian) Air Adventures of Hop Harrigan and the 30 minute Bruce Leonard documentary on Hop Harrigan.
A. The Mystery of the Vanishing Men (18 episodes)
B. The Riddle of the Ghostly Avengers (19 episodes)
C. The Channel Wing Plane Adventure (34 episodes) - missing Episode No. 7
D. Hop & Tank in the Movies (23 episodes)
E. The Mystery of the Wailing Witches (25 episodes) - missing Episode No. 13
F. The Secret of Lakeville Bell (24 episodes) - missing Episode No. 10
G. The Airline Protection Racket (12 episodes)
H. Pre July 1947 Episodes:
1. HH_1942-09-04 The Plastic Plane.mp3
2. HH_1942-09-08 The Black Raider.mp3
3. HH_1942-09-17 Island Escape.mp3
4. HH_1942-09-23 Meeting with Karl Strasser.mp3
5. HH_1942-09-24 Gestapo Treachery.mp3
6. HH_1942-10-01 On a Train to Paris.mp3
7. HH_1942-10-05 Unmasked and With No Way Out.mp3
8. HH_1942-10-07 An American Sleep Inducer.mp3
9. HH_1942-10-08 The Aerial Cannon.mp3
10. HH_1942-10-09 Moving and Disappearing Houses.mp3
11. HH_1942-10-30 Successful Diversion.mp3
12. HH_1942-11-03 Joining the Russian Guerrillas.mp3
13. HH_1942-11-04 The Nazi's Mystery Panzers.mp3
14. HH_1942-11-06 Arrival in Murmansk.mp3
15. HH_1942-11-24 Meeting in a Red Barn.mp3
16. HH_1942-12-09 The Nazi Bribe.mp3
17. HH_1943-02-01 Cargo Planes Crash.mp3
18. HH_1943-02-18 Hop and Tank Trapped in Mine Shaft.mp3
19. HH_1943-03-11 Danger from the Skies.mp3
20. HH_1943-04-01 Train on Fire.mp3
21. HH_1943-06-07 Hospital Attack.mp3
22. HH_1944-01-18 The Gray Ghosts.mp3
23. HH_1944-01-24 Stolen Patrol Car.mp3
24. HH_1944-01-25 Tank's Medical Condition.mp3
25. HH_1944-02-02 In Berlin.mp3
26. HH_1944-02-07 The Berlin Adventure.mp3
27. HH_1944-10-04 Mission over Germany.mp3
28. HH_1944-11-07 Shot Down by the RAF.mp3
29. HH_1944-11-09 Zaltsmare.mp3
30. HH_1944-12-25 Bailed Out over Austrian Alps.mp3
31. HH_1945-04-24 Heading for Okinawa.mp3
32. HH_1945-04-25 Captured by Japs.mp3
33. HH_1945-09-15 Renegade Nazis.mp3
34. HH_1945-11-08 Prisoner in Nazi Camp in Mongolia.mp3
35. HH_1945-12-14 Buzzed by Airplane.mp3
36. HH_1945-12-17 Night Takeoff.mp3
37. HH_1945-12-19 Wreckage Disappears.mp3
38. HH_1946-03-29 Fire Set.mp3
39. HH_1946-04-08 To Transport Circus By Air.mp3
40. HH_1946-07-01 Dropping Atom Bomb on Bikini Island.mp3
41. HH_1947-03-07 Escaping from Jungle Island.mp3
42. HH_1947-03-27 Plane on Fire.mp3
I. Australian Episodes:
1. HHA_1954-05-24 Universal Air Race.mp3
2. HHA_1954-05-25 The Silver Star.mp3
3. HHA_1955-11-07 Diversionary Tactics.mp3
4. HHA_1955-11-08 The First Bag of Gold.mp3
5. HHA_1956-06-05 Plans Afoot.mp3
6. HHA_1956-06-06 Cody or Hitchcock.mp3
7. HHA_1956-06-07 William is Snatched.mp3
8. HHA_1956-06-11 Helicopter Hop.mp3
9. HHA_1956-06-12 Camouflaged Truck.mp3
10. HHA_1956-06-13 Sergeant Released.mp3
11. HHA_1956-06-14 The Conqueror Escapes.mp3
12. HHA_1956-06-18 Ambrose Captured.mp3
13. HHA_1957-10-17 Meeting Bernard Frank.mp3
14. HHA_1957-10-18 Confrontation with da Silva.mp3
15. HHA_1957-10-21 Bound for Brazil.mp3
16. HHA_1957-10-22 Refuelling in Honduras.mp3
17. HHA_1957-10-23 Passports Taken.mp3
18. HHA_1957-10-24 The Fat Prefect.mp3
19. HHA_1958-02-04 An Ideal Firing Position.mp3
20. HHA_1958-02-05 Alternate Strategy.mp3
21. HHA_1958-02-06 A New Iceberg.mp3
22. HHA_1958-02-07 Unlikely Rescue.mp3
J. Hop Harrigan Documentary:
1. TM_1999-xx-xx Hop Harrigan Documentary.mp3