Stand By for Crime: The Show With Many Firsts

Stand By for Crime was a television show that might seem fairly stereotypical now. However, back in the day when it was first aired, this show actually made a lot of firsts. That’s right: this black-and-white television series was known for many things, including being the first-ever TV show to be transmitted to New York City from Chicago. 

Unfortunately, Stand By for Crime would not turn out to be very long-lasting. It ran for just one season, with each episode being the standard 30 minutes long. 

Another ‘first’ about this show was that it was among the first American police dramas on television. It was aired on ABC TV Network, starting in January 1949 and ending in August 1949. The main stars of the show were Boris Aplon, Myron Wallace, and George Cisar. 

Stand By for Crime was given quite a prime spot in the TV schedule, airing on Saturday nights. Even so, it couldn’t stay on the air for more than a few months. 

The lead in this series is the character Myron Wallace, played by Mike Wallace. At the time, Wallace was a veteran newsman. His real name was actually ‘Myron’, though he went by ‘Mike’ for his stage presence. 

Stand By for Crime is in the crime drama genre, with a single-camera setup. It also had a somewhat unique format; the series first showed the action until the murder. Inspector Webb, who was later replaced by Lt. Kidd, checked out the clues. Before the mystery was solved on the screen, though, viewers were given a number. They were encouraged to make a guess about the murderer and call up the number to submit their guesses. 

On the show Stand By For Crime itself, Glen and Adele have a somewhat old-school repartee. This dialogue has been reviewed and reported to be solid, old school, and enjoyable. It also makes the most of the plotline it’s following. 

This series is one of the best examples of its distinctive delivery style. Its true story style becomes quite popular in more famous and successful crime radio shows ‘Mr. District Attorney’ and ‘Gangbusters’.  However, some might argue that the best ever true crime show was ‘Dragnet’. Incidentally, the same true-story style that stuck with the facts was featured in the same show. Jack Webb demanded this almost-monotone way of narration himself.  

The plotlines of most of the episodes follow these three characters. While they’re on the streets, they encounter all sorts of people. From there on, they have to find out who the killer is before time’s up. They have clues, evidence, and converse with each other in addition to adding up evidence. 

Adele and Glen married each other during the course of the show, so they were husband and wife for most of it. The two actors had previously met while on the set of ‘The Treasure of Monte Cristo’. 

The popularity of this style by crime drama shows is probably due to the points it makes. One, such a narrative demeanor means that it wasn’t a melodramatic show that’s otherwise typical of the genre. Two, the style also shows that the person narrating it was just going along during a regular day at the workplace. A day at the office for a policeman is usually full of such horrific and strange stories. In order to enhance the illusion of this being a ‘true’ crime show, a monotonous and regular tone is a logical tool. 

Stand By for Crime also features Glen Langen, who comes on screen as Chuck Morgan. Morgan was a news anchor at a radio station based in Los Angeles. The radio station was named KOP. 

Morgan was also friends with Lieutenant Bill Migg, who was in the police force. With the tips that Migg gives him, Morgan gets what he needs to find the killer and make sure that justice is served. Again, the conversation between him and his peers might seem a bit offensive to some. However, this is something to be expected when one watches classic television


If you’re thinking about rewatching the Standby For Crime series or listening to its audio, the latter might be more easily doable. There was a CD released of the show with its early episodes. Plus, several websites have opened up the audio for this book and made it free to download and listen online. While you’re at it, this might be the time to check out the top 9 crimes and thrillers of the 80s