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Voyage of the Scarlet Queen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Voyage of the Scarlet Queen was a radio drama portraying the adventures of the 78-foot ketch Scarlet Queen in the South Pacific. It was broadcast on Mutual from 3 July 1947 to 14 February 1948.


James Burton produced the scripts by Gil Doud and Robert Tallman. Elliott Lewis starred as Philip Kearney, master of the Scarlet Queen, with Ed Max as first mate Red Gallagher.[1]


Each episode opens with an entry from the ship's log, such as: "Log entry, the ketch Scarlet Queen, Philip Kearney, master. Position -- three degrees, seven minutes north, 104 degrees, two minutes east. Wind, fresh to moderate; sky, fair..." with a similar closing: "Ship secured for the night. Signed, Philip Kearney, master." Arriving at an exotic port of call, the captain and first mate would go ashore and immediately run into trouble with local authorities, agents of rival merchants, or desperate women in need of rescue. After some investigation and at least one good fight they would solve the problem, get back on the ship and sail away, Kearney and Gallagher sharing a laugh and a drink at the wheel before the captain's closing log entry.

Principal Characters

Ship's Master Captain Philip Kearney is a principled man of action who places mission above personal gain.
First Officer Red Gallagher is a skilled bo'sun and a loyal sidekick to Kearney, although the loyalty is suspect for the first few episodes.
Ku Chei Kang, Kearney's employer and the financier of the voyage of the Scarlet Queen, appears in only one episode, but figures prominently in episodes 1-21.
Constantino, a Portuguese crime-lord or similar stature villain, is Kang's antagonist and the source of many (but by no means all) of the troubles that befall Kearney and the Scarlet Queen. Constantino's many agents appear in the first 20 episodes, but Constantino himself does not appear until episode 21.
Ah Sin is a remarkably obese, delicate, vain, educated and ruthless Chinese trader who speaks "like Charles Laughton" and surrounds himself with clouds of jasmine perfume. He appears in three episodes. Ah Sin has a sidekick, a Texan named Mangan who carried a pearl-handled frontier pistol. (Ah Sin was the name of an unrelated character in a Bret Harte poem and later a play by Harte and Mark Twain that attempted to expose American racist attitudes toward immigrant Chinese laborers in California. See The Heathen Chinee.)
Henrietta "Hank" Ainley is a love interest of Kearney who appears in two episodes.
Neilson is the crew member who is mentioned most by name and the only one with any speaking lines. Other crew members mentioned include Gordon and Kohler.

What Changed from the Pilot to the Series

The pilot starred Howard Duff as Captain Phil Kearney, and Elliott Lewis as First Officer Red Gallagher. For the series, Lewis took the role of Kearney and Ed Max was brought on to play Gallagher.[2] The pilot show mentions the ultimate villain as Van Gort; this becomes Constantino in the series. Other than a few edits to tighten up the script, The Death of David Malone (the pilot) is as effective as The Shanghai Secret (the first episode of the series) as an introduction to the drama.

Dramatic Basis and Story Arc

Episodes 1-20 chronicle the voyage from San Francisco through many meticulously detailed ports of call until they reach episode 20, "Kang's Treasure and the Ghost of Tangolan Bay". During this time Kearney and Gallagher visit ports of call for resupply and further instructions from Kang, provided through local agents of Kang's sprawling Pacific trading operation. At nearly every step they are opposed by agents of Constantino. The "$10 million" prize is a set of ancient Chinese artifacts from every major period of Chinese history. Kang feels the artifacts will restore much needed pride to the people of devastated postwar China, while Constantino is simply greedy and knows that Kang will pay dearly for the artifacts. This climaxes at episode 20. After Episode 20, Kearney, Gallagher, and the Scarlet Queen have another dozen or so adventures, but the series seems to run out of steam without the Kang-Constantino rivalry and the continuity of the original story.

The Scarlet Queen and the Starship Enterprise

The structure of the adventures, opening with a quote from the Ship's Log that introduces a sense of mystery of what is to come, and finishing with a final "captain's log" entry, with adventure in between, has been suggested as a forerunner to the much later Star Trek. The opportunities for inspiration are myriad, but they do not prove causation.[3]

Spelling of the Captain's Name

Many old-time radio websites exist with reviews of the show and downloads of episodes. Captain Phil Kearney's name is spelled variously as Carney, Karney, and Kearney. An image of a Billboard magazine review of the show from August of 1947 uses Kearney.[4]

Individual Episodes

Voyage of the Scarlet Queen - Complete Log[5] Fictitious locations are in quotes. Modern place names are in parentheses.

Episode # Date Title Location
Pilot 47-02-02 The Death of David Malone San Francisco, CA
1 47-07-03 The Shanghai Secret San Francisco, CA
2 47-07-10 Report of the White Jade Buddha Honolulu, HI
3 47-07-17 The Spaniard & the Lascar Pirates "Muninjima", Japan
4 47-07-24 The Boston Geisha & Chesapeake Bay Kobe, Japan
5 47-07-31 Lily in the Chimoipo Bar (Chemulpo) (Jemulpo/Chemulpo was an earlier Western name for Incheon) Jinsen (Incheon) Korea
6 47-08-07 The White Cargo Act and Ah Sin Tientsin, China
7 47-08-14 The Ninth Niece in the Street of Weeping Women [6] (No known recording exists of this or Episode 10) Shanghai, China
8 47-08-21 Story of the Eight Historic Periods Swatow (Shantou), China
9 47-08-28 The Barefoot Nymph and the Mother Hubbard Jacket Manila, Philippines
10 47-09-04 The Dead Man and The Boac Idol[7] (No known recording exists of this or Episode 7) Masbate, Philippines
11 47-09-11 Jewel Thieves and the Straw-Filled Dummy Hong Kong
12 47-09-18 The Courtship of Anna May Lamour Haiphong, Vietnam
13 47-09-25 Shore Leave and the Unhappy Wife Singapore
14 47-10-02 The Fat Trader and the Sword of Apokaezhan Sandakan, N Borneo
15 47-10-09 The Tattooed Beaver & Baby Food for Pare Pare Makassar, Celebes (S. Sulawesi, Indonesia)
16 47-10-16 Ah Sin & the Balinese Beaux Arts Ball Buleleng, Bali
17 47-10-23 Grafter's Fort and the Black Pearl of Galahla Bay Batanta, Raja Ampat, W. Papua region of Indonesia
18 47-10-30 King Ascot And The Maid In Waiting Karakelong, Celebes (Sulawesi, Indonesia)
19 47-11-06 Lonely Sultan of Isabella De Basilan Isabela, Basilan, Philippines
20 47-11-13 Kang's Treasure and the Ghost of Tangolan Bay Sangihe Island “Tangolan Bay” (Ruang, Tagulandang, Sulawesi, Indonesia)
21 47-11-20 Beautiful Girl in the Bargain Basement Hong Kong
22 47-11-27 Huntsman's Quarry & the Dead Chinese Fort-Bayard, Kouang-Tchéou-Wan (Zhanjiang)
23 47-12-03 The Green Tourist and the Temple Bell Bà_Rịa, Vietnam
24 47-12-10 The Wandering Master and the Warlord at Rest Rabaul, New Britain, Papua/New Guinea
25 47-12-17 Red Beard and the Bag of Pearls Hull Island (Orona), Phoenix Group
26 47-12-24 The 15th Lama and the Wise Guy from the East Christmas Island (Kiritimati)
27 47-12-31 Hattie McCormick and the Patient Stowaway Pago Pago, Tutuila, American Samoa
28 48-01-07 The Derelict and the Wandering Boy Port Moresby, New Guinea
29 48-01-14 Fang Rubies and the Black Siamese Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
30 48-01-21 The Ambitious Hostess on South Bridge Road Singapore
31 48-01-28 The Bubble Dancer & the Buccaneers Penang, Malaysia
32 48-02-04 The Pegleg Skipper & the Iberian Blade Surabaya, Java
33 48-02-11 Rocky III and the Dead Man's Chest Wellington, NZ
34 48-02-18 Queen Anne Pistols and the Dealer on King George Road Sydney, Australia
35 48-02-25 Winchester Rifle and the Ambitious Groom Singapore
Pilot 2 50-05-06 Log Of The Black Parrot (pilot for series revival)


Technically the show was among the better radio productions of the time, employing realistic sound effects and sailing terminology, well paced stories and colorfully detailed settings. Most places visited by the Queen are real. Even the map coordinates given by the captain are mostly accurate, following a zigzag course around the South Pacific.


After the show was cancelled, an attempt was made to revive it under a different name. Only the audition show was produced which was not picked up. The new show's title was to be The Log Of The Black Parrot. The cast included Ed Max, Ted Osborne, Lillian Buyeff, Harold Hughes, Jack Kruschen, and Ben Wright. Music was directed by Walter Schumann and composed by Nathan Scott. The audition was produced by the star of Scarlet Queen, Elliot Lewis and directed by Gil Doud. The announcer was Bob Stevenson. It was recorded on May 6, 1950.

A TV pilot was made in 1975 loosely based on the same concept, titled The Log of the Black Pearl, which likewise included Jack Kruschen in the cast, co-starring with Ralph Bellamy and Kiel Martin, with Jack Webb as executive producer.


  1. ^ "The Definitive Voyage of the Scarlet Queen Radio Log with Elliott Lewis and Howard Duff". Digital Deli Too. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  2. ^ "The Definitive Voyage of the Scarlet Queen Radio Log with Elliott Lewis and Howard Duff". Digital Deli Too. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Definitive Voyage of the Scarlet Queen Radio Log with Elliott Lewis and Howard Duff". Digital Deli Too. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Radio Recall - MWOTRC". Retrieved 2018-03-13.
  7. ^ "Radio Recall - MWOTRC". Retrieved 2018-03-13.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 February 2019, at 17:55
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