Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Jimmie Allen, Air Cadet

This one's another photo from my recent purchase, an envelope of military memorabilia, although, technically, it's not military at all.

Jimmie Allen wasn't in the Army Air Force.  In fact, Jimmie Allen wasn't even real.  He was the title character in the radio serial, The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen.  The show ran from from 1933 to 1937, and poor Jimmie stayed sixteen years old for the entire four year run.  Two former pilots, air aces from the first world war, Bob Burtt and Bill Moore, both from Kansas City, had an idea for a radio show about a young man who becomes a pilot.  They wrote up a script, shopped it around, and a weekly 15 minute radio series was born.  In the pilot (About an aspiring pilot) young Jimmie was a telegraph operator at an airport in, you guessed it, Kansas City.  Asked to send a coded telegram, he figures out that it's about the hijacking of a plane carrying a million dollars.  He turns to his friend and mentor, Speed Robertson, a pilot,and together they thwart the hijacking and become heroes.   Speed gets made a secret G-Man, and Jimmie,with his friends help, becomes a flying cadet.  And yes, the show was aimed at children.

So, is this a picture of the actor who played young Jimmie?  Sadly, no.  After Burtt and Moore sold their script, professionals were brought in the make the actual show.  The director was a man in his mid forties, John Frank, who cast himself as the much younger Jimmie.  Well, it was radio, where if the voice was right, old could play young, young could play old, men could play women, and women could play men.

There was an attempt to resurrect The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen after World War 2, but it didn't work out.  Perhaps it was because they used many of the old scripts and substituted things like jet for plane.  

Written on the back, "STOP, LOOK IN HERE. Bring em back alive, Bobby."

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