+ The Silent Men, a starring Radio vehicle for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. wasn't simply a young man's delayed pipe dream translated into a Radio espionage adventure series. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. actually lived and worked with espionage and special operations personnel for most of his State Department and U.S. Naval Reserve careers throughout the World War II years. Initially detached to The State Department by FDR, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. was a roving envoy and liason to several South American countries in the years leading up to World War II until shortly after our entry into the War. When war finally arrived, Douglas Fairbanks was attached to one of Lord Mountbatten's Special Operations units, first in the North Atlantic then later in the Mediterranean and North Africa. The highly specialized units Lt. Commander Fairbanks worked with were highly classified, counter-intelligence and psychological operations units informally referred to as 'beach jumpers.' Some of you may have read about the highly successful deceptions and misdirection efforts leading up to the D-Day invasion. Efforts such as Fortitude South, Operation Bodyguard, and the mythical 1st United States Army Group (FUSAG) were devised to persuade the German forces that the D-Day landings were to be near Pas de Calais, rather than their actual destinations on the beaches of Normandy. The German high command had already hypothesized that Pas de Calais would be the most likely landing location for an invasion. Rather than attempt to confuse the Germans, the Allied Special Operations units fed the German High Command's vanity about Pas de Calais with a variety of elaborate physical (camouflage, etc.), intelligence (the famed Enigma machine misdirections), and psychological operations. Lord Montbatten was responsible for the planning for many of these activities and Lt. Commander Douglas Fairbanks was seconded to Montbatten's operations based on the Isle of Wight, the jumping off point for many of these psyop and physical deception misdirection efforts. Beach jumper units were small, highly mobile, multi-skilled units comprised of radio engineers, watercraft pilots, navigators, and demolition experts. Their mission was tactical evasion and misdirection. They were initially employed to simulate an amphibious landing force of as many as 50,000 to 70,000 personnel. They would accomplish this by a combination of amphibious smoke-laying, accompanied by highly mobile loudspeakers mounted on fast, highly maneuverable craft that would race back and forth over an area large enough and wide enough to support such a landing. The combination of sound, detonations, smoke and often simulated landing craft were convincing enough to cause the enemy to waver or delay at the point of committing its resources. The resulting tactical advantage was often enough to turn the tide to the advantage of a larger, strategic operation. When it came time to pitch The Silent Men to NBC, one imagines that it had to have been a pretty easy sell. Given Fairbanks' extensive first-hand experience, combined with his natural acting and production skills, The Silent Men offered almost no downside for NBC. What apparently remained something of a secret for all those years was the actual hands-on perspective from which Fairbanks approached the production. One assumes it was a combination of Fairbanks' natural humility and the continuing need for operational security that kept the full story of Fairbanks special ops background from the public. But what a wonderful promotional feature it could have been if it had been made public. Despite the more fascinating disclosure of Fairbanks' own special ops background, each of the eventual twenty-nine scripts that comprised The Silent Men were quite compelling and interesting vignettes about an area of intelligence warfare rarely reported. Well acted, well produced, well directed, and very well written, The Silent Men remains just as compelling and cautionary to this day. But as an historic production, the backstory of Douglas Fairbanks' real-life intelligence activities, combined with the actual vignettes, make for a truly memorable and highly collectable series. As a personal tribute to the various intelligence agencies throughout the U.S. Government, Douglas Fairbanks was pretty thorough in his recognition efforts. Here are the roles and agencies that Fairbanks adopted during the course of his The Silent Men programs Click here to read more about Silent Men, The
- Radio Shows
Please enjoy these 27 old time radio episodes:
|10.14.1951||the big sneak||
+ "The Big Sneak". The first show of the series. The battle against "undesirable aliens." + Storie...
|10.21.1951||empire of pip the blind||
+ "The Empire Of Pip The Blind". A story about the battle against "illicit drug dealers." + Stori...
|10.28.1951||case of the rubber gloves||
+ "The Case Of The Rubber Gloves". A counter-intelligence agent for the Commerce Department battle...
|11.04.1951||death in the mail||
+ "Death In The Mail". A counter-intellence agent solves a case of espionage. + Stories of the Sil...
|11.11.1951||the transatlantic push||
+ "The Transatlantic Push". A concentration camp victim from Buchenwald is arrested for passing co...
|11.18.1951||heroin source x||
+ "Heroin: Source X". A government agent named Larry Thomas is sent to Turkey to find the source o...
|11.25.1951||the roping of joe landis||
+ "The Roping Of Joe Landis". Sustaining. + Stories of the Silent Men, the special agents and law e...
|12.02.1951||death and taxes||
+ "Death and Taxes". A story about tax evasion and wholesale murder. + p>Stories of the Silent Men...
|12.09.1951||pirates 20th century brand||
+ "Pirates, Twentieth Century Brand". A counter-intelligence agent battles the threat of internati...
|12.16.1951||the bogus g i||
+ "The Bogus G.I.". A counter-intelligence agent fights those who try to take advantage of the par...
|12.23.1951||souveniers of war||
+ "Souvenirs Of War". A counter-intelligence agent fights the illegal sale of weapons. The program...
|01.06.1952||visas for sale||
+ "Visas For Sale". A counter-intelligence agents fights "heartless dealers of human contraband." ...
|01.13.1952||little white lies||
+ "Little White Lies". A counter-intelligence agent fights a gang of diamond smugglers. The system...
|01.20.1952||the gigantic hoax||
+ "The Gigantic Hoax". The story is referred to as, "The Big Hoax" on the previous week's program....
|02.03.1952||the big kill||
+ "The Big Kill". An counter-intelligence agent with the Civilian Aviation Agency receives a tip a...
+ "Blood Money". A boat-load of plasma is missing. Who would be low enough to steal life-giving bl...
+ "Stolen Arsenal". A story about "grand theft of war materials." The infant Republic of the Phili...
|03.19.1952||confess or die||
+ "Confess Or Die". A newspaperman is rescued by a government-man. American Magazine has voted the...
|03.26.1952||murder in vienna||
+ "Murder In Vienna". A story about the Soviet Union's desperate attempts to re-arm, at American e...
|04.02.1952||trouble at suez||
+ "Trouble In Suez". "In Cairo tonight, there is rioting on the campus of El Hazah University." "W...
|04.09.1952||the university fix||
+ "The University Fix". A case about the teenage use of narcotics. "It's a threat to the American ...
+ "The Torch". A story about "highly secret reports on guided missiles." Part of the final public ...
|04.23.1952||food and war||
+ "Food and War". A story of "the war against the innocent." "The Communist propaganda machine is ...
+ "The Missing Masterpiece". A story about an internationally famous painting and an infamous crim...
|05.14.1952||the miracle cure||
+ "The Miracle Cure For Cancer". A story of heartbreak, fraud and the United States mail. The stor...
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- Mr keen tracer of lost persons
- Amazing mr malone, the
- Mr District Attorney