Radio Squad continued in the Early Golden Age, but Sandy Keane was no longer the star of it. Larry Trent is often given top billing, and was just as likely to save the day as Sandy was in this period. Jerry Siegel continued scripting, though I am not sure he lasted till the end of the series. The art was shuffled to different people. Some have very good art, some have passable, and some are just downright awful.
The stories remain in the realm of reality for the most part, as Sandy and Larry deal with murderers and thieves. They get a handful of “creative” villains, such as The Cloak, who is secretly the victim of his bombing and theft campaign, out for insurance, or the Ghost, who uses a glider to rob warehouses from above. The only one to appear twice was the Leopardess, a jewel thief, though she was never played up as a romantic interest for either of the men.
There is little acknowledgement of the war. A few stories touch on it, with foreign spies, or a theft of drugs intended for the military. In one case they prevent the hijacking of relief supplies being shipped to Europe, but that’s the extent of it.
A few of the villains have weaponry that is a little beyond the norm. The Storm Raiders have a gun that shoots bolts of electricity, and the Evil One has a paralysis ray gun. Satan, who named himself that because of a facial disfigurement, devises an arsenic gas gun.
Larry, not Sandy, is the one to get a girlfriend during the run. Issue 64 deals with the sinking of a pleasure boat full of children. Larry rescues young Timmy, and meets his sister, Lorna Drake. The next issue has a tale about juvenile delinquents being used by mobsters. Timmy falls into danger, and Lorna calls on Larry for help.
Parenthetically, that is also the story in which they get a new radio car. Up until now their car was designated “X-7,” but it gets rammed into a telephone pole during the course of the tale, and at the end Sandy is driving a new car as Larry and Lorna flirt. Later issues will reveal that they are now in “Car 54.”
Anyway, back to Lorna. Issue 67 has a complicated by rewarding tale, which opens with a drive-by shooting of an FBI agent. It’s Lorna’s birthday, and while investigating the shooting, Larry buys a curio from a reluctant antiques dealer, whose shop the murder occurred outside of. The curio contains stolen plans, and we are suddenly immersed in international espionage, with the Evil One and his paralysis ray gun, attempting to find a murder Prince Ivor, the exiled ruler of his nation. It turns out Timmy is really Prince Ivor, and Lorna has been sheltering him.
Issue 68 reveals that Lorna works at a “settlement house,” which seems to be a place for troubled kids. Larry beings her Teddy, an orphan boy hanging out at the waterfront (and witness to a crime) to take care of.
Lorna’s final appearance is in issue 73, as we meet her siblings Sparky and Emma, both rodeo riders. The story makes it clear that Larry has met Sparky before this point, so it’s safe to assume his relationship with Lorna is continuing solidly, if off-panel.
In their final appearance they deal with a sound effects man and his ventriloquist partner, who use phony radio dispatches to take the police far from the sites of actual crimes.
Neither Sandy Keane nor Larry Trent make any further appearances after their series concludes. But I think these guys did a bang-up job in their seven years patrolling the streets, and I’m sure they were promoted to detectives at this point.
Radio Squad: More Fun Comics 52 – 87 (Feb 40 – Jan 43)