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Patrolling the Ether (1944)

Approved | | Short, Drama | 10 April 1944 (USA)
1940. Sixteen year old Phillip is one of a number of amateur radio operators across the US, doing it purely as a fun hobby. He is informed by Bill Beck of the Radio and Intelligence ... See full summary »


Paul Burnford


DeVallon Scott (original story) (as De Vallon Scott), Alan Friedman (original story) | 2 more credits »


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Uncredited cast:
Hazel Brooks ... Taxi Driver / German Spy (uncredited)
Marc Cramer ... German Spy in Taxi (uncredited)
Richard Crane ... Phillip (uncredited)
Donald Curtis ... Bill Beck (uncredited)
Connie Gilchrist ... Phillip's Mother (uncredited)
Selmer Jackson ... Chief of Radio Intelligence Division (uncredited)
Lee Phelps Lee Phelps ... Bit Role (uncredited)
Emmett Vogan Emmett Vogan ... Aide to Chief of Radio Intelligence Division (uncredited)


1940. Sixteen year old Phillip is one of a number of amateur radio operators across the US, doing it purely as a fun hobby. He is informed by Bill Beck of the Radio and Intelligence Division (RID) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that amateur international radio communication is now banned due to spying a result of the war in Europe. Beck, on behalf of the RID, asks Phillip, however, to continue to monitor the airwaves for suspicious activity. This request is similar to several others made to "Phillip"s across the country by the RID, this group of Phillips the invisible army of unofficial watchers in the name of national security. Their role becomes more important as the US enters the war. The important work of the RID is presented in one case, where they have to locate the source of an enemy radio transmission based on information received from several monitoring stations across the country. The field agents, like Beck, have to do the still dangerous ground work to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama







English | Portuguese

Release Date:

10 April 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Patrolling the Ether: A Crime Does Not Pay Subject See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was the first movie in the USA to premiere on television. See more »


Follows A Criminal Is Born (1938) See more »

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User Reviews

Crime Does Not Pay
2 June 2011 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Patrolling the Ether (1944)

** (out of 4)

Pretty weak entry in MGM's "Crime Does Not Pay" series takes a look at how foreign agents are using radio broadcasts to stay in touch and how the U.S. government came up with the RID (Radio Intelligence Division) to try and locate them. That's pretty much all the "story" you get here and while the Crime Does Not Pay series is my favorite of all the MGM dramas this one here is without question the worst I've seen. This isn't a really awful movie but at the same time it comes across rather boring without an inch of energy to be found. One of the biggest problems is that there's just not too much that happens because there are so many drawn out sequences where we see the agents just driving around hoping to pick up on one of the signals. This constant driving around and not accomplishing anything might have been a reality but it doesn't translate to the screen very well. There are two long sequences where nothing much happens and one can't help but grow tired of the lack of action going on. The director doesn't manage to build up any suspense and there's never a drop of drama. There's no question that when the war started every studio transformed their shorts to fit war subjects but this thing here certainly doesn't belong in the series. We don't get the narration that normally opens these shorts and in the end the entire thing is worth skipping.

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