Aug 15, 2010

Posted in What's New


David Harrington Ellsworth, the voice of Captain Waverly Underhill, died last Sunday after a year-long battle with cancer.  His memorial service was well attended, in fact, delayed 20 minutes in seating the overflow. I’m glad he got to realize, before he died, some of the genuine affection that exists out there for the role he developed as Underhill.

There will be more to remember about Dave, which I hope to get to as I continue with Liner Notes, including things I found out about him at his memorial service.  I will only mention now, that as an actor Dave not only talked the talk, he walked the walk, from appearing in 22 Captain Underhill episodes, to the lead in productions like On Golden Pond and Our Town, to supporting roles in To Kill a Mockingbird and numerous Neil Simon plays, he stepped up to the plate.  He was a born entertainer, always ready with a joke or with a story to tell, or a song to sing, from ribald to spiritual.  Back in the early days, when I was a hard-charging director, I used to find these interruptions vexing, but now I consider them nostalgic and wish I had shut up more.  I’ll try to recall some of them and include them in the Notes. (It wasn’t until around “Golden Idol . . .” that I finally understood I could just relax and let those two pros take over.  By two, of course, I’m referring to his sidekick, Wally O’Hara, the inestimable voice of Doctor Scofield).

What will happen now to the series?   Underhill/Scofield fans can rejoice to know there are two more Underhill mysteries yet to be released featuring the Ellsworth/O’Hara duo.   A Yuletide mystery coming this Fall, “Captain Underhill and the Ghost of Christmas on Trial” and a suspense-thriller titled, appropriately “The Final Case of Captain Underhill”, a story that I wager will be unique in the annals of detective fiction.  After that it may be time to let the ‘Underhills’ go.  I have a new character I am looking forward to introducing and, at least for now, it seems fitting that Dave’s alter ego, Captain Underhill, be laid to rest alongside the voice that gave him life.

Steven Oney

  1. I’ve been a fan of CCRMT for a long time. Around age 13, I discovered a few audio recordings in our public library and have been hooked every since (I’m 37!). I popped on the website today to see if anything new was available and was saddened to hear about Dave’s passing. The Underhill mysteries have always been my favorites. I look forward to the last two mysteries featuring Dave Ellsworth and my heart goes out to the CCRMT family.

  2. Robert Cockerham says:

    Dear CCRMT,
    I just heard the sad news about David Ellsworth litearlly two minutes ago. It took me completely by surprise as I was blown away by the shocking news. I have been a fan of CCRMT (and Captain Underhill Mysteries in particular) for a long time. I have enjoyed all the shows over the years and have really developed an affection for Captain Underhill Mysteries. I sincerely hope this doesn’t mark the end of the future productions of the radio shows that you all do so well; but I think I speak for all of you at CCRMT and all fans, that it just won’t be the same without David Ellsworth. All we can do is continue on the best we can and try to live up to his legacy. Which will not be an easy task. David Ellsworth was a master at what he did and will be sorely missed by all of us. I am deeply saddened by his passing, but he will not be forgotten by any means.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Robert Cockerham

  3. David Ellsworth Jr. says:

    Hey folks, this is David Ellsworth,s( Captain Underhill’s) son, ( David also) and I am truly emotionally moved by the comments from you about my Dad and the understanding you all have of the kind of person he really was, just through the Underhill voice and character . I can’t tell you all how proud he was of his involvement in CCRMT, and how much it meant to him that you all enjoyed the Underhill mysteries in so many different arenas, (dimly lit rooms, cars, tents, breakfast tables, by fire light etc.) the intimacy of caring that you all show as CCRMT fans gos beyond the norm and rests deeply in my heart, I too am looking forward to the 2 more releases of Underhill Mysteries, most of all so that you can all enjoy my dad’s voice again in new mysteries. To Steve and all the staff, and most of all the listeners, from me and my sister Cindy,Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Love David and Cindy Ellsworth

  4. I just read about the passing of Dave Elsworth and I am deeply saddened. Every time
    I listen to a Waverly Underhill episode I always felt that he and Dr. Scofield were
    old friends relating their latest adventure personally to me. Dave was just
    wonderful in his role and played it so naturally and with such a sly sense of humor
    I could not wait to hear his next performance. He and Wally made an outstanding
    team, a modern day Rathbone and Bruce. I am going to listen to my favorite episode
    as soon as I finish this note, although it it is hard to choose.

    Each year my wife and I take a road trip and always take Captain Underhill along but
    this year the episodes will be much more poignant.

    I extend my deepest sympathies to all his close friends, family and colleagues. I
    will remember him in my prayers tomorrow at Mass.
    Sincerely, Ron Regan

  5. Laurie Butts says:

    I am also a long-time fan of CCRMT, and extend my sympathies to Dave Ellsworth’s friends and family. What a wonderful portrayal of a clever character. I am sorry I only got to listen to Mr. Ellsworth and never had the opportunity to see him perform live, but I still listen to the Captain Underhill mysteries on a regular basis, and look forward to hearing the final two episodes. His family should be proud that his talents brought joy to so many people.
    With sympathy,
    Laurie Butts

  6. Mike Phillips says:

    I feel priviliged to have listened to Captain Underhill, and feel so much sorrow for Dave’s family with his passing.

  7. How sad to hear of Mr. Ellsworths’ passing. I enjoyed his obvious passion for his performances and will sorely miss his unique style of presentation. My sincere condolences to all of his family and colleagues.

  8. Karen Harrison says:

    Just keeping this updated. I am gutted over the death of Dave Ellsworth. I have been a very long time listener of the Waverly Underhill series and all the CCRMT stories..
    Things just won’t be the same without him. My sincere condolences to Mr Ellsworths family and of course to the CCRMT family as well.

  9. I am so sorry to hear of David’s passing. I have been putting the Capt. Underhill stories on the community radio station here in Minneapolis for years, and will be sure to mention how much I’ll miss his distinctive delivery and his soft-edged voice in new productions. I am glad I still have a few to put on the air at KFAI, and will have to get a few more so I can keep David’s self-assured policeman going for a few more years.

  10. Harry Curriden says:

    So saddened to hear of Mr. Ellsworth passing. His voice will be missed. He ranks as one of the great radio detectives

  11. I am deeply saddened to learn this news. I have been listening to CCRMT for almost 20 years and consider myself to be a huge fan, and the loss of David comes as a huge blow. My heart goes out to all his family and friends, as well as all the Underhill fans out there. This is truly the end of an era.

  12. Stacy Kielczynski says:

    My condolences to Dave’s family and everyone at CCRMT. I’m hoping this won’t end the Caption Waverly Underhill/ Dr. Scofield series.

  13. Jeff Tomlin says:

    At the age of 47, and being a radio drama fan, and loving Underhill as I do, I am saddened by his passing. I feel I know these characters, like I’ve taken a backseat in their lives. Waverly is, and always has been, one of my favorites.
    My heart goes out to Mrs. Ellsworth, the Ccrmt gang, and to those who truely knew him. I only knew Waverly, and for that I am blessed.

  14. Darryl Heppner says:

    I am deeply saddened to read about the passing of David Ellsworth. I am a long time listener of CCRMT and enjoyed the Underhill mysteries. My heart goes out to the Ellsworth family and everyone at CCRMT for your loss.

  15. Though there are these treasures here to be your echo I cannot help but feel a part of that perfect Cape Cod gray is a gloomy mist nostalgic for hearing your voice as it passes by the opened windows of cars, cottages, motels and homes on it’s way to the sea.

  16. Stacy Kielczynski says:

    My condolences to the Ellsworth family.

  17. Denny Hobbs says:

    thank you for the many hours of suspense we have had listening to your show. We would always save the newest one for a road trip. Our whole family listens to them over and over again. I’ll miss the excitement of waiting for the next one to come out. Our thoughts are with the Ellsworth family.

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