THE RADIO ADVENTURES OF SAM SPADE
When Dashiell Hammett’s The Adventures of Sam Spade made its debut over CBS in August of 1946, personable Howard Duff, a comparative unknown in Hollywood circles, was assigned the title role. The selection of young Duff for the hard-hitting detective was perfect casting, his success was immediate, and Hollywood began predicting important things to come for this new personality. Almost immediately the radio program became popular earning a steady weekly following of radio listeners who tuned in each week to enjoy the mysteries (occasionally adapted from Hammett short stories). The enormous success of the Sam Spade radio program spawned a series of comic strips, magazine articles and radio cross-overs, not to mention numerous radio programs attempting to cash in on the Sam Spade craze by offering Sam Spade imitators. By 1948, the threat of communism and Hammett’s leanings were starting take its toll on the radio program. Bob Tallman and Gil Doud, the major script writers for the series, walked away from mental fatigue. The network wanted Hammett’s name removed from the program. Duff’s name appeared in the notorious “Red Channels” publication. Ultimately, the series was doomed. This book documents the entire history of the radio program, including all spin-offs, spoofs, Spade cross-overs, a complete episode guide for each and every radio broadcast with lengthy plot descriptions and trivia, an unused radio script is reprinted, and much more.
* In 2010, Jay Hickerson’s Ultimate History of Network Radio Programming reported on 65 of the 245 radio broadcasts exist in recorded form!
* In the mid-forties, a newspaper comic strip appeared in select newspapers as an adaptation of the radio program. The likeness of Lurene Tuttle and Howard Duff are evident in the artwork!
* When producer-director William Spier began a new mystery on the evening of September 24, 1950, Charlie Wild, Private Detective, Howard Duff appeared in the premiere episode in the character of Sam Spade.
* When Howard Duff’s name was listed among the opening credits of Brute Force (1947), he was listed as radio’s Sam Spade in the credits. Later, in an episode of the radio program, Sam Spade took time to watch a showing of Brute Force!