Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, September 3, 2020


 Dashiell Hammett's satanic-looking private detective had been played on the radio before -- once in 1941 by Humphrey Bogart, the in 1943 by Edgar G. Robinson, both in CBS adaptations of The Maltese Falcon -- but it wasn't until 1946 that Spade got his own radio series.  A young Howard Duff played Spade and radio legend Lurene Tuttle played his secretary Effie Perrine for 13 episodes of The Adventures of Sam Spade from July 12, 1946 through October 4, 1946 on ABC radio.  (On occasion, actor Stephen Dunne filled in for Duff.)  The shoe then moved with Duff and Tuttle to CBS radio for 137 episodes (September 29, 1946 to September 25, 1949).  On October 2, 1949, the program (still with Duff and Tuttle) moved to NBC for 51 episodes until September 17, 1950.  By then Dashiell Hammett's name had been removed from the series because he was being investigated for Communist activities by Senator Joseph McCarthy's mob. Duff himself was removed from the show at the end of this run because his name in the Red Channels book -- a right-wing publication that named 151 prominent actors, writers, musicians, and broadcast journalists it suspected of Communist manipulation of the entertainment industry, effectively blacklisting all, including Duff.  Duff's sin?  Supporting labor unions.  After a month's absence, The Adventures of Sam Spade returned to NBC sans Duff on November 17, 1950, with Steve Dunne assuming the title role.  This incarnation ran for 24 episodes, ending on April 27, 1951.

Let's go back to nearly the beginning.  Sam and Psyche was the fourth episode to be aired.  Peter Lorre and Jay Novello are uncredited co-stars in this episode in which Sam and Effie are dragged into a murder and Sam finds himself in the act of grave-robbing.    William Spier directed this episode from a script by Jason James and Robert Tallman.


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