This time on the RAS blog we tackle the subject, “Who is Sam Spade?”
Sam Spade is a fictional private detective created by Dashiell Hammett in 1930. His most famous story is The Maltese Falcon. It was first published as a serial in the pulp fiction magazine, Black Mask. Also, it is the only full-length novel in which Spade appears. There were several other short stories written by Hammett and most these became motion pictures or radio dramas. The character is considered the template for the hard-boiled private detective genre and many other writers followed it closely. The best example of this is Phillip Marlowe.
Spade was created specifically for The Maltese Falcon. Here, in his own words, is what Hammett had to say about this famous detective (edited some by me):
“Spade has no original. He is a dream man in the sense that he is what most of the private detectives would like to have been. Today’s private detective does want to be a cultured solver of riddles in the Sherlock Holmes manner; he wants to be a hard and shifty fellow, able to take care of himself in any situation, able to get the best of anybody he comes in contact with, whether criminal, innocent by-stander or client.” – Dashiell Hammett
Who Portrayed Sam Spade?
From the 1940s onward, the character became closely associated with actor Humphrey Bogart, who played Spade in the third and best-known film version of The Maltese Falcon. Spade was also played by Ricardo Cortez in the first film version in 1931 and then again in 1936 with Warren William. This film bombed at the box office and is best left unknown.
On the radio, Spade was played by Edward G. Robinson in the 1943 Lux Radio Theatre production, and by Bogart in 1943 Screen Guild Theater production. A 1946-1951 radio show called The Adventures of Sam Spade starred Howard Duff as Sam Spade and took a considerably more tongue-in-cheek approach to the character.
This Week’s Podcast:
On the podcast this week you will hear Howard Duff as Sam Spade, we have a Gerald Vance science fiction story and a special tale sent in by one of our listeners. It is going to be a great show.
You can listen to this podcast this Thursday (12/03) at Ron’s Amazing Stories, download it from iTunes, stream it on TuneIn Radio or listen on your radio Friday night at 8pm Eastern time. Check your local listing or find the station closest to you at this link.
March 31,2016 – The Plainsman (RAS239)
April 07, 2016 – The Asimov Special (RAS240).
April 14, 2016 – Sam Spade Week (RAS241).
April 21, 2016 – Interview with Pam Ferderbar (RAS242).
April 28, 2016 – James Stewart (RAS243).