Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday's Favorite OTR

The New Adventures of Michael Shayne: "Constant Companion" 12/4/48

When red-headed P.I. Michael Shayne--the protagonist in seemingly countless novels and short stories--first came to radio in 1944, he turned away from his original hard-boiled roots. The show was more of a traditional whodunit, with less of the tough-guy ambiance done so well in author Brett Haliday's prose. It was still a good show, just not the same Mike Shayne that fans of the popular novels were used to.

But in 1948, Shayne came back to radio in a show so hard-boiled you couldn't pierce it with a steak knife. Played now by Jeff Chandler, The New Adventures of Michael Shayne gave us a smart, tough private eye very much in the Spade-Marlowe mold. If not quite as memorable as either Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe (either in prose or on radio), he stil manages to come pretty close.

In this episode, Shayne is led around at gunpoint by an escaped killer, who needs Shayne to find someone before he (the killer) is caught by the cops. As they drudge on, both men grow increaasingly exhausted, but neither of them can afford to fall asleep.

It's a good, solid plot--the twist at the end is one that most listeners probably see coming, but it's still dramatically effective. Jack Webb seems to be having fun as Shayne's police contact/nemesis Inspector LaFevre, while William Conrad is typically excellent as the sleezy gambler the escapee is trying to find.

Click HERE to listen or download.

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