The Shiloh Ranch in Wyoming Territory of the 1890s is owned in sequence by Judge Garth, the Grainger brothers, and Col. MacKenzie. It is the setting for a variety of stories, many more ... See full summary »
Stories of the journeys of a wagon train as it leaves post-Civil War Missouri on its way to California through the plains, deserts and Rocky Mountains. The first treks were led by gruff, ... See full summary »
The transformation of Boston Blackie the jewel thief in the story by Jack Boyle in 1919 and in the early silent films to Boston Blackie the right hand of the law represented by Inspector Farraday in the TV series evolved over a thirty-year period, including fourteen top notch B films starring venerable actor Chester Morris as Blackie. On radio Morris reprised his movie role until it was taken over by Richard Kollmar. Ultimately, the fine actor, Kent Taylor, slipped comfortably into the part for television.
All presentations of Boston Blackie, movies, radio, and TV, were well done by all concerned. The Television version was a popular early entry in detective oriented programs that held sway until demoted by the shoot-em-ups of the mid to late 50's.
There were a few minor character changes: No Runt as in the Chester Morris flicks nor millionaire pal. A steady girlfriend, Mary, now played second lead; plus a pooch, in the manner of Asta, named Whitey was added, leading to a Thin Man persona for the series.
Inspector Faraday came to be portrayed by Frank Orth, a buddy to Blackie, whereas Richard Lane's Faraday of the Morris movies tended to be at best a friendly enemy to him, always suspecting Blackie of being up to no good. Blackie's lifestyle was upgraded somewhat for television with Blackie driving around town in a snazzy convertible.
The stories were tidy, fitting their half hour time slot gracefully with plenty of action. I watched the early episodes as a child and recall them to be as exciting as any on the tube at the time. A colleague of mine told me that she had a tremendous crush on Kent Taylor when she was a little girl. After watching a few of the restored shows, her bubble popped. Kent Taylor seemed to be a bit older than she remembered him and a lot less chivalrous. Nonetheless, Kent Taylor fit the part almost as well as Chester Morris, who remains the definitive Boston Blackie.
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