Boston Blackie is a fictional character created by author Jack Boyle (October 19, 1881 – October 1928). Blackie, a jewel thief and safecracker in Boyle's stories, became a detective in adaptations for films, radio and television—an "enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend." Actor Chester Morris was the best-known Blackie, playing the character in 14 Columbia Pictures films (1941–1949) and in a 1944 NBC radio series. Boston Blackie is the role for which Morris is best remembered. Contents  [show] Literature[edit]Writer Jack Boyle grew up in Chicago, Illinois. While working as a newspaper reporter in San Francisco, he became an opium addict, was drawn into crime, and was jailed for writing bad checks. Later convicted of robbery, Boyle was serving a term in San Quentin when he created the character of Boston Blackie.[1]:149 The first four stories appeared in The American Magazine in 1914, with Boyle writing under the pen name "No. 6066". From 1917 to 1919, Boston Blackie stories appeared in The Red Book magazine, and from 1918 they were adapted for motion pictures. When Boston Blackie began to find success on the screen, Boyle edited the Red Book magazine stories into a book, Boston Blackie (1919). He revised and rearranged the order of the stories to create a cohesive narrative—a common practice at the time. This was the only appearance of Boston Blackie in book form, but his adventures continued to appear in periodicals.[1]:149–150[2] Short stories[edit] First edition of the short story collection Boston Blackie (1919)Year Title Publisher Publication date Notes1914 "The Price of Principle" The American Magazine July 1914 As No. 6066[3]1914 "The Story About Dad Morgan" The American Magazine August 1914 As No. 6066[4]1914 "Death Cell Visions" The American Magazine September 1914 As No. 6066[5]1914 "A Thief's Daughter" The American Magazine October 1914 As No. 6066[6]1917 "Boston Blackie's Mary" The Red Book Magazine November 1917 [7]1917 "The Woman Called Rita" The Red Book Magazine December 1917 [7]1918 "Fred the Count" The Red Book Magazine January 1918 [7]1918 "Miss Doris, Safe-Cracker" The Red Book Magazine May 1918 [7]1918 "Boston Blackie's Little Pal" The Red Book Magazine June 1918 [7]1918 "Alibi Ann" The Red Book Magazine July 1918 [7]1918 "Miss Doris's 'Raffles'" The Strand Magazine August 1918 [7][8]1918 "The Poppy Girl's Husband" The Red Book Magazine October 1918 [7]1918 "A Problem in Grand Larceny" The Red Book Magazine December 1918 [7]1919 "An Answer in Grand Larceny" The Red Book Magazine January 1919 [7]1919 "The Third Degree" The Strand Magazine April 1919 [7][9]1919 "The Daughter of Mother McGinn" Cosmopolitan June 1919 [10]1919 "Alias Prince Charming" Cosmopolitan July 1919 [11]1919 "Black Dan" Cosmopolitan October 1919 [12]1919 "The Water-Cross" Cosmopolitan November 1919 [13][14]1920 "Grandad's Girl" Cosmopolitan March 1920 [15]1920 "The Face in the Fog" Cosmopolitan May 1920 [16][17]1920 "The Painted Child" Cosmopolitan October 1920 [7][18]1920 "Boomerang Bill" Cosmopolitan December 1920 [7][19]Films[edit] Rhea Mitchell (Mary) and Bert Lytell (Boston Blackie) in Boston Blackie's Little Pal (1918), a lost film[20]The earliest Boston Blackie film adaptations were silent, dating from 1918 to 1927. Columbia Pictures revived the property in 1941 with Meet Boston Blackie, a fast, 58-minute B movie starring Chester Morris. Although the running time was brief, Columbia gave the picture good production values and an imaginative director, Robert Florey. The film was successful, and a series followed. In the Columbia features, Boston Blackie is a reformed jewel thief who is always suspected when a daring crime is committed. In order to clear himself, he investigates personally and brings the actual culprit to justice, sometimes using disguises. An undercurrent of comedy runs throughout the action/detective series. In one of these films, After Midnight with Boston Blackie, the character's real name was revealed to be Horatio Black. Morris gave the Blackie character his own personal charm: he could be light and flippant or stern and dangerous, as the situation demanded. His sidekick, the Runt, was always on hand to help his old friend. George E. Stone played Runt in all but the first and last films. Charles Wagenheim and Sid Tomack, respectively, substituted for Stone when he was not available. Blackie's friendly adversaries were Inspector Farraday[a] of the police (played in all the films and the radio series by Richard Lane) and his assistant, Sergeant Matthews. Matthews was originally played as a hapless victim of circumstance by Walter Sande; he was replaced by Lyle Latell, who played it dumber, and then by comedian Frank Sully, who played it even dumber. Blackie and Runt were often assisted in their endeavors by their friends: the cheerful but easily flustered millionaire Arthur Manleder (almost always played by Lloyd Corrigan; Harry Hayden and Harrison Greene each played the role once), and the streetwise pawnbroker Jumbo Madigan (played by Cy Kendall or Joseph Crehan). A variety of actresses including Rochelle Hudson, Harriet Hilliard, Adele Mara and Ann Savage took turns playing various gal-Friday characters. The films are highly typical of Columbia's B movies of the 1940s, with an assortment of veteran character actors (including Clarence Muse, Marvin Miller, George Lloyd, Byron Foulger), new faces on the way up (Larry Parks, Dorothy Malone, Nina Foch, Forrest Tucker, Lloyd Bridges) and stock-company players familiar from Columbia's features, serials, and short subjects (Kenneth MacDonald, George McKay, Eddie Laughton, John Tyrrell). The series was also a useful training ground for promising directors, including Edward Dmytryk, Oscar Boetticher, William Castle, and finally Seymour Friedman, who went on to work prolifically in Columbia's television department. The Boston Blackie series ran until 1949. Filmography[edit] Joey Jacobs and Bert Lytell in Boston Blackie's Little Pal (1918) Poster for The Face in the Fog (1922), starring Lionel Barrymore Poster for Boston Blackie (1923), starring William RussellYear Title Actor Notes1918 Boston Blackie's Little Pal Bert Lytell [22]1919 The Poppy Girl's Husband Walter Long [23]1919 The Silk Lined Burglar Sam De Grasse Adapted from "Miss Doris, Safe-Cracker"[24]1919 Blackie's Redemption Bert Lytell Adapted from "Boston Blackie's Mary" and "Fred the Count"[25]1922 Boomerang Bill [26]1922 Missing Millions David Powell Adapted from "A Problem in Grand Larceny" and "An Answer in Grand Larceny"[27]1922 The Face in the Fog Lionel Barrymore [16]1923 Boston Blackie William Russell Adapted from "The Water-Cross"[13]1923 Crooked Alley Thomas Carrigan Adapted from Boyle's original story, "The Daughter of Crooked Alley"[28][29]1924 Through the Dark Forrest Stanley Adapted from "The Daughter of Mother McGinn"[30]1927 The Return of Boston Blackie Raymond Glenn [31]1941 Meet Boston Blackie Chester Morris [21]1941 Confessions of Boston Blackie Chester Morris [32]1942 Alias Boston Blackie Chester Morris [33]1942 Boston Blackie Goes Hollywood Chester Morris [34]1943 After Midnight with Boston Blackie Chester Morris [35]1943 The Chance of a Lifetime Chester Morris [36]1944 One Mysterious Night Chester Morris [37]1945 Boston Blackie Booked on Suspicion Chester Morris [38]1945 A Close Call for Boston Blackie Chester Morris [39]1945 The Phantom Thief Chester Morris [40]1945 Boston Blackie's Rendezvous Chester Morris [41]1946 Boston Blackie and the Law Chester Morris [42]1948 Trapped by Boston Blackie Chester Morris [43]1949 Boston Blackie's Chinese Venture Chester Morris [44]Radio[edit]Boston Blackie—enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend. — Boston Blackie radio series[45]Concurrent with the Columbia Pictures films, a Boston Blackie radio series—also starring Chester Morris—aired on NBC June 23 – September 15, 1944, as a summer replacement for Amos 'n' Andy. Lesley Woods played Blackie's girlfriend Mary Wesley; Richard Lane played Inspector Farraday. Harlow Wilcox was the announcer for the 30-minute program.[45][46][47] A new incarnation of the Boston Blackie radio series aired April 11, 1945 – October 25, 1950, starring Richard Kollmar. Maurice Tarplin played Inspector Farraday; Jan Miner was Mary. More than 200 half-hour episodes were transcribed and syndicated by Frederick Ziv to Mutual and other network outlets.[45][46][47] Television[edit] Kent Taylor (Boston Blackie), Lois Collier (Mary Wesley) and Frank Orth (Inspector Farraday) pose with Whitie in TV's Boston Blackie (1951–53)Kent Taylor starred in the Ziv-produced half-hour TV series The Adventures of Boston Blackie. Syndicated in September 1951, it ran for 58 episodes, continuing in repeats over the following decade. Lois Collier appeared as Mary Wesley and Frank Orth was Inspector Farraday.[48] The series was set in Los Angeles; Mary and Blackie had a dog named Whitie, and comedy sometimes took precedence over crime.[49] Television historian Tim Brooks described Boston Blackie as "a memorable B-grade television series … The term 'B' is used in all the best senses: a certain vitality and sense of humor substituted more than adequately for the normal criteria of expensive production and famous stars."[49] Graphic novels[edit] This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)Scripter Stefan Petrucha and artist Kirk Van Wormer created the graphic novel Boston Blackie (Moonstone Books, 2002) with a cover by Tim Seelig. A jewel heist at a costume ball goes horribly wrong, and the five-year-old son of the wealthy Greene family disappears and is presumed dead; the body is never found. The main suspect is Boston Blackie, who is still haunted seven years later by what happened that night. Drawn back into the case, he finds that the truth of what happened that night is awash in a watery grave. A sequel to the graphic novel was published years later. Cultural references[edit] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)A 1957 Daffy Duck cartoon, Boston Quackie, is a direct parody of the serial, with Daffy as the detective - who needs everyone else's help to solve his case.Jimmy Buffett's song "Pencil Thin Mustache" references Boston Blackie, as does The Coasters' song "Searchin'" and some versions of "The Wabash Cannonball".Boston Blackie's Restaurant,[50] a bar and grill with locations in Chicago and Deerfield, Illinois.In a 1966 episode of Bewitched ("Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember", Season 4, Episode 12), "Boston Blackie" is mentioned in fond remembrance by Aunt Clara (Marion Lorne), who confuses him as attending the First Thanksgiving with famous Pilgrims.In Errol Morris' 1988 documentary "The Thin Blue Line", interview subject Emily Miller cites Boston Blackie as an inspiration for wanting to become a "detective, or the wife of a detective." The film's score by Philip Glass also has a cue titled "Boston Blackie."In Chuck E. Weiss's 2014 release, Red Beans and Weiss, track 3 is entitled "Boston Blackie" and comprises four verses, sandwiching three repetitions of the chorus; the chorus lyrics include"I'm just like Boston Blackie, Yes I am, Yes I am"and, derived from the original stories, the wording"Friends to those who have no friends"[51]In a 2007 television episode of Mad Men, when talking about John F. Kennedy as a potential opponent for 1960 presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon, character Bert Cooper says, "It's going to be Kennedy. 'Boston Blackie' won West Virginia." Notes[edit]Jump up ^ The surname of Boston Blackie's police adversary was spelled Faraday in only the first film, Meet Boston Blackie. In all subsequent films it was spelled Farraday.