Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Howard Duff: Tough? (1948 magazine spread)

When the article below ran in the May, 1948 issue of Radio and TV Mirror magazine, actor Howard Duff (1913 - 1990) had been portraying detective Sam Spade in a weekly radio series for a couple of years.

(click on image to enlarge in a new window)

His popularity in that role would propel him further into a long career in films and TV in the 1950s and beyond.

Click here to enlarge page one of this article and read the text.

Follow links to continue reading the article in a new window:
- Part 2
- Part 3

'The Adventures of Sam Spade' premiered on radio in june of 1946, airing on Friday nights on the ABC network.

The hard-boiled detective's creator, mystery author Dashiell Hammett was marginally involved in the radio production, at least at the beginning.

With the relatively unknown Duff in the lead role, the series quickly caught on, and soon moved to a more prominent spot on Sunday evenings, now airing on CBS. It shifted networks again in 1949, moving over to NBC.

In 1950, both Howard Duff and Dashiell Hammett found their names appearing in 'Red Channels', the Hollywood Blacklisting-era pamphlet that listed entertainment industry professionals with supposed Communist ties.

Howard Duff was soon able to clear his name, but not before the Sam Spade show was brought to a sudden demise. The series would be revived for a final season, but without Howard Duff, and minus Dashiel Hammett's name.
This left Duff free to pursue more movie work, which led to several kick-ass film noir roles in the '50s, among other performances.

Following his "tempestuous" late 1940s relationship with actress Ava Gardner (between her marriages to Artie Shaw and Frank Sinatra, and somewhere amidst her relationship with Howard Hughes) Duff married actress/filmmaker Ida Lupino in 1951.

Episodes of 'The Adventures of Sam Spade' featuring Howard Duff can be heard online at a couple of 'Old Time Radio' locations:

-The Internet Archive has a couple of good stashes of episodes.

- The OTR.Network has a nice selection too, using Real Player and featuring sound quality that is perhaps a bit more consistent.

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