RARA-AVIS: Re: Darren McGavin

From: Richard Moore ( moorich2@aol.com)
Date: 28 Feb 2006

Late last year I picked up quite a few of the McGavin Mike Hammer episodes on eBay--25 or 30, I've never counted them up. In one of those coincidences that seem common, I had just begun to watch them when word came of McGavin's death. His remark of playing Hammer camp is apparent in the ones I've viewed thus far. There are scenes where the Spillane Hammer comes through--one where Hammer beats a confession out of a bad guy comes to mind--but in most scenes the twinkle in McGavin's eye can be seen. Ordinarily, this would bother me but McGavin is so damned engaging, I can go along for the ride. The biggest sin of this Mike Hammer series is having Hammer carrying a revolver rather than the Colt Model 1911 .45 automatic.

I have been submitting data from the episodes to Imdb and we'll see how much of it takes. One that appears to have bounced back is for an episode entitled "Now Die In It." From what I've gotten back thus far I am not sure why it is being rejected. But then I am new to submitting data to Imdb. Some of you are veterans at this. I've run across many submissions by our Jim Beaver.

Anyway, "Now Die For It" is copyrighted 1959 (no idea of first air date). Of interest to this list is that the teleplay was by Steven Thornley (who did several episodes) from a story by Curt Cannon. I included in my update that Cannon was a penname for Evan Hunter/Ed McBain (I didn't bother mentioned S.A. Lombino) but have some doubts this will make it into Imdb.

The plot involves a teen club called the Dew Drop Club. Hammer is hired by a friend to investigate the disappearance (& eventually murder) of his wife's sister, who frequented the club. There's a muscled up guy in a tee shirt at the club that Hammer knees into submission rather quickly. I assume this is from one of the Curt Cannon stories from Manhunt but it has been years since I read them. I may give them a scan to try and discover the one that served as a basis for this episode.

The McGavin series is more fun than I expected. One I watched last night "According to Luke" (also from 1959) had Tom Neal as a guest star. Neal, the star of the noir movie "Detour", was only a few years away from his real life conviction for the murder of his wife.

Richard Moore

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Frederick Zackel" <fzackel@...> wrote:
> McGavin starred in the private eye series "Mike Hammer" in the
1950s. In
> 1968 he told a reporter: "Hammer was a dummy. I made 72 of those
shows, and
> I thought it was a comedy. In fact, I played it camp. He was the
kind of guy
> who would've waved the flag for [Alabama Gov.] George Wallace."

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 28 Feb 2006 EST