Mike Hammer

Mike Hammer
Mickey Spillane, Ed Robbins and Joe Gill's From the Files of... Mike Hammer (January 31, 1954).

Michael "Mike" Hammer is a fictional detective created by the American author Mickey Spillane in the 1947 book I, the Jury (made into a movie in 1953 and 1982).



Several movies and radio and television series have been based on the books in the Hammer series. The actor most closely identified with the character in recent years has been Stacy Keach, who portrayed Hammer in a CBS television series, Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, which ran from 1984–1987 and had a syndicated revival in 1997–1998. (An earlier syndicated version, originally aired in 1957–1958, starred Darren McGavin as Hammer.) Spillane himself played Hammer in a 1963 motion picture adaptation of The Girl Hunters. Spillane himself favoured ex-Marine and former Newburgh, New York police officer Jack Stang, on whom he based the character, to play him. Stang appeared with Spillane in the 1954 film Ring of Fear and in the film adaptation of I, the Jury.


While pulp detectives such as Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe are hard-boiled and cynical, Hammer is in many ways the archetypal "hard man": brutally violent, misogynistic, and fueled by a genuine rage that never afflicts Raymond Chandler's or Dashiell Hammett's heroes. In The Big Kill Hammer describes himself to a bargirl as a misanthrope.

While other hardboiled heroes bend and manipulate the law, Hammer holds it in total contempt, seeing it as nothing more than an impediment to justice, the one virtue he holds in absolute esteem. Hammer nevertheless has a strong respect for the majority of police, realising they have a difficult job and their hands are frequently tied by the law when trying to stop criminals.

Mike Hammer is a no-holds barred Battle of Guadalcanal veteran private investigator who carries a .45 Colt M1911, named "Betsy" in a shoulder harness under his left arm. His love for his secretary Velda is only outweighed by his willingness to kill a killer. Hammer's best friend is Pat Chambers, Captain of Homicide NYPD.

Hammer is also patriotic and anti-communist. The novels are peppered with remarks by Hammer supporting American troops in Korea, and in Survival...Zero Vietnam. In One Lonely Night, where Hammer attends a communist meeting in a park, his reaction to the speaker's propaganda is a sarcastic "Yeah."

So far as violence is concerned, the Hammer novels leave little to the imagination. Written in the first person, Hammer describes his violent encounters with relish. In all but a few novels, Hammer's victims are often left vomiting after a blow to the stomach or groin.

The Washington Times obituary of Spillane said of Hammer, "In a manner similar to Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry, Hammer was a cynical loner contemptuous of the 'tedious process' of the legal system, choosing instead to enforce the law on his own terms."[1]



Radio Series - A December 1952 to October 1954 Mutual Broadcasting System radio series titled That Hammer Guy starred Larry Haines then George Petrie and Ted DeCorsia as Mike Hammer and Jan Miner as Hammer's secretary Velda and the voice of other female characters on the show. It was written by Ed Adamson and was directed by Richard Lewis.[2]

Audiobooks - An array of Spillane's novels have been produced as audiobooks. Several of these are performed by Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer veteran Stacy Keach. Examples include Black Alley (Penguin Audio, 1996), The Big Kill (Simon & Schuster, 2010) and The Killing Man (Simon & Schuster, 2010).

Blackstone Audio Productions - In 2008, Stacy Keach reprised the role of Mike Hammer in the first of a series of radio-style dramas entitled The New Adventures of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer. Keach refers to the production style, that is somewhere between an audiobook and and radio drama, as a "radio novel."[3] The Audie-nominated inaugural production features the episodes, Dangerous Days and Oil and Water. Both were written exclusively for audio by M. J. Elliott and produced with a full cast, music and sound effects in radio drama style by Carl Amari of Falcon Picture Group, who personally selected Elliott to script the Audie Award-nominated dramas. Volume 2 of the series was released in 2009, featuring a 2.5 hour story entitled The Little Death. The story was written exclusively for audio by Max Allan Collins from a story by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins. Volume 3, Encore for Murder, was released in March 2011. All three volumes have been released by Blackstone Audio and star Keach in the title role. Keach also arranges and performs the music featured in the productions[4] and his wife, Malgosia Tomassi, portrays yoga instructor Maya Ricci.


There have been several television shows based on the exploits of Mike Hammer.


DVD cover of The Girl Hunters
Filmed in 3-D starring Biff Elliot as Mike Hammer.
Robert Aldrich was the director, Ralph Meeker was cast as Hammer, while Maxine Cooper portrayed Hammer's sexy secretary/companion Velda.
Robert Bray was cast as Hammer, with more of the violence originated from the villain rather than the detective.
The film grossed $308,000 with a total of $602 overseas.
Mickey Spillane was given the rare opportunity to portray his own creation in this film. This is one of the few occasions in film history in which the creator of a literary character was later hired to portray that character in a film. Producer Robert Fellows and Spillane planned to follow the film with The Snake but it never materialised.
  • Margin For Murder (TV movie, 1981)
Kevin Dobson plays Hammer in this made for TV movie.
Armand Assante plays Hammer in this version.
Stacy Keach played Hammer in this TV pilot for the TV Series that ran in the 1980s. This update featured a traitor to the U.S. and a daughter Hammer does not know he has.
  • Come Die With Me (Fox, 1994)
Rob Estes plays Hammer in this TV movie. Pamela Anderson plays his secretary Velda.


A short-lived comic strip starring Mike Hammer was distributed by Phoenix Features Syndicate from 1953 to 1954. It was entitled From the Files of... Mike Hammer and written by Spillane, Ed Robbins and Joe Gill, with art by Ed Robbins. Collections of the strip were published in the 1980s.[6]

In other media


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mike Hammer — ist: Mike Hammer (Fernsehserie), eine US amerikanische Fernsehserie Mike Hammer, ein Pseudonym von A. R. Penck (* 1939), deutscher Maler, Grafiker und Bildhauer Mike Hammer, ein Privatdetektiv in den Romanen von Mickey Spillane …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mike Hammer — [Mike Hammer] the main character in the crime novels by Mickey Spillane …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mike Hammer — Este artículo o sección sobre televisión y biografías necesita ser wikificado con un formato acorde a las convenciones de estilo. Por favor, edítalo para que las cumpla. Mientras tanto, no elimines este aviso puesto el 14 de abril de 2008.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mike Hammer — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Hammer. Mike Hammer Personnage de fiction …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mike Hammer — ➡ Hammer (II) * * * …   Universalium

  • Mike Hammer (serie televisee) — Mike Hammer (série télévisée) Mike Hammer (1958) Titre original Mickey Spillane s Mike Hammer Genre Série policière Pays d’origine  États Unis Chaîne d’origine CBS …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mike Hammer (série télévisée) — Mike Hammer (1958) Titre original Mickey Spillane s Mike Hammer Genre Série policière Pays d’origine  États Unis Chaîne d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mike hammer (série télévisée) — Mike Hammer (1958) Titre original Mickey Spillane s Mike Hammer Genre Série policière Pays d’origine  États Unis Chaîne d’origine CBS …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mike Hammer, Private Eye — Format Drama, Mystery Starring Stacy Keach Shane Conrad Shannon Whirry Kent Williams Peter Jason Malgosia Tomassi Opening theme Harlem Nocturne …   Wikipedia

  • Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All — The movie cover for Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All Directed by John Nicolella …   Wikipedia

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