- Sam Spade
Sam Spade is a
fictional characterwho is the protagonistof Dashiell Hammett's novel " The Maltese Falcon" (1930) and the various films and adaptations based on it, as well as in three lesser known short stories written by Hammett.
The novel, first published as a serial in the pulp magazine "Black Mask", is the only one that Spade appears in, yet the character is widely cited as the crystallizing figure in the development of the
hard-boiledprivate detective genre – Raymond Chandler's character Philip Marlowe, for instance, was strongly influenced by Hammett's Spade.
Spade was a departure from Hammett's nameless and less than glamorous detective,
The Continental Op. Sam Spade combined several features of previous detectives, most notably his cold detachment, keen eye for detail, and unflinching determination to achieve his own justice. He is the man who has seen the wretched, the corrupt, the tawdry side of life but still retains his "tarnished idealism".
Sam Spade was a new character created specifically by Hammett for "The Maltese Falcon," he had not appeared in any of Hammett's previous short stories. Hammett says about him:
Spade has no original. He is a dream man in the sense that he is what most of the private detectives I worked with would like to have been and in their cockier moments thought they approached. For your private detective does not — or did not ten years ago when he was my colleague — want to be an erudite solver of riddles in the Sherlock Holmes manner; he wants to be a hard and shifty fellow, able to take care of himself in any situation, able to get the best of anybody he comes in contact with, whether criminal, innocent by-stander or client. [http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv244.html Introduction to "The Maltese Falcon" (1934 edition)] ]
For most people, the character is most closely associated with actor
Humphrey Bogart, who played Spade in the third and most famous film version of "The Maltese Falcon". Although Bogart's hair was not dyed blond as called for in the novel, and was considered too small and dark for the role (and was even slighted for not playing the character as enough of a lecher), his portrayal of Spade turned out to be the archetypal private detective. His characterization has influenced " film noir" ever since.
Spade was played by
Ricardo Cortezin the pre-Code first film version (1931). Despite being a critical and commercial success, an attempt to re-release the film in 1936 was denied approval by the Production CodeOffice due to the film's "lewd" content. Since Warner Bros. could not re-release the film, a second version was made. In " Satan Met a Lady" (1936), a light comedy, the central character was renamed "Ted Shane" and was played by Warren William. The film was a notable flop.
On the radio, Sam Spade was played by Bogart in a 1943 "
Screen Guild Theater" production and a 1946 " Academy Award Theater" production. He was also played by Edward G. Robinsonin a 1943 " Lux Radio Theatre" production. A 1946-1951 radio show called the " The Adventures of Sam Spade" (on ABC, CBS, and NBC) starred Howard Duff(and later Steve Dunne) as "Sam Spade" and Lurene Tuttleas Spade's devoted secretary "Effie Perrine", and took a considerably more tongue-in-cheek approach to the character. George Segalplayed Sam Spade, Jr., son of the original, in the film spoof, " The Black Bird" ( 1975). "The Black Bird" was panned by both critics and audiences alike.
* "The Maltese Falcon" (1930)
**Serialized in 5 parts, in the September 1929 to January 1930 issues of "Black Mask"
* "The Radio Adventures of Sam Spade" (
2007) by Martin Grams, Jr., OTR Publishing, Churchville, Maryland. ISBN 978-0-9703310-7-6
* "A Man Called Spade" (1932, "
The American Magazine"; also collected in "A Man Named Spade and Other Stories")
* "Too Many Have Lived" (1932, "The American Magazine"; also collected in "A Man Named Spade and Other Stories")
* "They Can Only Hang You Once" (1932, "The American Magazine"; also in "A Man Named Spade and Other Stories")
* "A Man Named Spade and Other Stories" (1944) (contains three Sam Spade stories from "The American Magazine" -- listed above)
* "The Maltese Falcon" (1931,
Warner Bros.) (also known as "Dangerous Female"), starring Ricardo Cortezas Sam Spade
Satan Met a Lady" (1936, Warner Bros.) (based on "The Maltese Falcon", with the character names and the object of their search changed), starring Warren Williamas the Sam Spade character.
* "The Maltese Falcon" (1941, Warner Bros.), starring
The Black Bird" (1975, Columbia), a comedy sequelto the 1941 film, starring George Segalas "Sammy" Spade, Jr.
* "Screen Guild Theater": "The Maltese Falcon" (1943,
CBS- 30 minute version of the story, starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre
* "Lux Radio Theatre": "The Maltese Falcon" (1943,
CBS) - a 60 minute version of the novel, starring Edward G. Robinsonas Sam Spade and Laird Cregaras Casper Gutman
* "Academy Award Theatre": "The Maltese Falcon" (1946, CBS) - 30 minute version of the story, starring
Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Sidney Greenstreet
* "Suspense": "The House in Cypress Canyon" (December 5, 1946, CBS) - 30 minutes, starring
* "Suspense": "The Kandy Tooth Caper" (January 10, 1948, CBS) - 60 minutes, starring
* "The Adventures of Sam Spade" (1946, ABC) - 13 30-minute episodes, starring
* "The Adventures of Sam Spade" (1946–1949, CBS) - 157 30-minute episodes, starring
* "The Adventures of Sam Spade" (1949–1950, NBC) - 51 30-minute episodes, starring
* "The Adventures of Sam Spade" (1950–1951, NBC) - 24 30-minute episodes, starring
* "The Adventures of Babe Lincoln" (circa 1950, CBS) unaired, starring
* "Charlie Wild, Private Eye" (September 24, 1950, NBC) premiere broadcast only, guest appearance
* "BBC Radio 4": "The Maltese Falcon" (2001) - starring
Tom Wilkinson, Jane Lapotaireand Nickolas Grace
* "The Maltese Falcon" (1946, Feature Books #48, David McKay Publications) Artist:
* Sam Spade Wildroot Hair Tonic Ads (1950's)
**Single page comic strips, appeared in newspapers, magazines, comic books. Tie-in with radio show "The Adventures of Sam Spade", which Wildroot also sponsored. Artist:
* Volume 21 of the manga Detective Conan contains a profile summary of Sam Spade in
Gosho AoyamaMystery LIbrary.
References in popular culture
* In the television series "
Without a Trace", Poppy Montgomeryplays the role of an FBI agent named Samantha "Sam" Spade
* In the children's show "
Between the Lions", there is a character called "Sam Spud", an anthropomorphic potato who types out voice-over narrations typical of film noir, making and correcting typographical errors that demonstrate word sounds.
* In the
Calvin & Hobbescomic strip, one of Calvin's alter egos is a 1940s-era private detective named Tracer Bullet, who looks, acts, and speaks like Sam Spade.
* In the segment of
The Animatrix A Detective Story, the story's protagonist mentions Spade in the beginning of the short film.
* The 1976 comedic parody
Murder by Deathstarred Peter Falkas Sam Diamond, a take-off on Spade's hard-boiled detective archetype.
* In the graphic short story, "Babes and Bullets," in the book, (and in the animated television special based on it),
Garfieldis the hard-boiled detective, Sam Spayed.
*In the game
Curse of Monkey Island, the main character quotes Sam Spade's last line in The Maltese Falconby looking at a statue of a falcon and saying: "It's the stuff that really boring dreams are made of".
Umberto Eco's novel Foucault's Pendulum, Spade is mentioned several times.
*Sam Spade appears as a member of The Secret Society of Detectives in the DC
graphic novel Detective No. 27, alongside The Shadowand The Crimson Avenger
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtlesepisode "The Maltese Hamster" Donatello impersonates Sam Spade. The storyline is loosely based on the movie Maltese Falcon.
* [http://www.thrillingdetective.com/spade_sam.html Thrilling Detective Website]
* [http://www.homestead.com/oldtimeradiotapes/samspade.html Article "Sam Spade: The Radio Series by Martin Grams, Jr.]
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