Showing posts with label William Spier. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Spier. Show all posts

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 5: Happy Birthday, William Spier

A happy birthday this time, not to an actor or a commander of the microphone, but to a writer and producer, William Spier.  Lovers of Adventures of Sam Spade and Suspense have enjoyed the good work of Spier.

Born today in 1906, Spier started his writing career as a critic for the magazine Musical America.  After foraying into radio in 1929, he decided he'd like to stay in the medium a bit longer. He got a job as a director of the news show The March of Time.  It began as a WLW (Cincinnati) program that gave voice to materail from Time magazine.  It eventually evolved into The March of Time, on which talented actors dramatized the day's big news stories.  Spiers got a chance to work with huge stars such as Everett Sloane, Orson Welles, Lionel Barrymore, Nancy Kelly, and Joseph Cotten.

From there, it was a stint as the chief of the writing department at CBS, a gig that led to his producership of Suspense and then The Adventures of Sam Spade.

So let's salute this talented behind-the-scenes man.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4: Happy Birthday, Cornell Woolrich

Today's entry is a birthday commemoration: on this day in 1903, author Cornell Woolrich came into the world. Woolrich's crime fiction was utterly adaptable, a favorite target for radio producers. His works You'll Never See Me Again and The Black Curtain were adapted by the radio classic Suspense.

In fact, each of these was presented more than once. The first time The Black Curtain rolled on Suspense, the cast included Cary Grant and Hans Conried. Other stars of Woolrich adaptations include Joseph Cotten, Robert Young, and William Spier.

Woolrich led a lonely, stark life. He lived with his mother in Harlem until her death, after which he drifted from hotel room to hotel room. To make matters worse, he suffered an infection that led to one of his legs being amputated. This life of suffering infused Woolrich's work--his characters, too suffered.

Not a cheery story, perhaps, but fans of chilling tales have enjoyed hours of radio based on the work of this fine writer.

Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27: Happy Birthday, Dashiell Hammett

Today, dear fans of classic radio, we blow out the candles and celebrate the birthday of author Dashiell Hammett, born this day in 1894.

The debonair writer gave us The Thin Man, The Maltese Falcon, and Red Harvest. These works were, yes, adapted into fine radio broadcasts.

You may know that Hammett learned about the life of a gum-shoe detective by being one himself. He was employed by the Pinkerton agency from 1915-21, an experience that caused him great moral dilemmas and had a profound effect on him. It also had an effect on American letters, giving us the immortal character Sam Spade.

You may recall the great radio series based on the Maltese Falcon protagonist, The Adventures of Sam Spade. Produced by William Spier and starring, first, Howard Duffe, and later, Steve Dunne, the great radio program ran from 1946-1951.

Without the mind who birthed the words on the page, we wouldn't have these wonderful programs, so we salute Dashiell Hammett!