That's Boston Blackie, safecracker turned crime fighter and a long-running favorite with fans of straight-ahead detective fiction in a wide range of media. Beginning inauspiciously in a 1919 short story by author Jack Boyle, Blackie progressed from the printed page into silent films, then into talkies - and finally, in the 1940s, into radio. The first radio Blackie was Chester Morris, who played the role in a long series of B movies during the 1940s. Beginning in 1944 as a summer replacement series for Amos 'n' Andy, Morris brought a certain wrong-side-of-the-tracks charm to his portrayal and gave the character a well-crafted introduction to the broadcast medium. But the longest-running radio Blackie was an odd casting choice: Broadway and sometime soap opera actor Richard Kollmar, best known to radio fans along the Eastern seaboard as the urbane Dick of WOR's Breakfast with Dorothy and Dick, a morning show which also featured his wife, newspaper columnist Dorothy Kilgallen.
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