HUMPHREY CAMPBELL's a decidedly soft-boiled dick who works for the Morgan Missing Persons Bureau in Los Angeles. His boss is 65 year-old Oscar Morgan -- fat, lazy, not above a little corruption. Humphrey himself is on the chubby side himself, and is prone to white suits and playing the accordion. And he never drinks anything stronger than milk.
But Humphrey's no weenie. If he has to, he'll fight. And he carries a .38 in a shoulder holster that he knows how to use. Homes' other series character, newsman/P.I. Robin Bishop teams up with Humphrey in the first book of the series, Then There Were Three (1938).
Two of the Campbell novels were brought to the silver screen. No Hands on the Clock (1941) was filmed under that title, and it's a mess; an inadvertently hilarious train wreck that only occasionally strays close to its source material. It starred Chester Morris as our man Humphrey, while 1944's Crime by Night features Jerome Cowan as "Sam" Campbell. I guess Humphrey wasn't tough enough sounding, or something. Hadn't they ever heard of Bogart? In that one, "Sam" and his secretary (Jane Wyman, who evidently has a way with a cigarette) go on vacation and end up solving a murder.
Homes was actually Daniel Mainwaring. He was born in California, and attended Fresno University. He held various jobs, including migrant fruit picker, private investigator and reporter, before turning to writing under the Homes pen name in the thirties. Sometimes using his real name, he worked as a screenwriter, first for Warner Bros. and later for Paramount, including such classic crime and film noirs as Out of the Past (1946) (based on a novel of his, and later remade as 1984's Against All Odds), They Made Me a Killer (1946), The Big Steal (1949) and Roadblock (1951). He wrote the screenplays for over forty films, including a ton of gangster flicks and westerns. Perhaps his biggest success was the screenplay for Invasion of the Body-Snatchers (1956).
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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