Flashgun Casey
Created by George Harmon Coxe (1901-84)

Originally appearing in the pages of Black Mask, under the watchful eyes of then-editor Joseph Shaw, JACK "FLASHGUN" CASEY was the originally fast-talking crime photographer, a big, hot-tempered Boston Mick with a gift for gab and a nose for trouble. No "artiste", Casey kept a bottle of hooch and a .38 in his desk drawer, and boasted of being able to put a "slug where he aimed" and having "two big fists he knew how to use." He appeared in several short stories in the pulps and several novels. While writing the novels, Coxe decided "Flash" was a bit rough-edged, so he cleaned him up a bit, married him off, made him a bit more "professional" and created a new photographer/PI, Kent Murdock, who went on to appear in twenty two books.

While his crosstown rival, Murdock, enjoyed much more success in books, ol' Flashgun became a bit of a multimedia superstar. Two (or three?) quite popular B-flicks; a very successful radio show, CASEY, CRIME PHOTOGRAPHER on CBS which ran for several years, starring Staats Cotsworth as FLASHGUN CASEY, and a spin-off television show which ran for two years, simply called CRIME PHOTOGRAPHER, starring Darren McGavin. The radio show was so successful that there was even a four-issue comic book tie-in by Marvel, with photos of Staats Cotsworth on the cover as Casey.

In the radio and TV shows, Casey hung out at the Blue Note Cafe, and, at least on the tube, related his cases to Ethelbert, the bartender. He landed a girlfriend, Ann Williams, a reporter, and eventually a partner, Jack Lipman, rookie newshound, who wrote the copy to go with Casey's pics. Somewhere along the line, Casey had gone from working for the Boston Express to the New York Morning Express, but he was still our Casey.

Well, sorta. The producers weren't satisfied with the original casting, and after only a few months, Richard Carlyle and John Gibson, who played Casey and Ethelbert, respectively, were replaced by Darren McGavin and Cliff Hall. Another interesting note is that the director of the show was then-27-year old Sidney Lumet, now a bigshot Hollywood director.

The prolific writer Coxe has several other PI series characters: Sam Cromie, Max Hale, Leon Morley, and Jack Fenner.

TRIVIA

  • A young Charles Bronson starred in a very similar television series in 1958-60 entitled Man With a Camera.

SHORT STORIES

  • "Return Engagement" (March 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Special Assignment" (April 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Two-Man Job" (May 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Push-Over" (June 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Hot Delivery" (July 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Mixed Drinks" (August 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Pinch-Hitters" (September 1934, Black Mask)
  • "Murder Picture" (January 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Casey -- Detective" (February 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Earned Reward" (March 1935, Black Mask; aka "Reward for Survivors")
  • "Women Are Trouble" (April 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Thirty Tickets to Win" (June 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Buried Evidence" (July 1935, Black Mask; aka "Guns in Action")
  • "Mr. Casey Flashgun's Murder" (October 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Portrait of Murder" (February 1936, Black Mask)
  • "Murder Mixup" (May 1936, Black Mask)
  • "Fall Guy" (June 1936, Black Mask)
  • "Too Many Women" (September 1936, Black Mask)
  • "Casey and the Blonde Wren" (August 1940, Black Mask)
  • "Once Around the Clock" (May 1941, Black Mask; also in The Hard-Boiled Detective)
  • "Killers Are Camera Shy" (September 1941, Black Mask)
  • "Murder in the Red" (June 1942, Black Mask)
  • "Blood on the Lens (Part One)" (January 1943, Black Mask)
  • "Blood on the Lens (Part Two)" (February 1943, Black Mask)

COLLECTION

  • Flash Casey, Detective (1946, reprints four Black Mask stories)

NOVELS

  • Silent Are the Dead (1942)
  • Murder For Two (1943; originally serialized in Black Mask as "Blood on the Lens")
  • Error of Judgement (1961)
  • The Man Who Died Too Soon (1962)
  • Deadly Image (1964)
  • Dead Heat (1950; by Paul Ayres[pseudonym of Edward S. Aaron])

FILMS

  • WOMEN ARE TROUBLE
    (1936, MGM)
    60 minutes, more or less
    Written by George Harmon Coxe (story) and Michael Fessier
    Director: Errol Taggart
    Cinematography: Oliver T. Marsh
    Produced by Michael Fessier,  Lucien Hubbard
    Starring Stuart Erwin as FLASHGUN CASEY
    Also starring
    Paul Kelly, Florence Rice, Margaret Irving, Cy Kendall, John Harrington, Harold Huber, Kitty McHugh, Raymond Hatton , Robert Homans

  • MEET FLASH CASEY
    (aka "Here's Flash Casey")
    (1937, MGM)
    Starring Eric Linden as FLASHGUN CASEY

RADIO

  • CASEY, CRIME PHOTOGRAPHER
    (1943-1950, CBS)
    Written by Alonzo Dean Cole (with some help from Coxe)
    Directed by
    Alonzo Dean Cole
    Produced by
    Alonzo Dean Cole
    Starring Staats Cotsworth as FLASHGUN CASEY
    With Jan Miner as Ann Williams
    and John Gibson as Ethelbert
    Also featuring
    The Archie Bleyer Orchestra (and later
    The Teddy Wilson Trio) as The Blue Note Musicians
    Reader Eric Allstrom points out that Wilson was a great jazz pianist of the day, probably more famous than the detective show on which he played.
  • "Acquitted" (July 3, 1947)
  • "Lady Killer" (July 10, 1947)
  • "Self-Made Hero" (July 17, 1947)
  • "Photo of the Dead" (July 24, 1947)
  • "Hide Out" (August 28, 1947)
  • "Graveyard Gertie" (September 11, 1947)
  • "Great Grandfather's Tent Receipt" (October 30, 1947)
  • "The Blonde's Lipstick" (November 6, 1947)
  • "The Serpent Goddess" (December 4, 1947)
  • "The New Will" (December 11, 1947
  • "Ex-convict" (January 22, 1948)
  • "The Piggy Bank Robbery" (January 29, 1948)
  • "The Fix" (February 26, 1948
  • "Tough Guy" (March 4, 1948)
  • "Fog" (March 11, 1948)
  • "Murder In Black & White" (March 18, 1948)
  • "Blind Justice" (March 25, 1948)
  • "Scene Of The Crime" (March 10, 1949)
  • "The Wolverine" (May 5, 1949
  • "Souce Of Information" (January 20, 1954)

COMICS

  • CASEY -- CRIME PHOTOGRAPHER
    (1949-1950, TimelyPublications)
    Four issues
    Artists: Vern Henkel
    Editor: Stan Lee
    Tie-in to radio show, featured photo-covers of Staats Cotsworth, who played Casey on the radio show. But after four issues, Marvel changed the title and theme of the comic book to Two-Gun Western.
  • (August 1949, #1)

  • "The Sinister Carnival!" (October 1949, #2)
  • "Face-To-Face With The Strangler!" (October 1949, #2)
  • "Trapped By The Penny Plunderers!" (October 1949, #2)

  • (December 1949, #3)

  • (February 1950, #4)

TELEVISION

  • CRIME PHOTOGRAPHER
    (1951-1952, CBS)
    40 30-minute episodes
    Directors: Sidney Lumet
    Producers: Charles Russell, Martin Manulis
    Broadcast live from New York
    Starring Richard Carlyle as CASEY (April-June 1951)
    Later replaced by Darren McGavin (June 1951-1952)
    and John Gibson as Ethelbert (April-June 1951)
    Later replaced by Cliff Hall (June 1951-1952)
    Also starring Jan Miner as Ann Williams
    Archie Smith as Jack Lipman
    Donald McClelland as Captain Logan
    with The Tony Mottola Trio as The Blue Note Cafe Musicians

AUDIO CDS

  • Casey, Crime Photographer Collection: Snapshots of Mystery (2012) ...Buy this book
    This Radio Spirits collection rounds up 16 tales from the shows seven-year run.

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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