Kaiser Lupowitz

Created by Woody Allen (pseudonym of Allen Stewart Konigsberg; 1935-- )

KAISER LUPOWITZ is the gumshoe in a couple of Woody Allen's apparently affectionate parodies/tributes of/to the hardboiled private eye tale.

Yes, that Woody Allen.

And what's more, he seems to know what he's shooting at, scoring direct bull's eyes on the work of all the usual suspects, including Hammett, Chandler and Spillane. Hell, Kaiser even smokes Lucky Strikes, just like Sam Spade.

In his first recorded case, "Mr. Big", he's on a missing person's job. Run-of-the-mill stuff, really, except that the missing person is God. In his only other appearance to date, "The Whore of Mensa", Kaiser goes up against a ruthless gang of intellectual hookers. Both stories are real hoots. Definitely worth looking for.

Allen obviously enjoys the genre, because he returned to it in 2001's The Curse of the Jade Scorpion, which he wrote and directed, as well as starred in, playing C.W. Briggs, an insurance dick (Allen, of course) whose feathers get ruffled by a pretty efficiency expert (Helen Hunt). And of course there's Play It Again, Sam, Woody's 1969 play (and 1972 film), wherein he pays serious tribute to the tough guy detective persona of Humphrey Bogart as displayed in numerous films.


  • "Could I get a suit like this for $14 if there was no one up there?"

-- Rabbi Wiseman on the existence of God, when questioned by Kaiser in "Mr. Big"

  • "I like being a private eye, and even though once in a while, I've had my gums massaged with an automobile jack, the sweet smell of greenbacks makes it all worthwhile. Not to mention the dames.

-- Kaiser muses on the good life in "Mr. Big"


  • "Mr. Big" (1971, Getting Even)...Buy this book
  • "The Whore of Mensa" (December 16, 1974, The New Yorker)

Collected in "Without Feathers," 1975...Buy this book


  • MR. BIG
    (2009, Audio by Adam)
    Based on the short story by Woody Allen
    Adapted, directed and produced by Adam Phillips

Great little dramatisation with a full cast. Bravo!

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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