Created by Baynard H. Kendrick (also wrote as Richard Hayward; 1894-1977)
Blinded in World War I, wealthy, dashing Captain DUNCAN MACLAIN moves to New York and sets up a detective agency, aided by his partner, Spud Savage (is that a great name or what?) and his secretary (and Spud's wife) Rena. Rounding out the staff are Duncan's two specially-trained German Shepherds, Schnuke and Driest. When he's not solving crimes, Duncan whiles away the time reading (in Braille) and doing giant jigsaw puzzles. Later on in the series, Duncan found time to marry the lovely Miss Sybella Ford, owner of a decorating shop.
Don't be fooled by the gimmick, though -- these books are pretty damn decent, and author Kendrick was no hack. He was a founding member of The Mystery Writers of America and served as its first president, and was later voted a Grand Master. The Maclain books are exciting, well-written adventures (even if, granted, there are a few pulpy gee-whizzes sprinkled here and there) and it's a true crime that Kendrick and Maclain are now almost forgotten.
By the way, it IS a good gimmick; one that really grabbed readers' attention. At least good enough to inspire a handful of B-films in the forties, including a couple starring the decidedly stout Edward Arnold as the blind detective. They weren't great, although Eyes in the Night has a few unintentionally hilarious moments of scenery chewing, as Arnold pretends to be drunk.
There was also a TV appearance with Robert Middleton as Maclain (that I can't find any info on), and in the seventies, Longstreet, a television series that featured a blind insurance investigator (and that I definitely remember, and rather fondly, as well).
Includes the novelettes "The Silent Whistle," "Melody in Death" and "The Murderer Who Wanted More"
Look for Marie Windsor in a bit part as an actress and Donna Reed as a worldly seventeen-year-old.
"I remember seeing the beginning of this episode when it originally aired on Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse in 1960... The blind detective concept was intriguing and Robert Middleton would have made a fascinating series lead. Donald May ("Colt 45", "The Roaring Twenties") would have played his handsome young associate. May may well have been playing Spud Savage. I'm pretty sure Evan Evans played May's wife Rena... The production company was of course Desilu ("The Untouchables") The writer was David J. Goodman according to imdb. This is his only listed credit. I think it may have really been written by David Z. Goodman, who has some strong credits including "The Untouchables" and "Farewell My Lovely". The episode was rerun on "Kraft Mystery Theater", an NBC summer replacement series in 1962, and I think the pilot may have inspired "Ironside" several years later."
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. A special thanks to Brian Cuddy for the TV lead.
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