Created by Robert Leslie Bellem (1902-1968)
kind of P.I. gets knocked unconscious by a man with no legs and
only one arm? Hollywood stuntman turned private eye NICK RANSOM
was one of Robert Leslie Bellem's "other" eyes. He carried
his roscoe under his arm, and has a plastic cigarette holder with
silver filigree that a client once gave him. He only uses it on
occasion to impress potential clients (or to save his life) because
he prefers his poison straight. He gets a little help from his
buddy, Ole Brunvig, on the homicide squad who is one mean cop.
Of course, Bellem is best known for Dan
Turner, he of the sneezing roscoe. The Ransom stories
are more subdued (they would almost have to be) would than the
Turner stories, although some of that ol' Turner charm starts
to pop up. With over 3000 pulp stories to his credit, it's no
surprise Bellem created a few non-Turner P.I.s. Others included
Cliff Downey and Duke Pizzatello.
Ransom himself only appeared in a few short stories in Thrilling
Detective magazine, but he lived in in a dramatic production
by New York's old
school theatre, an Off-Off Broadway theatre company, adapted
from one of Bellem's short stories, and starring Matt Wagner (pictured)
- "The sky came down and hit me on the noggin. All the
stars in the heavens fell with the sky and danced in my optics,
and all at once I was pitching down a long dark tunnel that gulped
m like a raw oyster. My head came off and floated away. It wasn,t
a head, it was a balloon, and somebody had cut the string. It
drifted on a rising current, and the current became a whirlpool
of pain filled with India ink.
"Blooey. I didn,t even feel the floor when it bounced me."
-- Nick in "Preview of Murder"
- "My head vibrated like strings on a hockshop banjo and
my stomach churned."
-- Nick returns to consciousness, ibid.
- "Pulp Theatre! From the pages of a 1949 "pulp"
detective magazine to the stage, set to live jazz music: meet
Nick Ransom, handsome former Hollywood stuntman turned Private
Detective, as he tries to solve a murder mystery chock full of
guns, gams, bullets, bodies, scotch, scandal, naked truth (and
-- the blurb from the stage production)
- "...the Old School Theatre Company revive[s] a 1949
pulp detective story in Preview of Murder, delving straight-faced
into the smoky tale of a mysterious set of homicides. Though
Old School's fliers cite The New York Times' plaudit, "Laughs
... in a mad, crazy flood," the chuckles heard are actually
the spasmodic byproduct of embracing noir on its own terms. Lead
actor Matt Wagner, who plays private dick Nick Ransom, is the
most engaging presence in an interesting, if somewhat subdued,
-- Orlando Weekly
- "Suicide Scenario" (February 1948, Thrilling Detective)
- "Homicide Shaft" (April 1949, Thrilling Detective)
- "Preview of Murder" (June 1949, Thrilling Detective)
- PREVIEW OF MURDER
(August 10-26th, The 2001 New York International Fringe Festival)
Based on the short story
by Robert Leslie Bellem
Adapted by Dawne Seifert
Directed by John Peterson
Original Music by Andy Cohen
Starring Matt Wagner as NICK
Also featuring Dawne Seifert,
Jon Hemingway, Mike Gold, Robert Watts, John Dowgin, Terry Burch
Nominee: 2002 Spotlight Production,
The Orlando International Fringe Festival.
Joint report respectfully submitted byKevin Burton Smith and Dale Stoyer.
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