Richard Rogue
Created by Ray Buffum?

Dashing RICHARD ROGUE was a hard-nosed, if not quite hard-boiled, private eye with a certain flair for solving crimes before the police do in ROGUE'S GALLERY, a radio show that premiered in 1945 and ran for six or so years, under various titles, with different leads, on various networks. Although never a huge success, it did distinguish itself from the rest of the hard-boiled detective pack with a definitely skewered sense of humour.

Rogue himself was a bit of a card, always handy with a wisecrack, a debonair gumshoe with a nose for blondes and trouble. In each show, told in the first person, Rogue somehow managed to get knocked out, coming to on "Cloud Nine," that theoretically place of joy and bliss where, unfortunately, a gremlin called Eugor (Rogue spelled backwards) who would berate Rogue and eventually boot him off the cloud, back into conciousness.

During the summer of 1946, the show was re-titled Bandwagon Mysteries, in a nod to its sponsor, and in the summer of 1947, it was revived on NBC Sundays, this time sponsored by the F. W. Fitch company, which sold Fitch Saponified Shampoo, a dandruff shampoo, this time with Barry Sullivan in the title role. In 1950 the character again turned up again, running for two seasons on ABC, with Chester Morris, radio's original Boston Blackie, as rogue.

Dick Powell was known primarily as a song and dance man until his rebirth as a movie tough guy in the Edward Dmytryk film Murder My Sweet (1944) where he played Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe with a deft combination of steely pragmatism and panache. He then appeared in a string of crime and detective flicks. Powell only played Rogue during the first season, but it was Powell who proved the most memorable. In fact, the show pretty much served as a dry run for Powell's later star turn in Richard Diamond, Private Eye, which in turn became a succesful television show starting in 1949, with Powell as producer and newcomer David Janssen stepping in as Diamond.

Not that Powell had given up playing private eyes entirely. He eventually starred on television as Willie Dante, an older, kinder take on Rogue, in Dante's Inferno (1952-56) which ran as part of Four Star Playhouse.

TRIVIA

  • The 1968 film, Rogue's Gallery, starring Roger Smith as a private eye named John Rogue, had nothing to do with the radio or television show. Although a lot of people think it does.

RADIO

  • ROGUE'S GALLERY
    (1944, NBC)
    30 minutes, weekly
    Written by Ray Buffum
    Directed by Dee Engelbach, Clark Andrews, Jack Lyman
    Producer: Charles Vanda
    Music: Leith Stevens
    Sponsor: Fitch Shampoo
    Starring Dick Powell as RICHARD ROGUE
    and Peter Leeds as Eugor
    Later replaced by
    Barry Sullivan, Paul Stewart and Chester Morris
    Guest stars: Lou Merrill, Gerald Mohr, Gloria Blondell, Tony Barrett, Lurene Tuttle

SHORT STORIES

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith, with a special tip of the fedora to The Definitive Rogue's Gallery Program Log.


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