(Né Salvatore Lombino. Also wrote as Evan Hunter, Hunt Collins, Richard Marsten, Curt Cannon, Ezra Hannon and John Abbott; 1926 -2005)
ED McBAIN was best known among crime fiction fans -- and rightfully so -- as the creator of the ground-breaking 87th Precinct police procedural series.
But he also managed to contribute to this genre ours with such notable gumshoes as Matt Cordell, Ben Smoke, Matthew Hope and Curt Cannon. He even wrote one of the all-time great spoofs of the genre, "Kiss Me Dudley," featuring Dudley Sledge, a private peeper who knows how to handle both women AND fish.
But his writings went far beyond just the crime genre. Under a slew of pseudonyms, he wrote horror, science fiction, melodrama, westerns and children's books. He wrote short stories, novels, television shows, films and even a couple of plays, and saw much of his work adapted to both TV and film. In fact, his first large-scale success was the film version of his novel The Blackboard Jungle.
Still, he'll always be remembered for creating the cops of the 87th Precinct, Isola's finest.
Why Isola, instead of New York City? Here's McBain's take on it, from The Craft of Crime, edited by John C. Carr, Houghton Mifflin, 1983:
"When I started writing the first book, I found I was on the phone with the cops every ten minutes to check something...I thought, 'This is getting to be a headache; I'm going to be spending more time talking to the cops than writing the books." And I said, 'I'm going to make this an imaginary city."
And hence Isola (it means "island" in Italian) was born. He goes on to say how much he enjoys making up "baloney" about Isola. It's obvious from the interview that McBain is serious about his work, but he never takes himself too seriously.
Unless otherwise noted, I'm assuming these stories appeared as by Ed McBain.
"Dead Freight" (February 1952, Famous Detective Stories; Guthrie Lamb; as Hunt Collins)
"The Body Beautiful" (May 1952, Famous Detective Stories; Guthrie Lamb; as Hunt Collins)
"Let the Gods Decide (Off-Trail Special)" (July 1952, Ten Story Sports; as Hunt Collins)
"A-Hanging We Will Go!" (September 1952, Smashing Detective Stories; as Hunt Collins; aka "Off-Trail Murder Mystery")
"The Little Man" (October 1952, Famous Western; as Salvatore Lombino)
"P-A-T-R-O-L" (November 1952, War Stories Magazine; as Hunt Collins)
Collection of 25 stories (including intros by McBain himself) from the fifties show the writer in fine form, spinning hard-boiled of alcoholic dicks and other losers, plus one of the all-time great P.I. parodies, "Kiss Me Dudley."
Me and Hitch (1997; as Evan Hunter)
Memoirs of his experience with director Alfed Hithcock, working on The Birds.
BLACKBOARD JUNGLE...Buy this video
101 minutes, black & white Based on the novel by Evan Hunter Screenplay by Richard Brooks Directed by Richard Brooks Produced by Pandro S. Berman Starring Glenn Ford, Anne Francis, Louis Calhern, Margaret Hayes, John Hoyt, Richard Kiley, Emile Meyer, Warner Anderson, Basil Ruysdael, Sidney Poitier, Vic Morrow, Dan Terranova, Rafael Campos, Paul Mazursky, Horace McMahon, Jamie Farr, Danny Dennis Classic fifties JD flick, based on McBain's book. Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" supplies the rock'n'roll heart. .
(1958, Barbizon/United Artists)
Black & White Based on the 87th Precinct novel by Ed McBain Screenplay by Henry Kane Directed by William Berke Starring Robert Loggia , Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Shirley Ballard, Russell Hardie, Hal Riddle, William Neff, Gene Miller, Vincent Gardenia and Jerry Orbach .
(1958, Barbizon/United Artists)
Black & White Based on the 87th Precinct novel by Ed McBain Screenplay by Henry Kane Directed by William Berke Starring Kent Smith, Nan Martin, James Franciscus, Stefan Schnabel, Dick O'Neill, John Alexander, Arthur Storch, Bert Thorn, Albert Dannibal, Dolores Sutton, Beah Richards, George Maharis, Michael Conrad
STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET
(1960, Columbia) Screenplay by Evan Hunter Based on the novel by Evan Hunter Directed by Richard Quine Produced by Richard Quine Starring Kirk Douglas, Kim Novak, Ernie Kovacs, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau, Virginia Bruce, Kent Smith, Helen Gallagher, John Bryant, Roberta Shore, Nancy Kovack, Carol Douglas Soap opera, apparently heavy on the suds. .
THE YOUNG SAVAGES...Buy this video
(1961, MGM/UA) Based on the novel "A Matter of Conviction" by Evan Hunter Screenplay by Edward Anhalt, J.P. Miller
Directed by John Frankenheimer Produced by Harold Hecht Executive producer: Pat Duggan Starring Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Edward Andrews, Vivian Nathan, Shelley Winters, Larry Gates, Telly Savalas, Pilar Seurat, Jody Fair, Roberta Shore, Milton Selzer, Robert Burton, David J. Stewart, Stanley Kristien DA investigates the case of three Italian teenagers accused of murdering a blind Puerto Rican boy. .
TENGOKU TO JIGOKU (English title: High and Low)
AKA Heaven and Hell, The Ransom
(1963) Based on the 87th Precinct novel "King's Ransom" by Ed McBain Directed by Akira Kurasawa
Set in Tokyo Starring Toshiro Mifune
THE BIRDS...Buy this DVD...Buy this video
(1963) Based on the story by Daphne DuMaurier Screenplay by Evan Hunter Directed by Alfred Hitchcock Produced by Alfred Hitchcock Starring Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartwright, Ethel Griffies, Charles McGraw, Ruth McDevitt, Lonny Chapman, Joe Mantell, Doodles Weaver, Malcolm Atterbury, John McGovern
AKA Woman Without a Face
100 minutes, black & white Based on the novel "Buddwing" by Evan Hunter Screenplay by Dale Wasserman Directed by Delbert Mann( Produced by Douglas Laurence, Delbert Mann Starring James Garner, Jean Simmons, Katharine Ross, Angela Lansbury, George Voskovec, Jack Gilford, Joe Mantell, Raymond St. Jacques, Ken Lynch, Wolfgang Zilzer, Beeson Carroll Garner as an amnesiac wandering NYC, trying to figure out who he is.
LAST SUMMER (1969, Allied Artists Pictures Corporation)
95 minutes Based on the novel by Evan Hunter Screenplay by Eleanor Perry Directed by Frank Perry Produced by Sidney Beckerman, Alfred W. Crown Starring Barbara Hershey, Richard Thomas, Bruce Davison, Catherine Burns, Ernesto Gonzalez, Lou Gary, Andrew Krance, Wayne Mayer, Peter Turgeon, Lydia Wilen Teen angst, 60s style. .
LE CRI DU CORMORAN, LE SOIR AU-DESSUS DES JONQUES
AKA Cry of the Cormoran
(1970, Gaumont) Based on the novel by Evan Hunter Screenplay by Michel Audiard Directed by Michel Audiard Starring Michel Serrault , Bernard Blier, Paul Meurisse, Marion Game, Françoise Giret, Sylvie Bréal, Nancy Holloway, Jean Carmet, Maurice Biraud, Carlos French caper flick. .
WITHOUT APPARENT MOTIVE
(1972) Based on the 87th Precinct novel Ten Plus One by Ed McBain Directed by Phillippe Labro
Set on the Riviera Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Dominique Sanda
EVERY LITTLE CROOK AND NANNY
92 minutes Based on the novel by Evan Hunter Screenplay by Jonathan Axelrod, Cy Howard, Robert Klane Directed by Cy Howard Produced by Leonard J. Ackerman Starring Victor Mature, Lynn Redgrave, Paul Sand, Margaret Blye, Austin Pendleton, John Astin, Dom DeLuise, Louise Sorel, Phillip Graves, Lou Cutell, Leopoldo Trieste, Pat Morita, Phil Foster, Pat Harrington Jr., Esther Rolle Crooks kidnap a gangster's kid. .
FUZZ.. .Buy this DVD
(1972, United Artists)
92 minutes Screenplay by Evan Hunter Based on the 87th Precinct novel by Ed McBain Directed by Richard A. Colla Produced by Jack Farren Starring Burt Reynolds, Jack Weston, Tom Skerritt, Yul Brynner, Raquel Welch, Peter Bonerz, Steve Ihnat, James McEachin, Bert Remsen
SANS MOBILE APPARENT
AKA Senza movente, Without Apparent Motive
(1972, Cinétel/Euro International Film/Président Films)
100 minutes Based on the 87th Precinct novel "Ten Plus One" by Ed McBain Screenplay by Philippe Labro, Jacques Lanzmann Directed by Philippe Labro Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Dominique Sanda, Sacha Distel, Carla Gravina, Paul Crauchet, Laura Antonelli, French/Italian co-production about an investigation into a string of murders comitted in Nice. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays the lead detective "Stéphane Carella." .
LES LIENS DU SANG.. .Buy this DVD
AKA Blood Relatives
(1978, Cinevideo-Filmel/Classic Film Industries)
100 minutes Based on the 87th Precinct novel, Blood Relatives, by Ed McBain Screenplay by Sydney Banks, Claude Chabrol Directed by Claude Chabrol Starring Donald Sutherland, Aude Landry, Lisa Langlois, Laurent Malet, Stéphane Audran, Walter Massey, Micheline Lanctôt, Donald Pleasence, David Hemmings, Ian Ireland, Guy Hoffman, Marguerite Lemir, Gregory Giannis, Jan Chamberlain Canadian/French production with Donald Sutherland as Carella. .
102 minutes Based on the novel by Evan Hunter Screenplay by Evan Hunter Directed by Robert E. Collins Produced by Lawrence Turman Original music by Robby Benson, Don Peake Starring Robby Benson, Sarah Holcomb, Henry Darrow, Pepe Serna, Trinidad Silva, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Lawrence Pressman, Domingo Ambriz, Brad Sullivan, Irene DeBari Star vehicle for Robby Benson as a young Chicano gang member. Yeah, right...
ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS (1955-65) Writers include: Evan Hunter
30 60-minute black and white episodes Created by Ed McBain
A Hubbell Robinson Production with MCA Television Starring Robert Lansing, Norman Fell, Ron Harper, Gregory Walcott and Gena Rowlands
TV Series Writers include: Evan Hunter Starring Raymond Burr as Ironside
720 min (4 episodes) Based on the novel "The Chisholms: A Novel Of The Journey West" by Evan Hunter
Screenplay by Evan Hunter Directed by Mel Stuart Produced by Paul Freeman Executive producers: David Dortort, Alan Landsburg Original music by Elmer Bernstein Starring Robert Preston, Rosemary Harris, Ben Murphy, Brian Kerwin, James Van Patten, Stacy Nelkin, Susan Swift, Charles Frank, Glynnis O'Connor, Sandra Griego, David Hayward, Billy Drago, Anthony Zerbe Pioneer family makes their way to Oregon from Virginia in the days of the American West.
THE LEGEND OF WALKS FAR WOMAN
2 hours Teleplay by Evan Hunter Directed by Mel Damski Produced by Tony Converse, Roger Gimbel Co-producer: Lee Levinson Starring Raquel Welch, Bradford Dillman, Nick Mancuso, Eloy Casados, George Clutesi, Nick Ramus, Branscombe Richmond Raquel Welch as Indian woman out to avenge her husband's death at the hands of the white man.
Mini-series Based on the novel by David Nevin Teleplay by Evan Hunter Directed by Dick Lowry Produced by Hunt Lowry Starring Richard Chamberlain, Alice Krige, F. Murray Abraham, René Enríquez, Ben Johnson, Jerry Orbach, G.D. Spradlin, Rip Torn, Fritz Weaver, Anthony Zerbe, Claude Akins, John Anderson, Lee Bergere, Jeff East, Michael Ensign, Mel Ferrer, Cameron Mitchell, Noble Willingham, Bill Campbell, James Cromwell Ambitious mini-series purports to tell the tale of the west. Various TV stars play various historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Kit Carson and Jim Bridger..
COLUMBO (1989--, NBC) Starring Peter Falk as Lieutenant Columbo
"No Time to Die" (1992; based on a story by Ed McBain)
"Undercover" (1994; teleplay by Ed McBain)
ED McBAIN'S 87th PRECINCT: LIGHTNING....Buy this video...Buy this DVD AKA "ED McBAIN'S 87th PRECINCT" (1995, NBC) Based on the novel by Ed McBain Teleplay by Mike Krohn and Daniel Levine Directed by Bruce Paltrow Starring Randy Quaid, Alex McArthur, Ving Rhames, Eddie Jones, Alan Blumenfeld, Ron Perkins, Steven Flynn, Johann Carlo, Tracy Middendorf, Mary-Joan Negro, Alison Moir, Steve Park, Deanne Bray, Richard Portnow, Dayton Callie, Christopher Darga, Marquita Terry, Juney Smith By most accounts, Quaid, a generally solid and reliable actor, is totally miscast in this one.
ED McBAIN'S 87th PRECINCT: ICE.. .Buy this DVD
(February 18, 1996, NBC)
2 hour made-for-television movie Based on the novel by Ed McBain Written by Larry Cohen Directed by Bradford May Starring Dale Midkiff, Joe Pantoliano, Paul Johansson, Andrea Parker , Michael Gross
ED McBAIN'S 87th PRECINCT: HEATWAVE... .Buy this DVD
(1997, NBC) Based on the novel by Ed McBain Teleplay by Larry Cohen Directed by Douglas Barr Starring Dale Midkiff, Paul Ben-Victor, Paul Johansson, Erika Eleniak, Andrea Ferrell, Michael Gross
.THREE BLIND MICE... .Buy this DVD (2001, Viacom Productions Inc.) Based on the novel by Ed McBain Teleplay by Anne Gerard and Adam Greenman Directed by Christopher Leitch Starring Brian Dennehy as MATTHEW HOPE Also starring Debrah Farentino, Rosalind Chao, John Doman, Glenn Plummer, Mary Stuart Masterson
PROFILE OF A WRITER, VOL. 1: ED McBAIN/EVAN HUNTER...Buy this video (1993)
CASE REOPENED: LIZZIE BORDEN WITH ED McBAIN...Buy this video
(1999) McBain narrates documentary on infamous ax-happy murder.
MacDonald, Erin E., Ed McBain/Evan Hunter: A Literary Companion...Buy this book
Jefferson, North Carolinia: McFarland & Company, Publishers, 2012. An astounding labour of love (and scholarship), as MacDonald, not content with spending seven years on a dissertation on the 87th Precinct novels, wades into the vast ocean of work McBain left us, from short stories in the pulps and digests to his bestselling police procedurtals and crime novels. Detailed overviews and an impressive listing of character-by-character breakdowns, plus oodles of bibliographic info make this an essential reference work for both fans and collectors, both encyclopedic and engaging.
The Easter Man (1964)
The Conjuror (1969)
The Official Ed McBain Web Site A much improved web site from the last time I reviewed it. In fact, it's one of the more fun author sites I've seen lately.
Respectfully submitted (and awaiting tons of corrections, I'm sure) by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Rudy, Scott Lawrence, Jerry Mastet and Ted Bergman for at least trying to keep me honest. And an extra big thanks to Erin MacDonald whose Ed McBain/Evan Hunter: A Literary Companion is just absolutely some kind of wonderful.