Philo Vance was the detective creation of S. S. Van Dine first published in the mid 1920s. Vance, in the original books, is an intellectual so highly refined he seems he might be ghostwritten by P. G. Wodehouse. Take this quote from The Benson Murder Case, 1924, as Vance pontificates in his inimitable way: "That's your fundamental error, don't y' know. Every crime is witnessed by outsiders, just as is every work of art. The fact that no one sees the criminal, or the artist, actu'lly at work, is wholly incons'quential."
Thankfully, the radio series uses only the name, and makes Philo a pretty normal, though very intelligent and extremely courteous gumshoe. Jose Ferrer played him in 1945. From 1948-1950, the fine radio actor Jackson Beck makes Vance as good as he gets. George Petrie plays Vance's constantly impressed public servant, District Attorney Markham. Joan Alexander is Ellen Deering, Vance's secretary and right-hand woman.
The organist for the show is really working those ivories, and fans of old time radio organ will especially enjoy this series. Perhaps one reason the organist "pulls out all the stops" is because there seems to be little, if any, sound effects on the show.
Philo Vance, the radio series, does pay homage to the original books in that both were, even in their own time, a bit out of date and stilted.
Originally posted 2018-01-09 05:48:12.