Sunday, October 4, 2009

Who Mourns for Bulldog Drummond?

Not me. I've never read a Bulldog Drummond book, never seen a film, probably never heard a radio show. But this great cover from June 11, 1938 (possibly by Rudolph Belarksi) got me wondering.

On his blog the other day, Ed Gorman noted the seeming lack of interest these days in mystery greats John D. MacDonald and Evan Hunter. Well, if things are bad for John D. and Evan, what about old Herman Cyril "Sapper" McNeile and Gerard Fairlie, the guys who chronicled the adventures of Bulldog Drummond?

Wikipedia tells me McNeile wrote 11 Drummond novels before his death in 1937. His friend Fairlie took over in 1938 with this serialization in Detective Fiction Weekly (this issue features part 1 of 6) and went on to write six more novels. Bulldog Drummond was apparently an important influence on Doc Savage, James Bond, and fictional detectives across the board.

And now? Google "Bulldog Drummond" and the first thing that pops up is a corporation that's co-opted his name in pursuit of creative solutions for businesses. A few of his adventures have been reprinted of late, but is anyone reading them for anything but nostalgia?

As further insult to old Captain Drummond, someone stamped his ascot with the name of a second-hand magazine store and trimmed the ragged edges of the magazine (a horse-whipping offense to be sure). No wonder he looks a little sad.


Laurie Powers said...

I did not know of Bulldog Drummond. I'm going to investigate that. You're right - it sounds like he demands more respect.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

We watched a Drummond flick at Tankon. Ray Milland and Heather Angel starred. A dull disappointment was our collective opinion.

Craig Clarke said...

I'm much more fond of the Bulldog Drummond radio shows. But I often find that the case; e.g., I like Gunsmoke on radio far better than the TV series.

TC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TC said...

Never read any of Sapper's stories, never heard the radio show, never saw any of the movies from the 1950s or earlier.

I did see the two 1960s movies, Deadlier Than the Male and Some Girls Do. I don't know how faithful they were to the original concept; they were obviously influenced by James Bond and the spy-fi fad.