Boston Blackie is a fictional character who has been on both sides of the law. As originally created by author Jack Boyle, he was a safecracker — a hardened criminal who had served time in a California prison. Prowling the underworld as a detective in adaptations for films, radio, and television, the detective Boston Blackie was “an enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend”.
The Boston Blackie radio series, starring Chester Morris, began June 23, 1944, on NBC as a summer replacement for The Amos ‘n’ Andy Show. Sponsored by Rinso, the series continued until September 15 of that year. Unlike the concurrent films, Blackie had a steady romantic interest in the radio show — Lesley Woods appeared as Blackie’s girlfriend Mary Wesley. Harlow Wilcox was the show’s announcer.
On April 11, 1945, Richard Kollmar took over the title role in a radio series syndicated by Frederic W. Ziv to Mutual and other network outlets. Over 200 episodes of this series were produced between 1944 and October 25, 1950. Other sponsors included Lifebuoy Soap, Champagne Velvet beer, and R&H beer. While investigating mysteries, Blackie invaribly encountered harebrained Police Inspector Farraday (Maurice Tarplin) and always solved the mystery to Farraday’s amazement.
Initially, friction surfaced in the relationship between Blackie and Farraday, but as the series continued, Farraday recognized Blackie’s talents and requested assistance. Blackie dated Mary Wesley (Jan Miner), and for the first half of the series, his best pal Shorty was always on hand. The humorless Farraday was on the receiving end of Blackie’s bad puns and word play.