Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of mystery writer Raymond Chandler. Besides his books, he is most often thought of in terms of some classic movies - "Strangers On A Train", "Double Indemnity", and any film that gave us new incarnations of Philip Marlowe. (One of them, played by Dick Powell, could be from the Borderlands. Powell played Marlowe in "Murder, My Sweet" and in the 'Climax!' episode "The Long Goodbye".)
But he made his mark in television as well, living long enough to see his work on the small screen. (He died at the age of 70 in 1959.)
The following anthology series adapted his works:
- 'Fallen Angels'
- 'TV de Vanguarda'
- 'Schlitz Playhouse'
- 'Lux Video Theatre'
- 'Studio One In Hollywood'
- 'Nash Airflyte Theatre'
- 'Robert Montgomery Presents'
- 'The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse'
Recastaways of Chandler's gumshoe Philip Marlowe can be counted among several of those entries listed above. (The "Red Wind" episode of 'Fallen Angels' takes place in the TV dimension of Black Toobworld since Marlowe was played by Danny Glover.)
And there were two TV series about Marlowe as well. (Philip Carey's televersion from 1959 is the official portrayal for Toobworld.)
There were TV movies based on his work, including other entries for Marlowe, "Marlowe" and "Poodle Springs". There was an updated version of his screenplay for "Double Indemnity" (which I admit to liking a lot, despite comparisons to the superb original.) And for the TV dimension of German Toobworld (that Earth Prime-Time which was conquered by the Nazis), there was an adaptation of his short story "I'll Be Waiting" - "Ich werde warten".
Another Chandler story to be found in an alternate dimension would be the adaptation of his screenplay for "Strangers On A Train". "Once You Meet A Stranger" takes place in Distaff Toobworld, in which Guy Haines is now Sheila Haines and twisted Bruno Antony becomes Margo Anthony.
And that 'TV de Vanguarda' mentioned above presented "Pacto Sinistro", which was a Brazilian adaptation of that same Hitchcock movie. Being in Portuguese, that alternate Toobworld must have been created when Portugal never surrendered control of the high seas.
Raymond Chandler even wrote an episode for the classic private eye show '77 Sunset Strip' called "One False Step", which was broadcast the year before he passed away.
But my favorite of all isn't an adaptation. It's basically a staged reading... in Lou Grant's office on 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'.
I wrote about it here when I marked the 120th anniversary of his birth.
So here's to the memory of Raymond Chandler, one of the top five writers ever from the United States!