Boston Blackie was a character created by Jack Boyle in a short story entitled "The Price of Principle." This first appeared in The American Magazine in July 1914. Boston Blackie was a thief that always got away with the crime, or was always being framed
. He was an "enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend." Mary Dawson was Blackie's girlfriend/wife. Inspector Faraday was the cop that was always trying to catch him.
The character appeared in several silent movies, as well as talkies. In 1944, the syndicated radio show based on the character began as a summer replacement for Amos and Andy. The radio program ran until 1950. He was portrayed by several different actors: Bert Lytell, David Powell, Lionel Barrymore, William Russell, Thomas Carrigan, Forrest Stanley and Raymond Glenn. Chester Morris played the role of Boston Blackie in all fourteen of the talkies. Morris and Richard Kollmar voiced Blackie for the radio programs, which were written by Kenny Lyons and Ralph Rosenberg.
A typical synopsis of a radio program:
Faraday picks up Blackie for the murder of Andrew Lawrence, caretaker of the Devon Estate. There are
bloodstains on the camelhair coat Blackie is carrying, but he disavows it as being his even though his ID
label is sewn inside the coat! Blackie gets away, and goes to see Marian Mason, the checkroom girl at the
Savoy Café, but finds her dead. At the Devon Estate, he meets the owner, Polly Morrison. He asks for
the caretaker’s job, but she has already hired Jerry. Blackie poses as Detective Jones, working on the case.
Frightened, she tells him that the house has been periodically ransacked, one room at a time. Arthur
Moran’s client, South American businessman Parker Adams, wants to buy the estate and/or its entire gun
collection. Blackie sleeps in the caretaker’s cottage and the next morning, finds Jerry and the policeman
tied up in the ransacked living room and Polly drugged. Faraday arrives but thugs, Danny and Eddie, get
the drop on him and Blackie and put them in straight jackets, intending “to stick their feet in concrete and
drop them in the river”. Blackie gets out of the straight jacket and knocks the guard unconscious. Blackie
discovers that Adams was a murder suspect 5 years ago but the gun could not be found. He suspects
Devon was blackmailing Adams. Blackie finds the murder weapon, unmasks the killer and clears himself.
Synopsis and information based on "The Ultimate Boston Blackie Log" by
Charles Laughlin, Arlene Osborne and Al Hubin