When Dashiell Hammett's The Adventures of Sam Spade made its debut over CBS in August 1946, the series became an instant success.
Howard Duff, a virtual unknown among Hollywood circles, found himself bombarded with movie offers.
The early broadcasts of the series revealed a dark side of Spade: stealing money out of a dead man's wallet to sleeping with a married woman. Over time, the script writers cut down on the dark side and added an emphasis of humor. Spade's romantic relationship with his secretary, Effie, was more obvious.
While many recordings exist from the radio broadcasts of the 1940s and 1950s, a large percentage of the programs are considered lost. Today, fans of the program seek out those, especially the earliest broadcasts that shed light on just what kind of character Sam Spade is and the explanation for the popularity during the late 1940s.
13 scripts, most from a lost episode that fans cannot otherwise listen to via recording, are reprinted along with some of the earliest episodes. A holiday offering from the Steve Dunne season is included, as well as an episode revealing Sam's affections for another woman so strong he was willing to lose his secretary for her.