|New Adventures of Michael Shayne
with Jeff Chandler
Mutual in July 1948, under the title of "New Adventures of Michael Shayne" with Jeff Chandler in the lead, and
it ran for two years. Michael Shayne was "that reckless, red-headed Irishman", who used brain and brawn equally.
His assistant, a blond named Phyl Knight, was not prominent in most of the episodes. Although mystery writer Brett
Halliday got the credit for creating this detective and bringing him to radio, he never wrote any scripts but was happy
enough to pick up the royalty checks.
Michael Shayne was dreamed up in 1935 while he was vacationing on the Gunnison River in western Colorado. It
took four years and 22 rejections before Halliday found a publisher for the first Shayne novel, Dividend on Death
(Henry Holt, 1939). The second Michael Shayne book was bought by 20th Century Fox, and actor Lloyd Nolan
became Mike on the screen. Michael Shayne also appeared in numerous radio programs throughout the 1940s and
From 1946 to 1961, Halliday was married to mystery writer Helen McCloy. They were also partners in a literary
agency that bore their names, as well as in Torquil Publishing Company, which from 1953 to 1965 published the
Shayne books. Prior to this, he had been married to Kathleen Rollins, and their betrothal had provided him with
two step daughters.
After Halliday gave up writing the Shayne series in 1958 with Murder and the Wanton Bride, it continued, being
ghosted by such other writers as Robert Terrall, Ryerson Johnson and Dennis Lynds. One of the ingredients of
the formula Halliday had concocted in 1939, and to which he had faithfully adhered during his tenure as Michael
Shayne's writer, was a certain timeless quality. This fact allowed Michael Shayne's other writers to bring him well
into the 1980s. Davis Dresser was a founding member of the Mystery Writers of America, and in 1953. He lived
in Santa Barbara, CA, until his death at the age of 72 on February 4, 1977.
Brett Halliday was one of the many pseudonyms (fictitious names) of Davis Dresser, a prolific pulp fiction writer of
countless Western, romance, adventure and mystery stories.
David Dresser was born in Chicago in 1904 and grew up in West Texas. He lost an eye to barbed wire as a boy,
requiring him to wear an eye patch for the rest of his life. He was 14 when he ran away from home and enlisted in
the 5th U.S. Cavalry at Fort Bliss, Texas, followed by a year of border patrol duty on the Rio Grande. After army
service, Dresser returned to Texas to finish high school. He graduated from Tri-State College in Civil Engineering.
He worked for a time as an engineer and as a surveyor, and then started as writer in 1927.