. . . there was another British action hero who went up against super villains and arch criminals and always managed to save the day.
His name was Captain Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond, Ret. who – wealthy, and bored with retirement after WWI – became a bit of a soldier of fortune and detective.
The character was created in 1920 by British author Herman Cyril McNeile who wrote under the pseudonym `Sapper’.
In all, `Bulldog’ would appear in 10 novels by McNeile (and a handful of short stories), and another 9 novels penned after his death in 1937 by Gerard Fairlie and later Henry Raymond.
Between 1923 and 1969 there were 25 Bulldog Drummond movies made, and from 1951 to 1954 Bulldog Drummond was portrayed on the radio by Ned Weaver for the Mutual Broadcasting System.
One of the early Bulldog Drummond novels The Black Gang, is there as well.
Fair Warning: Books of this era often invoked racial stereotypes and by today’s standards portions would be considered racist or politically incorrect.
Moving on to the movies, we’ve a number available to watch or download from the Internet Archive.
Over the years more than a dozen actors played the role, including Ronald Coleman, Walter Pidgeon, Ralph Richardson, and Tom Conway.
Best remembered, however, was John Howard who played the part in 7 of the mid-to-late 1930s movies. The franchise was put on hold during WWII, when Howard enlisted.
When the series was picked up again in 1947, the producers went with a different actor.
A bit of bitter irony, as Howard was awarded both the US Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre for gallantry – yet he wasn’t seen as suitable to continue to play the hero in films.
While his Hollywood career may have faltered, Howard did manage to work steadily in Television for the next 30 years.
We’ve 9 of these 1930s entries, and one post-war effort with Ron Randell.
You’ll find fiendish plots, ruthless assassins, spies, artificial diamonds, and even a death ray in these movies. Ian Fleming openly admitted that parts of his Bond character were inspired by Drummond.
These are, of course, `B’ movies. Low budget, played relatively `light’ for the most part. The `running gag’ in a lot of them is the last-minute interruption of Bulldog’s nuptials with his long-time fiancé Phyllis.
All in all, though, they aren’t a bad way to spend an hour.
Bulldog Drummond at Bay – 1935 – John Lodge
Bulldog Drummond's Revenge – 1937 – John Howard
Bulldog Drummond Comes Back – 1937 – John Howard
Bulldog Drummond Escapes – 1937 - Ray Milland
Bulldog Drummond's Peril – 1938 – John Howard
Bulldog Drummond in Africa – 1938 – John Howard
Bulldog Drummond's Secret Police – 1938 – John Howard
Bulldog Drummond's Bride - 1939 – John Howard
Arrest Bulldog Drummond - 1939 – John Howard
Bulldog Drummond at Bay – 1947 Ron Randell
And last, but not least, we’ve a selection of Bulldog Drummond radio episodes, also from the Internet Archive.
There are 20 episodes in this collection, which is located here.
Death Rides A Racehorse
Dinner Of Death
Murder In The Death House
Escape Into Death
Claim Check Murders Aka Atomic Murders
Death in the Deep
Deadly Stand In, the
Penny Arcade Story
Death Rides a Racehorse
Bulldog Drummond xx-xx-xx (xxxx) Death Loops The Loop
Death Uses Disappearing Ink
Devil Flats [Endg Cut]
Porcelain Ming Cat
Ride In The Moonlight