Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mike Hammer created by Mickey Spillane

Mickey Spillane invented hard-boiled private eye Mike Hammer in 1947 with the book I, The Jury. Several radio, movie, and television series have been based on the Hammer books. The actor most identified with character has been has been Stacy Keach. Keach portrayed Hammer in the CBS series Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (1984-1987 and 1997-1998).  Darren McGavin earlier portrayed Mike in 1957. Hammer's best friend is Pat Chambers, Captain of Homicide NYPD. And his love for his secretary Velda is only outweighed by his willingness to kill a killer. 

The Novels
  • I, the Jury (1947)
  • My Gun is Quick (1950)
  • Vengeance Is Mine! (1950)
  • One Lonely Night (1951)
  • The Big Kill (1951)
  • Kiss Me, Deadly (1952)
  • The Girl Hunters (1962)
  • The Snake (1964)
  • The Twisted Thing (1966)
  • The Body Lovers (1967)
  • Survival... Zero! (1970)
  • The Killing Man (1989)
  • Black Alley (1997)
  • The Goliath Bone (2008, Mickey Spillane with Max Allan Collins)
  • The Big Bang (2010, Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins)
  • Kiss Her Goodbye (2011, Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins)
  • Lady, Go Die! (2012, Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins)
  • Complex 90 (2013, Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins)
  • King of the Weeds (2014, Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins)
The Movies
  •  I, the Jury (United Artists, 1953) Biff Elliot as Mike Hammer 
  •  Kiss Me Deadly (United Artists, 1955) Ralph Meeker as Mike Hammer
  • My Gun Is Quick (United Artists, 1957) Robert Bray as Mike Hammer
  • The Girl Hunters (Colorama Features, 1963) Mickey Spillane as Mike Hammer
  • Margin For Murder (TV movie, 1981) Kevin Dobson as Mike Hammer
  • I, the Jury (20th Century Fox, 1982) Armand Assante as Mike Hammer
  • Murder Me, Murder You (1983 TV movie) Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer
  • Come Die With Me (Fox, 1994) Rob Estes as Mike Hammer
  • Mike Hammer: Song Bird (2003) (V) Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer

Radio Series
December 1952 to October 1954
Larry Haines then George Petrie and Ted DeCorsia as Mike Hammer
Jan Miller as Velda


  1. Ah, Mike Hammer! Like him or not, he and his creator left an indelible mark on crime fiction.

  2. The first four novels were the best, but I started tiring of the series with #5 & 6, and finally quit reading Mike Hammer. But those first stories were topnotch. One of these days I'm going to break down and buy the Darren McGavin TV episodes of Mike Hammer. I loved his portrayal of Mike Hammer.

  3. Ah, Tom, you're missing some great ones. True, over a career spanning this many years the law of diminishing returns sets in and you have skipped some that are well avoided, but you've missed some great ones too. I recommend THE GIRL HUNTERS, THE SNAKE and BLACK ALLEYS as outstanding Hammer novels. The McGavin series is well worth your time with great directors like William Whitney and Boris Sagal, and scripts by guys like Frank Kane, Robert Turner and Henry Kane. But much as I love Biff Baker's on-the-money portrayal in the 1953 I, the Jury, the absolute best portrayal of Mike Hammer is by Mickey himself. The Girl Hunters film (script by Spillane) is unfortunately sabotaged by poor, cut-rate production values but as the closing credits rightfully claim: Mickey Spillane IS Mike Hammer.

  4. I like all this information in one place. I have not tried any of Spillane's books, but really would like to see the Darren McGavin series, and maybe try one book and a movie for comparison.