William Tyre

Created by Henry Slesar
Pseudonyms include Clyde Mitchell, O.H. leslie, Ivar Jorgensen, E.K. Jarvis, Lawrence Chandler, Sley Harson,Gerald Vance, Jeff Heller, Wli Jerome
(1927-2002)

Short story writer Henry Slesar was a mainstay of the 50s-60s crime digests, writing everything from taut little domestic thrillers to even an occasional private eye yarn (see Steve Tyner), such as 1957’s “40 Detectives Later,” featuring Chicago gumshoe WILLIAM TYRE.

Tyree’s your typical hard-boiled dick of the era, a “former hotel dick” hired by a man, Munro Dean, intent on finding his wife’s killer. So far he’s hired, he claims, forty detectives, and all have either turned him down or somehow otherwise failed — hence the title.

It’s a pretty good little story, with your usual would-be tough talk, snappy patter and cynical wisecracks. A conversation about music with Otto, a possible suspect and old jazz buff, in a record shop is fun, and when Slesar later became a writer for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he had the opportunity to adapt his own story, starring James Franciscus as Tyre.

It’s one of the show’s more stylish episodes, ¬†complete with voice-over narration and is dressed up nicely in noirish shadows. The record store is now a used bookstore and record shop, but the back-and-forth between hunter and prey, now a beatnik (played by Jack Weston) remains, and it’s still a hoot. There’s even a tacked-on scene where Tyree visits Otto in his pad and encounters his “chick,” who complains her “bongo’s getting cold”.

After Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Slesar continued to work in television, writing scripts for, among others, The Twilight Zone and M*A*S*H, but he’s probably best known for his Emmy-winning run writing for the CBS soap opera The Edge of Night, where he served as head writer from 1968 to 1984.

SHORT STORIES

  • “40 Detectives Later” (May 1957, Manhunt)

TELEVISION

  • ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS
    (1955-65, CBS, NBC)

    • “40 Detectives Later”
      (April 24, 1960)
      Based on the short story by Henry Slesar
      Starring James Franciscus as William Tyre
      Also starring Jack Weston, George Mitchell, Arlene McQuade
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith, with a big thank you to Chris Baldemor for the lead.

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