Colwyn Dane

Created by Rupert Hall
Pseudonym of Edward Reginald Home-Gall
Authors include Mark Grimshaw (house pseudonym; used by Ernest McKeag, Harry Belfield)

“Gosh, that was worth seeing, guv’nor!” exclaimed Slick Chester.

Crikey! Cut from the same cloth as Sexton Blake but aimed at a younger audience, COLWYN DANE was a private detective/adventurer, the kind of hero so beloved of the Brits throughout the close of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth. He appeared in an astonishing number of adventures; over a thousand were published from 1928 until 1955 in The Champion, a weekly anthology of stories aimed at young boys, appearing alongside the Champion‘s other popular characters, such as Rockfist Rogan (a RAF pilot and boxer), Ginger Nutt (“the boy who took the biscuit”), Johnny Fleetfoot (“the Redskin Winger”) and Hurry Scurry (“The Demon Racer”). Granted, they stories are mostly only three pages long, with a few strung together as serials, but still… that’s an incredible 27-year run.

Unlike Blake, however, Colwyn’s job description remained consistent — he was always a “private investigator” with offices on Benton Street W. in London, although he was also occasionally referred to as an “inquiry agent,” an “adventurer for hire” and simply as “detective.” He took on all sorts of cases — he could be pursuing a murderer through the fog-bound streets of Whitechapel, taking on the Yellow Peril (“Those bloody blighters!”), Chicago mobsters, or investigating the deaths of a couple African explorers, apparently mauled to death by a lion in Essex. And that was another significant difference between Colwyn and Sexton–while Blake gallivanted all over the globe on his cases, Dane was pretty much a homebody, rarely venturing from the United Kingdom.

But through thick and thin, Colywn could rely on his loyal (and perpetually grinning) young assistant, Slick Chester, who referred to Colwyn as “Guv’nor.” In fact, in the original stories (credited to Rupert Hall, a pen-name of Edward R. Home-Gall), Slick was the star of the show, with Dane simply part of the supporting cast. Eventually Colwyn, however, took over the leading role, though Slick of course still appeared, serving not just as his able-bodied assistant but his chauffeur as well, driving the Chief’s “super sports-car.”

Later stories were credited to Mark Grimshaw, a house pseudonym used by several writers. Ernest Lionel MacKeag, who went on to create hard-boiled newspaperman turned private eye Bill Truscottalone wrote over 300 Dane stories before the war, and almost all those from 1939 until the paper was shut down. And of course Colwyn also appeared in the the Champion’s companion publications, Champion Annual and Champion Library.

Besides creating Colwyn, Edward R. Home-Gall was a veteran AP scriptwriter.

STORIES (Incomplete)

  • “Detective Slick’s First Scoop”
  • “Jailed by the Joker” (The Champion #554)
  • “The Clue of the Stained Glove” (May 30, 1931, The Champion #487)
  • “The Case of the Chinese Menace” (The Champion #574)
  • “Colwyn Dane at Grips with Chicago” (March 19, 1933, The Champion #581)
  • “Colwyn Dane Clean Up Chicago” (June 10, 1933, The Champion #593)
  • “The Weird Case of the Whisperer” (The Champion #536)
  • “The Shadow” (The Champion #600)
  • “Scorpio Enemy of the World” (The Champion #629)
  • “Dellini – Demon Dentist” (The Champion #643)
  • “Colwyn Dane–Convict!”  (September 22, 1934, The Champion #660)
  • “Racketeer Rider of Trike 6” (June 1, 1935, The Champion #696)
  • “The Outlawed Detective” (1935, The Champion #701-709)
  • “The Sign of the Grinning Dragon” (1935, The Champion #716)
  • “The Case of the Chinese Air Pirates” (October 26, 1935, The Champion #717)
  • “The Case of the Electric Spy” (The Champion #810)
  • “The Winged Phantom” (1937, The Champion Annual)
  • “The Stolen Tailors Dummies” (1938, The Champion Annual)
  • “The Case of the Kidnapped Evacuee” (April 6, 1940, The Champion #949)
  • “The Riddle of the Eyes’ (1940 The Champion Annual)
  • “The Case of the Kidnapped Cockerels” (May 16, 1942, The Champion #1059)
  • “The Riddle of the Six-Hit Blacksmith” (May 23, 1942, The Champion #1060)
  • “The Case of the Phoney Finger-prints” (May 30, 1942, The Champion #1061)
  • “The Ghost that Wore Gloves” (June 6, 1942, The Champion #1062)
  • “The Case of the Cycling Cracksman” (June 13, 1942, The Champion #1063)
  • “The Riddle of the Phantom Rider” (June 20, 1942, The Champion #1064)
  • “The Case of the Mystery Monster” (June 27, 1942, The Champion #1065)
  • “The Case of the Pavlov the Lion Tamer” (July 4, 1942, The Champion #1066)
  • “The Sign of the Silver Serpent” (July 11, 1942, The Champion #1067)
  • “The Bomb that Came By Post” (July 18, 1942, The Champion #1068)
  • “The Case of the Sinister Six” (July 25, 1942, The Champion #1069)
  • “The Case of the Flying Professor” (August 1, 1942, The Champion #1070)
  • “The Case of the Congo Witch Doctor” (August 8, 1942, The Champion #1071)
  • “The Case of the Phantom Warder” (August 15, 1942, The Champion #1072)
  • “The Riddle of the Handcuff King” (August 22, 1942, The Champion #1073)
  • “The Case of the Steelworks Spy” (August 29, 1942, The Champion #1074)
  • “The Riddle of the Rossi Race-Gang” (September 5, 1942, The Champion #1075)
  • “The Million-Volt Mystery” (September 12, 1942, The Champion #1076)
  • “The House of Sinister Secrets” (September 19, 1942, The Champion #1077)
  • “The Black Ace” (September 26, 1942, The Champion #1078)
  • “The Riddle of the Bewitched Football” (October 3, 1942, The Champion #1079)
  • “Rommo-The Human Radio” (October 10, 1942, The Champion #1080)
  • “Crime at the Fun Fair!” (October 17, 1942, The Champion #1081)
  • “The Case of the Tattooed Rabbit” (October 24, 1942, The Champion #1082)
  • “The Avenger from the East” (October 31, 1942, The Champion #1083)
  • “The Riddle of the Raided Zoo” (November 7, 1942, The Champion #1084)
  • “the Shadow Meets His Match” (November 14, 1942, The Champion #1085)
  • “The Riddle of the Rival Gangsters” (November 21, 1942, The Champion #1086)
  • “The Case of ‘Z’ the Super Spy” (The Champion #1157)
  • “The Case of the Snakeless Snake-Charmer” (August 11, 1945, The Champion #1228)
  • “The Case of the Unlucky Clue” (August 25, 1945, The Champion #1230)
  • “The Candle Crime at Benbow Inn” (September 15, 1945, The Champion #1233)
  • “The Mystery of the Phantom Gorrilla” (September 23, 1945, The Champion #1234)
  • “The School for Spivs” (September 6, 1947, The Champion #1336)
  • “The Case of the Radio Bomb” (September 13, 1947, The Champion #1337)
  • “The Man Who Kept 100 Birds” (September 20, 1947, The Champion #1338)
  • “The Riddle of the Invisible Wrecker” (January 3, 1948, The Champion #1353)
  • “The Case of the Prison Governor’s Boots” (January 10, 1948, The Champion #1354)
  • “The Mystery of the Monster Frog” (January 17, 1948, The Champion #1355)
  • “The Great Cycle Race Mystery” (January 31, 1948, The Champion #1357)
  • “The Clue Of The Lion’s Paw” (April 8, 1950, The Champion)
  •  “The Case of the Tattooed Marathon Runner” (1950, The Champion Annual)
  • “The Case of lhe Boat Race Avenger” (1953, The Champion Annual)
  • “The Case of the Big-Top Rivals” (March 1955, The Champion #1729)

COLLECTIONS

  • “The Outlawed Detective” (July 1937, The Champion Library #204) | Buy this book
    Collects the previously published serial.
  • “The Sign of the Grinning Dragon” (March 1940, The Champion #268)
    Collects the previously published serial.

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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