Call it “Geezer Noir” if you must, but these old dicks ain’t goin’ gentle into that good night…
You just can’t keep a good man down… okay, I admit that the definition of “old” gets a little harder to pin down with every passing year, but all these eyes qualify for senior citizen discounts.
- Barnaby Jones by Edward Hume (85?)
TV’s elderly, folksy gumshoe wasn’t quite as slow and doddering as he seemed. But he was 72 when they pulled the plug on the show (after eight seasons), and 85 when he made a cameo in The Beverly Hillbillies Movie in 1993.
- Ira Wells by Robert Benton
Gruff, cantankerous and ticked off at the world, this semi-retired L.A. gumshoe, as played by Art Carney, teamed up with a whacko client (Lily Tomlin) and threw off major sparks in Robert Benton’s masterful 1977 flick The Late Show.
- Jake Spanner by L.A. Morse (78)
Yeah, he’s the original Old Dick. Wanna make something of it?
- Zeke Gahagan by Vincent McConnor (81)
This smug 81-year old calls himself the world’s oldest eye, and claims to have known Hammett. You wanna call him a liar?
- Joe Ready by Bob Truluck (98)
When he made his debut, Joe was the star of a Depression-era period piece going up against Ma Barker and her boys in a 2002 story. But when he returned in his first full-length adventure, The Art of Redemption (2007), the time is now, and Joe’s a whopping 98 years old. And still kicking ass.
- Lance Bailey by Ray Nayler
Way past his expiry date, but hot on the heels of the killer of his one true love…
- William Riskin by James Siegal
Former P.I. comes out of retirement to tangle with … Nazis?
- Jim Rockford by Stephen J. Cannell and Roy Huggins
Let’s face it — Jimbo was pushing seventy by the time The Rockford Files was revived in the nineties for a string of made-for-TV movies.
- Harry Ross by Robert Benton and Richard Russo
James Garner shows up again here, seventy-something, giving great backup for Paul Newman in Twilight, the 1998 cinematic slab of geezer noir. They both play retired detectives (Newman, as Ross, was private, Garner was a cop) who get involved with a big shot Hollywood producer, his actress wife and their troublesome daughter.
- Buck Schatz by Daniel Friedman (87)
This ex-homicide cop decides to go after the sadistic Nazi who made his life hell when he was in a WWII POW camp. Oh, and there’s a lot of gold to sweeten the deal…
- Harry Lipkin by Barry Fantoni (87)
He lives in Warmheart, Florida and is still a working P.I. After all, his mom lived to be 103, so what the hell else is hew going to to do with his time?
- Deets Shanahan by Ronald Tierney (69+)
When we first met hin in The Stone Veil (1990), Deets was a semi-retired Indianapolis gumshoe within spitting distance of seventy, well on his way to lonesome, a career army man who never really got the hang of civilian life, and is less than shy about expressing his opinions about the world. Twelve novels (and twenty-five years) later, he ought to be closing in on 90, but thanks to the miracle of fiction, he’s still in hos seventies.
List respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith. Additional suggestions welcome. And thanks to jldarden for pointing out the glaringly obvious.