Beautiful Dreamers

Looney Tunes & Other Reality-Challenged Eyes

There are plenty of reasons someone one might become a private investigator, but I didn’t know a tenuous grasp on reality was one of them… Personally, I think Humphrey Bogart’s to blame. Except… how do you blame Buster Keaton’s 1924 silent classic Sherlock Jr. on Bogie?

Although driving a cab may be a contributing factor, as well…

  • Sherlock Jr.
    This 1924 silent classic, directed by and starring Buster Keaton, may have been the first cinematic presentation of a private eye wannabe who decides reality is highly over-rated.
  • Sam Marlow by Andrew J. Fenady
    Gets plastic surgery to look like Bogart, and then sets himself up as a private eye. Sure…
  • Steve Moody by Steve Oliver
    After hallucinating a conversation with Humphrey Bogart, this Thorazine-sucking Spokane cabbie and former mental patient decides to set himself up as a P.I. As one does.
  • The Bogie Man (aka Francis F. Clunie) by John Wagner and Alan Grant
    A Scottish looney tune who escapes from the cracker factory to foil the plots of an assortment of imaginary villians. He thinks he’s Bogie. A lot of that going around.
  • Red Diamond (aka Simon Jaffe) by Mark Schorr
    A forty-something cab driver and fan of detective fiction from Hicksville, Long Island, who suddenly snaps (after picking up a fare by the name of Charlie Flitcraft, for you Hammett fans) and thinks he’s Red Diamond, a Race Williams-like private eye, straight out of the pulps. Or possibly Don Quixote.
  • George Broonzer by Art Montague
    Poor George. All he wants is to be Mike Hammer. He’s already got the fedora, now if only he had the brains, the guts and the ability to focus.
  • Lionel Whitney (aka “Brown Shoe”) by Stephen J. Cannell
    Was he nuts? Or just eccentric? In Tenspeed and Brownshoe, a fondly remembered (but short-lived 1980 television show), Jeff Goldblum made his debut as the very naive, bored, terminally-square stockbroker who, with the aid of a motormouth con artist (Ben Vereen), made his fantasies of becoming a hardboiled private eye (just like his hero, Mark Savage) come true.
  • Harry Dickinson by David Black
    Fortunately Harry has a sizeable inheritance (and a gal Friday) to help him live out his fantasy as a hard-boiled dick, and keep reality at bay.
  • Jack Taylor by Ken Bruen
    Is that really Satan on the next bar stool? Or has Jack been over-served again?
  • Claire DeWitt by Sara Gran
    Is Claire alright? I’m not feeling too good myself, although that might just be a contact high just from reading her adventures.
  • John Barrie by John Bowie
    An ex-Special Forces soldier, chafing under Witness Protection, decides to use his particular skill set to pose as a P.I.
Preliminary list respectfully compiled by Kevin Burton Smith.

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