China Smith

Created by Robert C. Dennis

B-film tough-guy movie actor Dan Duryea played two-fisted part-time scam artist/private eye CHINA SMITH who operated out of a bar in Singapore, in the eponymous syndicated TV show from the fifties. China’s cases often took him throughout the Orient, which him plenty of swash-buckling action in this early, as China (rocking his trademark white suit) went about his business, charming the ladies with his thick Irish brogue, annoying the cops, ruffling the feathers of assorted villains and local miscreants, and getting in some some pretty fancy gymnastic feats, “reminiscent of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.” according to one critic.

The original series ran aired in 1952, and was followed by The New Adventures of China Smith, which ran from to 1954-56. Once again the show was set in Singapore, and done on the cheap, although this time the show was filmed in San Francisco.

Both shows did well enough (as late as the ’70s Duryea’s estate was still getting residuals from around the world). Duryea eventually made his way back to film work, including the 1955 B-noir World for Ransom, which was an eratz spin-off, using the same cast and setting as China Smith.


    (1952, syndicated)
    52 30-minute episodes
    Created by Robert C. Dennis
    Writers: Robert C. Dennis, Lindsay Hardy, Jack Laird, Wilton Schiller, Hendrik Vollaerts
    Directors: Arthur Peirson, Robert Aldrich, Edward Mann, Gene Fowler Jr., Leslie Goodwins
    Cinematographers: Joseph Biroc
    Produced by Bernard Tabakin
    A Bernard-Prockter Production
    Distributed by National Telefilm Associates
    Starring Dan Duryea as CHINA SMITH
    with Douglas Dumbrille as Inspector Hobson
    and Myrna Dell as Shira (“Empress”)

    • “Karpriel Cipher”
    • “The Yellow Jade Lion”
    • “Shanghai Clipper”
    • “Bamboo Coffin”
    • “Tidewalker”
    • “Sign of the Scorpion”
    • “Bible of Dr. Quail”
    • “Devil Chaser”
    • “Blackwing of the Firebird”
    • “Bandits of Malaya”
    • “Cruise to Columbo”
    • “Broken Rice Bowl”
    • “Paper Dragon”
    • “Straits Settlement
    • “The Dusty Doll”
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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