Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: Richard Diamond, Private Detective

Super-talented Dick Powell
Dick Powell is perhaps the most-likable entertainer the world has ever seen.  He has wit, charm, good looks, can sing, can dance, can produce and can direct (radio, film and television.)  He's also a great actor, acting in many musicals in the movies and also playing the leading man.  He also played a pivotal part in the history of cinema/film noir as a private eye. On top of all of that, he can be very, very funny.

There's nothing I don't like about Dick Powell.  And there's nothing not to like about the radio show, Richard Diamond, Private Detective.

There are so many things to like about the show, in fact, I have a hard time knowing where to begin.  Perhaps it is the way he answers his phone near the show's beginning, when Helen Asher (Diamond's girlfriend) calls him up and he flirts with her.  They are both suggestive but do it in a very smart way.  The secret to a woman's heart is a sense of humor and Dick Powell as Richard Diamond has one.  (The Richard Diamond of other mediums were not near as clever or suave.)

The show revolves a client and (usually) some sort of mystery.  Sometimes he's asked to deliver a package or keep an eye on someone - the usual private detective stuff.  Powell takes this material and runs with it, having so much fun along the way that show comes out more like a comedy than a mystery - and in this case, it's not a bad thing.  Frivolity lends itself to this show.  Even when he's conked on the head (usually twice an episode) he steals from his first venture into detective drama (the motion picture, Murder, My Sweet) and has little men talking to him inside his head.  While not funny, it reminds you how the show is never taken seriously, even if murder is involved.
Ed Begley as cop Walt Levinson

Every now and then the show will turn serious but that only lasts for a moment or two and then the fun begins again.

Diamond loves to mess with police chief Walt Levinson (really played well by Ed Begley) and half the joy of the show is to hear Begley sputter, "Oh-argh-Diamond!"

After the mystery fun is over, we get to hear Powell sit at the piano and sing.  The smartest thing the show ever did was to put the song at the very end of the episode and not in the middle to ruin fluidity.

All-in-all, a very pleasing and different kind of detective show that came along at the right time.  I realize now  - with embarrassment  - that I left this show off My Top 75 list. It would probably go in the late-30's.


  1. Jimbo I am really glad you like this show it's one of my favorite along with Six Shooter and Gunsmoke. I agree it is a very fun show.

  2. Thanks for the comments Kevin. I think I might review The Six Shooter tomorrow if I remember. ;-o

  3. Agree with both of you. Talking about getting knocked out several times during the show, the same thing happens in Rogue's Gallary. Then he has this discussion with Egor. It brings up todays world discussion about concussions and football players. How serious it can be. Wow. It happens everyday to gumshoes of the 40s and 50s. Imagine what their lives were like later in life.

  4. So very true BB. My beloved Roger Staubach's #1 player of all-time rating was killed by the Navy and concussions from the redskins.

    One day we should do a count how many times RDiamond is konked on the head.

    BTW - Rogue's Gallery is almost an identical show to RD...


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