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"Demobilised Officer finding peace incredibly tedious would welcome diversion. Legitimate if possible; but crime of a humorous description, no objection. Excitement essential."
CAPTAIN HUGH "BULLDOG" DRUMMOND, DSO, MC, Britian's immensely popular two-fisted adventurer was, in many ways, the response to the American hard-boiled school.
He made his debut in the eponymous novel Bulldog Drummond (1920) and instantly proved popular, appearing in a slew of stories, novels, movies and radio episodes over the next fifty years or so.
He was so popular that when his creator, H.C. MacNeile (aka "Sapper") passed away in 1937, his good friend Gerald Fairlie stepped in and continued writing the adventures of Drummond. Which only seems fair -- Fairlie was supposedly the inspiration for the character in the first place.
An officer, a gentleman and a decorated war hero in the "Royal Loamshire Regiment," Drummond grew bored after the First World War, and -- longing for excitement -- set himself up as a private detective and adventurer for hire, running an ad in the local paper.
Bulldog was up for just about anything -- the essential factor seemed to be that the job involved "excitement" -- and there was little he couldn't handle. He was one tough cookie alright; a big man and muscular, although quick on his feet, extremely agile, and deadly ("he could kill a man with his bare hands in a second"), making him perhaps an early version of Jack Reacher.
Aiding him in his adventures were a number of loyal ex-Army friends and colleagues and of course his trusted man-servant and secretary (and former batman) James Denny, with whom he lives in a flat in London's fashionable West End.
He appeared in twenty or so novels, and over two dozen films, where he was was played by, among others, Ronald Colman, Walter Pidgeon, Ray Milland, Tom Conway and Rod La Roque.
He even made a relatively late appearance in a 2004 comic book, reborn as an American private eye, courtesy of the twisted folks at Moonstone Comics, where his backstory was tinkered with, but only slightly.
Bored with life? SO WAS BULLDOG!
Here's how he got over it: after a tour of the trenches of WW1 he heads back to London, right? Set's himself up with a nice private detective agency with some of the lad's from his squadron, but the passive gumshoe-type he ain't! Oh no, our Bulldog's a bit of head-first guy, just the guy you'd call when a pair of brilliant criminals hit town with an insiduous plan to capture a scientist who's whipping up a secret weapon. Not that Bulldog's all-brawn-no-brain mind you, but these cad's may not have anticipated how much guts our MAN is packing! The only thing that may trip him up is a gorgeous set of eyes and the greedy she-devil who's weilding them...
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Bulldog illustration by Tim Seelig, from the Moonstone graphic novel.
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