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Whispering Smith


NBC Network
30 Minutes

The exploits of criminologist, Tom "Whispering" Smith (Audie Murphy), a plainclothes detective for the railroad who practiced modern investigation techniques to solve crimes in 1870s Denver, Colorado.

Other railroad detectives included:.

  • Sam Buffington as Chief John Richards
  • Guy Mitchell as Detective George Romack
Audie Murphy as Det. Tom 'Whispering' Smith - WHISPERING SMITH Guy Mitchell as Det. George Romack - WHISPERING SMITH
Det. "Whispering" Smith Det. George Romack

Here are some of Tom and George's exploits:

  • A blinded outlaw offers to return all of his stolen booty if he can get the reward which he will use for an operation to make him see.
  • A vengeful women targets Tom because he arrested her husband.
  • Two brothers in love with the same woman cause problems.
  • George's old friends threaten to reveal that he once belonged to a outlaw gang if he doesn't help them pull off a robbery.
  • Who shot soldiers in their back? Indians or their own men.
  • A businessman selling gold mine stocks receives a death threat.
  • A man comes to Denver to see his mother, a dance hall singer.
  • Two men posing as deputies take custody of a prisoner.
  • Tom's life becomes the fodder for a bet placed by a gambler.
  • A Scandinavian immigrant witnesses a swindler kill a man.

TRIVIA NOTE: The 26-episode series was  based on Frank H. Spearman's 1906 novel, "Whispering Smith." Spearman (1859-1937) was a banker, railroad man and a politician before he wrote his first novel, "Nerve of Foley" (1900).

Spearman's character spawned a number of films, including:

  • Whispering Smith (1916) starring J.P. McGowan.
  • Whispering Smith (1926) starring H.B.Warner.
  • Whispering Smith Rides (1927) starring Wallace MacDonald.
  • Whispering Smith Speaks (1935 starring George O'Brien.
  • Whispering Smith (1948) starring Alan Ladd.
  • Whispering Smith Hits London (1951) starring Richard Carlson.

The scripts for the series were based on actual police files and cases from the Denver Police Department.

Audie Murphy won a Medal of Honor during World War II and appeared in several western films, including  Night Passage (1957) as the Utica Kid; The Guns of Fort Petticoat (1957) as Lt. Frank Hewitt; Posse from Hell (1961) as Banner Cole; Gunfight at Comanche Creek (1963) as Judd Tanner; Bullet for a Badman (1964) as Logan Keliher; The Texican (1966) as The Texas Kid; and and 40 Guns to Apache Pass (1967) as Captain Bruce Coburn.

Guy Mitchell scored big with his 1956 song "Singing the Blues."

Before the series made it to the networks, there were a couple of problems with the cast. Guy Mitchell as Detective George Romack broke a shoulder when he fell from a horse which caused a delay in production, and Sam Buffington as Chief John Richards died (suicide) during the filming of the series. To add to these tragedies, when the program finally aired, the Senate Juvenile Delinquency committee filed charges that the show was too violent. Years later, Audie Murphy died in a plane crash near Roanoke, Virginia, on May 28, 1971.

The origin of the Smith's nickname is revealed on page 218 of the novel "Whispering Smith." Here is the excerpt:

Excerpt from the novel 'Whispering Smith' by Frank H. Spearman"

Obituaries: Audie Murphy: 05/28/1971; Guy Mitchell: 07/01/1999; Sam Buffington: 05/15/1960;

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