Radio noir with Philip Marlowe

Posted on May 14, 2013 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Has there ever been a detective as cool as Philip Marlowe, the pulp fiction creation of Raymond Chandler? As quick with a wisecrack as he was with gun, Marlowe worked the lonely streets and seedy alleys of ’30 L.A.

“I needed a drink,” runs one first-person riff. “I needed a lot of life insurance. I needed a vacation. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.”

Marlowe was popular in print, and in the movies. In 1946 film version of “The Big Sleep,” Humphrey Bogart made the character a film noir icon. Marlowe’s droll, similee-laden monologues also translated perfectly to radio, where he was brought to life by the likes of Van Heflin and Dick Powell.

May 19 and 20, Murphy’s Dinner Theatre presents a live rendition of “The Adventures of Phillip Marlowe, P. I.” radio program, circa 1948. The production features Jeremy Berrick, as Marlowe, along with Jeff Dreyer, Sharry Simpson, and Bill Shea.

The stage will have that L.A. night owl look, with special guest musician Keith Ridenhour, on sax, providing the jazz-blues soundtrack. Tickets to each 5:30 p.m. show are $35 and include a multiple course meal, glass of wine or beer, and the show. Contact or 935.0660.

The script is Chandler’s “Red Wind,” which opens with Marlowe contemplating the weather. “There was a rough desert wind blowing into Los Angeles that evening. On nights like that, every booze party ends up in a fight, and meek little housewives feel the edge of a carving knife and study their husbands’ necks.”

Your Easter eggs should be so hardboiled.