Dashiell Hammett, the famous “Sam Spade” detective novelist created The Fat Man series for a listening audience. Brad Runyon, the title character solved murder mysteries that often baffled ordinary law enforcement. Runyon was a tough, street-smart seasoned detective, who worked with his secretary, Lila North.
After his initial creation and debut, the character was further defined by producer, E. J. “Mannie” Rosenburg. J. Scott Smart, who played the title role, was considered a “fat man” in real life, weighing around 270 pounds.
The series was first broadcast on January 21, 1946. The program aired on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) radio network. The Fat Man continued to be heard on radio until its last broadcast in January of 1951. The same year, a film adaptation was made and Smart starred alongside Rock Hudson, Jayne Meadows and Emmett Kelly.
Writer, Dashiell Hammett once confided that he had little to do with the series beyond the initial creation, other than to collect a check. He was not fond of radio and he preferred not to become involved in the series production. By 1966, a pilot of The Fat Man was made for television; however, the title character received a new name and a new background. Later detective series would have contain elements of the original Fat Man series, such as the popular Cannon television series.
You can enjoy listening to The Fat Man series, episode Murder Sends a Christmas Card: