Bulldog Drummond

Created by Sapper
Pseudonym of H. C. McNeile
(1888-1937)

“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, plays 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 Drummond’s adventures. 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”), suggesting an early version of Jack Reacher, perhaps. Or James Bond, for that matter. Ian Fleming stated that Bond was “Sapper from the waist up and Mickey Spillane below”. After all, both their creators were British andcertainly familiar with Drummond.

Aiding him in his adventures were a number of loyal ex-Army friends and colleagues and of course his trusted man-servant, 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…

NOVELS

  • Bulldog Drummond (1920; by H. C. McNeile)
  • The Black Gang (1922; by H. C. McNeile)
  • The Third Round (1924; by H. C. McNeile)
  • Bulldog Drummond (1925, by Gerald du Maurier with H. C. McNeile)
  • The Final Count (1926; by H. C. McNeile)
  • The Female of the Species (1928; by H. C. McNeile)
  • Temple Tower (1929; by H. C. McNeile)
  • The Return of Bulldog Drummond (1932; by H. C. McNeile)
  • Knock-Out (1933; by H. C. McNeile)
  • Bulldog Drummond at Bay (1935; by H. C. McNeile)
  • Challenge (1937; by H. C. McNeile)
  • Bulldog Drummond on Dartmoor (1938; by Gerard Fairlie)
  • Bulldog Drummond Attacks (1939; by Gerard Fairlie)
  • Captain Bulldog Drummond (1945; by Gerard Fairlie)
  • Bulldog Drummond Stands Fast (1947; by Gerard Fairlie)
  • Hands Off Bulldog Drummond (1949; by Gerard Fairlie)
  • Calling Bulldog Drummond (1951; by Gerard Fairlie)
  • The Return of the Black Gang (1954; by Gerard Fairlie)
  • Deadlier Than the Male (1966; by Henry Reymond)
  • Combined Forces(1983; by Jack Smithers)
    Subtitled “Being the Latter-Day Adventures of Maj. Gen. Sir Richard Hannay, Captain Hugh (Bulldog) Drummond, and Berry & Co” reunites the popular heroes (and some villains) of Buchan, Sapper and Yates, who meet up after World War Two for a string of new adventures.

SHORT STORIES

  • “The Mystery Tour” (February 1937, The Strand Magazine; by H. C. McNeile)
  • “Lonely Inn” (August 1937, The Strand Magazine; by H. C. McNeile)
  • “The Oriental Mind” (October 1937, The Strand Magazine; by H. C. McNeile)
  • “Thirteen Lead Soldiers” (November 1937, The Strand Magazine; by H. C. McNeile)
  • “Wheels Within Wheels” (December 1937, The Strand Magazine; by H. C. McNeile)

STAGE

  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1921-22, Wyndham’s Theatre, London)
    428 performances
    Based on the novel by H.C. McNeile
    Adapted by H.C. McNeile and Gerald du Maurier
    Starring Gerald du Maurier as BULLDOG DRUMMOND
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1932, Royal Adelphi Theatre)
    1 performance: November 8, 1932
    Based on the novel by H.C. McNeile and Gerald du Maurier
    Adapted by H.C. McNeile and Gerald du Maurier
    Starring Gerald du Maurier as BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    A special charity performance, attended by King George VI.
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1932, New York)
    Based on the novel by H.C. McNeile and Gerald du Maurier
    Starring A.E. Matthews as BULLDOG DRUMMOND
  • THE WAY OUT
    (1930, Comedy Theatre, London)
    Based on the novel by H.C. McNeile
    Adapted by Gerald du Maurier
    Starring Ian Hunter as BULLDOG DRUMMOND
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND HITS OUT
    (1937, Savoy Theatre, London)
    Opening: December 21, 1937
    Based on characters created by H.C. McNeile
    Written by H.C. McNeile and Gerald Fairlie
    Starring Henry Edwards as BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    This one toured the UK in 1937, after a short run at the Savoy. Fairlie later turned the storyline into the novel Bulldog Drummond on Dartmoor (1938), his first contribution to the series.
  • BULLSHOT CRUMMOND
    (1974)
    Based on characters created by H.C. McNeile
    Written by Ron House
    Starring Alan Shearman as BULLSHOT CRUMMOND
    Later this parody was made into the 1983 film Bullshot.

FILMS

  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1922, Astra-National)
    Silent
    Black & white
    Written by Herman C. McNeile
    Adapted by B.E. Doxat-Pratt
    Directed by Oscar Apfel
    Starring Carlyle Blackwell as BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    Also starring  Evelyn Greeley, Dorothy Fane, Warwick Ward
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND’S THIRD ROUND
    (1925, Astra-National)
    Silent
    Black & white
    Based on the novel by Herman C. McNeile
    Adapted by Sidney Morgan
    Directed by Sidney Morgan
    Starring Jack Buchanan as BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    Also starring Betty Faire, Juliette Compton, Allan Jeaves, Austin Leigh, Frank Goldsmith, Edward Sorley, Phil Scott
  • CAPTAIN SWAGGER
    (1928, Pathé Exchange)
    Black & white
    65 minutes
    Based on characters created by Herman C. McNeile
    Story by Leonard Praskins
    Screenplay by Adelaide Heilbron
    Titles by Paul Perez,
    Directed by Edward H. Griffiths
    StarringRod La Rocque as CAPTAIN SWAGGER/BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    Also starring Sue Carol Richard Tucker, Victor Potel, Ullrich Haupt
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1929, United Artists)
    Black & white
    90 minutes
    Based on characters created by Herman C. McNeile
    Directed by F. Richard Jones
    Starring Ronald Colman as BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    Also starring Claud Allister, Lawrence Grant, Montagu Love
  • TEMPLE TOWER
    (1930)
  • THE RETURN OF BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1934)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND STRIKES BACK
    (1934)
  • BULLDOG JACK
    (1935)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND ESCAPES
    (1937)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND AT BAY
    (1937)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND’S REVENGE
    (1937)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND COMES BACK
    (1937)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND IN AFRICA
    (1938)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND’S PERIL
    (1938)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND’S BRIDE
    (1939)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND’S SECRET POLICE
    (1939)
  • ARREST BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1939)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND COMES BACK
    (1947)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND STRIKES BACK
    (1947)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND AT BAY
    (1947)
  • THE CHALLENGE
    (1948)
  • 13 LEAD SOLDIERS
    (1948)
  • CALLING BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1951, MGM)
    Screenplay by Howard Emmett Rogers, Gerard Fairlie, Arthur Wimperis
    Directed by Victor Saville
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1952)
  • DEADLIER THAN THE MALE
    (1967)
  • SOME GIRLS DO
    (1969)

RADIO

  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1941-49, Mutual Broadcasting)
    Premiere: April 13, 1941
    Final broadcast: January 12, 1949
    Starring George Coulouris as BULLDOG DRUMMOND (later played by Santos Ortega and Ned Wever)
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (1954)
    Premiere: January 3, 1954
    Final broadcast: March 28, 1954
    Starring Cedric Hardwicke as BULLDOG DRUMMOND

TELEVISION

  • DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS PRESENTS
    (aka “Matinee” [UK]; “Rheingold Theatre” [USA])

    • “Bulldog Drummond and ‘The Ludlow Affair'” (1957)
      Starring Robert Beatty as Bulldog Drummond

COMICS

  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND
    (2004, Moonstone Noir)
    48 pgs, b/w
    Written by William Messner Loebs
    Art by Brett Barkley
    Cover by Tim Seelig
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Bulldog illustration by Tim Seelig, from the Moonstone graphic novel. Also, thanks to Peter Aldridge for his help with this page.

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