The Falcon - The character of Gay Falcon, later known in films and radio simply as The Falcon, was created in 1940 by Michael Arlen in his short story, "Gay Falcon", which was first published in 1940 in Town & Country magazine. Falcon is a freelance adventurer and troubleshooter, definitely on the hardboiled side, a man who makes his living "keeping his mouth shut and engaging in dangerous enterprises."
The Falcon was quickly brought to the screen by RKO in 1941, in the film The Gay Falcon, in which he was redefined as a suave English gentleman-detective with a weakness for beautiful women. The film was intended to establish a character who would replace Leslie Charteris' The Saint, hero of a popular RKO series of B movies starring George Sanders. Though Gay Falcon was the character's name in the short story, in the film he was renamed Gay Lawrence, so that The Falcon became a nickname, comparable to The Saint. In later outings, in various media. the character had a variety of "real names," while still being known as The Falcon. None of these episodes ever included an explanation for the nickname.
Sanders appeared in the first three Falcon films, which followed the Saint pattern so closely that author Charteris sued RKO for plagiarism. (Charteris pokes fun at The Falcon in his 1943 novel The Saint Steps In, with a character making a metafictional reference to the Falcon being "a bargain-basement imitation" of The Saint.) Sanders, tired of B leads, bowed out of the series in The Falcon's Brother (1942). The Falcon's brother, Tom, became the new Falcon, and was portrayed by Sanders' actual brother, Tom Conway.
1. The Falcon in the Devils Cargo - starring John Calvert. Conroy, A playboy, is found shot to death in his penthouse and a ne'er-do-well named Ramon Delgado (Paul Marion)tells the Falcon, Michale Watling ( John Calvert), that he committed the murder and asks the Falcon to keep a key for him until after his has been acquitted. He says he feels certain of an acquittal when the police learn that the motive for the killing was Conroy's attention to Delgado's wife, Margot (Rochelle Hudson). Tom Mallon (Theodore von Eltz)enters the case as Delgado's attorney, and after Delgado is found poisoned in his jail cell, the Falsob suspects Fallon of killing his own client.
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