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James L.  'Whispering'  Smith
[18??-1914]


1906 painting by N.C. Wyeth used as frontispiece for Frank H. Spearman's novel              short profile

non-fiction about 'Whispering' Smith

fiction about 'Whispering' Smith

movies about 'Whispering' Smith

NOT 'Whispering' Smith

links

             1906 painting by N.C. Wyeth - 'Whispering Smith, wheeling, shot again'


There were essentially three versions of 'Whispering' Smith: The real-life Denver-based railroad detective James L. Smith
and the Western hero fictionalized by Frank H. Spearman are covered here; the 1930s British detective 'Whispering Jack' Smith
doesn't count. {There are also a clothing line and several musicians using the name.)


     B I O
     t e x t
     h e r e

Whispering Smith article at Legends of America
Whispering Smith entry at Wikipedia {empty}
filmography for 'Whispering Smith' character at IMDb


Non-Fiction About 'Whispering' Smith

Whispering Smith biography  "Whispering Smith: His Life & Misadventures" [2007]
by Allen P. Bristow

Western author Bristow covers the legend, the conflicting facts, and
the Hollywood versions of real-life railroad detective James L. Smith.

Sunstone Press 9x6 pb [7/2007] for $18.96
publisher book page

Fiction About 'Whispering' Smith

red cover for Whispering Smith novel 1912 edition  Whispering Smith novel 1948 movie tie-in mass paperback cover  
1999 Forge cover for 'Whispering Smith' mass paperback novel  2008 cover for Whispering Smith novel from Sunstone Press  
"Whispering Smith" [1906]
by Frank H. Spearman [1859-1937], illustrated by N.C. Wyeth

Renegade railroad employees are wrecking and robbing the trains running thru the rugged
Rocky Mountains, so the railroad sends in their best detective.

Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [3/2011] for FREE {sic}
Kessinger Publng 9x6 pb [3/2005] for $24.62
Sunstone Press 9x6 pb [10/2008] for $26.56
Forge mass pb [9/99] out of print/used
Leisure Books mass pb [6/79] out of print/used
Kessinger Publng 9x6 hardcover [3/2005] for $37.92
Buccaneer Books 9x5¾ hardcover [6/95] out of print/used

available as free online etext at Internet Archive (from Gutenberg)
available as free online scanned etext at Internet Archive
1908 edition available as free online scanned etext at Internet Archive

story "Medicine Bend" [1916]

story "Whispering Smith Rides" (pre-1927)

story "Whispering Smith Speaks" (pre-1935)

story "Whispering Smith Comes Through" (Oct 1937)
October 1937 issue of Western Novel & Short Stories Magazine with "Whispering Smith Comes Through by Frank H. Spearman" showing on the cover



Movies About 'Whispering' Smith

filmography for 'Whispering Smith' character at IMDb

"Whispering Smith" silent feature [Signal/Mutual June 1916]: full credits at IMDb
Directed by & starring J.P. McGowan; written by Frank H. Spearman; also starring Helen Holmes

silent sequel "Medicine Bend" [Signal/Mutual July 1916]: full credits at IMDb
Directed by & starring J.P. McGowan; written by Frank H. Spearman; also starring Helen Holmes

"Money Madness" silent feature [Universal May 1917]: full credits at IMDb
Directed by Henry MacRae; scenario by William Parker; starring Charles Hill Mailes, Don Bailey, M. Everett & Mary MacLaren

"Whispering Smith" silent feature [Metropolitan/P.D.C. March 1926]
Produced by Cecil B. DeMille; directed by George Melford; adapted by Elliott J. Clawson & Will M. Ritchey; starring
H.B. Warner, Lillian Rich, John Bowers, Lilyan Tashman, Eugene Pallette, Richard Neill, Jim Mason full credits at IMDb

"Whispering Smith Rides" 10-chapter silent serial
[Universal June-Aug 1927]
common publicity photo of J.P. McGowan as Whispering Smith  Chapter Titles: 1. Lawless Men; 2. Caught In The Crash; 3. Trapped; 4. The Ambush; 5. Railroad Gold; 6. The Interrupted Wedding; 7. A Coward of Conscience; 8. The Bandit's Bargain; 9. The Trail of Sacrifice; and 10. A Call of The Heart Directed by Ray Taylor; written by Frank H. Spearman; scenario by Arthur Henry Gooden; starring J.P. McGowan, Wallace MacDonald, Rose Blossom, Henry Hebert, Merrill McCormick, Nelson McDowell, Willie Fung & Dick La Reno
This film serial is considered lost VHS/DVD/Blu-ray not available
serial credits at IMDb serial entry at Wikipedia

"The Lightning Express" 10-chapter sound serial [Universal June-Aug 1930]
Chapter Titles: 1. A Shot In Ihe Dark; 2. A Scream of Terror; 3. Dangerous Rails; 4. The Death Trap; 5. Tower of Terror; 6. A Call For Help; 7. The Runaway Freight;
8. The Showdown; 9. The Secret Survey; and 10. Cleared Tracks
Produced & directed by Henry MacRae; adapted by Ford Beebe from "W.S. Rides"; starring
Al Ferguson {as Whispering Smith}, Lane Chandler, Louise Lorraine, Greta Granstedt, J. Gordon Russell, John Oscar, Martin Cichy & Bob Reeves full credits at IMDb

"Whispering Smith Speaks" [Fox May 1935]
Whispering Smith Speaks 1935 feature film  Railroad scenes filmed in Northern California, with amazing b&w footage of S.P. cab-forward locomotives; deciding that he will never learn the railroading business working in an office in Detroit, the son of a railroad owner goes out in the field; he becomes a track-walker for a small rail line and becomes smitten with the female manager-owner; when scoundrels discover tungsten deposits on her ranch, their intrigue puts her in danger, and the young man commandeers a special train to race to her rescue. Directed by David Howard; starring George O'Brien {as Gordon Harrington, Jr. aka John 'Whispering' Smith}, Irene Ware, Kenneth Thomson, Maude Allen, Spencer Charters, Victor Potel, Edward Keane, Frank Sheridan, William V. Mong, Maurice Cass & J.P. McGowan
VHS/DVD/Blu-ray not available full credits at IMDb

"Whispering Smith" color feature [Paramount Dec 1948]
poster for Whispering Smith 1948 movie starring Alan Ladd  A railroad detective's friend is fired, and then joins a gang of train robbers; Smith is assigned to bring the man to justice, and matters are complicated by a mutual attraction with the man's wife. Directed by Leslie Fenton; based on the Spearman novel; starring Alan Ladd, Robert Preston, Brenda Marshall, Donald Crisp, William Demarest, Fay Holden, Murvyn Vye, Frank Faylen, John Eldredge, Ward Wood, J. Farrell MacDonald, Will Wright, Don Barclay, Eddy Waller, Ray Teal & Bob Kortman; WGA nomination for Best Western Script
Universal color DVD [6/2004] for $11.24
full credits at IMDb movie entry at Wikipedia
also available as part of "4 Movie Marathon" package, with "Albuquerque" [1948], "War Arrow"
[1953], and "Duel At Silver Creek" [1952]
Universal color DVD set [3/2011] 2 disks for $9.68

"Whispering Smith Investigates" [R.K.O. Radio Pictures 1952]
Although IMDb shows an 'uncredited' writing credit for Frank H. Spearman, the movie has nothing to do with railroad detectives
or the Western U.S.; plot has vacationing British detective drawn into unwieldy tale of murder in London, U.K.;
directed by Francis Searle, starring Richard Carlson, Greta Gynt & Herbert Lom full credits at IMDb

"Whispering Smith" TV series [Revue/NBC-TV May-Oct 1961]
Whispering Smith TV series starring Audie Murphy  26 b&w half-hour episodes filmed in 1959, not broadcast until 1961; officially based on the Spearman novel about Denver, Colorado police detective 'Whispering' Smith (here called Tom).
Starring Audie Murphy, Sam Buffington & Guy Mitchell
Shout! Factory / Timeless Media Group b&w DVD set [4/2010] 3 disks for $18.41
full credits at IMDb series entry at Wikipedia
DVD includes bonus "Medal of Honor: The Audie Murphy Story" [1955 short]


Not The Same 'Whispering' Smith

http://www.whisperingsmith.com/ [est. 1967] in Manchester, U.K.



L i n k s
Whispering Smith article at Legends of America
Whispering Smith entry at Wikipedia {empty}
filmography for 'Whispering Smith' character at IMDb


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