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The Gay Falcon

The Gay Falcon(1941)


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Michael Arlen's short story was also published in 1946 in a collection of stories edited by Ellery Queen titled To the Queen's Taste. Although a sign on "Gay's" office door spells his last name "Laurence," reviews and subsequent pictures spell his name "Lawrence." A Hollywood Reporter production chart places Florence Bates in the cast, but she was not in the released film. According to a February 1941 news item in Hollywood Reporter, after RKO decided to film its "Saint" series in London with an all-new cast, the studio began to search for a new mystery character to showcase former "Saint" star George Sanders, who was on loan to RKO from Twentieth Century-Fox. In March 1941, the studio bought the rights to Michael Arlen's story "The Gay Falcon" and assigned Lynn Root and Frank Fenton to work on the script. Modern sources add that after the picture was released, Leslie Charteris, the creator of the Saint, sued RKO on the grounds that the Falcon was the Saint in disguise. The final disposition of the suit has not been discovered. Wendy Barrie and George Sanders also appeared together in the 1939 RKO film The Saint Strikes Back and the 1940 film The Saint Takes Over.
       The Gay Falcon was the first of thirteen films based on the character created by Arlen and produced by RKO. The first four films starred Sanders as Gay Lawrence and the balance featured Tom Conway, Sanders' real-life brother, as "Tom Lawrence," brother of Gay. Seven of the films featured either Allen Jenkins, Cliff Edwards or Edward S. Brophy in the role of the Falcon's sidekick, Goldy (or Goldie) Locke. After a lapse of two years, the independent production company Falcon Productions, Inc. bought the rights to "The Falcon" and turned out three films from 1948 to 1949 starring John Calvert in the lead. From 1954 to 1955, Charles McGraw portrayed Mike Waring, the Falcon in thirty-nine syndicated television episodes entitled Adventures of the Falcon. For additional information about the series, consult the Series Index.