Broke and without work, former art critic and journalist S.S. Van Dine burst onto the fictional detective scene with the publication “The Benson Murder Case” which featured wealthy connoisseur and man about town Philo Vance who was called in to solve the crime. The book, part one of a trilogy, was an instant hit.
Not to be left out radio soon began to cash in on the Philo Vance popularity. The first series on radio appeared around 1943 starring John Emery as Vance. In 1948, syndication king Frederic Ziv began producing a new series starting in July. This final series starred one of radio’s great voices – Jackson Beck.