The Saint

Leslie Charteris’ created Simon Templar, also know as the Saint in the 1928 Novel Meet the Tiger. The Saint was originally a thief who robbed “the ungodly” (usually criminals or other lowlifes) to enrich himself or might occasionally capture a criminal for the same purpose. The character moved and acted with charm and style and grew to be considered “The Robin Hood of modern crime.”

The character hit the silver screen with The Saint in New York starring Louis Heyward. George Sanders took over the role in 1939 and in five films made the Saint his own as a dashing  witty, and formidable force  against the ungodly becoming far more of a detective than the original character. This was carried on for two more films (with slightly less success by Hugh Sinclair). The next Saint film wouldn’t be made until the 1953 with Louis Heyward reprising the role in The Saint’s Girl Friday. 

The Saint came to radio in 1940 with a six week run in Ireland over Radio Athlone. In 1945, the Saint came to radio in two separate series’. In January, NBC introduced a thirteen week series starring Edgar Barrier.  In June, CBS produced a thirteen week series starring Brian Aherne. However, it was in 1947 that local CBS affiliate KNX introduced the most memorable radio Saint as Vincent Price took over the role and would play it, not only over KNX but also over Mutual, and NBC with Tom Conway (brother of George Sanders) taking over the role for the Summer of 1951.

The Saint would also be a big success on television with a pre-James Bond Roger Moore playing the character in a British ITV series that ran for six seasons in 1960s.  In addition, there were other less successful Saint series, including Ian Olgilvy in the 1978-79 series Return of the Saint and a series of TV movies in 1989 starring Simon Dutton.

Beyond this, there was a BBC Radio 4 series in 1996, an awful movie starring Val Kilmer in 1997, and in 2013, there was a failed TV pilot for the Saint.

The character’s history in print (including newspaper strips and comic books) is a testimony to how durable Leslie Charteris’ idea is. The Saint is a fascinating and roguish character who is at his best when his audience fully believes that despite everything else,  he’s on the side of the angels.

Star Biography

Vincent PriceVincent Price (1911-93): The Yale-educated Price began his Hollywood career as a promising young actor in films such as Laura before becoming one of world’s best known horror movie actors in films such as The House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, and The Comedy of Terrors. In addition, Price was known for playing the role of Egghead in the 1966 Batman TV series. Price has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for both Television and film.

Tom ConwayTom Conway (1904-67): The Russia-born Conway was best known for replacing his brother, George Sanders and taking on the role of the Falcon on screen, as well as starring in two Bulldog Drummond movies. In addition to this, in the 1950s he starrred in the Mark Saber TV series. Conway is well-remembered as the narrator in Peter Pan. He also succeeded Simon Vincent Price in the Saint.

Taking over for Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes was a daunting task. Conway’s Holmes was quite similar to Rathbone’s, albeit some listener’s see Conway’s portrayal as too sarcastic and caustic.

Conway’s life while successful in showbiz was marked by personal tragedy and alcoholism that led him to losing his wife and his brother cutting off contact with him in his later years.

Episode log (right-click to download)

Vincent Price:

Tom Conway:

Christmas Episode Played Out of Order:

Source: Definitive Saint Radio Episode log

End of Log

*Barry Sullivan filling in as the  Saint

  1 comment for “The Saint”

  1. Isaiah Nichols
    October 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Thank you so much for releasing the Saint. A few years ago, when I first became interested in old time radio, my first ever program to listen to was the Saint with Vincent Price. I had a hard time finding other episodes, but now thanks to you I have access to a growing list of surviving episodes in broadcast order. The Saint is now my favorite classic novel character and I have read the first three books, but plan on reading the rest.

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