In the late ’40s and early ’50s Vincent Price played “The Saint” in a series based on Leslie Charteris’ literary creation. His “Robin Hood of modern crime” would square off each week against colorful crooks, cops, hoods, and femme fatales. Over the years, the Saint’s halo has been assumed by actors as varied as George Sanders, Roger Moore, and Val Kilmer. But no one tipped it as jauntily as Vincent Price, who had the right touch for a tricky role. Charteris’ suave superman, Simon Templar, is so smart, stylish, skilled, and assured that there’s a danger of his coming off smug half the time. Price avoids this trap with an audible wink, having what sounds like a great time except when called upon to smite some villain.
Additional humor (largely unintentional) is provided by the sponsors’ product spots. You are also exposed to a surprisingly earnest side of Price in his remarks at the end of some episodes. Directly addressing listeners, he puts out calls for good citizenship, charity, and religious and racial tolerance.
Not all episodes star Vincent Price, and the ones that don’t provide an interesting contrast. Barry Sullivan stepped in on September 17 & 24 1950, at which point the series was cancelled. The show returned quickly due to audience demand, but Price bowed out for good in mid-’51. Tom Conway held the halo for the rest of year, which ended the NBC run.
The What-Not What Got Hot
It was common practice at the time to air episodes more than once, often with different titles. Rather than repeat all those shows, this collection provides the recording with the best audio quality and indicates other titles: The Color-Blind Killer / A Schizophrenic Psychiatrist.
There are 55 complete episodes; running times range from 23:56 to 30:04.