Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (1958 TV series)

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer is the first syndicated television series based on Spillane's hard-boiled private detective Mike Hammer, played by Darren McGavin. The series (produced from 1957 to 1959) had a run of 78 episodes over two seasons. Episodes were filmed in black and white and filled a half-hour time slot.

Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer
StarringDarren McGavin
Bart Burns
Theme music composerDave Kahn
Melvyn Lenard Gordon
Opening theme"Riff Blues"
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes78 (list of episodes)
Producer(s)Richard Irving
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Revue Studios
DistributorMCA TV
Original networkSyndication
Picture formatBlack-and-white; NTSC
Audio formatMonaural sound
Original releaseJanuary 7, 1958 (1958-01-07) 
September 18, 1959 (1959-09-18)





Production and casting

Darren McGavin played the title role. McGavin would go on to play another hard-boiled private detective in the short-lived 1968 series The Outsider. He is perhaps best known as Carl Kolchak in the television series Kolchak: The Night Stalker and the curmudgeonly father in A Christmas Story.

Bart Burns played Captain Pat Chambers, Hammer's main ally in the Police department.

Home media

On September 20, 2011, A&E Home Video released Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1 for the first time.[1] The 12-disc set featured all 78 episodes of the series.


Public and critical reaction to the show was mixed. While TV Guide referred to it as "easily the worst series on TV",[2] McGavin said that the show was "instantly successful".[3] Some reviewers were critical of the show for its use of excessive and gratuitous violence. However, McGavin made a point of playing the role of Hammer with a hint of tongue-in-cheek satire – against the wishes of Universal Studios executives.[3]

Unlike the series that appeared in the 1980s, Mickey Spillane had minimal involvement in the production of the 1950s program. "I just took the money and went home," Spillane said of the show. "Believe me, I had bigger fish to fry, namely, that darn elusive Batmanfish."[2]


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