The Whistler:

     Stepping Into the Shadows


Legendary film director Robert Wise called the Whistler features, "examples of budget filmmaking at its very best." Noted B movie historian Don Miller cited them as, "the best B pics of the period from Columbia." Famed film critic/historian Leonard Maltin referred to the series as "one of the most unusual- and one of the best mystery series of the 30's and 40's. . ." Based on J. Donald Wilson's hit radio suspense program featuring ironic tales of terror spun by a mysterious host, The Whistler film series consisted of eight motion pictures produced by Columbia Pictures between 1944 and 1948 starring legendary, Academy Award-nominated actor, Richard Dix. Although manufactured quickly and cheaply to fill the bottom half of a mandatory double bill, The Whistler films were suspenseful and well made, engendering wide popularity and surprising critical acclaim. Today historians and movie aficionados frequently cite them for their innovation and style-and as early examples of film noir. This is the story of the making of this landmark Columbia series, and the many extraordinary individuals who pooled their singular talents to make eight low budget movies into film classics. Included in this reference volume are rare profiles of 50 Whistler filmmakers: actors, directors, writers, and technicians.

                   Editorial Reviews


"Engagingly written, exhaustively researched. . . Do yourself a favor - step into the shadows and buy this book!" -- The Dark Pages

"You have created a masterpiece for not only The Whistler movies but as a historian . . . It's a trip back into history that will be a great treasure to the Dix family for generations to come." --   Robert Dix

"A fantastic read.  What a wonderful tribute to my dad.  Our family will cherish it forever!" --  Nicholas McKinney (son of Whistler actor Michael Duane)

"A good read.  Dan Van Neste deserves credit for putting the spotlight on a mostly-forgotten series of movies that perhaps should be classified as B+."  --  Radio Recall

"a valuable and engrossing work that benefits from solid research and should be of great interest and appreciated not only by fans of the show but by "B" aficionados in general."  --  Scarlet The Film Magazine

"Meticulous, detailed, and lavishly illustrated with photographs and promotional materials, The Whistler: Stepping Into the Shadows is a compelling example of pop culture history and well worth reading. . . " -- Wheeler Winston Dixon (Professor of Film Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln).


"Long overdue for book-length appreciation are Columbia's outstanding various crime series of the 1940's . . . Fortunately, the most unique of these series-The Whistler, based on J. Donald Wilson's popular radio program-is now covered in this handy reference companion by Dan Van Neste."   --   Video Watchdog


"A wonderful book!   A very good write-up of me!"  --  John Calvert (legendary actor, illusionist, costar of The Mark of the Whistler, 1944)