Date Posted: May 2012
There is just one small, long-out-of-print book devoted to the exploits of “Mr. District Attorney”: Mr. District Attorney on the Job (1941), the first chapter of which is printed below at pages 307-338. Nevertheless, to many Americans he is a familiar figure – the first great “ripped from the headlines” crime drama lawyer. If you were born before 1950, there is a good chance that as an impressionable youth you heard or saw Mr. District Attorney. His runs on radio (1939-53) and in comic books (1939-42, 1948-59) were long and successful; in the movies (1941-42, 1947) and on television (1951-52, 1954-55) less so. As a Founding Figure of lawyering in popular culture, Mr. District Attorney has been the subject of some study by modern scholars of law in society, and he will probably enjoy more attention in the future. One aspect of Mr. District Attorney that merits study is his provenance, because the source (or sources) of his character might shed light on the development of the fictional lawyer as action figure.