P.I. character gets patriotic

Bernstein wants producers to contribute to relief funds

If Mike Hammer leads a patriotic parade, will Spider-Man and Columbo follow?

Producer Jay Bernstein — who has made millions from “Mike Hammer” movies and TV shows over the years — points out that recording artists, movie stars and other performers have been generous in contributing talents to Sept. 11-themed fund-raisers. But now, he argues, it’s time for producers to step up: They should contribute franchise characters to the relief funds.

The producer wants Mike Hammer, the hard-nosed gumshoe character created by Mickey Spillane, as a character in a one-shot TV drama carrying a patriotic theme. Bernstein vows that he will donate 100% of the money he might earn from such a project to a relief fund.

Of course, Hammer is a throwback to another era. Bernstein has no problem with that: He sees the TV show as a descendant of the sort of flag-waving action movies that emanated from the early days of World War II, like “The Sands of Iwo Jima” and “God Is My Co-Pilot.”

So OK, if Mike Hammer is willing to enlist, will other American icons — or even such overseas heroes as James Bond and Harry Potter? “It’s time to be both patriotic and inventive,” Bernstein said.

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