It’s difficult to pick one favorite fictional character. Childhood imagination was fueled by Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone (the Fess Parker versions, not reality) as well as Mike Nelson from "Sea Hunt" (I would bet that 90% of the youths who grew up watching Lloyd Bridges wearing his double tank aqualung wanted to become either marine biologists or commercial scuba divers). In literature, no character looms larger for me than Long John Silver who not so much swashbuckles, but hobbles on a crutch and peg leg through my favorite book "Treasure Island." Dangerous, ruthless, deceptive and cunning, yet somehow always knowing he would not truly harm young Jim Hawkins. I can read this book today and recall how I felt the first time I huddled in the apple barrel with Hawkins while we overheard the plotting of the pirates.

My favorite adult fictional character is John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee. McGee lives aboard the Busted Flush houseboat, which he won in a poker game, and drives a classic Rolls, Miss Agnes, which someone outfitted with a pick-up truck bed. McGee, alternates between youthful retirement and an occasional hard boiled "salvage consultant" recovery, keeping 50% for himself to fund the next stage of his retirement. Filled with rich characters, including his best friend Meyer — an economist who unfortunately advocates the theories of John Maynard Keynes — beautiful women pursued by deadly amoral thugs, lots of Boodles gin and adroit MacDonald plotting, McGee’s adventures are every bit as addictive as Chandler’s Marlowe. McGee was memorably played by Rod Taylor in the hard-to-find 1970 film "Darker than Amber." This film, directed by Robert Clouse (Enter the Dragon), featured one of the most violent and realistic fist fights ever, surpassing even "From Russia With Love" and the original "Manchurian Candidate," as Taylor battles villain William Smith.