Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I Love a Mystery

I Love a Mystery was a radio drama series about three friends who ran a detective agency and traveled the world in search of adventure. Distinguished by the high octane scripting of Carlton E. Morse, the program was the polar opposite of Morse's other success, the long-running One Man's Family.

The central characters, Jack Packard, Doc Long and Reggie York, met as mercenary soldiers fighting the Japanese in China. Later, they met again in San Francisco, where they decided to form the A-1 Detective Agency. Their motto was "No job too tough, no adventure too baffling." The agency served as a plot device to involve the trio in a wide variety of stories. These straddled the genres of mystery, adventure and supernatural horror, and the plotlines often took them to exotic locales. Over the years, Jack was played by Michael Raffetto, Russell Thorson, Jay Novello, Jim Bannon and John McIntire. Doc was played by Barton Yarborough and Jim Boles. Reggie was portrayed by Walter Paterson and Tony Randall. The agency's secretary, Jerry Booker, was played by Gloria Blondell. After Paterson committed suicide in 1942, his friend Morse could not bear to recast the role and Reggie was written out of the series. In later shows, Jerry's role was increased, and she replaced Reggie.

Sponsored by Fleischmann's Yeast, I Love a Mystery first aired on the NBC West Coast network from January 16 to September 29, 1939, weekdays at 3:15pm Pacific time, and then moved to the full NBC network from October 2, 1939 to March 29, 1940, airing weeknights at 7:15pm. In 1940, it expanded to 30-minute episodes from April 4 to June 27 on NBC Thursdays at 8:30pm. Continuing on the Blue Network from September 30, 1940 to June 29, 1942, it was heard Mondays and Wednesdays at 8pm. Procter & Gamble (for Oxydol and Ivory Soap) replaced Fleishmann's Yeast as the sponsor in the series broadcast by CBS from March 22, 1943 to December 29, 1944 with 15-minute episodes heard weeknights at 7pm. A TV movie with David Hartmann was broadcast in the mid-1970s.
Despite the popularity of the program, few series have survived in a listenable state. The few that have survived in a complete form are "The Thing That Cries in the Night" and "Bury Your Dead, Arizona". Other surviving series are "The Million Dollar Curse", "The Temple of Vampires", "Battle of the Century" and "The Hermit of San Felipe Atabapo"; however, several episodes of these serials are missing, leaving plot holes.

Martin Grams' I Love a Mystery Companion
The Unofficial I Love a Mystery Homepage

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