Okay, you got me...
JAY J. ARMES is a real person, not a fictional person. At least originally.
What he is is a real-life Texas private eye, and generally considered one of the best, receiving awards and recognition as "the man who has made the greatest contribution to the investigative profession." He has friends in high places (see below) and his clients have included Elvis Presley, Howard Hughes, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, whose son, Christian, Armes rescued from kidnappers. Supposedly he's never lost a case, and has even succeeded where the FBI and CIA have failed. Don't believe me? Just ask Armes.
He's also certainly one of the most colourful private eyes around, on either side of the reality divide.At the age of twelve, he lost both his hands in an accident at the age of twelve (dynamite was apparently involved), and was outfitted with prosthetics.
Over the years those prosthetics have evolved, transforming Armes (his real name!) into a sort of real-life James Bond/Six Million Dollar Man. His two powerful steel claws can slice through steel, but are delicate enough to thread a needle. At one point he even had a .22 Magnum implanted into his wrist. But he also owns five-fingered prosthetics which he can wear when the occasion demands, allowing him to appear in public without attracting undue attention to himself.
Not that he used those, of course, when he appeared in an episode of Hawaii 5-0 as a deranged sniper called "The Hookman."
His biography, penned by Frederick Nolan came out in 1976, inspired a series of toys from Ideal, hoping to capitalize on the "Bionic Man" TV craze. Billed as "J.J. Armes: The Detective with Interchangeable Hands," the figure came with various interchangeable "action" hands,including suction cups for climbing walls, a magnet for hanging onto steel structures, a machete, a pair of false hands for undercover roles, a hook that converts to a pistol and a pair of spring loaded hooks. There were also numerous accessories, including a Mobile Investigation Unit with a "Super Hook".
Eventually Hollywood came a-calling. A 1993 TV movie was shot and aired, a potential pilot for a series that, alas, was not picked up.
But they're trying again. The latest news, as of January 2005, is that Marvel Comics' honcho Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men et al, is developing a superhero based on Armes. Says Lee, "When I first met Jay I was bowled over. I couldn't believe that a real live person could have the incredible powers that he possesses"
One of Lee's co-producers lays it on even thicker: "This can truly be a tent pole franchise with the right studio partner. Amazingly, Jay can now do more with the fantastic steel claws that have replaced his hands than people with their own hands can do. He can reach into fire, smash through doors, fire bullets with unerring accuracy, cut through metal, fly utilizing a jet pack, scuba dive, pilot a jet -- and he is master of the deadliest karate chop. No wonder Jay J. Armes is the most famous, most sought after investigator in the world."
Meanwhile, Armes is still walking down those mean streets. He is currently the "Chief Investigator" for The Investigators, an El Paso-based detective agency, and lives on a fourteen acre estate in Texas, with assorted tigers and cheetahs, a chimp, a wife and a loving family. Supposedly he's been known to use his 750 pound tiger as a "lie detector." He tools around town in a specially rigged Hummer.
TELEVISION APPEARANCES AS AN ACTOR
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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