Jay J. Armes

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, co-penned by Frederick Nolan came out in 1976, inspired a series of toys from Ideal, hoping to capitalize on the "Bionic Man" 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 available, 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 keep trying. In January 2005, it was leaked that Marvel Comics' honcho Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men et al, was 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 laid 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.


  • "I never give up."
    -- Armes explains his success

  • In his autobiography, Armes relates an experience he had with a client who had hired him to get the goods on her husband. It turned out that the husband, a well-known actor, was having an affair -- with another man. Distraught, the client made a pass at Armes, revealing her breasts, and asking "Is there anything wrong with these?" Armes allegedly replied "That is not what you hired me for."


  • "Have you ever seen the pilot for the J.J. Armes series? It is a trip! I actually tracked him down, received an autographed photo (his business is still going strong!) and am sending him hardback editions of his book, since his library has been dwindling, apparently (there are several copies available in Portland, Oregon, however).  Anyway, take care. Many thanks."
    -- Robert Sollars


  • J.J. Armes, Investigator: The World's Most Successful Private Eye (1976; by Frederick Nolan and Jay. J. Armes)., Buy this book


  • J.J. ARMES
    (1993 Tri-Star)
    Unsold pilot
    Supposedly outlandish as hell. Has anyone seen it? Who starred in it?
    (2005, In production)
    A first draft feature treatment has been written by Scott Lobdell, writer of "Uncanny X-Men" and "Generation X".


    (1968-80, CBS)
  • "Hookman" (September 11, 1973)
    (Season 6, Episode 1)
    Jay J. Armes guest-starred as Stoner
  • According to some sources, Armes also appeared in an episode of Mannix, but I can't seem to find any information on that one.


  • The Investigators
    For over thirty-five year, Jay J.Armes' El Paso-based team of "international investigaors" have provided state-of-the-art investigative services to clients from around the world, offering a full staff of professional, highly trained and certified investigators and specializing in "high-risk, high-profile cases... See for yourself why we have been
    the number one choice of Governments, Royalty, and entertainers from around the world for over thirty years!"

  • The P.I. Toy Chest
    Treasures from the past...

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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