Gregory Hood

Gregory Hood was a globe-trotting antiquities importer whose various acquisitions inevitably had interesting histories that were associated with a current-day mystery for Hood to solve. He was aided at times by his attorney, and friend, Sanderon "Sandy" Taylor.

Hood straddles that nebulous line between amateur and professional sleuth, but I think Gregory Hood actually does fit and should be included on this site. The so-called "amateur detective" or "unlicensed private investigator" was a recurring theme for series on radio. It was a common way of putting a different and fresh twist on the basic private detective theme, an extremely popular genre on the radio. The main character had a stated,non-investigative occupation, but he or she always got involved withsolving mysteries and crimes. They pass the Chandler test: trouble was definitely their "real" business. They definitely aren't of the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys type of amateur sleuth.

The solving of the mystery and crime took up the bulk of the show. That makes them an investigator. Since they normally didn't get involved with the police until they had the crime solved, they worked privately. The only difference between the this particular breed of "amateur detective" or "unlicensed private investigator" and standard P.I. was they didn't have a license. They were generally disliked by the authorities even more than the licensed P.I.

Similar examples of this type are Casey, Crime Photographer and Rocky Fortune. The main character of Nightbeat, RANDY STONE, is of the same ilk perhaps, and is perhaps, one of the best.

Hood specialized in finding and acquiring extremely rare and valuable antiquities. This was the twist for this series. During the course of the finding, quite early in each episode, he became involved in solving some current-day mystery or crime. Usually these mysteries or crime are directly related to the item(s) he is trying to acquire. Definitely a tough guy character; once on a case, he didn't back off. The bulk of the show is spent solving the crime or mystery. Hood is disliked by the police who consider him a meddling amateur in their affairs. The actual reason, and the quite common one for licensed P.I.s', is that he solved cases that they can't. The police frequently stated they hoped to be able to put Hood in jail. Sound familiar?

The Casebook of Gregory Hood was initially a summer replacement for Sherlock Holmes in 1946 and had much in common with the series for which it was a temporary replacement. It shared the same writers (Boucher and Green) and the curious feature of the announcer discussing the case with one or more of the lead actors. Only a very few episodes of "The Casebook of Gregory Hood" survive.


Contributed by Stewart Wright.

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