Jack Packard, Doc Long and Reggie York
Created by Carlton E. Morse

"No job too tough, no mystery too baffling."
- The Triple A-1 Detective Agency Motto

Extremely popular radio show about three men who meet, while fighting with the Chinese against the Japanese in world War II, and upon their return to the States, set up the Los Angeles Triple A-1 Detective Agency, specializing in crime and adventure.

Although their office is "just off Hollywood Boulevard and one flight up," their "adventures" take them around the world, where they invariably stumble into long-lost civilizations, werewolves, ghosts, vampires, etc. Sort of an Indiana Jones/private eye combo, although the real villians always turned out to be humans. Adding to the suspense was the fact that, for most of its run, it was presented as fifteen minute episodes aired each weekday, with each show often ending in some sort of cliffhanger, and one story could continue, day after day, for weeks. The kids must have gone completely ga-ga banannas over this stuff!

JACK PACKARD's the tough, unsentimental type, with no use for women. DOC LONG's a tall, red-headed, woman-chasin' Texan, and REGGIE YORK's the cool, chivalric Brit. Holding down the homefront while the boys bounce around the globe are secretaries Jerri Brooker and Mary Kay Brown, "the cutest l'il ol' secretary to ever fill out a dress so nice," according to Doc.

The radio series, which featured multi-episode storylines, made its debut in 1939 on the NBC Blue Network, and remained there until it moved over to CBS in 1943 for aa few years. In 1949, Mutual brought back the series with a new cast, and re-did some of the old scripts. The series was so popular that it inspired three films, all B's, but nevertheless, supposedly quite good. 1945's I Love a Mystery, the first and, by most reports, the best of them, had Jack and Doc (Reggie was written out of the movies) involved in a strange Oriental cult and a bizarre prophecy. George Macready was evidently outstanding as a man plagued by his fear of decapitation, not that I'm all at ease with it myself. 1946 brought two more films to the screen, The Devil's Mask (shrunken heads and a murder or two, supposedly quite far-fetched, but quite entertaining)) and The Unknown (ghosts, an abandoned Southern mansion and, yes, murder). There were also a few novels, and even a 1967 made-for-television flick, an unfortunate attempt to "send up" the old radio show, heavily influenced, according to William DeAndrea, by "Avengers-style whimsy and Batman-style-camp." Evidently, even the producers thought it stank, because it sat in the can for six years, before it eventually was aired in 1973.





Evidently, there WAS a newspaper strip that ran briefly in the eighties of I Love a Mystery. Even more exciting is that Moonstone Comics has recently announced that they will be producing a comic trade paperback, a "re-mastered" collection of the ILAM strip, to be remastered by the strip's original artist Don Sherwood. Plans are for the first collection to be out sometime in the summer of 2004.


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Illustration is by Don Sherwood from the comic strip.

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