Created by Robert Chambers, developed for radio by Frank and Anne Hummert
Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons was one of network radio's longest running detective shows, although listening to it now would hardly explain why. MR. KEEN was a kind, elderly (and rather boring) sleuth, and with the aid of his loyal but bumbling assistant, Mike Clancy, was on the airwaves from 1937 to 1955, logging nearly 20 years of crime solving. The series came out of the soap opera fiction factory of Frank and Anne Hummert and encompassed most of the trite dialogue and snail plotting of daytime serials.
Over the years it changed days, time slots, sponsors, and even networks (although it was usually on CBS) and it was a 30 minute weekly show for nearly all of it run, changing to the daily 15 minute show in 1952. Bennett Kilpack (pictured) was the voice of Mr. Keen and Jim Kelly played Clancy. Later in the run Keen was played by Arthur Hughes and finally, Phil Clarke.
Early in the series, the writers forgot about the title and Mr. Keen just solved murders. But the familiar title, and its theme song, "Someday I'll Find You", were simply too popular to change. The plots were so contrived the audience had usually figured out the solution before Mr. Keen tried to explain it to Clancy. Exactly who this duo worked for was never stated; they simply worked cases without the police. Keen was a cordial old gent and Clancy the genial but dull Irishman, and no one in the stories ever seemed to challenge their right to jump in on a case. Aproximately 60 episodes, spanning most the 17 years on the air, still exist today, and the fond meories, among a certain demographic, remain.
Perhaps hoping to cash in on those memories, n the mid-eighties Aaron Spelling dusted off the original concept, and launched the vaguely similiarly-titled Finder of Lost Loves television series.
But the most amazing twist of all came in 2003, when Moonstone Comics, as part of their Moonstone Noir line, reinvented kindly, elderly Mr. Keen as a big, mean-looking black dude. This was no some softie reuniting lost lovers, but a tireless manhunter.
I'm guessing they acquired the rights simply on the off-chance there'd still be a little vague, fuzzy name recognition -- over fifty years after the show went off the airwaves.
Noir? I say "Nah."
In 2003, Moonstone Comics, as part of their Moonstone Noir line, reinvented kindly, elderly Mr. Keen as a big, mean-looking black dude. And he who's not some softie reuniting lost lovers, but a tireless manhunter. Moonstone promises "Action, violence, love, loss, and psychosis." Noir? I say "Nah." Why didn't they just make up their own character? In fact, this Mr. Keen is such a departure from the original concept, that I'm giving him his own entry...
| Home | Detectives A-L M-Z | Film | Radio | Television | Web Comics | Comics | FAQs | Search |