Mr. Keen
Created by Frank and Anne Hummert? Robert Chambers?

Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons was one of network radio's longest running detectives, although listening to it now would hardly explain why. This kind, elderly, boring sleuth, in company with his bumbling assistant, Mike Clancy, was on the airwaves from 1937 to 1955, logging nearly 20 years of fighting crime. 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 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 the cordial, elderly gentleman and Clancy the dull Irishman so 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 in 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 who's not some softie reuniting lost lovers, but a tireless manhunter. Noir? I say "Nah."





Contributed by Jack French. Additional info by Kevin Burton Smith. Mr. Keen illustration by Lee Ferguson.

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