Monday, February 18, 2008

Jack, Doc and Reggie-We Love A Mystery.

Jack, Doc and Reggie-We Love A Mystery

I Love A Mystery was an old-time radio program about three friends who ran a detective agency and traveled the world in search of adventure. Distinguished by the high octane scripting of Carlton E. Morse, the program was the polar opposite of Morse's other success, the long-running One Man's Family.

panel from the I love a mystery comic strip

Jack Packard, Doc Long and Reggie York met as mercenary soldiers fighting the Japanese in China. Later, they met again in San Francisco, where they decided to form the A-1 Detective Agency. Their motto was "No job too tough, no adventure too baffling." The agency served as a plot device to involve the trio in a wide variety of stories. These straddled the genres of mystery, adventure and supernatural horror, and their adventures often took the them to exotic locales.

Jack, the group leader, is a tough charismatic man, usually the first to figure solutions to the mysteries. Jack has more of an edge than the typical radio hero of the period. He distrusts the attractive women who always seem to show up, and he professes to dislike women in general. The series' writer claimed that Jack's problems with women had to do with his youth. He had gotten a girl pregnant and had to leave his home town in shame. This was only a back story detail and was never made explicit on the show. Doc and Reggie are slightly less edgy characters.

The Texas-born Doc is a hard-fighting, boastful, high-spirited character who provides comic relief.
Reggie, an Englishman noted for his great strength, competes with Doc in trying to romance the women.

Morse, regarded as one of the best writers in radio, took delight in creating vividly imagined settings for the show and elaborate, often bizarre plots. In a medium whose heroes tended to be serious and strait-laced, he created three who were wonderfully reckless and exuberant. Jack, Doc and Reggie were more interested in the thrill of adventure than in righting wrongs. When they collected a fee, their only goal was to spend it as quickly as possible.

There were several film adaptations of I Love a Mystery by Morse, but none had the success of the radio series. Surviving recordings of the show are rare. Over the years, Jack was played by Michael Raffetto, Russell Thorson, Jay Novello and John McIntire. Doc was played by Barton Yarborough and Jim Boles. Reggie was portrayed by Walter Paterson and Tony Randall.

Filmed in 1966 but not broadcast until 1973 an ABC T.V movie was made of the lads remains sadly forgotten.

No comments: