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I Love A Mystery FAQ

(Beta version 0.97)

This version of the "I Love A Mystery" FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list was written by, and is also copyright by Brian Christopher Misiaszek (1999, 2000, 2001).

Copies of this FAQ may be freely distributed as long as the text is not changed, and this boiler-plate remains intact.

A copy of the ILAM FAQ will always reside at the Unofficial "I Love A Mystery" Web-Site, currently located at www.angelfire.com/on/ilam/index.html, and will be updated as circumstances and new information dictate (and also as my time allows).

New information, or corrections to the information contained below is very welcome, and you can currently reach me at brian_misiaszek@yahoo.ca to provide such feedback.

This version of the ILAM FAQ was released on May 23rd, 2000.  It includes a new ILAM sighting (from William Goldman's book Marathon Man) and further biographical details from the ILAM cast.


A    Introduction to "I Love A Mystery"

        1    What is "I Love A Mystery"?

        2    Why is "I Love A Mystery" considered the greatest of all radio serials?

        3    Who were the main characters of "I Love A Mystery"?

        4    Who were some of the other frequently appearing characters in the series?

        5    What was the "Triple A-One Detective Agency"?

        6     What made the series "I Love A Mystery" unique?

        7     What does the word ILAM mean?

 B  "I Love A Mystery Broadcast details"

        1    When was ILAM first broadcast?  When did it end?

        2    Comparing the two runs of ILAM?

        3    Who were the sponsors of ILAM?

        4    Who were the stars of "I Love A Mystery"?

        5    Who was the writer of "I Love A Mystery"?

        6    What was the theme music for ILAM?

     7 Why was the signature opening of ILAM changed part way through the first run of the show?

        8 What's with all the clock chimes?

C    Current Status of "I Love A Mystery"  

1    What ILAM shows are currently circulating?  Where/how can I get them?

        2    Where did the circulating episodes of ILAM come from?

        3    Where any "I Love A Mystery" broadcast recordings sold as vinyl record albums?

        4    Did any of Morse's  "I Love A Mystery" radio scripts survive?

        5    Are any ILAM scripts circulating among fans and collectors?

        6    Where are all the lost ILAM broadcast episodes?

        7    Has there been any recreations of "lost" ILAM episodes?

        8    What other shows are in a style similar to "I Love A Mystery"? 

        9    Who currently controls the rights to  "I Love A Mystery"?

C    "I Love A Mystery" in other media 

        1    Where there any ILAM movies?

        2    Where there any ILAM television shows?

        3    Was the cartoon series "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" really inspired by the ILAM radio show?

        4    Are there any "I Love A Mystery" novels?

        5    Were there any ILAM comic strips?

        6    Where there any ILAM radio premiums?

        7    Have there been other media sightings for "I Love A Mystery"?

        8    Are there/was there any ILAM fanzines or other amateur publications devoted to the series?

        9    Is there any ILAM music or songs?

D    Acknowledgements

E    Appendix 

        1    ILAM story title listings from the Hollywood run of the series.

        2   ILAM story title listings from the MBS run of the series.  


AIntroduction to "I Love A Mystery"

1) What is “I Love A Mystery”?

“I Love A Mystery” was, and still is, an extremely popular “blood and thunder” radio serial that first aired in early 1939 over the NBC West Coast broadcast network. It was written and directed by Carlton E. Morse, who had earlier gained fame as the writer of the extremely popular weekly soap opera, "One Man's Family"

Quickly expanding coast to coast,  "I Love A Mystery" had a total of 50 separate serialized stories set in the pulp genres of mystery, horror, and adventure.The initial series (after a migration to CBS), ended in 1944, but "I Love A Mystery" was resurrected and recreated in New York City with a brand new set of actors for MBS using Carlton E. Morse's original scripts and production expertise in 1949, and ran again until 1952. 

Today, recordings of some of those very few surviving broadcasts of "I Love A Mystery" are avidly sought by fans and collectors.

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2)Why is "I Love A Mystery" considered the “greatest of all radio serials"?

The early days of 1939 saw advertisements for a new mystery and adventure radio show appear in local newspapers that read something like the following:

WARNING!! Do Not Fail to listen to the exciting program “ I LOVE A MYSTERY” Carlton E. Morse’s hair-raising, teeth-chattering thrillers that have all America on the edge of its chair!!!

For once, advertising didn’t exaggerate. The old-time radio series, "I Love A Mystery" is considered by many as the greatest radio adventure series ever. Just consider some of the provocative and lurid titles of some of the stories-- TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES,  THE WIDOW WITH THE AMPUTATION, BURY YOUR DEAD ARIZONA, THE MAN WHO HATED TO SHAVE, MURDER HOLLYWOOD STYLE, and BRIDE OF THE WEREWOLF--just to name a few!

Still don't believe me? Just consider some of the exciting situations and terrific action that the three lead characters of the show, three modern  musketeers of the airwaves--Jack, Doc and Reggie--found themselves entangled with:

High up in the vaults of an underground cavern in exotic locale of the Island of Skulls, Doc Long is fighting for his life with the High Priest Holy Joe, on a shaky web-work of ropes a hundred feet above the blood stained altar of the Monkey-Men (THE PIRATE LOOT OF THE ISLAND OF SKULLS).

The gothic mansion of the Martin Family, where a crazed yet invisible Slasher stalks the halls of the mansion...and a baby is heard crying where there hasn't been a baby for twenty years (THE THING THAT CRIES IN THE NIGHT).

A jumped up Texas oil boom-town has a resident serial murderer who first digs the graves of his intended victims in the local cemetery, and then writes teasing rhyming verse on the tombstones hinting at (but never actually stating) the identity of their next victim (THE GRAVES OF WHAMPERJAW TEXAS).

A high plateau in Venezuela, South America has a mysterious Lost World where Jack and Doc are escorting a mysterious German scientist and his two beautiful daughters...a lost plateau where pterodactyls, Ape-Men and a mysterious race of High Ones make their homes...and where the scientist has a hidden agenda of murder... (STAIRWAY TO THE SUN).

Convinced yet?  If you listen to any of the currently surviving stories, you would be! Fast paced, deftly scripted, and Fleischmann’s-dried-yeast-vitaminized with over-the-top-excitement, "I Love A Mystery" is still beloved by fans of radio mystery drama nearly 60 years after it first appeared over the airwaves. As Jim Harmon, OTR Historian, wrote about the series, "After all, what could be more fun (particularly when you were between six and sixteen) than saving a beautiful girl from a vampire, or riding a train out of town to get away from some gamblers who wanted to murder you, or getting into a fight for your life with the odds seven to two?"

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3)Who were the main characters of “I Love A Mystery”?

The three lead characters of ILAM consisted of Jack Packard, Doc Long, and Reggie York.Better (and more simply) known as Jack, Doc & Reggie.

Jack Packard, a former Omaha Nebraska  native, is the oldest at 37 and is the leader of the trio.A tough, no nonsense fellow, he was a former medical student who became first a soldier of fortune fighting the Japanese in occupied Manchuria. It was there that he met the others, and a life-long friendship ensued. 

Cool, tough as leather and smart, Jack is the brains behind the team and the others ultimately defer to him. Together with the others, he resurrected the Triple A-One Detective Agency, and ran it with the others. 

Doc Long is a 29 year old red-haired lanky-legged Texan, with an accent so thick you could pour it over grits and eat them for breakfast. A skirt chaser, card shark and lock picker, Doc is the firebrand of the group.  He also has the best lines in the series, including his signature phrases, "Honest to my grandma!", "Spank me for a baby!" and "Well I'll be a hipponaucerous!"

Doc's  real first name is "Corey", but this was only mentioned in passing in the very first episode of the very first ILAM story, THE ROXY MOB. In the original run of the show, the last episode he made an appearance in was I AM THE DESTROYER OF WOMEN, during which he was badly injured trying to capture a homicidal maniac and required an urgent surgery followed by hospitalization.

Reggie York is the youngest of the trio at 24, and is a blonde giant of an Englishman (although the very first ILAM story, THE ROXY MOB, listed him coming from Quebec, Canada).Other than impeccable manners and politeness to women, his character was less defined than the others, but he is the brawn of the outfit.  In the very first story, there is reference to him being a soldier of fortune since the age of 16. There's nothing better than he likes than a good fight.

Though famous as one of the ILAM three, Reggie appears in only about half of the stories after the original actor who played him, Walter Paterson, killed himself with an overdose of carbon monoxide in his own car.  Morse, who had been a friend of Paterson's, didn't have the heart to simply replace him with another actor. The last time Reggie's voice is heard is in SECRET PASSAGE TO DEATH, after which he is mentioned briefly in later episodes, then written entirely out of the series. The role of Jerry Booker, the Triple A-One's secretary, was instead enhanced to fill Reggie's part.

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4)Who were some of the other frequently appearing characters in the series? 

This part of the FAQ is still under construction. 

Geraldine "Jerry" Booker was the first secretary for the A-One Detective Agency. She first met the boys in the story, MURDER ON FEBRUARY ISLAND where she was running a small coffee and ice-cream shop on the resort island of the same name.  Jerry later becomes their secretary in the sequel, EIGHT KINDS OF MURDER.  After the role of Reggie is first downplayed, then later written out of the story, she takes on a more leading role, and for a time the ILAM series used the saying, "The adventures of Jack, Doc and Jerry!" Several of these stories where she appears (and for which broadcast fragments exist) include MONSTER IN THE MANSION and THE PIRATE LOOT OF THE ISLAND OF SKULLS.  More of her background appears in the only ILAM novel published, STUFF THE LADY'S HATBOX.

Mary Kay Brown became secretary of the A-One after Jerry Booker left to join the WACs during WWII.  One of her earliest stories is BRIDE OF THE WEREWOLF (of which a single broadcast episode from the MBS run survives). She is a very forward young woman with bright red hair, and has a secret crush on Jack Packard, whose secret becomes revealed in the final ILAM story, FIND ELSA HOLBERG DEAD OR ALIVE.

Sonia "Sunny" Richards is a millionaire heiress, who first met Jack, Doc and Reggie in The Richard Curse. Beautiful, wealthy, and trained as an aviator, she was contemplating her own destruction when she was rescued by the three in that before mentioned story.  She also appears in the sequel story, Temple of Vampires, where she stands up to the Vampire priest, Manuel, who kidnaps her in that adventure. Sunny later adopts the young orphan airplane stowaway, Hermie, at the end of this same story.

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5)    What was the Triple A-One Detective Agency?

The Triple A-One was an out of  business detective agency discovered by Jack, Doc and Reggie, as described in the story, "EIGHT KINDS OF MURDER."  The three were inspired by the dusty, though bold signage, seen from the street, and finding the original owners long gone, took over the premises, and started their own detective agency using the same name. Secret files left by the previous (and vanished) owners, hidden in a secret compartment under the floor of the inner office propelled the three of them immediately into an adventure, one in which Jerry Booker joins them. 

Located in Hollywood, California "...just off the boulevard, and one flight up," the Triple A-One became for several years the headquarters for the "Three Comrades".  Clients would climb the stairs to hire the three of them, and crooks would try to pull guns on them in this loft of an office. Jerry Booker was installed as the Triple A-One's  first secretary, and when she left to join the WACs, Mary Kay Brown took her place.

6)What made the series "I Love A Mystery" unique?

In large part, because of ILAMs rollickingly lurid, larger than life, and highly intricate "murder-and-violence" plots, as well as the memorable characterizations of the lead and supporting characters of the series.

Morse also adhered to a consistent  "shudder-pulp" formula in ILAM, which dictated that, no matter how outrageous or eerie or weird the circumstances that Jack, Doc and Reggiefound themselves in, in the end everything had to have a natural (if not plausible) ending. So a family curse causing terror to a young woman has a human, not a supernatural cause.  An obese magician uses stage magic, and not black magic, to turn a young woman into a tigress in the darkness of a box car.  And a the sight of so-called human vampires flying across the open spaces of their ancient temple has a secret solution more familiar to trapeze artists than those with artistry in the occult.

Morse also provided closure for his ILAM stories, a item that few other radio serials provided. While many radio serials had the stories go on and on for weeks and months on end, Morse had a more satisfying way of presenting each story so that newcomers to the show could easily begin listening. The usual format for ILAM had each serialized story run for three weeks before wrapping things up.  Each story would consist of 15 minute episodes, running from Monday to Friday, or 15 episodes in total.  For a time (in the later NBC era in particular), the show ran for 30 minutes once a week (in some broadcasting centers, these were bisected into two separate 15 minute shows), but these were all changed to 15 minute shows with minor script re-writing for the MBS run of the show.

In all, there were about 50 three week episode shows for the Hollywood run of the show (they were nearly all in this format for the MBS run of the show), but, of course, there were exceptions to these rules, such as the very first story, THE ROXY MOB having only 12 episodes, and STAIRWAY TO THE SUN which ran to 30 episodes, or 6 weeks in total.  Shows that greatly veered from this format, notably the 40 episode story THE TWENTY TRAITORS OF TIMBUKTU, and the 5 episode story THE CORPSE IN COMPARTMENT C CAR 76, did not appear in the MBS run of the show.

7)What does ILAM stand for?

ILAM stands for "I Love A Mystery," of course!  Fans of ILAM are often called ILAM-ophiles.  Morse himself simply referred to the the show as "the Mystery,", but I'm afraid that I'm stuck with the acronym myself.

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B:  "I Love A Mystery" Broadcast details

1)  When was ILAM first broadcast?  When did it end?

ILAM was broadcast twice, at intervals spaced nearly a decade apart using different casts, but essentially the same scripts.  The first run is commonly designated at the Hollywood run, or (erroneously since the show also appeared on CBS, too) the NBC run.  The second run, is called either the New York run, or the MBS run.

A)    The Hollywood ILAM Run.

Creator/Writer/Producer/Director: Carlton E. Morse

Starring:

Michael Raffetto as Jack Packard (until May 15th, 1944)
    (Jay Novello from then to 8/21/44, then John McIntire from 8/28/44)
Barton Yarborough as Doc Long
Walter Paterson as Reggie York (until the role Reggie was written out of the scripts)
Also starring: Gloria Blondell as Jerry Booker, with Mercedes McCambridge playing Sunny Richards and many other ingénues, Barbara Jean Wong in many Asian roles, Forrest Lewis as Irishman Terry Burke and the Viennese spy Michael (among other roles), Jack Edwards, Richard LeGrand, Cliff Arcquette, etc., in various roles.

Sound Effects: Ralph Amati (NBC), Al Span (CBS)

"I Love A Mystery" first aired on  NBC West Coast Network outlets January 16th, 1939. Michael Raffetto played Jack Packard through most of the run, Barton Yarborough played Doc Long, and Walter Paterson played Reggie York (until that character was written out of the series after Paterson's tragic suicide). Jay Novello took over the role of Jack after May 15th 1944 until August 21st 1944, when  John McIntire took over the role.

The first run, commonly called the Hollywood run of the show, was actually juggled around a fair bit on the broadcast networks, as well as in format.  The 15 minute 5-days-a-week format changed in April 1940 to a 30 minute weekly show after the move to the Blue Network, and didn't revert to the 15 minute format until the shows return (after a two year hiatus) to CBS in the spring of 1944.

NBC West Coast Network (January 16th 1939 to September 29th 1939; 15 minute format)

NBC, full network (October 2nd 1939 to March 29th 1940; 15 minute format)
NBC, full network (April 4th 1940 to June 27th 1940; 30 minute format)
NBC Blue Network (September 30th 1940 to June 29th, 1942; 30 minute format)
    Hiatus for two years
CBS (March 22nd 1943 to December 29th 1944; back to the 15 minute format)

B)    The New York/MBS ILAM Run.

Creator/Writer/Producer/Director: Carlton E. Morse

Starring:

Russell Thorson as Jack Packard
    (until Oct 28, 1952), then Bob Dryden took over the role).
Jim Boles as Doc Long
Tony Randall as Reggie York(until 6/12/51, when Reggie was written out of the original scripts)
Also Starring:

Athena Lord (wife of Jim Boles) as Jerry Booker & Mary Kay Brown, with Mercedes McCambridge reprising her performance as Sunny Richards and many other ingénues, Bob Dryden, Louis Van Rooten (as many a dusty old-timer) and Inga Adams in various roles.

Sound Effects: George Cooney, Barney Beck.

The second run of ILAM was recreated in New York City for the Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) using the original scripts (slightly changed to accommodate a different ordering of each story serial) a decade after the initial run of ILAM.

It starred Russell Thorson as Jack Packard (Bob Dryden took over the role after August 28th 1952 when Bob Dryden took over the job), Jim Boles as Doc Long, and a very young Tony Randall as Reggie York. Mercedes McCambridge, who had played  many of the female roles during the Hollywood run of the show, happened to be appearing  on Broadway during the time the shows were recreated, and Morse was able to recruit her to reprise many of her previous roles (mostly young ingénues, femme fatales, etc.).

It is from this New York City run of the series that most of the surviving broadcast episodes are derived. All the episodes were 15 minutes in length (the original 30 minute episodes were altered to fit this format); and were made up of about 12 minutes of story and three minutes worth of commercial.

MBS (October 3rd 1949 to December 26th 1952)

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C)    The CBS ILAM Audition Tapes.

In attempt by Morse for a third series "I Love A Mystery," much like a repeat of the Mutual Netword recreation of his original scripts, Morse arranged for a series of audition tapes to be made for network executives at CBS.  Only three episodes were ever made, from the first three episodes of THE MILLION DOLLAR CURSE.

These audition episodes, all made on May 11th 1954, featured Russell Thorson as Jack Packard, Parley Beer as Doc Long, and Ben Wright as Reggie York.

Unfortunately for all of us, CBS balked after hearing these three series, and a proposed full CBS run of ILAM never materialized.  However these rare audition tapes still exist today, and are in circulation among ILAM fans.

CBS Audition (May 11th, 1953)

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2)    Comparing the first two runs of ILAM:

Sadly, although many OTR fans and ILAM-ophiles have commented that the first run of the series was the superior of the two, very  few surviving broadcasts from the Hollywood run exist to judge this today.  The longest surviving episode fragments exist for the stories THE PIRATE LOOT OF THE ISLAND OF SKULLS, SECRET PASSAGE TO DEATH, THE MONSTER IN THE MANSION, and SECRET PASSAGE TO DEATH.

You'll have to be the judge yourself, then, on which is the better series.

There was one new script for the NY/MBS run, THE COBRA KING STRIKES BACK, which was adopted  by Morse from the script of an earlier ADVENTURES BY MORSE story he wrote of the same name.

Five shows from the first run were NOT repeated on MBS.These include THE TWENTY TRAITORS OF TIMBUKTU, YOU CAN'T PIN A MURDER ON NEVADA, THE CORPSE IN COMPARTMENT C CAR 76, THE THING WOULDN'T DIE, and lastly PORTRAIT OF A MURDERESS.

Also, many of the stories from the first season of the first run of the show, especially from the NBC West Coast Network season, appeared in the MBS version under different titles. The table below explains these:

#    NBC Story Title                                                    #    MBS Story Title

 2     "Death Aboard the Lady Mary"                            17    "Trouble At Sea"
 3     "The Case Of The Nevada Cougar"                        8    "The Case Of The Nevada Man Killer"
 4     "Mystery of the Lady K Ranch"                              9    "The Turn of the Wheel"
 5     "Strange Affair of Sandy Spring Sanatorium"         14     "Whose Body Got Buried?"

 6     "The Texas Border Smugglers"                             15   "Escapade of the Desert Hag"
 7     "The El Paso, Texas Murders"                              16   "Blood on the Border"
11    "Yolo County - Battle Of The Century"                   6   "Battle Of The Century"

12     "Blue Phantom"                                                   10    "The Blue Phantom Murders"
13     “Castle Island"                                                      1     "The Fear That Creeps Like A Cat"
14     “Hollywood Cherry"                                             2     "The Thing That Cries in the Night"
16     "San Diego Murders"                                            4     "The Million Dollar Curse"

Finally, several shows were repeated during the NBC run of the show;  TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES (twice) and MONSTER IN THE MANSION (twice).

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3)Who were the sponsors of ILAM?

During the NBC West Coast Network run, the show was initially sponsored by Standard Brands (Fleischmann's Yeast), then entirely by Fleischmann's Yeast beginning on the full network run.  J. W. Thompson was the advertising agency involved. With the wartime shortages of yeast, sponsorship was discontinued  by Fleischmann's and the show disappeared from the airwaves for over two years until CBS picked up the show.

During the CBS era, Proctor & Gamble (Oxydol, Ivory Soap) were the sponsors.

During the MBS run of the show, ILAM was a sustained program, and had no designated sponsors.

4)Who were the stars of "I Love A Mystery"?

This part of the FAQ is still under construction.

)    Hollywood run of ILAM (NBC and CBS):

In keeping with the atmosphere of his popular "I Love A Mystery" radio series, Carlton E. Morse originally insisted that  the trio of adventurers be known only by their fictional names.  But listeners began writing in, demanding to know who the actors were and requesting autographs and pictures.

Eventually both Morse and the network relented, and the original trio turned out to be the three male leads from Morse's other radio serial, the soap opera "One Man's Family"! These were Michael Raffetto as Jack Packard, Barton Yarborough as Doc Long, and Walter Paterson as Reggie York. Two other players during the original run of "I Love A Mystery" appeared enough times to also be mentioned, Gloria Blondell (as Jerry Booker) and Mercedes McCambridge.  A brief Bio of each appear below.

Michael Raffetto (alias Jack Packard): He was born as Elwyn Creighton (Michael) Raffetto in 1910 in Placerville, California. Initially wanting to be a lawyer, he studied law at the University of California (Berkley). He also became interested in the theatre, and he spent a year in Hawaii acting and directing. After failing at a career in silent films, and making only an meager living as a diction coach, Raffetto came to San Francisco where he became a lawyer.

Still interested in the world of dramatics, Raffetto dabbled at radio writing, and wrote a serial, "Arms of the Law" which NBC bought with him playing the lead. When Morse was looking for actors for his earliest mystery-thriller serials for NBC, he remembered Raffetto from his college days, and Raffetto was selected as one of the players for "NBC Mystery Serial".  He even played Dr. Jamie Croft (to Barton Yarborough's "Sgt. Jack Long"!) in the 1931 version of "Dead Men Prowl".

Later, Raffetto became involved with  Morse's first national radio hit, the family drama "One Man's Family" (OMF) where he played the defacto head of the family, the battle-scarred writer Paul Barbour. When Morse wanted a change from the sugary confection of OMF and created "I Love A Mystery," Raffetto was tapped for the role of Jack Packard, basing Packard's personality in large part on Raffetto's own.

For four years Raffetto played Jack Packard on ILAM. However, his relationship with ILAM ended when he was passed over for the cinema role of Jack Packard for the three picture Columbia ILAM series (in sequential order, Jay Novello and John McIntyre hurriedly replaced him).  Concentrating on his acting work as Paul Barbour on "One Man's Family", Raffetto was so familiar with that series that he not only wrote some of the OMF episodes, but was also part time director for the series as well. When Raffetto was forced to retire from OMF in mid 1955 because of a voice affliction, the role of Paul Barbour was taken over by Russell Thorson.

Raffetto  made relatively few films, the first being Today I Hang (1942). Other films included Seven Doors to Death (1944), Pirates of MontereyA Foreign Affair (1948); Storm Center (1956) was his last credited film role.  He only made one credited television appearance, in "Law of the Plainsman" (1959) in the episode: "Appointment in Santa Fe."  Raffetto eventually died on May 31st, 1990.  He was 80 years of age.

Barton Yarborough (alias Doc Long):  A native of Goldthwaite Texas where he had been born on October 2nd 1900, Yarborough ran away from home as a boy to join a traveling show. After a stint on vaudeville, he studied acting with Eva LeGalliene.  At the urging of his family he enrolled into the University of California, and became involved with Berkeley's theatre community, playing the leads in the troupe, "The Mask and Dagger Productions."

On "One Man's Family" he played Cliff Barbour (with his native accent strongly toned down) beginning in 1932. In 1939 he joined "I Love A Mystery" in the role of the strongly accented Doc Long. In fact, Yarborough's distinctive "Texas Tawk" was hated by the critics, but made him beloved to the fans of the series.  His first wife was comedienne Barbera Jo Allen, and was also a cast member for several  ILAM stories; his second wife was Janet Warren.  When Michael Raffetto left the ILAM series, so did Yarborough (his last speaking role on that series was in the story, I AM THE DESTROYER OF WOMEN.

Yarborough's first film was They Meet Again (1941) followed closely afterwards in the role of Dr. Kettering in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942). Yarborough also appeared in the short lived Columbia ILAM film series of  I Love a Mystery (1945), The Devil's Mask (1946) and The Unknown (1946).  In Hiss and Yell (1946)  he plays the role of  a man who has been accused of decapitating his own wife (!).  His last film role was in Henry, the Rainmaker (1949)

Barton Yarborough's was also a regular cast member of television's "Dragnet," playing the role of Ben Romero until his sudden death from a myocardial infarction on December 19th 1951.  He was 51 at the time. Because of his sudden and unexpected death, the role of Clifford Barbour was written out of the OMF series.

Walter Paterson ( alias Reggie York): The youngest of the lead trio of ILAM actors, he was born in 1911. Formerly of the British stage, he entered radio in San Francisco in 1930. He too was an alumni on Morse's other series, "One Man's Family". On OMF, he played Nicholas Lacy or "Nicky" (and in some of the ILAM scripts I have examined that Morse wrote, he at times forgets himself and absent-mindedly types NICKY for REGGIE).

Tragically, Walter Paterson, killed himself with an overdose of carbon monoxide in his own car on September 1942.  He was 31 at the time.

Morse, who had been a friend of Paterson's, didn't have the heart to simply replace him with another actor. The last time Reggie's voice is heard on ILAM is in SECRET PASSAGE TO DEATH, after which he is mentioned briefly in later episodes, then written entirely out of the series. The role of Nicky was continued on OMF, with Tom Collins and Ben Wright sequentially replacing him.
 
 

B)    For the MBS run of ILAM, the three lead male leads were:
 

Russell Thorson as Jack Packard

Jim Boles as Doc Long

Tony Randall as Reggie York

This part of the FAQ is still under construction. 

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5)Who was the writer of "I Love A Mystery"?

The genius behind ILAM was Carlton E. Morse (1901- 1993) 

Carlton E. Morse (the "E" stood for Errol), a very highly regarded radio/television producer and journalist of the first half of the century, was born in Jennings Louisiana, on June 4th 1901.

After graduating from high school in Sacramento, Morse spent a few years at the University of California, Berkeley, between 1919 and 1922. Morse was dissatisfied with college life, and after moving back home to Sacramento he began a career in journalism, working for several papers until 1929 when he joined the production staff of NBC at their San Francisco affiliate, KGO.

At NBC, Morse quickly gained a name for himself with several "blood and thunder" radio serials he wrote for "NBC Mystery Serial." But it wasn't until his popular soap opera "One Man's Family" that Morse really gained for himself a name in radio drama. "One Man's Family" (OMF) debuted on Friday, April 29, 1932, using many of the same actors whom Morse knew from his drama days at Berkley, and who later became involved in his earlier NBC MYSTERY SERIAL stories. Initial listener response to OMF was remarkable, and the program quickly became one of the most listened-to programs on the coast.

After several years of sustained and increasing popularity with OMF (especially when the series was broadcast over the entire NBC network, and not just the West Coast affiliates),  Morse began tiring of the saccharine nature of "One Man's Family". At the same time, he and his OMF cast were a victim of their own success. Locked into a long term contract with his players for the series, this contract allowed for little room for salary increases. To get around this sense of boredom and financial straight-jacketing, he revisited the "blood and thunder" genre of his earlier mystery serials, and using many of the same actors and radio people used in OMF, Morse created "I Love A Mystery".

For "I Love A Mystery", Morse recycled many of the same ideas from his serials with NBC MYSTERY SERIAL, cannibalizing his own radio scripts from nearly a decade earlier. The characterizations of Jack, Doc and Reggie themselves were based on the personalities of the actors (many whom were friends of Morse from his drama days at Berkley) playing their parts, so that Jack Packard really was Michael Raffetto, Doc Long really was  Barton Yarborough, and Walter Patterson really was Reggie York. For a long time, Morse was able to juggle the writing and directing of the two shows, and even felt that the whipsawing effect of writing the two very different genres made each serial work better.

Morse tried his hand at other radio shows, such as the comedy HIS HONOR THE BARBER, but the show was not a success.  CBS eventually dropped ILAM in 1944, but the show was resurrected in 1949 by MBS using the original scripts.  ILAM eventually left the air for a second time in 1952.   THE FAMILY SKELETON, another soap opera in the  OMF school, appeared for one season on CBS from 1953-1954. OMF itself continued running until the end of the radio era 1959. The show at this time had been overlapped with a television version of the series, and when OMF was on television, Morse continued to be involved in the writing and production until that too ended.

With the end of the radio era, Morse retired to Seven Stones, the mansion he built with his radio wealth, and hidden in the forest outside of Woodside California. It was while Morse was living here in the 1960s that OTR historian Jim Harmon became acquainted with Morse, and the two developed a long lasting friendship. Harmon was in large part responsible for sustaining interest in ILAM by convincing Morse to release reel-to-reel tapes of several of his shows to fans of the show hungry to revisit their younger experiences.  Harmon wrote about his initial meeting with Morse, and his thoughts on ILAM in the first chapter of his 1967 book, "The Great Radio Heroes."

Despite failing health in his later years which forced him to give up Seven Stones, Morse wrote three novels under his Seven Stones Press imprint; KILLER AT THE WHEEL, A LAVISH OF SIN, and a single ILAM based novel, STUFF THE LADY'S HATBOX (the latter published in 1988). Morse also formed a company, MORSELCO,  to try pushing some of his older radio scripts.  After the death of his first wife, Patricia in 1984, he remarried his second wife, Millie, in 1989.

After years of failing health, Morse died on May 24th, 1993, in Sacramento California, survived by his second wife, Millie Morse. 

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6)What was the ILAM theme music?

Sibelius’s “Valse Triste.”

7)Why was the signature opening of ILAM changed from distant bells, to a combination locomotive whistle/squealing police car, partway through the first run of the show?

Episode  number 3 of the ILAM story, SECRET PASSAGE TO DEATH marked an abrupt change in the signature opening of series which up until then had been the tolling of a lonely bell against a wailing, windy background (very similar, in fact, to the signature opening for his other series, “Adventures By Morse”).

Hysteria following the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbour likely led to the change, with marginalia in the NBC scripts written in Morse's hand (just 6 days after the unprovoked attack that led to the US declaring war on Japan) stating boldly, "...anything resembling a air-raid siren is OUT!" From marginalia in later script episodes in the original scripts from this same story, Morse speculated on replacing the bell with the howl of a wolf, or the shriek cry of a large cat.He settled instead on the more familiar locomotive wail, and squealing patrol car we all know today. 

8)What’s with all the clock chimes in the ILAM episodes?

Clock chimes denote the passing of time in each episode.Chimes and bells were common signature motifs in many of Morse's serials. Rumor has it that the original set of chimes used on both the NBC/CBS and MBS series are in the hands of a long-time OTR fan, a gift from Carlton E. Morse.

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CCurrent Status of the "I Love A Mystery" Series

1)What ILAM shows are currently circulating?Where / how can I get them?

Most of the ILAMs are sadly lost. 

There are only two entirely complete shows circulating, both from the MBS run of the series.THE THING THAT CRIES IN THE NIGHT and BURY YOUR DEAD ARIZONA.THE RICHARD CURSE is missing only a single episode.

There are two other “most” complete shows that are also enjoyable.This includes BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (missing only 5 episodes from a total of 18) and TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES (missing 9 from a total of 20 episodes).

Several of these shows are available commercially; check out Amazon's on-line catalog at www.amazon.com (where you can even see my review of the combo package for the only two complete shows). Also Barnes & Noble have a website where I've learned you can also order the tapes, at Barnesandnoble.com (thanks for Charlie Sumner's for this information).

Alternatively, for cheaper copies (which I have done!), try visiting some of the commercial or trading sponsors on Lou Glenco's excellent web-site, at www.old-time.com.

Finally, there are a number of web-sites that have MP3 or RA versions of many of the shows available for downloading to your home computer to listen to.  These seem to keep changing on a regular basis, so you may have to search using your favorite web browser.

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2)    Where did the circulating recorded episodes of ILAM come from?

Mostly from Carlton E. Morse himself.

Morse had transcribed recordings for all the "complete" or "nearly complete" ILAMs that are circulating today.  He allowed these to circulate among fans, beginning in the mid 1960s. All copies of THE THING THAT CRIES IN THE NIGHT, BURY YOUR DEAD ARIZONA, THE RICHARD CURSE and TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES came from his original recordings, which Jim Harmon helped encourage him to circulate..

Note: As an aside, many persons who are fans of ILAM and have heard only the taped versions of these stories have no idea the show was originally a 15 minute serial, since many of the opening and closing segments were not made available from the reproductions made from Morse's personal holdings.

The only other nearly complete run of an ILAM serial comes from a air-check (i.e.. a recording made from a radio broadcast by a fan) is from the story THE HERMIT OF SAN FELIPE ATABAPO.  This same person is responsible for the final episode fragment from the story, MY BELOVED IS A VAMPIRE.

Most other fragments exist from electrical transcription (ET) disks that have turned up in odd places.  THE PIRATE LOOT OF THE ISLAND OF SKULLS from the Hollywood of ILAM exists because of a copy housed in the archives of the Pacific Broadcast Pioneers.  Other ETs may exist in the hands of private collectors, from which other recordings circulate.  OTR collector Ted Kneebone managed to salvage a single ET from a to be demolished South Dakota radio station; after recording the final Hollywood run episode of I AM THE DESTROYER OF WOMEN, he donated this to SPERDVAC.  OTR collector and ILAM-ophile Jim Farst made a recent discovery, found in all places, over Internet streaming audio from public broadcaster WRVO, of a complete 30 minute episode from the Hollywood run of THE SNAKE WITH THE DIAMOND EYES. Finally, Travis Conner discovered another 30 minute ET from the NBC run of EIGHT KINDS OF MURDER; when it is finally digitally re-mastered it will be released to fans and collectors.

The US Library of Congress has a very few recordings of ILAM in their archives, mostly a few fragments of THE MONSTER IN THE MANSION, TROPICS DON'T CALL IT MURDER and SECRET PASSAGE TO DEATH, all of which has been recently found in circulation among OTR traders thanks to OTR collector Ed Carr's recent. release from his personal vaults.

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3)    Where there any ILAM broadcast recordings sold as vinyl record albums?

Yes.

There were two that I know of, one by Radiola, and another by Mark 56 Records.

Radiola, in 1976, released a two record album containing all the known recordings for TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES in an album entitled, I LOVE A MYSTERY presents Jack, Doc & Reggie in their Greatest Radio Adventure "The Temple of Vampires".  The item number is: 2MR-6263; another identifying code is "Adventure Series No. 8-9 Release No. 62-63". The cover consisted of a close-up image of upside down bats clinging to the roof of a cave. The back cover had photo of the cast for the second run of the show.   Also included Jim Harmon's essay on "I Love A Mystery", reprinted from his book, "The Great Radio Heroes" (1967).

Mark 56 Records released in 1976 an album entitled, "Carlton E. Morse's I LOVE A MYSTERY Original Radio broadcasts". A  subtitle stated, "A George Garabedian Production".  The cover of the album was that of an old-fashioned pebbled glass office door, with the number 218 at the top, and the name of the record album printed on the glass.  A short essay written by Carlton E. Morse (and copyright by him in 1976) was printed on the back cover, which discussed in brief a history of the show. The contents of the album are nowhere indicated, but from listening from a tape sent by a visitor to this site, it actually has two 30 minute I LOVE ADVENTURE shows, "Grandma, What Big Eyes You Got!" and (if memory serves me correctly) "The Girl in the Street".

NB: I have Gary Holman to thank for the above information.

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4)Did any of Morse's ILAM scripts survive?

Yes

The Special Collections Division at Thousand Oaks Public Library (in Thousand Oaks, California), has bound copies of many, if not all, of the ILAM scripts from the MBS run of the series.If you visit, you are certainly able to read these, along with other Morse materials (including scripts from some of his other shows).Unfortunately, you need permission from the Morse Estate to obtain copies of these, even for private and personal scholarship. 

Additionally, when I visited the Sound and Recording Division at the US Library of Congress in Washington DC, in May 1999, they had some 20 assorted scripts in their archives.

At the Library of Congress, I was told by the staff there that the US Copyright Office had a great many of the scripts as well.From visiting the US Copyright Offices' on-line database (using the COHM system to access via telnet) I have since confirmed this.They have copies of all of Mr. Morse's ILAM materials, the 13 episode I LOVE ADVENTURE series, and all the shows from his ADVENTURES BY MORSE series.Curiously, there doesn't seem to be a registries for his ONE MAN'S FAMILY or his other soap opera radio shows.

In any case, you need permission from the Morse Estate to obtain copies of these, though you can view them for reading and study purposes on site. 

There are apparently other Morse Collections in several US university libraries.  I'm currently looking in to this matter.

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5)   Are any ILAM scripts circulating among fans and collectors?

Only a very few complete scripts are quietly in circulation among fans because of copyright restrictions that have prevented the copying of those scripts in the various archives that have Morse collections. 

A)    The scripts that are in fairly general circulation include: 

MURDER ON FEBRUARY ISLAND

TROPICS DON'T CALL IT MURDER

TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES

STAIRWAY TO THE SUN

THE BLUE PHANTOM MURDERS

Other than MURDER ON FEBRUARY ISLAND (see below), none of the ILAM scripts have every been commercially available.  A script from "Adventures By Morse" titled YOU'LL BE DEAD IN A WEEK" was commercially published, and examination reveals that this was a re-written ILAM script.  This is in agreement with reports that a an ILAM teaser announced this story title back in the 1940s, but an ILAM story of this name was never aired.

MORSELCO, the commercial arm of the Morse Family Trust, published the entirety ofMurder on February Island, (unfortunately now out of print).This is the story where Jack, Doc and Reggie first meet the young woman who was later to become their secretary(for the yet to be founded A-One Detective Agency), Jerry Booker.Also bundled with this book (simply a photocopy from the original script) is the first episode of Eight Kinds of Murder, the story of the formation of the Triple A-One Detective Agency.

Additionally, a number of scripts for ILAM shows are quietly circulating among collectors.The OTR organization SPERDVAC  had three of the stories; Temple of VampiresTropics Don’t Call It Murder and Stairway to the Sun.The Old Time Radio Club of Buffalo (although though no longer in operation under that name) had a copy of The Blue Phantom in their files, a copy of which Iobtained from a former member.

B)    There are a number of individual ILAM script fragments in circulation as well.Single script episodes exist for: 

THE GIRL IN THE GILDED CAGE

THE DECAPITATION OF JEFFERSON MONK

MURDER IS THE WORD FOR IT

and MY BELOVED IS A VAMPIRE, just to name a few.

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6)Where are all the “lost” ILAM  broadcast episodes?

The whereabouts of these are unknown.

Of the over 98 separate ILAM serials broadcast over two separate runs of the series, only two exist in complete form, one exists missing a single episode, and three more stories exist missing five or more episodes but have greater than 10 surviving..  There are also perhaps 20 scattered individual episodes, known as fragments

The biggest mystery of all remains; where is the other 95% of the ILAMs? 

Mr. Morse maintained in several interviews made before he died that he did not have copies of these missing shows, and did not know where they are.Rumors abound about private collectors hoarding electrical transcriptions (ETs) of the show from both the first and second run, but these are largely speculative musings.

The rumor most repeated involves the vice-president of a large US oil company who used to collect thousands of ET disks of radio shows, ILAM included.  There is also the rumor of a ruthless OTR collector who snatched several of this vice-president's ILAM ETs, and hoarded it in his own collection before he too died.  The widows of both these men are allegedly in discussions with several large US university's regarding donation of their ILAM collections.

Interestingly, there is some evidence to suggest that, for the Mutual Network series, as part of Morse's contract, he was to have obtained a transcription of every show recreated as part of the  New York City run of the series for MBS.Jim Harmon has recently confirmed this rumor, but stated that Morse himself was surprised to learn that MBS stopped sending him ETs after some time; what complete or nearly complete shows exist from this source. 

A final rumor has it that there are a number of miserly OTR collectors who have broadcast recordings who, for reasons known only to themselves, are not willing to share with other fans.  Allegedly, two 15 minute fragments of STAIRWAY TO THE SUN are tied up in this sad state of affairs.

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7)                 Have there been any recreations of “lost” episodes?  

This part of the FAQ is still under construction. 

Yes!

A)    In 1989, OTR Radio DJ Bud Carey, host of the Californian OTR program, Old Radio Theatre, on Public Radio broadcast station KALW, produced a recreation of the “lost” interior segments ofthe infamous ILAM story, Temple of Vampires.  Involved with this recreation was Jim Harmon, ILAM fan number one.

Over his show, he first broadcast the circulating introductory episodes, sandwiched in recreated portions, and then finished up with the original final episodes. These 9 recreated episodes, whose actors sound nothing like the originals, is still a very professional effort, and it is a delight to hear the entire story.

Carey's effort was apparently a duplicate of another amateur recreation made of missing segments made by another Los Angeles group in the early 1980s. I have no knowledge of this earlier recreation other than its existence (mentioned by Mr. Carey when he aired his own broadcast).

  (NB: I have no further information about this earlier effort, but would be interested in learning more).

B)    More recently OTR historian and ILAM aficionado, Jim Harmon, under the guise of Jim Harmon Productions released a recreation of The Fear That Creeps Like A Cat, the story immediately preceding, “The Thing That Cries in the Night.”Also a professional effort, with Fred Foy announcing, Les Tremayne in the role as Jack Packard, Tony Clay making a very credible Doc Long, and Frank Breese hastily filling in at the last moment in the role of Reggie York.  Jim Harmon himself played "Frankie", Jack Lester as "Mr. Cooper", Art Hearn as "Captain Frenchy", Corrie Seaton as "Laurie", and Barbara Grats (sp?) as Mrs. McGinnis. 

This production has been criticized for “sanitizing” some of the dialogue, and there are some obvious flubs by some of the other actors in supporting roles in this story.Still…it’s the only way to hear this otherwise “lost” show. Unfortunately, for personal reasons, this will be the last recreation produced by Jim Harmon.

C)    There is allegedly several other fragmentary recreations available of individual episodes from several stories; two 15 minute segments of TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES was performed at the 1987 FOTR Convention (not from STAIRWAY TO THE SUN, as reported elsewhere; this have since been verified after examining videotapes made at this show).

And another amateur recreation, a 15 minute isolated interior episode of TROPICS DON'T CALL IT MURDER was made perhaps 30 years ago (I am in the process of tracking this item down).

D)    Finally, I have heard of an amateur OTR dramatics group attempting to make a recreation of either STAIRWAY TO THE SUN or THE BLUE PHANTOM MURDERS from scripts they have obtained, but I am unaware of any progress that has been made by them at this current time.

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8)    What other OTR shows are similar to "I Love A Mystery"?

A)        Those written by Carlton E. Morse.

Morse's  short-lived (13 episode) series for ABC, “I Love Adventure” (ILA) reintroduces some of the same characters of his more famous show, "I Love A Mystery."ILAwas a 1948 summer lead in for the second broadcast run of ILAM, this time produced from New York for MBS.Each 30 minute episode is a stand alone, and complete  into itself.I personally don’t care for it very much, since the initial concept (happily abandoned after the first half of  the run) had Jack Packard working for a “shadow” UN, which termed itself “The Twenty-One Old Men of 10 Grammercy Park. Later on, emphasis shifts back to the Triple A-One Detective Agency (with Reggie mysteriously vanishing, and Doc taking his place). Every single episode of ILA is available and is circulation.

A much better series, in my opinion, is “Adventures by Morse” (ABM).This was a year long set of four 10-episode and 4 3-episode 30 minute stories, set right smack dab in the same shudder-pulp territory that ILAM occupies.Several of the ABM serials were written by Morse 20 years earlier (for NBC Mystery Serial, 1931-1933), but at least one new one, “The Cobra King Strikes Back” was adapted by Morse into a new ILAM story for the MBS run of the show. Every single episode of ABM is available and is in circulation in good sound; I understand that it was Jim Harmon himself who was responsible for making the recordings that circulate today (the transcription disks are said to be archived in the vaults of Pacific Broadcast Pioneers)..

B)        Those written by others.

Adventure serials, which were aimed at an adult audience, and had stories wrapped up in a finite amount of time are surprisingly rare beasts in the OTR jungle.  If you omit the 5-parter "Yours Truly Johnny Dollar" shows, I can only think of the BBC "Paul Temple" detective-mystery series, which ran intermittently from the late 1930s, to the mid 1960s.

Other adventure serials in the ILAM mould may also include the "Moon Over Africa", where jungle drums, talking heads and weird green mystery abound.

There are a few other shows that may pique your interest.

"Latitude Zero", of which a single surviving episodes survives (the first), was a gritty SF/Adventure series with a strong flavor of mystery and careful attention to character and plot.

There also exists a single circulating episode for a show called, "Three For Adventure" that seems strongly inspired by ILAM, (characters with the name of Tex, and scenes set on a rolling freight train) but Morse was not involved in its creation. I am trying to track down more information surrounding this show. 

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9)         Who currently controls the rights for “I Love A Mystery”?

In the mid 1980s and late 1990s, Mr. Morse was astonished to learn the continuing popularity of his show with new fans and old, despite the fact that ILAM had off the air for over 40 years.

In the late 1980s he had his Californian attorney, Richard Ferguson, copyright many of the original scripts with the US Copyright Office. With Morse's death in 1994, control reverted to the Morse Family Trust.  Mr. Ferguson, is the successor trustee to the Morse Family Trust, and the rights of ILAM and guarded zealously (and dare I say, jealously?) by the Trust.

I have been personally unsuccessful in contacting the persons administering the Morse Trust, though I understand from someone who had contacted the widow of the late Mr. Morse in 1998 for the purpose of photocopying ILAM scripts housed at Thousand Oaks Public Library, that they strongly urged her to forbid permission to anyone to do so.

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10)Are there any synopses of“lost” ILAMs?

Yes!Eight synopses are circulating for "lost" "I Love A Mystery" stories as of this date.

OTR Horror historian, Michael Ogden, who was the creator of the excellent though (sadly) defunct ILAM fanzine "The Thing Wouldn't Die(see below), wrote and published extensive synopses for two of the ILAM stories.  These were also reprinted in the second ILAM fanzine, "The A-One Gazette."

“The Monster in the Mansion” 

“The Case of the Transplanted Castle.”

I have also written four synopses of "lost" ILAMs, after taking notes from scripts I read at the US Library of Congress in May 1999.They are available for reading on  my web-site (www.angelfire.com/on/ilam/synopsis.html), and include:

“Murder Hollywood Style”

“The Graves of Whamperjaw, Texas” 

“You Can’t Pin A Murder on Nevada”

“Find Elsa Holberg, Dead or Alive”  

I have future plans to write other ILAM synopses from scripts I have for THE BLUE PHANTOM MURDERS, and 5 episodes of this have been synopsized to date.

Finally, visitors to the archives mentioned above have created their own ILAM synopses which are now available for reading (see the link listed above) on the ILAM web site.  Harold Hart and James Herman  have provided (in sequential order) the following story breakdowns:

"THE GIRL IN THE GILDED CAGE"

"THE CORPSE IN COMPARTMENT C, CAR 77" 

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D:  “I Love A Mystery” in other media 

1)Where there any ILAM movies ever made? 

Yes.

There were 3 films in Columbia’s short lived ILAM series.  All three featured Jim "Red Ryder" Bannon (who had been an announcer for ILAM during the final year of the Hollywood series) as Jack Packard, and Barton Yarborough reprising his radio role as Doc Long. They were: 

“I Love A Mystery” (1945).This eponymous film was based on Carlton E. Morse's ILAM story, THE DECAPITATION OF JEFFERSON MONK, with only minor changes from the original radio play. 

Millionaire Jefferson Monk is marked by death by an eerie Oriental cult, who have offered to purchase his head (since it closely resembles the embalmed head of the founder of their religion), and hires Jack and Doc to protect him from threatened death in a plot that has more twists than a mile of barbed wire. It suffered somewhat from being compressed into 70 minutes, but was an entertaining B movie nonetheless.

“The Devil's Mask” (1946), a new story, one not written by Morse.It dealt with the mysterious finding of a native shrunken head, and a missing South American adventurer.  It too was an entertaining B movie.

“The Unknown” (1946) a new story, one not written by Morse.It dealt with a mysterious Kentucky mansion where a young girl is assisted by Jack and Doc in gaining her rightful inheritance.  It was less successful than the other two movies, and was the final ILAM movie made at Columbia.

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2)                 Were there any ILAM television shows?

Yes. There was one (and possibly two!) TV pilot show(s).

A) There was a completed television pilot for a proposed “I Love A Mystery” series, a series that never materialized.Made in 1967, it was a camp production, influenced overmuch by the then-popular "Batman" and "The Avengers" television shows.  After it had been completed, it was immediately deemed too awful for broadcast airing! The pilot was shelved, where it sat buried in the vaults for several years, before being finally released in 1973, where it infrequently appeared on late-night television.

The TV movie itself was called "I LOVE A MYSTERY", and the plot was a hybrid of “The Thing that Cries in the Night” and “The Fear that Creeps Like A Cat”, is a terribly sad mess, and is only viewable for die-hard fans of the series (and perhaps, not even then). The pilot occasionally appeared on late-night television for several years. A full synopsis, showing every gory and wincing detail, is provided on the unofficial "I Love A Mystery" web site.

B)Brendan Faulkner, a long term ILAM fan, has raised the intriguing possibility there may have been a late 1950s (!!!) television pilot for a proposed ILAM series that never happened.  In a letter to me in the fall of 1999, he wrote:

I did a little research into the ILAM pilot, evidently it was slated  to be produced by ZIV in 1956 or 57. In the Lee Goldberg book it states that it was to be loosely based on  the Carlton E. Morse radio serial.  If it was produced it may have been an anthology of unconnected mystery stories with no Jack, Doc or Reggie. ZIV did produce a number of  tv series in the 50's and they always shot them on film, no kinescopes. And if it was done on film a print may still exist somewhere. Back in 1969 I belonged to film club in NYC which was run by Chris Steinbrunner. Chris was a well respected film historian and mystery expert, in fact he wrote one of the late radio scripts for the Shadow program. On one night he screened all three ILAM Columbia and as a bonus ran the ILAM tv movie ( and that was a few years before it wound up on the tv screens across America) during a break he mentioned to me that he tried to get a copy of an earlier pilot but was unable to. He felt sure that this earlier pilot had been made.

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3)Was the cartoon series, “Scooby Doo, Where Are You” really inspired by the ILAM radio show?

Yes! 

During the 1960s, Fred Silverman was Head of CBS's daytime programming.In 1969 he wanted a new Saturday morning children's show.  He wanted that was different from the usual fare, something that contained elements of comedy, horror and adventure. Silverman's concept was a cross between two previous shows he enjoyed.The first half of this inspiration was the early 1960s sitcom, "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."The second half was that of a favorite radio show he listened to in the 1940s, about a trio sleuths who traveled the globe solving mysteries; "I Love A Mystery."

Frank Hanna and Joe Barbera, two animators on staff at CBS, were placed on the project, and Ken Spears and Joe Ruby were recruited to create plots, characters, and some of the initial story lines. Their ideas for the name of this new show changed several times. They first called it "Mysteries Five" and later changed it to "Who's Scared?"In either case, their concept was that of a cartoon about four teenagers who travel around in a vehicle called the Mystery Machine.They also had a canine side-kick, a dog who wasn't one of the main characters.

The rough pilot they came up with was eventually shown to CBS management and CBS President, Frank Stanton.Stanton nixed the show, citing that the artwork was potentially too frightening to children (and, more importantly, the sponsors). Silverman immediately flew back to Los Angeles the night after Stanton's decision to try and change his mind. 

On the flight back, Silverman was relaxing to the strains of Frank Sinatra singing "Strangers in the Night". The background singers' refrain 'Scooby-dooby-doo' struck Silverman so much that he went back and said to Stanton and the rest of CBS management; 'We'll call the show "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" And we'll make the dog the star of the show.' And with those words Scooby-Doo was created, with the other characters supporting him.

The first season of "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" was very much in the ILAM mood, with stories concerning Egyptian mummies coming back from the dead, frozen cave-men coming alive, haunted houses, living suits of armor, and the like.  And Like ILAM, there was always a perfectly rational explanation for all the supernatural goings on that Scooby and the gang faced..

Sadly, the series became little more than a "monster of the week" show after the initial seasons, and with the introduction of the irritating character of "Scrappy-Doo", the series slid into the basement of children's  cartoon series. 

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4)              Are there any ILAM novels?  

Yes.

In 1988, Carlton E. Morse published a single ILAM novel, “Stuff the Ladies’ Hatbox” under his Seven Stones Press imprint.

Jack and Doc, aided by their secretary Jerry Booker, fly to Las Vegas to thwart a caper to fleece a young millionaire playboy, and instead find themselves wrapped up in a story of organized crime that reaches to the highest level of this gambler's paradise, that culminates in a murderer stalking the darkened hallways of a large city hospital. 

There is both a hardcover and soft cover version of this out of print book available. Although further ILAM novels were announced on the back- piece of this book, Morse did not write any further ILAM stories. 

[I am  uncertain where this book fits in the traditional series.  Since Reggie does not appear, it would seem to date after, SECRET PASSAGE TO DEATH.  Since Jerry Booker, not Mary Kay Brown, appears in this story, it must date before BRIDE OF THE WEREWOLF].

Mr. Morse was allegedly working on a second novel, one based on his favorite ILAM story, THE WIDOW WITH THE AMPUTATION.  Although a manuscript seems to have been completed, plans to publish this halted with his death. 

Additionally, OTR fan and historian Jim Harmon published excerpts of an authorized novel adaptation he was writing based on Morse's infamous TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES radio-play.  Although never completed, this appeared in Harmon's book, "Radio Mystery and Adventure".

5)Were there any “I Love A Mystery” comic strips?  

Yes.

A man named Don Sherwood was apparently responsible for penning and inking several authorized "I Love A Mystery" strips based on several of Morse's ILAM stories which were syndicated to US newspapers in the 1960s, and apparently also appeared overseas. 

Excerpts of this comic strip (a splash page for THE CASE OF THE TRANSPLANTED CASTLE, and a weeks worth of THE FEAR THAT CREEPS LIKE A CAT were reprinted in the (sadly defunct) ILAM fanzine, "The A-1 Gazette" back in the early 1980s. 

Don Sherwood also published a single panel information series called "Return With Us To..."; devoted to a variety of OTR shows such as "The Lone Ranger", "Mysterious Traveler", etc.  There was one such single panel strip devoted to Carlton E. Morse, which was reprinted with Mr. Sherwood's permission, for issue number 5 of this fanzine.

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6)                 Were there any "I Love A Mystery" radio premiums?

No. 

While many shows, mostly juveniles such as CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT or THE SHADOW had secret decoder rings, girasol rings, etc., ILAM had no such radio premium offerings. This again strongly suggests that this was not considered a children's radio show.

7)Have there been other media sightings for “I Love A Mystery”?  

I’ve come across several.

Science Fiction and Fantasy author Lin Carter, in his introduction to his short story collection, "Beyond the Gates of Dream" (1969), credits ILAM as being one of the inspiring radio shows of his youth, along with that other largely lost series, “Latitude Zero”

The true-crime pulp magazine short story, MURDER WITH MUSIC by Brett Halliday (more famous for his Mike Shayne creation) which appeared in a 1945 edition of "Master Detective Magazine", has a mention of "I Love A Mystery", the listening of which was part of an alibi for a crime of murder.  The story was reprinted in the anthology collection "Murder Plus: True Crime Stories from the Masters of Detective Fiction", compiled by Marc Gerald.

Iin the George Lucas film production of, “The Radioland Murders”, the introduction to this okay detective story set in a 1940s radio studio includes a small snippet from the classic opening signature theme for "I Love A Mystery."

Noted author William Goldman (known for such works as  The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) had in his equally famous novel Marathon Man a character named Doc.  In Part III (Pulp), Chapter 19, this nickname is explained: "...and 'Doc' was our name.  From I Love A Mystery.  That was his favorite.  He was always going on about Jack, Doc and Reggie, and for a while I called him Reggie but he said, 'No, I'd rather be Doc', so that was it.". [Thanks to Pat Richoux for pointing out this one].

Finally, while shopping in a lingerie story with my wife, I was astounded to find an elaborate corset put out by a company called Valmont, which labeled this frothy unmentionable confection as, “I Love A Mystery”!Alas, it didn’t fit her…

(I would be interested in learning of any further sightings…)

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8)        Are there any ILAM fanzines or other amateur publications available?  

There were two fanzines devoted to ILAM; “The Thing Wouldn’t Die” and “The A-One Gazette.”Both are sadly defunct, and it is hard to locate copies.

A)    “The Thing Wouldn’t Die”, subtitled "An Irregular Journal Devoted to "I Love A Mystery" and other Radio Thrillers of Yore and Now" was a mimeographed publication written and published by OTR scholar Michael Ogden. The eight issues of TTWD ran from November 1979 to February 1982. 

Beyond the careful scholarship that included excerpts from contemporary radio reviews as well as a very good bibliography for Carlton E. Morse, TTWD contained Michael Ogden's synopses for both THE CASE OF THE TRANSPLANTED CASTLE and TROPICS DON'T CALL IT MURDER. There was also an interesting log for the series, that contained a brief line on the plot for many of the NBC full network ILAM episodes!  Many thanks for Mike Ogden for sending me a copy of this wonderful magazine!

B)    “The A-One Gazette”, subtitled "Promoting the Adventure Programs of Carlton E. Morse" was another short livedILAM fanzine produced in the early 1990s under the editorialship of two different persons, Jim Mayor and Curt Ladnier

The six issues of this publication ran from November 1991 to January 1993; it was perhaps less scholarly, but a little more fun (and included ILAM and OMF trivia, cross-word and other puzzles, and even recipes!).  Two ILAM synopsizes were published in its history, including THE CASE OF THE TRANSPLANTED CASTLE (reprinted from "The Thing Wouldn't Die", and THE MONSTER IN THE MANSION.  There was also a bibliography of Carlton E. Morse and a listing of his other works written by Larry Telles.. 

Curt Ladnier published the first part of a proposed two part sequel to the "Adventures By Morse" story, "DEAD MEN PROWL (he later became publisher, taking over from Jim Mayor). There was also excerpts from Don Sherwood's "I Love A Mystery" comic strip published in the last few episodes. as well as splash pages for THE CASE OF THE TRANSPLANTED CASTLE. 

Issue #4 has an interesting editorial suggesting that the Morse Estate, while Mr. Morse was still alive, was applying pressure on this amateur publication, (demanding in exchange for "permission" to run the fanzine, Mr. Mayor had to not only list Morse's copyrights to the series, but also notice that Metacom and Seven Stones Press were the only sanctioned sources for tapes and novels based on the series.  I suspect such pressure ultimately led to Jim Mayor giving up producing this item, the task being picked up by Curt Ladnier for the final two issues of the publication. 

9)        Are there any ILAM music or songs?

Strangely, yes!

I've learned that there is a musician who has both sample and "scratched" excerpts from the vinyl TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES record album to make a dance-mix!  I'm trying to track down a copy of this, so stay tuned!

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D: Acknowledgements 

First of all, thanks to Jim Farst for his ongoing help and encouragement for the ILAM website, from which much of this information is derived.  Also thanks to Normal Cukras for his perpetual enthusiasm (and patience!)..

Factual information was obtained by many people, and I'd like to thank all of them.  In  no particular order, I'd like to thank Jay Hickerson, Ken Greenwald, Don Aston, Tom Brown, Michael Ogden, the late Shawn Dawnsoski, Max Schmid, Bob Boston, James Herman, Ted Kneebone, Travis Conner, Brendan Faulkner, Robert. E. McConnell, Ted Davenport, Jim Cavanaugh, Tom Fetters, Roy Bright, Gary Holman, Randy Eidemiller, James Herman, Harold Hart, Pat Richoux, and many many more. (which is why this part of the FAQ is still under construction!) 

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E:    Appendix

 

 

1    ILAM story title listings from the Hollywood run of the series.

I LOVE A MYSTERY (NBC/CBS 1939-1944)
 

First Season
(NBC West Coast Network, Standard Brands, Fleischmann's Yeast; 15-minute format, Monday to Friday)

1 "The Case Of The Roxy Mob" (January 16th to February 3rd, 1939; 15 episodes)
2 "Death Aboard the Lady Mary" (February 6th to 24th, 1939; 15 episodes)
3 "The Case Of The Nevada Cougar" February 27th to March 31st,1939; 25 episodes)
4 "Mystery of the Lady K Ranch" (April 3rd to 28th, 1939; 20 episodes)
5 "Strange Affair of Sandy Spring Sanatorium" (May 1st to May 19; 1939; 15 episodes)
6 "The Texas Border Smugglers" (May 22nd to June 9th; 1939; 15 episodes)
7 "The El Paso, Texas Murders" (June 12th to June 30th, 1939; 15 episodes)
8 "Flight To Death" (July 3rd to 21st, 1939; 15 episodes)
9 "Murder Hollywood Style" (July 24 to August 11, 1939; 15 episodes)
10 "Incident Concerning Death" (August 14-Sept 1st, 1939; 15 episodes)
11 "Yolo County Battle Of The Century" (September 7th-29th, 1939; 18 episodes)

(moves to entire NBC Red Network)

12 "Blue Phantom" (October 2nd to 20th, 1939; 15 episodes)
13 “Castle Island (October 23rd to November 17th, 1939; 20 episodes)
14 “Hollywood Cherry  (November 20th to December 8th, 1939; 15 episodes)
15 "Bury Your Dead, Arizona" (December 11 to December 29, 1939; 15 episodes)
16 "San Diego Murders" (January 1st to 19th, 1940; 15 episodes)
17 "Temple Of Vampires" (January 22nd to February 16, 1940; 20 episodes)
18 "Brooks Kidnapping" (February 19th to March 8, 1940; 15 episodes)
19 "Murder In Turquoise Pass" (March 11th to 29th, 1940; 15 episodes)

(restarts on NBC Red Network, Thursday, 30 minute episodes.)

20 "The Snake With The Diamond Eyes" (April 4th to June 27, 1940; 13 episodes)

Second Season
(NBC Blue Network, continuing 30 minute episodes, aired Mondays)

21 "The Tropics Don't Call It Murder (a.k.a. “The Tropics Taste Murder") (September 30th to December
30th, 1940; 13 episodes)
22 "The Case Of The Transplanted Castle" (January 6th to March 3rd, 1941; 9 episodes)
23 "Murder On February Island" (March 10th to May 5th, 1941; 9 episodes)
24 "Eight Kinds Of Murder" (May 12th to June 30th, 1941; 8 episodes)

Third Season
(NBC Blue Network, 30-minute episodes, aired Mondays)

25 "The Monster In The Mansion" (October 6th to November 24th, 1941; 8 episodes)
26 "Secret Passage To Death" (December 1st 1941 to February 2nd, 1942; 10 episodes)
27 "Terror Of Frozen Corpse Lodge" (February 9th to April 4th, 1942; 9 episodes)
28 "Pirate Loot of The Island of Skulls" (April 13th to June 29th, 1942; 12 episodes)

Fourth Season
(Series moves to CBS, Proctor & Gamble; returns to 15-minute format, Monday to Friday)

29 "The Girl In The Gilded Gage" (March 22nd-April 9th, 1943; 15 episodes)
30 "Blood On The Cat" (April 12th to May 7th, 1943; 20 episodes)
31 "The Killer Of Circle M" (May 10th to June 4th, 1943; 20 episodes
32 "Stairway To The Sun" (a.k.a. “The Island in the Sky”) (June 7th to July 16th, 1943; 30 episodes)
33 "The Graves Of Whamperjaw, Texas" (July 19th to August 6th, 1943; 15 episodes)
34 "Murder Is The Word For It" (August 9th to 27th, 1943; 15 episodes)
35 "The Decapitation Of Jefferson (August 30th to October 1st, 1943; 25 episodes)
36 "My Beloved Is A Vampire" (October 4th to November 5th, 1943; 25 episodes)
37 "The Hermit Of San Felipe Atabapo" (November 8th to December 3rd, 1943; 20 episodes)
38 "The Deadly Sin Of Richard Coyle" (December 6th to 24th, 1943; 15 episodes)
39 "The Twenty Traitors Of Timbuktu" (December 27th 1943 to February 24th, 1944; 44 episodes)
40 "The African Jungle Mystery" (February 28th to March 24th, 1944; 20 episodes)
41 "The Widow With The Amputation" (March 27th to April 21st, 1944; 20 episodes)
42 "I Am The Destroyer Of Women" (April 24th to May 12th, 1944; 15 episodes)
43 "You Can't Pin A Murder On Nevada" (May 15th to June 2nd, 1944; 15 episodes)
44 "The Corpse In Compartment C, Car 75 (June 5th to 9th, 1944; 5 episodes)
45 "The Thing Wouldn't Die" June 13th to July 7th, 1944; 20 episodes)
46 "The Case Of The Terrified Comedian" (July 10-August 7, 1944; 21 episodes)
47 "The Man Who Hated To Shave" (August8-21, 1944; 10 episodes)
48 "Temple Of Vampires" (August 22-August 18, 1944; 20 episodes)
49 "The Bride Of The Werewolf" (September 19th to October 9th, 1944; 15 episodes)
50 "The Monster In The Mansion" (October 10th to November 9th, 1944; 23 episodes)
51 "Portrait Of A Murderess" (November 10th to December 7th, 1944; 20 episodes)
52 "Find Elsa Holberg, Dead Or Alive" (December 8th to 29th, 1944; 16 episodes)


2 ILAM story title listings from the MBS run of the series.

I LOVE A MYSTERY (MBS 1949-53)
 

First Season

1 "The Fear That Creeps Like A Cat" (October 3rd to 28th, 1949; 20 episodes
2 "The Thing That Cries in the Night" (October 31st to November 18th, 1949; 15 episodes)
3 "Bury Your Dead, Arizona" (November 21st to December 9th, 1949; 15 episodes)
4 "The Million Dollar Curse" (December 12th to 30th, 1949; 15 episodes)
5 "Temple Of Vampires" (January 2nd to 27th, 1950; 20 episodes)
6 "Battle Of The Century" (January 30-February 22, 1950; 18 episodes)
7 "The Tropics Don't Call It Murder" (February 23rd to March 30th, 1950; 26 episodes)
8 "The Case Of The Nevada Man Killer" (March 31st to May 4th, 1950; 25 episodes)
9 "The Turn Of The Wheel" (May 5th to June 1st, 1950; 20 episodes)
10 "The Blue Phantom Murders" (June 2nd to 22nd, 1950; 15 episodes)
11 "The Snake With The Diamond Eyes" (June 23rd to July 28, 1950; 26 episodes)
12 "Flight To Death" (July 31st to August 18th, 1950; 15 episodes)
13 "Murder In Turquoise Pass" (August 21st to September 8th, 1950; 15 episodes)

Second (and final) Season

14 "Whose Body Got Buried?" (September 11th to 29th, 1950; 15 episodes)
15 "Escapade Of The Desert Hag" (October 2nd to 20th, 1950; 15 episodes)
16 "Blood On The Border" (October 23rd to November 10th, 1950; 15 episodes)
17 "Trouble At Sea" (November 13th to 28th, 1950; 12 episodes)
18 "Incident Concerning Death" (November 29th to December 19th, 1950; 15 episodes)
19 "The Case Of The Roxy Mob" (December 20th 1950 to January 8th, 1951; 14 episodes)
20 "The Case Of The Transplanted Castle" (January 9th to February 1st, 1951; 18 episodes)
21 "Murder Of February Island" (February 2nd to 27th, 1951; 18 episodes)
22 "The Monster In The Mansion" (February 28th to March 30th, 1951; 23 episodes)
23 "Eight Kinds Of Murder" (April 2nd to 23rd, 1951; 16 episodes)
24 "Secret Passage To Death" (April 24th to May 21st, 1951; 20 episodes)
25 "Terror Of Frozen Corpse Lodge" (May 22nd to June 14th, 1951; 18 episodes)
26 "The Pirate Loot Of The Island of Skulls" (June 15th to July 18th, 1951; 24 episodes)
27 "Brooks Kidnapping" (July 19th to August 8th, 1951; 15 episodes)
28 "Murder Hollywood Style" (August 9th to 29th, 1951; 15 episodes)
29 "The Girl In The Gilded Cage" (August 30th to September 19th, 1951; 15 episodes)
30 "Blood On The Cat" (September 20th to October 17th, 1951; 20 episodes)
31 "The Case Of The Terrified Comedian" (October 18th to November 16, 1951; 21 episodes)
32 "The Killer Of The Circle M" (November 19-December 14, 1951; 20 episodes)
33 "Murder Is The Word For It" (December 17th, 1951 to January 4th, 1952; 15 episodes)
34 "Stairway To The Sun" (January 7th to February 15th, 1952; 30 episodes)
35 "The Graves Of Whamperjaw, Texas" (February 18th to March 7th, 1952; 15 episodes)
36 "The Decapitation Of Jefferson Monk" (March 10th to April 11th, 1952; 25 episodes)
37 "My Beloved Is A Vampire (April 14th to May 16th, 1952; 25 episodes)
38 "The Hermit Of San Felipe Atabapo" (May 19th to June 13th, 1952; 20 episodes)
39 "The Deadly Sin Of Sir Richard Coyle" (June 16th to July 4th, 1952; 15 episodes)
40 "The Man Who Hated To Shave" (July ?, 1952; 10 episodes)
41 "The African Jungle Mystery" (?, 1952; 20 episodes)
42 "The Cobra King Strikes Back" (September 1 to September 26th, 1952; 20 episodes)
43 "The Widow With The Amputation" (September 15th to October 10th, 1952; 20 episodes)
44 "I Am The Destroyer Of Women" (October 28th to November 19th, 1952; 15 episodes)
45 "The Bride Of The Werewolf" (November 20th to December 10th, 1952; 15 episodes)
46 "Find Elsa Holberg, Dead Or Alive" (December 11th to 26th, 1952; 12 episodes)


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This is the end of the ILAM FAQ.

BCM.