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The Cast of 

"I Love A Mystery"

 

 

The New York City/MBS Cast 


     When "I Love A Mystery" was recreated using Morse's original scripts, none of the original trio of leads from the original series was available.  Michael Raffetto was at that time only appearing on "One Man's Family" (as well as being a part-time writer and director for the famous family drama) and both Barton Yarborough and Walter Paterson had met untimely deaths.

     The new "Three Comrades" were Russell Thorson, Jim Boles and Tony Randall. Mercedes McCambridge reprised many of the female roles she performed in the original series, and Athena Lord (the wife of Jim Boles) played Jerry Booker and Mary Kay Brown respectively.  

   Photos and a brief Bio of each of the major cast members appear below.

 


Russell Thorson (alias Jack Packard)

(1906-1982)

 

 

 

     Russell Thorson was born in Wisconsin on October 1906.  

     Not much is known about his early career, but his first notable claim to radio fame occurred when he jumped into the saddle at the T-M Bar Ranch when he took over the role of Tom Mix in the self-named Western series in 1938 and played this role for the next four years.  

     Thorson also performed various roles in Morse's other series, "One Man's Family, "I Love Adventure" and "Adventures by Morse." In fact, in the original NBC/Hollywood run of ILAM, Thorson would often play the ethnic role of "Swede" who appeared in a half dozen or so different stories.  In 1949 he auditioned for and wone the role of  "Jack Packard" in the MBS run of "I Love A Mystery" from 1949 to 1951 (when Thorson left the series, Robert Dryden took over).

    Thorson also played the role of Paul Barbour on the television version of "One Man's Family", and when Michael Raffetto retired from the radio version, Thorson filled in here as well. His first film was Easy Living (1949).  He also starred in such films as I Want To Live (1957), Hang 'em High (1967), Walking Tall (1973) and many more; his last credited film appearance was on the TV movie Guilty or Innocent: The Sam Sheppard Murder Case (1975). 

     Thorson had a regular role as Detective Lieutenant Otto Lindstrom (1959-1961) on The Detectives and  Sheriff Evans on The Virginian (1962-1963) and . He had *many* notable guest appearances on such diverse shows as Bonanza, Outsider, Perry Mason, Giligan's Island, Emergency! and The Rockford Files.

     Russell Thorson died in Van Nuys California on July 6th, 1982; he was 76.

 


 

Jim Boles (alias Doc Long)

(1914-1977)

 

     Born February 28th, 1914 in Lubbock Texas, Jim Boles appeared in many radio shows before taking over the role of Doc Long in the second run of ILAM. Some of these other radio shows included spots on Suspense, One Man's Family, X Minus One, Words at War and the soap opera King's Row.

   Boles had previously appeared in the television version of "One Man's Family" (1950 to 1952), and prior to that he had an uncredited role in "Captain Video and His Video Rangers" (1949).  

     Jim Boles was selected by Morse after audition to play the role of Doc Long for the  MBS run of ILAM (1949-1953). Married to Athena Lord, his wife also appeared on the second run of ILAM, in the role of the A-One's secretary, Mary Kay Brown.

   After the end of the MBS run of ILAM, Boles appeared in many television programs, including notable guest appearances in Car 54 Where Are You?, Lost In Space, Perry Mason, Night Gallery, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Twilight Zone, The Monkees and Little House on the Prairie. 

     Boles' film career was also quite extensive.  His first film was The Tattooed Stranger (1950).  Others included The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1965), The Trouble with Angels (1966), and The Love God? (1969); his final film was The Great Texas Dynamite Chase (1977).

     Jim Boles died in Sherman Oaks, California, on May 26th 1977 from a myocardial infarction.  He was 63.    


 

Tony Randall (alias Reggie York)

(1920-)

 

 

    The youngest of the recreation trio of ILAM actors was Tony Randall, born in Tulsa Oklahoma on February 26th 1920 as Leonard Rosenberg.  He changed his name when he embarked on a stage career.

     Randall originally auditioned for the role of Doc Long, but was instead tapped by Morse to take on the role of Reggie York.  Vastly underrated, Randall did an excellent job of portraying the young Herculean Englishman, but was  out of a job when the the timeline of the recreated scripts wrote his role out of the series.

     Luckily, a role on the television series Mr. Peepers (1952 - 1955) opened up for him.  He never went back to radio, but instead went on to his film debut being in Oh, Men! Oh, Women! (1957) and went on to play a variety of film roles including that of Jonathan Forbes in the highly successful Pillow Talk (1959).

     Other of his films include Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), The Mating Game (1959), Seven Faces of Dr. Lao (1963), Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex, But Were Afraid to Ask (1972) and many more. His most recent films were Fatal Instinct (1993) and a voice role in the animated How the Toys Saved Christmas (1997).

   Tony Randall gained immortality for his role of ultra fastidious Felix Unger in the television version of the Neil Simon play "The Odd Couple," which aired on ABC (1970 - 1975). He won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in 1975 for this role. Randall also starred in such television series as "The Tony Randall Show"(1976-1978) and "Love, Sidney" (1981-1983).

     He is heavily involved with his "National Actors' Theater" (which he founded at the age of 72).  The 79 year old actor currently resides in New York City with his second wife Heather and their children. He still makes fairly frequent public appearances on "Late Night With David Letterman."


 

Mercedes McCambridge (alias Sunny Richards, Yoganda, Charity Martin, etc.)

(1918-  )

 

     Charlotte Mercedes McCambridge was the only player to have significant roles on both the original and the recreation runs of  ILAM (NB: please see the NBC/Hollywood cast page for more bio details).

     Her busy Broadway theatre career in the late 1940s and early 1950s still allowed her time to tape her various female roles for MBS's ILAM, since the show tapings were performed on weekend afternoons. 

    On the MBS run of ILAM she reprised many of her old roles on ILAM such as Jacquelin Dempsey Ross and Cherry Martin, including such new roles as the young heiress Sunny Richards in THE MILLION DOLLAR CURSE and TEMPLE OF VAMPIRES.

     In 1999 she made a rare public appearance at the Oscar's at the age of 81 and looked great!  She is still alive today, and lives in Los Angeles.


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