An Introduction to

I Love A Mystery &

Jack, Doc & Reggie

Adverstisements in the radio section of newspapers back in the 1940s read something like this:

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

For once, advertising (as the above shouted out in various 1940's ads) didn’t
exaggerate, folks!

The old-time radio series, "I Love A Mystery," written, produced and directed by Carlton E. Morse, is considered by many as the greatest radio adventure series ever!

The ILAM radio serial featured three memorable rough and tumble seekers of fun, mayhem and adventure; Jack, Doc and Reggie. A combination of the Three Musketeers and Robin Hood all rolled into one, the three considered themselves Soldiers of Fortune with a difference, ones with a conscience and a morality to adhere to. The nickname, "The Three Comrades" was an appropriate one for this triumvirate of They loved fighting of all types--fist fighting, gun fighting--and this handiness kept them in good stead in their many conflicts in the four quarters of the world.

The three had originally met while fighting for the losing side during the Japanese occupation of Manchuria , but they united again stateside after surviving that conflict against seemingly impossible odds in the story, THE ROXY GANG.  After some amazing adventures together, they eventually formed the A-1 Detective Agency, located just off the main street, and one floor up, in Hollywood, California.

Jack Packard, a former Omaha Nebraska  native, is the oldest at 37 and is the leader of the trio.  Cool, tough as leather and smart, Jack is the brains behind the team and the others ultimately defer to him.

 Jackhad been a medical student until he allegedly “got some girl in trouble” and then refused to marry her (I say allegedly, since not one of the 30+ scripts I have read has mentioned this). Kicked out of medical school, he went out to China to fight the Japanese occupying forces there, and there met up with the others. It was undoubtedly there that he picked up his skills as a pilot, handiness with firearms, and skills at unarmed combat. His past training allowed to perform rough doctoring in the field, being ept at splinting broken bones and removing bullets. One of the few areas he did not excel was in the world of romance; once burned by a woman, he was now twice shy, and left the girl chasing to his two close companions.

As the leader of the group, Jack takes no nonsense from anyone, and and scoffs at claims of the supernatural or occult as the explanation for all the mysterious happenings that occurred in their many adventures. There was always something logical and prosaic at the bottom of such strange occurrences, and Jack was always there to expose them for the frauds they were. At times, however, he gets disgusted at the credulity of his companions.

 Ironically, for all his skepticism, Jack has a healthy danger sense, a hyper acute forewarning of trouble that the others would always pay attention too.

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. The fun-loving, skirt-chasing, lock-picking card-playing red-headed Texan was the firebrand of the group, and his antics often brought him and the others much trouble and adventure. It was a good thing that his flying fists were as fast as his tongue, for the former helped compensate for the latter’s excesses. He can be occasionally irritated at Jack’s disgust at his logorrhea, but he has to admit that things would have gone a little more smoother if he just kept his mouth shut.

On the other hand, Doc’s wagging tongue and stories about his youth spent in Texas with his cousin Winnie-Mae provided some needed humour during those many grim episodes that punctuated their many adventures together. But when he doesn’t, his favourite, and signature "Texas Crude" phrases include “Honest to grandma!”, "Spank me for a baby!", and “Well, I’ll be a hippo-nauserus!” Doc always did get the best lines in the show.

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 Gangsters, as well as in only several other stories when he is admitted to hospital. In the original run of the show, the last episode he made an appearance in was in  I Am The Destroyer Of Women, during which he was badly injured trying to capture a homicidal maniac, and he required an urgent surgery followed by a long hospital convalescence.

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 Gangsters, mentions him coming from Quebec, Canada). He was the caboose of this three-car train of adventurers, whose mild manners and polite British way concealed a scrap-happy boxer who loves nothing better than a good fight! A large, sandy haired giant of a man, he liked children, and was susceptible to feminine tears to such extent that Doc once drawled, “Reggie son...yer just a sucker for women.” Although not a misogynist as Jack was, Reggie was rather timid around the fairer sex.

Reggie was as grammatically correct as Jack, but too polite to point out Doc’s malapropisms (unlike Jack, who always did so while rolling his eyes). One might almost think he was someone pretending to be British because he peppered his phrases with such overused clichés as “Quite”, “Bally ho” and “Rather!” a good deal more often than any two real persons originating from the U.K.

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 actually 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 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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Introduction to ILAM: Jack, Doc and Reggie | ILAM FAQ
The Series Cast | The Series Creator: Carlton E. Morse
The Series Log | Raiders of the Lost ILAMs | Synopses of Lost Shows
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