Sunday, July 15, 2012

Remembering The Three Investigators

Anyone remember "The Three Investigators?". In a boy's world of advanture books populated by the likes of The Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, The Three Investigators were, in my estimation, the coolest of the bunch. Officially the title of the series was "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, and therein lies the source of their ultimate awesomeness. The Investigators were made up of Jupiter Jones, slightly pudgy but brilliant leader of the gang, Pete Crenshaw, the muscle, and Bob Andrews, the researcher who worked part-time at the local library in the town of Rocky Beach, California. Jupter lived with his Uncle Titus (owner of The Jones Salvage Yard) and Aunt Mathilda, a no-nonsese dame who could always find work to keep boys out of mischef. Of course, even the most time-consuming chores would stop the three lads from investigating mysteries. Heck, they even had their own business card, replete with multiple "? ? ? ? ?" symbols, showing off their willing ness to encounter the unknown. The boys had the requisite "secret clubhouse", but what a clubhouse! It was a trailer in the back of Uncle Titus' junk yard, disguised by layers of detritus (any kid knows the best fun can be found in a pile of junk!). It had multiple secret entrances code-named the "green door" or "red dog", and even had telephone service for quick agent notifications. As the title suggested, the boys actually had contact with Alfred Hitchcock, with whom they would meet at least once a story (sometimes more often). The boys, of course, had full access to the famous director at his studio, and would regularly meet with The Man to consult on a particulalry sticky conundrum, or provide notes on the solution to their latest adventure.("It would make a keen movie!!") Boy's adventure books in general had the greatest art ever seen. and the cover shown here from the Mystery of the Flaming Footprints, usually captured an important moment of action in the book (you were never lured by some kind of phoney baloney cover that showed something that was not in the story...the Investigators were nothing if not honest to the core!). The inside of the cover was a generic but super-cool depiction of the three shamuses creeping through the spookiest graveyard outside of Edgar Allen Poe, equiped for detecting with magifying glass (for locating clues), reel-to-reel tape recorder (for caturing confessions), and something that looked like a transistor radio (for weather reports and spot dances, one might assume).
Lurking on the oppostite page, behind the giant spider-web, was "the shadowy figure". Who was this man of mystery? The villain of the book? Alfred Hitchcock? The editor of Random House books? Whoever he was, he set you up for a mystery that was sure to glue you to the sofa on a hot summer day or a cold winter night. I don't know if the Three Investogators are still being published, or whether "kids nowadays" would know who Alfred Hitchcock was. OIf not, it would be a shame, because the Three Investigators and Mr. Hitchcock always provided me with.... a "Gooood Eeeeevening"

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