I Love A Mystery
1939 - 1944, 1949 - 1952
I Love Adventure
I Love A Mystery was based on The Three Muskerteers, and went on to inspire Scooby-Doo.
Announcer (usually): Dresser Dahlstead, Frank Martin, and Bill Andrews.
I Love A Mystery didn't really have a horror host, but it certainly had a horror theme. Vampires, werewolves, and truly gruesome forms of murder pervaded the series. The announcer, Dresser Dahlstead (and others), had no persona, but would appear to deliver recaps. Since ILAM had a regular troop of characters who made up the A-1 Detective series, the audience already had a group of friends that they looked forward to hearing each week. The gang of three was loosely based on The Three Musketeers, only set in modern times and solving mysteries instead of sword fighting. There was Jack Packard, the smart guy who was weary of women. There was Doc Long, who provided comic relief with his Texas drawl and who was always falling for the dames. And there was Reggie York, the English chap who sounded all proper, but loved to fight.
ILAM went on to develop a fearsome loyalty among listeners. Some collectors consider it the best radio show ever. The fact that so many of the shows are now lost certainly adds to the mystique. Nearly everyone agrees it was one of the best. The writer, Carlton E. Morse, cranked it out at an amazing pace (while also writing One Man's Family). ILAM was broadcast in New York and Hollywood, with both shows featuring different casts. After the war, it came back under another name , I Love Adventure, but had continuity problems. The three men were separated during the war, and Jack was working for a covert agency to preserve world peace. Suddenly, they were all back together again working for the agency, with no explanation given (Dunning, 338). It returned under its old name for the remainder of the run.
ILAM painted vivid pictures for the audience. Whether it was hidden temples filled with flying vampires, or secret caverns behind waterfalls generating their own ethereal light, Morse would make the unbelievable plausible. He could also tantalize the audience, as he did in an episode where the pretty secretary had to undergo a complete strip search in front of detective Terence Burke. She had to remove everything, "Dress, shoes, everything" (Hand, 18). You could never do that on the screen back then, but listeners of ILAM were able to visualize it all in living color-- even before color made it to the theaters!
It is little wonder ILAM is so well remembered. It had it all. Thrills, chills, comedy, and plenty of action. Most of all, it had imagination, and with it, the listener saw and experienced things far beyond their daily grind. If you love a mystery or adventure, you are likley to love I Love A Mystery and I Love Adventure.
See also the similar sister series, Adventure By Morse.
A Typical Recap :
(SFX: Clock chime.)
(SFX: Music theme plays.)
Announcer: "Twelve midnight, high on the ledge above the floor of the Temple of the Vampires, somewhere in the jungles of Central America. Jack and Doc Long are facing one of the strangest, most hair raising moments in their experience. They're out in the center of the temple, each clinging to separate ropes 50 feet in the air!"
Hear it now, FREE!
(Courtesy of OTR.net)
Listen to 57 Episodes for FREE
(RealPlayer allows you to continue to browse other sites while you listen.)
Hear more episodes at Archive.org.
Many ILAM episodes were lost, but the scripts were not. Some have been recreated.
Here's a sample here, (Courtesy of ILAM Home Page.)
Hear the complete I Love Adventure here (courtesy of Archive.org)
ILAM in the News
"CANON CITY, CO. - Harry Leopold listened attentively in his death cell to the solution of three murders in a radio mystery story - then just two and a half hours later he enacted the end to his own murder story by walking calmly into Colorado's lethal gas chamber.
The 29-year-old Denver gunman, convicted of slaying Emil Albrecht, Denver restaurant proprietor in a hold-up a year ago, was pronounced dead 15 seconds after the cyanide pellets were dropped into the acid to generate the fatal gas. At 5:15 last night Leopold snapped on his radio as he ate his last steak dinner. He had been following the I Love A Mystery program from a Denver radio station. The story concerned the murders of three members of a family which, it was revealed, were killed by a demented daughter.
'I'm lucky,' the Denver murderer said. 'They presented the solution to the murders in time for me to hear them. A few hours later I'd never have known how it came out.' Leopold was the calmest in the tragic group of guards and prison officials who escorted him from the death cell into the prison yard where the gas chamber is located."
- Dec 9, 1939, United Press
"John Q. Public took I Love A Mystery to his collective bosom right from the very start. The program's Crossley reached the sky. Fan mail started with hundreds, leaped soon to thousands. College professors wrote them. So did grade school kids, college girls in convent schools, police patrolmen, business men, government officials -- domestic and foreign . . . And so, to fanfare of fan mail and flowering Crossley reports, I Love A Mystery growed and growed (sic) like Topsy and brought to author Morse new stature as not only one of radio's best writers, but also as one of the most versatile."
-Aug. 1940 Radio Varieties
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