The Tracer of Lost Persons

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Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons was also one of the first of the detective genre on radio , and certainly the earliest one with "legs," lasting well into the TV era. Earlier in its run, it used the best of the melodramatic serial methods - obvious characterization with social and anti-social stereotypes, all done with somewhat heavy-footed plotting.

Bennett Kilpack played Mr.

Keen as an intellectual authority figure, magisterial in manner, reserved, aloof. Two others took over Mr.


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Keen later in the run, but Keen's mannerisms remained the same. Jim Kelly plays Mr. Keen's working-class heavy, Mike Clancy. The name tells the characterization, since old time radio , like vaudeville, was a world where immigrants had popular comedic stereotypes. To modern ears, this type of show sounds more stilted than authoritative, since we really never "get to know" Mr. Keen, but this style of detective can be considered an homage to the classic intellectual English tradition.

With perhaps a dash of the formality of the early old time radio announcer in his tone of voice.

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After all, early radio announcers used to work in tuxedos before live audiences! Bennett Kilpack began as Mr. Keen in with Arthur Hughes and then Phil Clarke stepping into the role later in the series. The kindly Keen and his faithful assistant, Mike Clancy Jim Kelly , entertained listeners for 18 years.

With nationwide broadcasts, Mr.

The Tracer of Lost Persons by Robert W. Chambers

Keen was the most resilient private detective in a namesake role. Only 59 of the Mr. Keen programs are known to survive. Perhaps hoping to cash in on those memories, n the mid-eighties Aaron Spelling dusted off the original concept, and launched the vaguely similiarly-titled Finder of Lost Loves television series.

The Tracer of Lost Persons eBook

But the most amazing twist of all came in , when Moonstone Comics, as part of their Moonstone Noir line, reinvented kindly, elderly Mr. Keen as a big, mean-looking black dude. This was no some softie reuniting lost lovers, but a tireless manhunter. I'm guessing they acquired the rights simply on the off-chance there'd still be a little vague, fuzzy name recognition -- over fifty years after the show went off the airwaves.

And he who's not some softie reuniting lost lovers, but a tireless manhunter. Moonstone promises "Action, violence, love, loss, and psychosis. I say "Nah.

Mr. Keen, Tracer Of Lost Persons - The Case Of The Strange Display (March 16, 1944)

In fact, this Mr. Keen is such a departure from the original concept, that I'm giving him his own entry Respectfully submitted by Jack French.


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