Some time ago, while gawking at a yard sale, I found several Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigator books. For a time during my childhood, I was into reading series books like Nancy Drew and one of my all time favorites, Alfred Hitchcock and The Three Investigators.
The books I got at the sale are paperbacks released through Scholastic and I got them just so I could read them again. When I bought my copies years ago as a kid, I got them at my local bookstore and they were hard backs then. But, anyway, these little church finds were so much fun to read again. It was so cool to connect again to Jupiter Jones, Bob Andrews and Pete Crenshaw. Three teenage boys (probably about 13 or 14, I don’t think the books ever really gave an age for them) who had opened a private detective business in Rocky Beach, California. What I loved as a kid was that many of the titles of the books had a spooky or supernatural tone, titles like: The Mystery of the Talking Skull, The Mystery of the Green Ghost, The Secret of the Haunted Mirror to just name a few. I also loved the fact that the headquarters for the three was an old beat up trailer that sat in the Jones Salvage yard. It had been hidden behind lots of junk and Jupiter’s uncle had forgotten that it existed. To get into the trailer, secret tunnel entrances were used. I thought that was so cool back when I was a kid. (And to be honest, here I am an adult and I STILL think that’s cool!)
Robert Arthur Jr. created the characters back in 1964 and had a great idea in getting permission to use the name of Alfred Hitchcock. He believed that attaching a famous name to the books would attract attention and get folks interested in reading them, and he was right. Hitchcock had nothing to do with the stories and the introductions that were attributed to him were actually written by the authors. Hitchcock did have veto power of the cover art, I suppose he wanted to make sure that the images used, since the books did bear his name and likeness, were tasteful. I don’t know if he ever had to use that veto power or not.
Anyway, 11 of the books were written by Arthur himself. All told, there are 43 stories in this series. There was to be a 44th, but that was either not finished or simply not published. Eventually, Hitchcock passed away and from what I had read some time back (and it might not be accurate), the estate of Hitchcock simply wanted too much money to use his name and likeness, so eventually the series simply became The Three Investigators. A new person in the guise of Hector Sebastian would do the introduction.
There are lots of websites that have much more detailed information about the series, the authors and more. So, I don’t really need to go into any kind of detail here.
You would have thought that the books which have been so popular for so long would have seen at least a few adaptions for television at least. A few years ago, in Austria, The Three Investigators did make it to the small screen when The Secret of Skeleton Island was released and in 2009 The Secret of Terror Castle was filmed. These two films did adopt some of the story lines from the books, but also made some significant changes, too. I do remember seeing, at least parts of one of the movies on Nickelodeon or Boomerang? I don’t think the films were that successful and from what I have read and most folks who are fans of the books and who have watched the movies say they stray too much from the books. I wonder why studios do that, take a popular series of books or a popular TV show, turn them into a movie and then go about changing the characters and back story so much that they no longer resemble the much loved and successful books or TV show. And, then what is amusing, is that they have no idea why the movie tanks at the box office or in the ratings and gets really bad reviews? Oh well, that is life, eh? 🙂
© 2016 Glory Miller