Mister Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons

Listen to “The Great Detectives Present Keen and Company” on Spreaker.

Based loosely on the Robert W. Chambers novel Tracer of Lost Persons, the radio series Mister Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons was the longest-running radio series of all time, airing from 1937-55. The series began with Mister Keen operating as a missing person’s case investigator much like his literary counterpart. The series was produced by the radio factor of Frank and Anne Hummert and featured many of the same actors as appeared in their many soap operas.

Mister Keen began as a thrice-weekly serial in 1937 and continued in that format until November 1943 when it began a weekly half-hour program. It would continue on the air in 1955. It would revert to fifteen-minute episodes in 1954 until the last two months of its run when it would once again become a half-hour show for its last two months on the air.

The series began as a heartwarming series of mysteries that dealt with domestic and family problems in its lost-persons cases. In the post-War era, it became far more focused on murder cases. The series was known for its easy-to-follow scripts, frequent bouts of melodrama, and use of various standard mystery cliches. The series was lampooned by the comedy series Bob and Ray.

About the stars:

Bennett Kilpack (1883-1962): The English-born Kilpack came to acting when he couldn’t find a job in the United States as an engineer. Kilpack had a successful career on the stage, which led to major roles on Broadway and him landing a role on the 1920s radio serial Way Back Home. Kilpack took on the role of Mr. Keen in 1937 and would appear in the vast majority of the show’s first 1,314 broadcasts before leaving the show in October 1950.

Phil Clarke (1904-1985): English-born Actor who served in the British Army stationed in India before undertaking a stage career. In 1937, he began acting over the radio and would make more than 10,000 radio appearances, mostly in Soap Opera’s. Outside of being the second regular Mister Keen actor, he’s best know for being the host of The Sealed Book.

Episode log:

With Bennett Kilpack as Star

With Phil Clarke as Star

Source: Otrsite

*Indicates episode played out of order.

End of log.