Pulp and Adventure Heroes: J

Jack, Doc and Reggie. These three stalwarts were the creation of Carlton E. Morse and appeared in "I Love A Mystery," a well-remembered radio show that debuted on 16 January 1939 and ran through 1952, spawning three movies in 1945, 1946, and 1947. (If you're interested in a Timely Comics rip-off of "I Love a Mystery," go here) Jack, Doc and Reggie met in China, where they were helping the Chinese fight against the Japanese invaders. When they returned to the States they moved to Los Angeles and formed the Triple A-1 Detective Agency (Motto: "No job too tough, no mystery too baffling"). Their office is off of Hollywood Boulevard, and it's there where they receive their clientele, who are inevitably being plagued by criminals posing as werewolves, vampires, ghosts, representatives of lost civilizations, High Priests of Temples of Jaguars, and the like. Serving their clients sent them around the world, from Nevadan ghost towns to the "jungles of vampire-infested Nicaragua." Their best known adventure took them up the Orinoco River in Venezuela, and after fighting their way through "prehistoric flying reptiles" and being forced down into the jungle they made it to a 9,000 foot high, 400 square mile plateau (based on Roraima, obviously) where "the birds are not quite birds and the animals are not quite animals and even some of the trees look as if they are wearing human skin instead of bark." The plateau was full of dinosaurs and other creations of delayed evolution.

Jack is Jack Packard, a two-fisted, somewhat misogynistic private eye type, a less likable Philip Marlowe. He's deadpan, a former medical student who refuses to believe in anything supernatural, instead always searching for a logical answer. He was also the strategist of the trio. His distaste for women was given on the show; he'd gotten a girl in trouble (they actually broadcast that!), and he swore off women after that. Doc is Doc Long, a tall Texan with a taste for the ladies, an ability at picking locks, and a love for fights. Doc was a good poker player with a deep Panhandle drawl. He could be naive, also. And Reggie is Reggie York, a sophisticated and chivalrous Brit who, like Doc, had a taste for rough-and-tumble fighting. Reggie was the strongest, physically, of the three. In the words of one critic,

Jack, Doc, and Reggie may have been radio's first true anti-heroes. They were neither fearless nor overly principled nor entirely without blame for their own predicaments. They respected the law in a grudging kind of way but were known to hide evidence. They would never be unjustly arrested without a fight, unless it suited Jack's greater purpose.
When Doc or Reggie or both weren't available Jack was helped by, variously, Michael (a Frenchman with an uncanny aural resemblance to Peter Lorre, although with better manners than Lorre's characters usually had), Terry Burke (a stereotypical Irishman), or Swen (a stereotypical Swede). They are assisted by Jerri Brooker and Mary Kay Brown, their secretaries.

I Love A Mystery
A nice summary of the show and the characters. From the always entertaining Thrilling Detective site.

The "I Love A Mystery" Page.
A really good site devoted to the show.

Jacko the Detective. Thanks to Michael Holmes I can tell you about Jacko the Detective. Jacko was created by A. Donnelly Aitken and appeared Merry and Bright, a British comic, from 1911 to 1917. Jacko was Victor Brand's assistant and chauffeur. He also happened to be a gorilla. Jacko couldn't speak, but was quite capable of understanding Victor's words and obeying his commands. Jacko was of course more than happy to help Victor in the course of his investigations, acting as a burglar and strong man for Victor. Jacko could even play the violin, and his skill was said to be superior to that of Sherlock Holmes himself. (!) Jacko loved driving Victor, and wore a large cap, thick goggles, and an extra large overcoat when he drove. When not busy helping Victor with a case he was happy playing with the children at the local playground.

Jailbird's Club. The Club was created by T.A. O'Keefe and appeared in Flynn's from 1924 to 1925. The premise of the Club is that all of its members must have done time in The Big House in such a way that it "reflected honor" on him or her; that is, each member must have gone to jail so as to help someone else or for altruism's sake. The Club is made up of a wide range of people, from a Scotland Yard Inspector to a priest. The stories show the Club members helping other people when they are faced with unjustly doing jail time.

Jameson, Professor. 'cause I'm lazy, I'm going to quote Ronald Byrd for Prof. Jameson, rather than summarizing him:

Professor Jameson was a character created by Neil R. Jones and who first appeared in Amazing Stories in July 1931. At some point after the far-flung year of 1958, the body of Jameson, who had wished for his corpse to be indefinitely preserved after his death, was sent into space in a rocket of his own design. Forty million years later (they certainly didn't think small back then), with Earth long dead, the rocket was intercepted by the Zoromes, a race of immortal cyborg explorers (living brains within square metal bodies with four jointed legs and six tentacles, with heads equipped circles of eyes; and these are protagonists, mind you, something that's pretty outre for the 1930s, I'd think) from the planet Zor, "which rotated on its way around a star millions of light years distant from [Earth's] solar system." The Zoromes, possessing names like 4R-3579 and 25X-987, revive Jameson's brain in a body like their own, and he accompanies them on about a dozen stories worth of exploration. Dr. Asimov declared that the Zoromes were the "spiritual ancestors" of his own benevolent robots.
Jan of the Jungle. Jan (not to be confused with the Atlas Comics character of the same name) appeared in a six part serial in Argosy running from April 18 to May 23, 1931. He was very much in the vein of previous and later Tarzan knockoffs. Doctor Bracken, a brilliant scientist but one tetched in the head, proposes to the beautiful redhead Georgia Trevor. This makes him mad, makes him mean mad, and he vows revenge. He gets it when she gives birth to a son, Jan. He steals Jan and takes him to his lab in the depths of the Everglades. He plans to have Jan raised by a chimpanzee mother, the goal being that he would be a chimp in ape form, trained to kill redheads. (Gotta give it to Bracken, he's not just a little crazed, he's a full-blown psychotic)

Jan somehow maintains his sanity and when he is 16 breaks free of the lab, accompanied by Chicma, her chimp mother, and Borno, a Haitian who had worked as a janitor at the labs. They escape by boat but are caught in a Hurricane and blown ashore in "South American jungle country." Jan learns the skills of the jungle for two years while Chicma and Borno...well, don't do much but wait, really. Then Jan saves sixteen-year-old Ramona Suarez from a panther attack, the first save of many for her and him. (Or is it her and he?) She lives nearby on her father's rubber plantation. They of course become a couple. Jan has various adventures, finds a lost colony of Mu, becomes a Prince of the Sun, is reunited with his family, and makes his way to India.

Janaki. Janaki was created by Kamala Sathianadhan and appeared in Detective Janaki (1944). Janaki is a beautiful, spunky young Indian woman whose spirit is too strong to be shackled by an arranged marriage (though her husband does care for her, and her for him) or by family (her step-mother is quite horrid). She wants what she wants, and some of what she wants is to solve crimes and help people. Many of the crimes are rather minor, but she tries and succeeds, and those are the important things, yes?

Janess, Polaris. Polaris Janess, one of the earliest of the Tarzan knock-offs and one of the best executed, was created by Charles Billings Stilson and debuted in All-Story Weekly in 1915. Janess' parents, a glory seeking explorer and a dutiful wife, are stranded at the South Pole, with his mother dying and Janess Sr. crippled, thus leaving Senior to care for the infant Polaris. (As I said, Polaris is a Tarzan knock-off) The duo survive life at the South Pole for the years it takes Polaris to reach manhood; they survive despite horrible snow storms and the attacks of polar bears. (Polar bears at the South Pole? It's a pulp; don't ask, just accept) (They live on polar bears, walruses, and seals) Polaris grows up to be perfect in mind and body, his father having taught him well. Then, alas, Father Janess dies, leaving Polaris to make the long walk back to civilization and to carry certain Papers back to civilization. He saves a beautiful woman, Rose Emer, and meets other men, and discovers a lost city, and has other Tarzan-like adventures.

Jardinn, Ben. Ben Jardinn was created by Raoul Whitfield and appeared in Black Mask in 1930. Jardinn is a two-fisted, wise-crackingtm Hollywood private eye, described by Whitfield this way: “He had dark eyes and hair. His body was lean, but it had firmness. He was in his late thirties. His voice was soft; when he spoke he had a habit of turning his head away from the person to whom he talked.” Jardinn, who mistrusts everybody (it’s just Hollywood, Jake—I mean, Jardinn), works two blocks from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre with his partner Max Cohn, whom he doesn’t trust. He does take his business seriously, although he says he’ll take anyone’s money “if I can give something for it.” He helps both the poor and the wealthy, fitting for Hollywood.

Jenkins, Ed. See the Phantom Crook entry.

Jenkins, Joe. Joe Jenkins was created by the German writer Paul Rosenhayn and appeared in several short stories and novels, beginning with Elf Abenteuer des Joe Jenkins (Eleven Adventures of Joe Jenkins, 1916). Jenkins was an American Sherlock Holmes clone.

Johnny-Round-The-World. The Amazing Adventures of Johnny-Round-the-World was created by William LaVarre and ran from February 1935 through to January of 1938. Johnny Jupiter lived in British Guiana with his father, Major Jupiter. The pair had gone there on a "scientific expedition." Naturally, in such a fantastically interesting environment (ever been to Guyana?), a plucky young lad is not going to be restrained in his adventuring, and Johnny is aided in his wandering by the Major, who accompanies him on various adventures. Not that they go alone; the Major is a proper Brit, and so their safaris are in full Colonial British style, with porters (natives, of course) and in traditional safari style, pith helmets and all. They trekked through the jungle, down the Suriname River, and into Dutch Guiana. It should all have been good clean boy's-fiction-adventure fun, but the stereotypes, racial, cultural and sexual, make it tough sledding today.

Johnson, Jolly Jack. Jolly Jack Johnson appeared in Merry and Bright during the 1910s. He lived with his widowed mother and had various do-gooding adventures; he always triumphed do to his pure heart and his skill at hypnotism--he was known as the "Boy Mesmerist."

Joker. The Joker was created by Hugh Kahler, author of the White Rook stories, and appeared in Detective Story Magazine in 1919. The Joker "was the most whimsical, impudently clever rascal in criminal history." I'm not sure I'd go that far, but I'd agree that he had a sense of humor. The Joker's nemesis was Martin Quay, the famous private detective; they foiled each other's plans several times, Quay stopping several thefts and the Joker robbing Quay and leaving witty, aggravating notes to annoy Quay. This brings Quay more business, which was the point: Quay is the Joker, and the Joker is a means by which to advertise Quay's firm. The property that the Joker stole, Quay donated to charities or saw to it that it was returned to its owner. The Joker's identity is eventually revealed, but Quay (with the help of a little blackmail) saves himself, and then retires the Joker identity, claiming that the Joker is dead. Quay's replacement on the Joker case, Inspector Kane, disagrees, and keeps hunting the Joker. There's a final adventure involving a giant stolen diamond, but the Joker triumphs in the end, eluding Kane.

Jones, Average. Average Jones was created by Samuel H. Adams and appeared in a number of stories which were collected in Average Jones (1911). Adrian Van Reypen Egerton Jones, who prefers his nickname "Average" to his full name for obvious reasons, is a member of the very exclusive Cosmic Club, whose members are all experts in very diverse fields. Jones, who lives at the Club, is an adviser to firms on advertising, and uses his intelligence and good humour to solve very unusual crimes and cases which present themselves to him.

"The One Best Bet"
An Average Jones e-text. From the MacGuffin site.

Jones, Candid. Terence "Candid" Jones was created by Richard B. Sale and appeared in Detective Fiction Weekly starting in 1936. He was a professional photographer who had formerly been an insurance troubleshooter. Unfortunately, his job as a photographer often required him to use his troubleshooter skills. When necessary he used a Simplex Pichette camera adapted to shoot bullets rather than photos.

Jones, David. David Jones was created by David Binney Putnam and appeared in the four volume "David Series" of juvenile books, beginning with David Goes Voyaging (1925) and running through 1931. The series was about David Jones, a stalwart young Canadian, and his "true life" (yeah, right) adventures in Northern Canada, Greenland, Baffin Island, and Iceland, where he fought crime and evil etc etc.

Jones, Genius. Genius Jones (who may have been the source for the DC Comics' character of the same name) debuted in Argosy, his six part serial running from November 27, 1937 to January 1, 1938. Written by "Kenneth Robeson," the pen-name for Lester Dent (best known as the creator of Doc Savage), Genius Jones wasn't really much more than a Tarzan rip-off, but there's a certain charm to the stories, which are written with a sense of humor (not particularly common in the pulps). Jones, who is exceedingly strong in both body and mind, is the son of a couple who died during a 1916 expedition to the North Pole. The only survivor of that expedition, besides Jones, is John Harvard, a mad scientist who nonetheless does a fairly good job of raising Jones. Jones educates himself by listening to Harvard and by reading his biological father's books, which were left in the wreckage of the ship that brought the expedition north. Jones is eventually "rescued," naturally, and brought back to "civilization," where he quickly discovers the disadvantages of being a genius, honest, and a bookworm in a cruel and wicked world. Although he fights crime and all that, he's clearly out of place. (For a comic book version of this character, see my essay on Timely's "Hercules.")

Jones, Gulliver. Gulliver Jones was created by Edwin L. Arnold and appeared in Lieutenant Gulliver Jones: His Vacation (1905). Gulliver Jones is a humble Lieutenant in the United States Navy who is walking through New York City when a man literally drops out of the sky in front of him, wrapped in a kind of carpet. The man lands roughly, stumbles and falls on his head, killing himself. Jones takes the carpet home with him, after taking care of the dead man, and chances walk across the carpet while saying "I wish I were in the planet Mars!" Well, sure 'nough, the carpet rolls up around Jones, crushes consciousness from him, and then shoots into space. It takes Jones to Mars, where he meets a group of human-looking Martians. Jones learns Martian via a kind of telepathic transferral and then engages the Martians in chit-chat about their culture. One thing leads to another and Jones falls in love with the Martian women Heru and fights the enemies of the Martians. (No one knows for sure whether ERBurroughs read Lieutenant Gulliver Jones before writing his John Carter stories, but the similarities are certainly striking.)

Jones, Jupiter. Jupiter Jones was created by Timothy Fuller in at least five novels, beginning with Harvard has a Homicide (1936). Edmund "Jupiter" Jones is an eccentric grad student in the fine arts at Harvard who wins a valet in a craps game. Then, when his adviser, Professor Singer, is murdered, and the police can't seem to find the killer, Jupiter Jones takes it on himself to solve the case. He goes on to solve a number of Boston-area crimes.

Jones, Ted. Ted Jones was created by Frank Patchin and appeared in the four-volume "Ted Jones Series" (also called the "Fortune Hunters Series"), which first appeared in 1928 and began with Ted Jones, Fortune Hunter, or, Perilous Adventures with a Chinese Pearl Trader. Jones was a two-fisted brawling teenaged adventurer and fortune hunter who traveled the South Seas looking for adventure. He tangled with various Yellow Peril Chinese individuals, including a "Coral Prince," and he found a pearl-laden hidden "Red Lagoon."

Jongor. A Tarzan-like character, Jongor was introduced in Fantastic Adventures in the October 1940 and appeared twice more, in April 1944 and December 1951. Jongor, aka John Gordon, was the son of parents whose plain crashed in the exact center of the “Australian Great Desert.” In this desert Gordon finds the Caspak, a Lost  Worldtm. Gordon’s parents die (eaten by pterodactyls when he is twelve) and he grows up in Caspak, which is full of the degenerate (physically and mentally) descendants of the lost continent of Mu, dinosaurs, serpent men, and the like. Jongor has the usual set of Tarzan skills, but also has a mysterious bracelet which allows him to control certain dinosaurs. (He uses them for his steeds) Jongor eventually rescues Ann Hunter, a spoiled socialite, and the two do the Tarzan-Jane thing.

Jordan, Ned. Ned Jordan appeared in "Ned Jordan, Secret Agent," a radio serial that ran from 1938 to 1942. Jordan was by day a labor and accident detective for the Consolidated American Railroad. This was only a front, however, for he was really an agent of the "Federal Department," reporting to Proctor, his boss. In his cover guise he investigated spies, criminals, and other enemies of the government, most of whom used the railroads to travel, communicate with their superiors, and carry out vile deeds. Jordan's office was the "Federal Express," a high-speed, armored and armed train.

Jordan, Vic. Vic Jordan was created by "Paine," the pseudonym for Kermit Jaediker and Charles Zerner, and first appeared in the 1 December 1941 issue of PM, ending finally on 30 April 1945. Vic Jordan was a press agent for an American musical show who had the misfortune to be caught in Paris when the Germans occupied it. Jordan escaped from Paris only a step ahead of the Gestapo and joined the French resistance. Jordan, assisted by former prizefighter Marty O'Brien and the curvaceous British agent Sue, waged his own private war on the Germans, blowing up bridges, killing patrols and outposts, smuggling Allied pilots and P.O.W.s back to Britain, and in general acting like a real resistance fighter. When the Allies liberated France, Vic went into Germany and fought there before being wounded and shipped home in April 1945.

Judex. Thanks to Marc Madouraud I can provide information on Judex. Judex was created by Arthur Bernède and Louis Feuillade and appeared in the serials Judex (1917) and The New Mission of Judex (1918). Judex is notable as being arguably the first costumed "superhero;" he is described in this way:

very big, with an aristocratic allure, dashes of a strange beauty and an expression of indomitable will; he drapes himself in a big black cape and a soft felt hat whose edges were raised in a cavalier manner.
Judex is the oldest son of the Trémeuse family, raised by his mother to avenge the injuries done to their family by the evil banker Favraux. Judex eventually gains revenge, of course. In the second film he takes on the criminal organization, the "Rafle aux Secrets," which specializes in the theft of high-tech inventions and whose chief is a powerful hypnotist. Judex is a master of disguise and has an underground, cliff-side headquarters (shades of the Batcave) with an early form of television in it.

Judex
Jean-Marc Lofficier's excellent and very illustrated site on the character.

June, Billy. The intrepid Billy June was created by Wilbur Hall and appeared in Adventure in 1916. Billy is a trouble shooter, a man connected throughout South America and who hires himself out to fix messes (“political or business or international”) in the areas “south of the Zone.” Any kind of mess—“lost exploring party, or…missing official document…or a man who has disappeared, or…to treat with a tribe of Indians, or…to settle a strike, or…to go into the interior and deliver a message where white men are looked on as devils and killed at sight, and Billy June will very deliberately consider the job, accept it if it suits him, and be swallowed up around the dark corners of South America.” He got started in this line of work because his old Captain, Nels Sorenson, refused to give him any time to sleep while they were on the Mary May together. So Billy left the ship while it was docked in Rio, and began knocking around. He quickly discovered that he had a talent for being tough and quick and smart, and the world had a need for those qualities—at least, the people with the money in South America did. (Billy’s attitude towards the natives is not a kind one, although he’s not a racist. He just feels that they’re either going to “do you bodily disfigurement, they’ll probably do it,” or let you go, and that you might as well approach them aggressively to find out which is the case)

Among his adventures: he’s hired to find a man in the interior jungles of the Serra de Oro region, up the Tocantins River, where the natives hate outsiders and flay them alive, and then give them a five minute running head start; he’s hired to solve a railroad scam that is driving the workers to riot; and he ends up getting shot in the chest while trying to stop a revolt in one of Brazil’s northern provinces.

Jungle Jim. Created by the sublime Alex Raymond, Jungle Jim debuted on 7 January 1934 and lasted through 1954. Jim Bradley, popularly known as "Jungle Jim," was an animal trapper and animal tamer who worked for various American and European zoos. As time went by his reputation grew and he began to take on independent commissions, not just to capture animals but to investigate and troubleshoot any problems, from espionage to local rebellions against multinational countries. Jim began in Africa and India, tracking down and capturing wild animals, but from there he helped stop a rebellion in Mongolia, stop a rebellious prince in Burma, looked for the treasure of Genghis Khan in Afghanistan, fought pirates in the Malay Sea, and had adventures in a number of other Far Eastern locations, both jungles and cities. In the late 1930s he returned to the US and put his skills to the test helping the Good Guys, fighting spies across America (North, Central, and South). During the war he fought with guerrillas across the China-Burma-India theater.

Jim was a handsome, square-jawed man in the traditional Slab Ironchest fashion, always looking dashing, whether in his jodhpurs and pith helmet or in a white dinner jacket. He was the target of a number of beautiful women in his time, most notably Lillie de Vrille, better known as Shanghai Lil (a reference/homage to Marlene Dietrich's role in Shanghai Express); Lil was an adventuress and spy who was reformed by the constant love of Jim and became his most faithful friend and companion, helping him on a number of occasions. Jim's best male friend was Kolu, his taciturn "loyal Hindu assistant," skilled with turban and knife, an able tracker and guide.

Justice Syndicate. The Syndicate was created by Hugh Kahler and appeared in Detective Story Magazine from 1920 through 1921. The Syndicate was the brainchild of Olaf Larsen, the Chief of Detectives of the Pittland Police. Larsen's father was a Norwegian, profession unknown, and the law of Norway, much different from the innocent-until-proven-guilty of Olaf's America, made an impact on Olaf. So, together with Walter Enfield, a successful young lawyer, Olaf decided to form the Justice Syndicate, which would combine "the forces of defense and prosecution" and literally take the law into their own hands. They aren't hostile to the police, naturally, but they use the evidence available to the police to reach verdicts far apart from lawyers' work. Their third member is Charlotte Gray, a former school teacher and amateur detective who ignores the truth but because of her sex has a natural intuition about the truth. (Of course. Don't all women?) Their fourth member, the man capable of doing the legwork and strong arm work of the group, is Silvio Farone, an Italian researcher. The Syndicate does good work, helping a murderer who killed to protect his wife's reputation, but then has its cover blown and the series ends.
 

Introduction
A. The Abbey Girls to Dusty Ayres
B. Bagley to Scott Burton
C. Orhan Cakiroglu to Dr. Theodore Cunliffe
D-E. Dana Girls to Don Everhard
F. Ralph Fairbanks to Miss Fury
G. The Gadget Man to G-8
H-I. Dr. Hackensaw to Baron Ixell
J. Jack, Doc & Reggie to Justice Syndicate
K. Calvin Kane to Kwa of the Jungle
L. Major John T. Lacy to Langhorne Lyte
M. Professor Maboul to Mr. Mystic
N. Lee Nace to Nyoka
O. Fergus O'Breen to Ozar the Aztec
P.  Penny Packer to Judge Pursuivant
Q.  Oliver Quade to Sebastian Quin
R. Ed Race to Captain Rybnikov
S. The Safety First Club to Tom Swift
T-U. Tahara to Godfrey Usher
V. Lieutenant Valcour to Norton Vyse
W. Inspector Wade to Dr. Xavier Wycherley
X-Z. X Bar X Boys to Zorro
Links.
 
 

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