ROBERT ARTHUR, JR.
November 10, 1909 - May 2, 1969
The Three Investigators
Most visitors to this page know about Robert Arthur primarily through his most widely read creation, The Three Investigators Mystery Series. However, Robert Arthur was a prolific writer and editor for almost forty years before the first Three Investigators book was published in 1964. Two of his earliest stories, Si Sosh's Visit to the Moon and The Sad Tale of Willie were published in the 1926 Hampton, Virginia yearbook during his final year of high school. Robert Arthur submitted hundreds of short stories to the many pulp magazines which flourished in the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. Many of these magazines are now quite difficult to find and they are often expensive. Thus, most of these stories are unknown to today's readers. Robert Arthur worked primarily in radio throughout the 1940's and into the early 1950's writing hundreds of scripts. In 1959, he moved to Hollywood to try his hand at writing screenplays for television programs like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Boris Karloff's Thriller. In 1962, Robert Arthur's moved back east to Cape May, New Jersey. His association with Alfred Hitchcock helped lead to work with Random House on the various adult and juvenile Alfred Hitchcock short-story anthologies which Arthur edited or ghost-edited and finally to his creation of The Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators Mystery Series.
Working with his Random House editor, Walter Retan, Robert Arthur created and developed a series that was similar in some ways to other juvenile series books of the day like the Hardy Boys. The difference was that the quality of writing and characterization was of a generally higher caliber than that found in most series books. Readers who grew up reading an assortment of series books almost universally voice the opinion that The Three Investigators were the best of the best! Phenomenal cover and interior artwork by Harry Kane and Ed Vebell was a crucial factor to the success of this series and it also didn't hurt that the well-known and highly respected movie director Alfred Hitchcock was a character in the books. Later, with his health in decline, Robert Arthur sought out Dennis Lynds to continue the series.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Arthur.
award-winning radio programs including the famous "Mysterious Traveler".
published this pulp magazine which was based on their radio program of the
same name. Lots of Robert Arthur's short stories were published here.
Robert Arthur's Television Episodes - He wrote some 50 television scripts, for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Boris Karloff's Thriller among others. Coming Soon.
relatively easy to find and inexpensive. Must-haves for true fans!
The Alfred Hitchcock Anthologies - A comprehensive listing and overview of both the adult and juvenile Hitchcock
anthologies which contain contributions by Robert Arthur. Coming Soon.
At right is a photo of Robert Arthur at about age three. It is found in the 1926 Hampton, Virginia High School yearbook where many of that year's senior class students included youthful photos of themselves. Yes, that is his signature!
The photo found at the very top of this page is Robert Arthur's senior class picture from this same yearbook.
Between 1964 and his death in 1969, Robert Arthur wrote the following ten titles in The Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators Mystery Series:
#1 The Secret of Terror Castle, 1964
#2 The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot, 1964
#3 The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy, 1965
#4 The Mystery of the Green Ghost, 1965
#5 The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure, 1966
#6 The Secret of Skeleton Island, 1966
#7 The Mystery of the Fiery Eye, 1967
#8 The Mystery of the Silver Spider, 1967
#9 The Mystery of the Screaming Clock, 1968
#11 The Mystery of the Talking Skull, 1969
Extensive biographical/bibliograpical information on Robert Arthur, Jr. can be found on-line at Elizabeth Arthur's official Three Investigators Headquarters website. My effort here is to include additional information that will be of interest to fans of Robert Arthur. Enjoy exploring the following pages on this site:
Original cover art for #9 The Mystery of the Screaming Clock, 1968.
Collection of Seth T. Smolinske 2004-2012, now residing in a private collection.