Geekdads growing up in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s doubtlessly remember the Three Investigators series of books, starring three nerdy kids who solved mysteries while on their summer vacation.
The trio, Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw and Bob Andrews, harkened back to an era when smart kids were wimps, dorks, and well, geeks — certainly not to be admired, and definitely not the subject of books. Their rivals, the Hardy Boys, were the ultimate anti-geeks: rich, two-fisted jocks with girlfriends, a speedboat and a convertible. Yet somehow, the series managed to give the more-famous Hardys a run for their money. Maybe it was the bizarre licensing of Alfred Hitchcock’s name — series creator Robert Arthur thought it would give the series a little zing if a famous filmmaker was given authorial credit.
For those unfamiliar with the books, there is a lot to like. The boys were smart and crafty, working out of a single-wide buried in the depths of a junkyard. Secret doors and tunnels led to the long-forgotten trailer. In their headquarters the Investigators packed a workshop, an office and a darkroom. The boys were hackers before home computers existed, geeks before being geeky was cool.
It’s hard to say if kids these days will love the series they way I did. In any case, the books are all out of print. But fans take heart: a Three Investigators movie is due out this holiday season!