DEBUNKING THE MYTHS ABOUT JEFF REGAN, INVESTIGATOR: An Exercise in Old-Time Radio Research
by Stewart Wright, ©2013
(From Radio Recall, June 2013)
Myths and misconceptions abound about
this series. My research has turned up
information that has resolved the most significant
Over several years, I have spent over 200
hours researching Jeff Regan, Investigator. The
research included identifying, acquiring, viewing
and/or listening to a large variety of Primary
Sources (scripts and network documents,
broadcasts, and interviews) and many Secondary
My Old-Time Radio research projects
start with listening to all the episodes of the series
that are currently available. I also listened to
interviews of the series' first writer and creator' E.
I reviewed many Secondary Sources.
These included newspaper radio programming
listings and notes, trade magazine articles, and
oooks on Old-Time Radio. Then, I searched the
Internet for additional information sources.
Finally, I traveled from Colorado to a
California archive where the printed Primary
Sources (scripts, network documents, and other
materials) for Jeff Regan, Investigator reside. In
order to obtain the most accurate and complete
information. travel is a costly, but often necessary
step in researching an entire series. It is done by
only the most dedicated OTA researchers.
I spent several days at the archive looking
at all of the scripts and available CBS
documentation for the series. I also viewed the
Jeff Regan scripts and associated documents in
the E. Jack Neuman Collection. His comments
on the series proved to be quite informative.
An on-going activity throughout the
research process is information entry and
evaluation. I input episode title and broadcast
date, cast, crew, and other episodic information
into a database. This database also includes
fields for my observations and information from all
the sources I consult. Information evaluation is
an important component of any research project.
It is a winnowing process: separating the
accurate information (the wheat) from the
inaccurate information (the chaff).
The end products of my research are a
series broadcast log that contains episodic and
other information and articles about my findings.
The broadcast log can be found at:
MYTH: Series Original Title - Joe Canto,
Some newspapers carried a blurb stating
a new series on CBS would be called Joe Canto,
Private Eye. This erroneous information was
probably from a CBS press release that was sent
out BEFORE the final name of the series and the
lead character's name was decided upon. This
title was not used by CBS. For its Entire Run the
series was called Jeff Regan, Investigator.
The confusion regarding the initial series
name is clarified by series title and lead character
name references. Jeff Regan, Investigator, through out the initial script, "The Story of the
Doctor Lawyer Indian Chief"
also, by the following comment by E. Jack
"The name Jeff Regan, Investigator was
foisted by a radio executive who felt that the
most dramatic heroes must have good,
practical Presbyterian names. I preferred 'Joe
Canto' but that was one of the many losses I
have suffered in the radio game. "
The Joe Canto character does not even
appear in the first episode. However he is
mentioned and described. Canto actually
appears in a single episode, "The Lady With the
MYTH: Surname Name of Regan's Boss.
The correct spelling of the surname of
Regan's parsimonious, officious, and blustering
boss IS Lyon and not Lion.
series scripts and also, in a broadcast,
Regan says Lyon's last name is spelled
with a "Y" When a receptionist asks
about his referral, Mr. Lyon, Regan says,
"Like In the zoo, only with a "Y".
MYTH: Alternate Series Titles.
Many sources also refer to this series as The Lion's Eye or The Lyons Eye. This is
probably because in the opening of each episode
Regan mentions he is catled "The Lyon's Eye"
before the actuat series title Jeff Regan,
Investigator is announced. There is No Indication
in any of the scripts and network and other series
documentation that either of these so called
"alternate" series titles were ever used when the
series aired on CBS.
MYTH: National Network Broadcasts.
A November 24, 1949 radio column by Bill
Doudna mentioned that, ". Looks like "Jeff
Regan. Investigator," CBS whodunit now heard on
Pacific coast only, will soon switch to a national
hookup. This proposed national airing of the series neyer took place!
The scripts and other netwok
documentation have the series as only airing
regionatly on the Columbia Pacific Network a.k.a.
the CBS West Coast Network. Additionally, no
newspaper radio programming listings outside the
coverage area of the Columbia PacifiC Network
have programming listings for the series.
Misconception : Did A Last Episode Air On September 3, 1950? If, So What Was Its Title?
On Saturday, September 2. 1950, Frank
Graham, the series lead, committed suiCide over
a failed romance. Sources disagree on whether a
last episode of Jeff Regan, Investigator aired the
next evening in its normal 8:30 PM time slot and if
one did, its title.
Starting in May, 1950. all but two of the
episodes were transcribed: that is pre-recorded
prior to their broadcast. The last two episodes
were transcribed on the same day in early August,
1950. They were: "Gentlemen Prefer Horses"
and "The British Are Coming: These episodes were initially scheduled to be aired on August
20th and 27th respectively. However, Jeff
Regan, Investigator was pre-empted on August
20th by CBS special programming: "Miracle of
A broadcast copy survives of "Gentlemen
Prefer Horses." The episode was aired on August
While a broadcast copy of "The British
Are Coming" is not known to be in circulation,
there is an indication that it was aired on
September 3rd. The episode ending reminder to
tune in next week to Jeff Regan, Investigator is
struck out on the script in red grease pencil;
probably an instruction to the engineer not to play
this last portion of the transcribed broadcast. This
strikeout is a strong indication that "The British
Are Coming" was the last episode of Jeff Regan.
Investigator to air.
Thank You! ------------------------------------------------------------------
Three people were instrumental in assisting with
this research project. They are:
Jeanette Berard and Klaudia Englund,
Special Collections Department
of Grant R. Brimhall Library
at Thousand Oaks, CA
Jerry Haendiges of The Vintage Radio Place at http://www.otrsite.com