Trivia / The Three Investigators

     The Original Series 

  1. The Secret of Terror Castle
  2. The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot
  3. The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy
  4. The Mystery of the Green Ghost
  5. The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure
  6. The Secret of Skeleton Island
  7. The Mystery of the Fiery Eye
  8. The Mystery of the Silver Spider
  9. The Mystery of the Screaming Clock
  10. The Mystery of the Moaning Cave
  11. The Mystery of the Talking Skull
  12. The Mystery of the Laughing Shadow
  13. The Secret of the Crooked Cat
  14. The Mystery of the Coughing Dragon
  15. The Mystery of the Flaming Footprints
  16. The Mystery of the Nervous Lion
  17. The Mystery of the Singing Serpent
  18. The Mystery of the Shrinking House
  19. The Secret of Phantom Lake
  20. The Mystery of Monster Mountain
  21. The Secret of the Haunted Mirror
  22. The Mystery of the Dead Man's Riddle
  23. The Mystery of the Invisible Dog
  24. The Mystery of Death Trap Mine
  25. The Mystery of the Dancing Devil
  26. The Mystery of the Headless Horse
  27. The Mystery of the Magic Circle
  28. The Mystery of the Deadly Double
  29. The Mystery of the Sinister Scarecrow
  30. The Secret of Shark Reef
  31. The Mystery of the Scar-Faced Beggar
  32. The Mystery of the Blazing Cliffs
  33. The Mystery of the Purple Pirate
  34. The Mystery of the Wandering Caveman
  35. The Mystery of the Kidnapped Whale
  36. The Mystery of the Missing Mermaid
  37. The Mystery of the Two-Toed Pigeon
  38. The Mystery of the Smashing Glass
  39. The Mystery of the Trail of Terror
  40. The Mystery of the Rogues' Reunion
  41. The Mystery of the Creep-Show Crooks
  42. The Mystery of Wrecker's Rock
  43. The Mystery of the Cranky Collector

     The Crimebusters Series 

  1. Hot Wheels
  2. Murder to Go
  3. Rough Stuff
  4. Funny Business
  5. An Ear for Danger
  6. Thriller Diller
  7. Reel Trouble
  8. Shoot the Works
  9. Foul Play
  10. Long Shot
  11. Fatal Error

     The Find Your Fate Series 

  1. The Case of the Weeping Coffin
  2. The Case of the Dancing Dinosaur
  3. The Case of the House of Horrors
  4. The Case of the Savage Statue

  • Dub Name Change: Jupiter Jones is called "Justus Jonas" in the (much more successful) German version
  • Name's the Same: Jupiter Jones is also the name of the protagonist of Jupiter Ascending.
  • Recycled Script: Either this or Self-Plagiarism (but from within the same series rather than the same writer), but in the case of Coughing Dragon, Nick West included three different scenes which were extremely similar to ones from the early Arthur books. This might be considered a case of Internal Homage, except that the writing in the scenes is almost word-for-word the same: the beginning, where Jupiter muses about the possibility of committing a robbery so as to learn how to think like a criminal, is the same exact opening as Vanishing Treasure and the Rainbow Jewels; the creepy phone call they get warning them to stay away from the cave is almost identical to the one they received in Terror Castle; and the article Bob reads about the death of Seaside is framed with some of the same language used for the article on the eponymous Fiery Eye, from Bob being asked to work at the library where he happens to find the needed book out on a table, to the idea of being "plagued by ill fortune", to the passage of fifty years being involved (since Seaside died/since the ruby had been hidden to rid it of its curse) and the book being several years old. There's also another small one to the same book, where Pete asks for a vote only to have Blackbeard the mynah bird interrupt with, "Aye! Aye! Aye!" and Pete saying he doesn't count.
  • Screwed by the Network/Lawyers: In two flavors.
    • On the one hand there's Random House, which made it a habit of continually reprinting new editions of the series (in most cases, however, only the first eleven or so) solely to renew their copyright so that the rights would not revert to the estate of Robert Arthur (they didn't want to lose their royalties). At the same time, because so many changes were made in personnel, executives, and even owners over the years, very few at Random House knew precisely how valuable The Three Investigators was as a franchise, let alone why. This resulted in a number of ill-considered moves such as attempting to age the boys up, injecting more action into the stories, and creating new series runs which focused on being more modern and hip. Eventually, however, Random House did let the copyright lapse so that the books reverted to Elizabeth Arthur, Robert's daughter. This meant a) she could receive the royalties she had been rightfully owed due to her father's contract and b) she could, conceivably, find a new publisher and new authors who would do right by the series.
    • On the other hand...there was the company Kosmos based in Germany. Long and messy litigious story made short, said Predatory Business attempted to infringe on Arthur's trademark (and Random House's) through various shady and illegal means, whether going behind Ms. Arthur's back; claiming she'd given permission for them to continue the series; manipulating Random House's legal department after those members long familiar with the series had retired and been replaced by newbie lawyers who could be more easily hoodwinked; or even registering a Trademark for the question mark logo (back-dated to before Random House's contract ran out and the rights reverted to the Arthur estate) and using it to try and claim they had sole ownership of the franchise and its characters, as well as claiming that the different names for the boys in the German printings meant those books had never had any connection to Arthur's and did not belong to him or his daughter, but them. Needless to say Ms. Arthur and her lawyers (and those of Sony BMG, the company to which she had actually granted rights and which was properly using and defending them) have fought tooth and nail against all this, and while certain legal battles carry on even to this day, for the most part she has managed to retain sole ownership and rights to the series, protecting it from those who would attempt to make money off it by any means.
      • Actually, the case is even more complicated. Robert Arthur didn't leave the rights to his daughter, but to an university, though he did it under the understanding that said rights would revert back after a few years - which is the case under old American copyright, but not under German copyright. After the Random House lost the rights, Kosmos, who was publishing the books, wanted reassurance from Ms. Arthur that she is the actual owner of those rights, since it wanted to keep publishing the highly successful series Germany. While this was still going on Europa, the company which is releasing the equally successful audio dramas based on the books, bought the rights from the daughter, while Kosmos, after figuring out the content of the testament, bought them from the university. For a time Kosmos and Europa were fighting against each other in court. Kosmos rightly insisted on owning the trademark for the Three Investigators because said trademark is not based on the original books, but based on the German translation and the design by Aiga Rasch, both paid for by Kosmos (it's a very distinctive design with three question marks in white, red and blue on a black frame, which is one of the initial reasons for the success of the books in German). Kosmos also insisted that they owned the rights to use the German names of the Three Investigators because, again, they are based on their translation. For a while, the book series continued without an audio drama adaptation following, while Europa published its own audio dramas with the English name used and without the distinctive logo - much to the displeasure of the fans. Europa tried to push through a desist order against Kosmos publishing more books. After the judges had decided in favour of Kosmos interpretation of the law (since copyright cases are usually decided based on the laws of the country where a copyright is used, not based on the law of the country of the original creator), the parties came to an agreement, and everything reverted back to how it was beforehand, with Kosmos publishing the books and Europa doing the audio play adaptations of said books.
    • For now, however, she is rightfully keeping the books and all rights to them close to her chest, only allowing the filming of a few movies and the continuation of the book series overseas where they are still written and marketed respectfully—which means that for the foreseeable future, there won't be any new American books, or American reprints of the old ones. Details of all this can be found in this interview.
  • Technology Marches On: Unavoidable for a series written mostly in the 60's and 70's, but offenders which stand out are the constant references to payphones, the speakerphone Jupiter invents, walkie talkies and directional finders, the colored chalk to leave trails or send messages when cell phone texting could accomplish the same thing, and the Ghost-to-Ghost Hookup (which would likely not tie up all circuits today and could again be accomplished quicker and easier with texting). What is unfortunate is that Robert Arthur, the original author who came up with most of these inventions, took great pains to show his work and be current with technology, including that which the police and detectives would have; as usual the passage of time turned the series into an Unintentional Period Piece.
  • Write What You Know: Aside from the many years spent writing books, short stories, and screenplays of either a supernatural or mystery bent, Arthur also worked for a number of years in Hollywood and created one of the most successful radio shows of his day, The Mysterious Traveler. Unsurprisingly, the knowledge he thus gained of film, radio, and the studio system factored a great deal into many of his entries in the series. Nowhere is this more apparent than in The Mystery of the Screaming Clock.