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Literature / Butler Parker

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From the mid-'50s to the early '90s, Butler Parker was the protagonist of humorous thrillers in German pulp-format (stapled booklet of ca. 60 pages, trade-paperback sized). Originally part of a different series of unconnected stories, the stories around Butler Parker quickly turned into a forthnightly series of their own, published by several different editors over time.

Originally Butler Parker was butler for an American lawyer, Mike Rander. In his own series, after about 150 issues (the exact numer is hard to ascertain, as it was re-started and reprinted several times, and the 'real' series started at #119 - while it should have been #127 or so), he changed into the service of Lady Agatha Simpson. Mike Rander soon re-joined the team, which was completed by Kathy Porter, the lady's companion of Lady Agatha.

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This series contains examples of:

  • Body Double Used a couple of times by Kathy Porter, who for a while seemed to look like every third or so young woman in danger.

  • Crazy-Prepared Hardly, if ever, was Parker caught without a trick up his sleeve - especially his ballpoint pens (which worked as gas mask or welding tool, could shoot blowgun arrows (coated with sleeping poison), sprayed oil or ink...

  • Doesn't Like Guns While in the beginning, Parker often used an old (goldrush era) revolver, he later switched to non-lethal weapojnry, especially blowdarts with sleeping poison.

  • Gadgeteer Genius In many books, it was stated that Parker built his own gadgets.

  • Identical Stranger In separate books, all four of the major characters encounter (usually evil) look-alikes. Parker's uses the similarity for his nefarious ends, Rander's is unaware of his dpoulbe until Mike Rander replaces him at a party, explicitly looking for clangers to drop and to insult the gueasts, Mylady's tries to screw with her an her high-level contacts. Kathy's needs help against criminals and Kathy acts as a Body Double.

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  • Knockout Gas Mostly used by Parker, but accasionally also by criminals.

  • MacGyvering Only rarely used, when Parker had to jury-rig an escape.

  • Never Mess with Granny Even though she looks like an old lady, never tell Lady Agatha 'Old gel' or insult her of you're not fond of being smacked around the eard - or of being hit with her pompadour (in which she carried a brewery horse shoe).^

  • No One Could Survive That! Averted, any toyed with, as often opponents sending their henchmen against Parker get reassures 'we already got him - he just doesn't know it yet.')

  • Protagonist Title

  • Tap on the Head Usually applied by Parker with the lead-filled handle of his umbrella. Opponents trying it on him had to work past The Hard Hat.

  • The Hard Hat Butler Parker usually wore a bowler hat that was fortified with a steel inlay - both as a weapon and to prevent being knocked-out from behind.

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  • Torture Always Works Often used by the Butler and Lady Agatha, though they usually preferred psycholgical games to hard-handed orture.

  • Torture for Fun and Information The mind games Parker uses on criminals aften qualify for this, as the rteaders clearly understand what's going on.

  • Tranquilizer Dart delivered both through his blowgun umbrella, ballpoint pens with 'unnormal' fillings, needles hidden in the seats of his car etc.
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