Roy Raymond, the television host and investigator, appeared consistently throughout the period 1952 – 1955: We Don’t Need Another Hero. And he even managed to get his name into the title of his series halfway through that time.
Roy Raymond and his faithful assistant, Karen Duncan, went on with their very formulaic series much as they had done in earlier years, though graced with some lovely art by Ruben Moreira. On their tv show, Impossible But True (which was also the name of the series in Detective Comics), Roy would be presented with weird and unusual people, legends and objects, and usually prove that they were hoaxes, sometimes criminal in nature. Occasionally he would be behind a hoax himself, working with the police to expose or lure out a criminal. There were so many hoaxes on his show that it probably should have been called Impossible and Fake.
One of his better tales appears in Detective 184. A man with a machine that can create meteorological events is the focus of this installment of Impossible But True. He seeks vengeance on a town for not believing in him, and is more than happy to demonstrate the machine’s abilities to Roy Raymond.
Raymond keeps giving simple scientific explanations for the machine’s effects, until finally the man declares he will cause an earthquake. The earthquake turns out to be an underground explosion, from associates of the man blowing a bank vault. It was all an elaborate piece of misdirection. But Roy Raymond was too smart for them!
The series alters title to Roy Raymond, TV Detective in Detective 202, as Roy exposes another fraud. This one has to do with a ventriloquist who claims his dummy is able to speak for itself. Although he is not able to take the dummy apart, Roy cannot find anything to prove the dummy is not speaking on its own. In the end it’s all a piece of classic misdirection, an attempt to smuggles a midget felon out of the country, in the body of the dummy.
It was not just the set-ups that resembled each other in this series, even the payoffs could be the same. In Detective 222 Roy Raymond meets a modern day Rip Van Winkle. The man tells a story of meeting little men and then falling asleep, waking up in the present.
It’s a decent story, but the main reason I included it is Roy’s method of catching the con artist. Roy offers the man a ballpoint pen, and he takes it and writes with it. But no one pre-20th century would guess there was ink inside a pen already. Roy used this exact same trick on a man claiming to be Benjamin Franklin in an issue a year or so earlier, and I know he uses it at least once more. It’s his go-to test.
There was one tale during this time that gives the reader a sense of Roy’s place in the network. In Detective 193 Roy Raymond’s show faces competition on the airwaves, to the dismay of his sponsor. Roy brings people onto Impossible But True, after being unable to disprove their tales, but the same people show up on a rival network’s show, “Fabulous Phonies,” where they are exposed as frauds.
Not only is Roy personally upset at being made a fool, his ratings suffer, and his sponsor comes down on him. The story has a good resolution, as Roy goes on “Fabulous Phonies” himself to expose the fraud that was pulled on him.
Roy Raymond continues in the next period, 1955 – 1959: Dawn of the Silver Age.
Roy Raymond: Detective Comics 179 – 211, 213 – 222 (Jan 52 – Sept 54, Nov 54 – Aug 55)