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A MAN CALLED X

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Full Name: Ken Thurston
Series Name: A Man Called X
Codename: X
Nationality: American
Organization: Intelligence Bureau
Occupation Agent

Creator: Jay Richard Kennedy
Time Span: 1944 - 1957

ABOUT THE SERIES

       Ken Thurston is an agent with the Intelligence Bureau.
       "Wherever there is mystery, intrigue, romance, in all the strange and mysterious places of the world, there you will find 'The Man Called X'". Such was the normal introduction to the adventures of Thurston that were made available to his followers via the airwaves rather than the printed page. Another intro mentions that these tales were about "The Man Called X, international troubleshooter who flies the oceans at the drop of a hat, who charms the ladies, but who is death to crooks".
       Why he was called 'X' when his true name was so readily known is not mentioned but each of the scores of adventures refer to him as such.
       The name of the department for whom Thurston worked is clearly designated the Intelligence Bureau in the television episodes and might be so called in the radio broadcasts; it definitely is referred to as 'the Bureau' in the latter often enough but it is definitely not the FBI. The territory reached by this agency is clearly the entire world because there seemed to be nowhere that he might not be sent, including to the desolate frozen reaches of the bottom of the world, Antarctica.
       We never learn a great deal about the man himself, at least not his origins or personal life. We meet in the fourth adventure Nancy Bessington, his fiancee and someone who knows about him and his proclivity for getting involved in "one of those things of yours". As far as I could tell, we never hear about her again and from then on, it is as if he has no real home life. He, of course, has a home, an apartment in the nation's capital but since he is on the go so often, moving from one exotic locale to another, he likely never spends much time there. He does, however, have time to chat up a large number of alluring women all over the globe.
       We do learn from his exploits that he is definitely a man of action and he loves it. While there may be prudence shown when needed, there is never a reluctance to walk into danger. He is even willing from time to time to knowingly step into a trap when he believes it is the fastest or surest way to find who might be behind a problem.
       Thurston has a sense of humor and a wry one at times. He also loves the mysterious and the offbeat. For example, when a woman he has never met and thus does not know steps up to him at a show's intermission and grabs him for a kiss, he is both pleased and intrigued and uses it as an invitation to learn more, all pleasantly aware that he is walking treacherous steps.
       He 'enjoys' the frequent 'assistance' of Pegon Zellschmidts, a young and extremely cautious young man who might have been called a scamp in his youth but who now would easily invite less kind adjectives. The word 'enjoys' is in quotes because there are many times that Thurston grudgingly make use of Pegon for this or that but seldom it seems does he ask for it. The 'assistance' is marked because Pegon is not always the most capable or trustworthy of companions. Conman is a word that often comes to mind. Unprincipled is another. In one adventure when it is believed that Thurston had been gunned down, Pegon's first action is to tell Thurston's boss that his dear friend Thurston had many times insisted that Pegon be his sole heir and Pegon would be very pleased to have his financial assets transferred right away.

TELEVISION


Number of Episodes:39
First Appearance:1956
Last Appearance:1957
Network:Syndicated

REGULAR CAST
Barry SullivanKen Thurston [ 1-2 ]





Note: the terrific Uncle Earl's Classic TV Channel provided much need intel on the contents of most of the episodes. My words - his synopsis.
Also providing terrific intel is The Classic TV Archive.

RADIO / AUDIO


Number of Episodes:112
First Appearance:1944
Last Appearance:1952
Network:NBC,CBS

REGULAR CAST
Herbert MarshallKen Thurston [ All ]
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MY COMMENTS

       This is one excellent series to listen to. Since I wanted to include a brief synopsis of each episode, I chose to spend a few minutes listening to the opening lines to get an idea what the main gist was going to be but each story drew me in and a couple minutes became a whole lot more. I could easily have presented this series over a month ago but for this 'dedication' to learning more.
       Ken Thurston, the Man Called X, certainly got around and we the listeners, and later the viewers, got to travel with him. Luckily for those of us who were too young to have not been in front of the radio or television back then, almost all of them are still available and I strongly recommend taking the time to listen to at least a couple.

GRADE

My Grade: A-

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