GRAND PUNWICK MYSTERY THEATER (GPMT) is a rotating series of short stories and novellas I’ve set in Grand Punwick’s past and present. The stories feature homages to classic storytelling genres of the 1930s and 40s, and are told in the “Cliffhanger” format popularized by the film serials of the same era. GPMT is primarily a Patreon Exclusive, which means that most of the stories are accessible only to “Saturday Matinee” members of my Patreon Page.
The Cliffhanger formula dominated movie houses on Saturday afternoons and was so successful in guaranteeing return business that it was adopted by television and comic book editors to ensure viewers and readers would come back for the next episode or issue. When I was young, a local television station would replicate the 1930s Matinee experience by airing a mystery film, a western, two or three cartoons, and a chapter form a Cliffhanger serial. (A similar programming setup, called Matinee At The Bijou, was packaged and sold to public television stations nationwide, but that show only featured one film, one serial, and one cartoon.)
It was this regular Saturday television programming block that introduced me to Kirk Alyn as Superman well before George Reeves or even Christopher Reeve, Robert Lowery as Batman before Adam West, and even Commander Cody of the Rocket Men long before Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer.
While it’s not really possible to fully replicate that experience I had as a young child in the written word, I do hope that the manner in which I share these mysteries does at least in some small way give you the same thrill and joy I got when I first watched those cliffhangers of old, or when I experienced THE THIN MAN films for the first time.
GPMT currently features three rotating series: The Adventures of Dash & Dottie, The Countess, and The Empress of the Skies.
The “Stars” of Grand Punwick Mystery Theater!
The Adventures of Dash & Dottie
This series is my love letter to Nick and Nora Charles, and the actors who played them (William Powell and Myrna Loy). Having watched the films several hundred (yes, hundred) times since that first viewing roughly 30 years ago, it’s safe to say the “Soft-Boiled Noir” genre is my favorite. Dash & Dottie are set firmly in that genre, with quick banter between Dash, the retired detective, and Dottie, his loving and adventure-seeking wife who often goads him into helping the police with their cases. The series will often shift settings across Grand Punwick proper, but always staying in the larger world we have created for all of our characters
“It’s some of the best writing [Robert] has ever done.”Robert’s wife, Elinda, in a totally unbiased opinion. *cough*
The Countess (aka “The Countess Grace”)
This is my version of the “thief with a heart of gold” trope that stormed through the 1930s & 40s yielding such characters/series as Maurice Leblanc’s Lupin, Louis Vance’s The Lone Wolf, and Leslie Charteris’ The Saint. However, 95% of all of the thieves in those series… were male. So I flipped one switch, set the series about twenty years later, and started writing. Just a small handful of stories in, and already I’m having much more fun than if I had made the character, “the Count.”
The Empress of the Skies
This series is an homage to the Rocket Man serials of the 1940s. In keeping with my humor, I made the main character, a hero who finds a belt that can make them fly… a penguin. An emperor penguin, specifically, thus the name. The Empress is Sylvia, a young woman figuring out her life when she finds a belt that grants her the power of flight. The belt belonged to a hero from the second major war known as The Ally, who saved thousands from persecution. Can the belt and its companion stun ray give Sylvia both a purpose and the courage to fight hatred affecting her friends across Grand Punwick?
What About Future Characters?
It is entirely possible that in the future I may come up with other characters/stories to add to the GPMT rotation, but until then, Dash & Dottie, The Countess, and The Empress will alternate. The stories will be told one chapter a week, posted to Patreon every Saturday at Noon Eastern – with the occasional break during holiday or work (aka ‘convention’) weekends, roughly 4 or so a year. If I get enough of an advance collection going, those weeks off will disappear and GPMT/Saturday Matinee will go full time year ’round, and that’s when I will consider adding more series to the fold.
Sample the stories before signing up!
I make the first chapters of every “Grand Punwick Mystery Theater” story FREE to everyone, plus every year for the Lunar New Year, I post a special short story featuring one of the series that is also free! I have created a special “playlist” on my Patreon page where you can read ALL of these free chapters and stories in the order in which they were posted to help you decide if Grand Punwick Mystery Theater is right for you!
One thing to consider while you’re sampling these stories: I currently have NO plans to publish these stories in a print volume. I’m writing these characters and stories because I love them, which is why for now I am only sharing them with my Patrons while I decide what to do with them in the future.
What comes with a Patreon membership? More information can be found at patreon.com/jrobertdeans, however the “SATURDAY MATINEE” membership level includes:
- Access to every Grand Punwick Mystery Theater story, plus archives.
- PDFs of DFP Children’s books.
- Email digests of Robert’s artwork and Behind-the-Scenes information.
- Plus stickers, mini prints and more, all for just $12 per month!
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