Harry Kane

Harry Kane was the original illustrator of the series, being given credit for drawings beginning with "Terror Castle" and continuing up through "Nervous Lion." When most readers visualize the Investigators, they are in fact visualizing Kane's illustrations, which showed the boys as teenagers with distinctive physical differences.

The name "Harry/Harold" appears in several of Robert Arthur's stories ("Whispering Mummy," "Green Ghost," and "Screaming Clock"), which may indicate that Robert Arthur thought of Harry Kane as more than just an artist to the series. Kane's illustrations blend perfectly with Robert Arthur's text, and the combination of the two gives the series the feel of the time period in which it was written. One of the most convincing combinations of text and illustration appears in "Green Ghost," when Pete is alone in the mines of Verdant Valley and stops to hide the Ghost Pearls in the skull of a burro before exiting the mine. Robert Arthur's text sets the scene perfectly, and Harry Kane's illustration of Pete placing the pearls in the skull makes the readers feel the emptiness of the mine. A truly phenomenal effect.

Kane's illustrations were very detailed in the earlier stories, but later in the series his illustrations looked a little "looser"; this can be verified by comparing the style in which he illustrated "Flaming Footprints" to "Vanishing Treasure" (e.g., stray lines, blurred edges to objects, etc.). However, Kane's illustrations still remain far superior to those who succeeded him. He drew the Investigators in a variety of positions (running, sitting, falling) so that the illustrations didn't looked posed or idealized. Last, but not least, he drew the boys to appear the age that is suggested by the text (15-16) so that it was believable that these boys could tackle adults when needed and that they could be trusted to go out relatively alone on adventures without their parents objecting too strenuously.

The difference in appearance of the boys in the first two mysteries ("Terror Castle" and "Stuttering Parrot") has always been a question in the minds of avid readers of the series. Most notably, Bob does not wear glasses in these two and has dark hair. The covers for those two books also seem to have a different artistic style than the internal illustrations and books later in the series. The differences in internal illustrations are most likely due to the evolution of the series, in which case Robert Arthur or Harry Kane or both wanted to draw more significant physical distinctions between the three boys. However, the covers of both "Terror Castle" and "Stuttering Parrot" were drawn by Ed Vebell** (at the lower right corner of "Terror Castle" is an artist's signature; the cover of "Stuttering Parrot" has the same style and therefore is attributable to Vebell as well).

Click here to read more about Harry Kane.
Click here to see some other drawings by Harry Kane.
Read about the original Harry Kane artwork that surfaced in 2003.
Click here to see a rough sketch prepared by Harry Kane for The Secret of Terror Castle showing Alfred Hitchcock
**Special thanks to Seth Smolinske for helping figure this out in exchanges at the Jones Salvage Yard Forum.

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