Shoe Factory Road

« Back to Blog

The Haunting Sound of Robert Stack

By: - August 29, 2014
Category : People

The shows that really impacted me when I was younger, were always those that had real events with an element of danger and theatrics thrown in for good measure. The kind you’d stay up late to watch on a Tuesday night and spend the rest of the night in bed thinking how you could be the one to crack the case. Maybe I was overly ambitious about my Nancy Drew-like abilities.

Shows like Rescue 911, FBI Files, and my personal favorite, Unsolved Mysteries,were the top watched shows in my house. One time in 3rd grade, one of my classmates named Tyler Schultz, told the class that he would be appearing on that night’s episode of Unsolved Mysteries. That was the first time I had ever heard of that show. The title alone suggested I would be entertained thoroughly. I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be fictional? Would it be sci-fi?I sat in front of the t.v. and watched in awe. First, the stories were compelling and obviously factual, but also it was the first time I became fascinated by the narrator’s haunting voice.

The screen faded in and this man in a tan trench coat walked across the screen through a thick fog. Robert Stack’s voice was eerie and memorable. He always prefaced the episodes with a little backstory and each time, he had you glued. His presence was incredible as were the locations behind him.

The stories were always dark and mysterious. The show began in 1987, in which a number of knock offs soon followed in its footsteps. In a sense the show was groundbreaking in that it had an audience interaction. The call-to-action of viewers to solve real cases that the police or investigators couldn’t uncover was never before seen. Spin offs like America’s Most Wanted soon followed trying to get as many people to work together to solve something. (Which was terriffic in its own right). Unsolved Mysteries’ topics ran the gamut of: Murders, Missing Persons, Wanted Fugitives, UFO’s, Ghosts, The Paranormal, Fraud, Cover Ups, Missing Heirs, among others. Something like 47% of all cases featuring wanted fugitives were solved from veiwer tips. An incredible number considering it was the thousands. All this from a simple T.V. show.

Robert Stack

He usually opened with a line like this.

Because Robert Stack always ended with “if you or someone you know has information, please call this number…” it was like a roller coaster that took you through these twists and turns and then just left you hanging upside down. The great thing about the show was it always had fresh cases happening, like peeking into a detective’s vault of secrets.

Detective Office

I always pictured the cases for the show were found in a room like this. PHOTO CREDIT: Eugenio Garcia Villarreal

I caught a rerun of it in college, at the end of the episode they had an update as to what happened, and how the case was solved. That was a cool little addition. At least I knew some of these got cases got some closure this many years later. The sad part was a lot of the cases are still unsolved. Cases 20 years old have been put in the unresolved pile and left there for potentially eternity.

I would love to go back and watch a few of those classic episodes again. Robert Stack passed away in 2003 leaving behind a show that changed real lives and captured the essence of the power of media. His voice will always be a hauting reminder that great memories can come from scary stories. Maybe I’ll be able to reflect on in a story through a future issue of Shoe Factory Road.

I cool little website has mapped out every episode for your enjoyment.

Or if youre perhaps feeling more ambitious there is a link to every episode of Unsolved Mysteries for sale.