Oline Cogdill

Is there any mystery fiction reader alive who has not heard of the Encyclopedia Brown series?

These wonderful stories were about Leroy Brown, the son of a local police chief in the fictional town of Idaville.

A smart boy with a wide range of knowledge, Leroy naturally was nicknamed Encyclopedia. His curiosity was a perfect fit for him to run his own detective agency out of the family garage.

Encyclopedia Brown’s agency helped neighborhood children solve cases for “25 cents per day, plus expenses - No case too small.”

Encyclopedia Brown often got assistance from his friend Sally Kimball, who also acted as his “bodyguard.”

And while Encyclopedia was the head of the agency, Sally held her own, especially against local bully Bugs Meany who often was the culprit in their investigations. Bugs committed many petty crimes.

Author Donald J. Sobol wrote 28 novels in the series, beginning with Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective, published in 1963. Sobol’s last novel in the series, Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Soccer Scheme, was published in October 2012, three months after the author died from gastric lymphoma.

The Encyclopedia Brown novels have never been out of print and have been translated into 12 languages. The series also is popular with elementary school teachers as a way to encourage students to read. A 1995 study guide for use in the classroom was written by Duncan Searl, J. Friedland and Rikki Kessler.

The Mystery Writers of America honored Sobol and Encyclopedia Brown with a Special Edgar Award in 1976.

An Encyclopedia Brown daily and Sunday comic strip ran from Dec. 3, 1978, to Sept. 20, 1980. HBO premiered an Encyclopedia Brown series in 1989. The series lasted for 10 episodes, each 30 minutes, and featured Scott Bremner as Encyclopedia and Laura Bridge as Sally.

Through the years, a full-length Encyclopedia Brown film has been in the planning stages but nothing has ever happened.

Until now.


According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Warner Bros is in final negotiations for movie rights to the Encyclopedia Brown children's book series, aiming for an adaptation to be produced by Roy Lee and Howard David Deutsch.”

I could so see this as a film that would appeal to children and adults as do the novels.

Let’s hope these “final negotiations” don’t end up as other plans have.

Apparently, director Robert Luketic (Legally Blonde, Monster-in-Law) was “attached” to a film version in the early 2000s and Ridley Scott also was interested at one point.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. also looked at a film version of Encyclopedia Brown as a project for Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn in the early 1980s.


Just because Foul Play worked doesn’t mean Chase and Hawn would work in Encyclopedia Brown. I mean, did anyone see Seems Like Old Times?

Perhaps what this needs is Encyclopedia Brown on the case: Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Missing Movie. My money’s on Sally.