Done in a Day: ‘Mystery Show’ embarks on a quest for truth in various personal stories

Society & Culture October 20, 2021
Listen to ‘Mystery Show’

What happens when your question isn’t solved by the Internet alone? Host Starlee Kine heard several unsolved questions that piqued her interest and decided to follow real-life clues to see what could be found with Gimlet Media’s podcast, “Mystery Show.” Starlee unpacks minor mysteries over the six-episode series, focusing on unanswered questions that have plagued the stories’ tellers for years. Starlee does expert sleuthing to speak with folks involved with each case, and helps shelf lifelong questions while giving many the bookends they deserve. Starlee is a producer and writer who has appeared on the podcast “This American Life.

The charm of this show unfurls through seemingly mundane questions and many adjacent storylines and interactions as told by the eclectic bunch Starlee tracks down. In the first episode, Laura rents the video Must Love Dogs from a NYC storefront in 2005. When she attempts to return it the next day, the location has shuttered. Laura follows breadcrumbs to a diner, finds the video store’s owner, and hears anecdotes about Madonna and Fellini.

Why was Britney Spears holding an obscure author’s self-help book?

Episode two is about Britney Spears and Andrea, an obscure author who is intrigued by a Google Alert from 2008. When this self-help writer stumbles upon a photo of Britney holding her book, Starlee sets off to find how she got ahold of Andrea’s work. And why she was pictured with it.

For Carson, a belt buckle was the greatest thing since sliced toast

Starlee’s old buddy, Carson, wanted to solve a mystery on the third episode titled “Belt Buckle.” In the 1980s, Carson was a kid living in Phoenix, Arizona. He befriended a likable, latchkey kid from his ‘hood who got into trouble. With lots of unsupervised time, Jimmy was known for “finding” and collecting random items, once allegedly finding a dynamite stick and emptying its gunpowder in the road. Carson and his friends suspected that Jimmy dabbled in theft, but they did not have any concrete evidence to report him. Carson was enamored by a belt buckle Jimmy showed him one day after school.

This belt buckle was the snazziest Carson had ever seen! The ornate design featured a chef’s hat, a corkscrew, fried eggs in a pan, and a toaster. A switch on the buckle’s side made the toast pop up, and Carson was in awe.

Who were Hans Jordi and Bob Six?

Carson saw there were two names engraved on the buckle: Hans Jordi and Bob Six. Carson told his family and his dad speculated about cowboys and trail rides in the area. Carson yearned to find out who the buckle’s original owner was, and Starlee was happy to help.

Starlee found a photo online with Hans Jordi’s name in the caption. It appeared that Hans attended art classes. Starlee spoke with the class’ instructor, Donna, who thought Hans was Swiss-German, and possibly an actor going incognito. Starlee’s second lead was found on a food blog, and chatted with a former colleague of Hans’ who said he was like “reverse Superman” in his after-work transformation, trading in chef’s attire for cowboy boots and jeans.

Did Starlee find Hans?

Starlee went to Phoenix and returned to the buckle’s hometown to pursue a lead involving a culinary meeting with Bob Six, who she traced on the Internet. Sightings of Hans were reported, and Starlee found Hans! Listeners find out how this buckle’s story was unusually connected to Continental Airlines, Rembrandt’s works, and a home burglary in the 1980s. Did Hans get reunited with his belt buckle?

Episode four dives into an eerie vanity license plate that read “ILUV911.” In episode five, David is dying to know Jake Gyllenhaal’s actual height after watching Source Code. Jonathan has a lunchbox mystery to solve in episode six.

Done in a Day!

Podsauce’s Done in a Day segment recommends bingeable podcasts to complete in a short amount of time. This week, Alesha and Dax appreciated how “Mystery Show” can be devoured in a few hours. Dax is especially fond of bite-sized, funny shows, so Alesha thinks it’s a great pick. The episode lengths range from 25 minutes to over an hour.

All episodes of “Mystery Show” are now streaming.

Listen to ‘Mystery Show’

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