Teenagers since 1979: The "Three Question Marks" Celebrate Birthday

              Saturday, October 12, 2019

A mass phenomenon: in childhood, millions listened to the adventures of Justus Jonas, Peter Shaw and Bob Andrews.
(Photo: picture alliance / dpa)

              Three names that mean cult: Justus, Peter and Bob. They are the main characters of the "Three Question Marks" and have been among the favorite radio play heroes since childhood for millions of Germans. The series already has 40 years – there is no end in sight.
              The organ music in Moll roars louder and more menacingly a funeral melody. In the voices of Peter and Bob panic grows, they are probably trapped. It's blue. " – "D-d-the blue phantom!" – "I'm getting cold, Bob, what's that, someone's coming, Bob." Many thousands of radio play fans in Germany can recite such dialogues from "The Three Question Marks" by heart. Often one hears the adventures to fall asleep. That's one of the reasons why it's the most successful radio drama series in the world. This Saturday it's been 40 years since the first episode of "The Super Parrot" was released. It is a mass phenomenon. Millions have listened in childhood to the adventures of teenagers Justus Jonas, Peter Shaw and Bob Andrews. Many of them have remained true to the junior detectives from Rocky Beach as adults. Oliver Rohrbeck (from left), Jens Wawrczeck and Andreas Fröhlich have been taking on the roles of the "Drei Fragezeichen" since the late 1970s. (Photo: picture alliance / dpa) What makes the series special: The trio's spokespersons have been the same since 1979. "Of course, when you hear the first episodes, we really sound like our fathers," said Jens Wawrczeck (he plays Peter Shaw) recently on the occasion of the premiere of Fiery Eye, the 200th episode. "But we have these really different voices, and they did not really change that way, so the dynamic still works." Andreas Fröhlich (Bob Andrews) adds: "The 'three question marks' are not really known anymore about how old they really are, but we assume that they are around 19, 20 years old." Their spokespersons are now in their mid 50s. Voice training largely compensated for their aging process.Schlauberger Justus, scaredy cat Peter and bookworm Bob: What did the investigators with business cards and chauffeurs not experience everything? A whispering mummy. A howling mountain monster. A green spirit. An ant man. And these are only examples from the first 40 episodes, which are still regarded as a classic canon – also because they are lucky enough to find them in old editions with legendary music. The funky jazz of Carsten Bohn disappeared after a lawsuit. All three speakers have also made careers outside of Rocky Beach. Cinema viewers know the distinctive voice of Oliver Rohrbeck (Justus Jonas) from the comedy "Bohemian Rhapsody" (as Mike Myers) and the animated film series "Ich – Einfach incorrigible" (Gru). Cheerful is the German voice of the US world stars Edward Norton and John Cusack. But he also spoke the essence of "Gollum" in Peter Jackson's film epic "Lord of the Rings". Wawrczeck can be heard in many radio plays, such as Fox in "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Nevertheless, they remain faithful to all three of the series, which is for many listeners a bridge to the perfect world of the 1970s. Nostalgia on cassette Because so many fans also want a bit of nostalgia, "The Three Question Marks" will come in parallel on audiocassette in 2019 out. "Alone with every novelty we still sell between 8000 and 10.000 MC. That's amazing, because otherwise there are actually no more products than MC," explained Sony Music Manager Arndt Seelig recently. The company actually sells the series produced in Hamburg via download, stream, CD and vinyl. Getting the necessary MC tape material was at times a problem for Sony. The three are always asked how much longer they want to talk to teenagers. "At some point, of course, definitely the end," says Fröhlich. We have to say beforehand: "Now the point has come where it will be silly." But that would be the advantage of the radio play: "You can not hear gray hair." "You have no plan, when it will be so far. "Wawrczeck laughs heartily:" One should live in an eternal tension, it could be the last consequence. "And when the day comes?" If now one of us would say 'It's over!', I think we would be blindly in agreement that this is no longer an option for the three of us, "said Oliver Rohrbeck," there will not be anyone moving in, everyone will quit at the same time " completely restart. But that's not our cup of tea. "But there's no sign of an end to date: Around 50 million recordings have been sold to date, and sales figures are still brisk, with up to 20,000 viewers coming to live radio plays By the way, Justus is by no means as good as hardcore fans, with whom they help as sleep aid: The crew picks up scenes and he rarely gets to hear the result. "Many people always want to fall asleep with the 'three question marks' and they only hear a sequel at the fifth attempt. Then they hear them again and again. You may hear the episode 20 times in the course of your life. They know the content much better than me. "

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