Peter J. Harkins was born in Massachusetts in 1916. After high school he performed as part of a singing team on radio, and with an amateur vaudeville act where he also played the bass fiddle. Later he wrote scripts for two years during WWII for the Smithsonian Institution's The World is Yours radio drama on ABC, followed by work in Hollywood as a gag writer for Edgar Bergen, Jack Kirkwood, and Abbott & Costello. He then returned to New York and radio as an announcer and a comedy writer for the radio show, The Kibitzers. In 1946 he joined boyhood friend Hal Goodwin in Connecticut to write the first three books of the Rick Brant series for Grosset & Dunlap publishers: The Rocket's Shadow, The Lost City, and Sea Gold. The new series was successful, but Harkins soon moved with his wife to Arkansas and was unable to continue the collaboration over such a distance. In Arkansas he continued to work in radio with scripts for a science drama series called Exploring the Unknown and also wrote for True Comics Magazine. In 1960 Grosset & Dunlap asked him to write for their new Biff Brewster series, resulting in the manuscripts for Alaska Ghost Glacier Mystery, Mystery of the Tibetan Caravan, British Spy Ring Mystery, and Mystery of the Arabian Stallion. Although he continued to write, he was also secretary of the Arkansas Thoroughbred Breeders Association in the 1970s. He is currently retired and lives with his wife in Arkansas, where he still enjoys writing and horse racing.
Little is known about Edward W. Pastore. He completed undergraduate studies at Dartmouth, and went on work in a number of boys club organizations as camp director, administrator, and other capacities. During WWII he was also employed by the Connecticut Juvenile Court. He worked for the Boys Club of America for 48 years and retired in 1974 as Associate National Director. In addition to his 1956 book African Safari, he also worked on at least four Biff Brewster books (two of which are also credited to Walter Gibson) including Brazilian Gold Mine Mystery, African Ivory Mystery, Mystery of the Caribbean Pearls, and Egyptian Scarab Mystery. He died in 1989, and was survived by his wife and three sons.
Walter B. Gibson was one of the most prolific writers of all time, producing over 29 million published words between his newspaper columns, radio scripts, books, and numerous other works. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1897, and discovered his life-long fascination with magic as a boy. He graduated from Colgate University in 1920, and soon went to work as a newspaper reporter. During the 1920s, Gibson ran several regular newspaper features including crosswords, puzzles, and magic tricks. During this time he also wrote a number of books on magic and was the ghost writer for many famous magicians such as Houdini, Thurston, and Blackstone. His most famous creation, a mysterious crime-fighter called The Shadow, was first published in 1931. The character was enormously popular and new stories were published regularly for 16 years. Most of that time Gibson was writing more than a million words per year, with two 60,000 word novels per month being released at the peak, in addition to his work elsewhere. Following the end of The Shadow after 283 novels, he continued to write steadily for another few decades, producing comics, radio scripts, magazine articles, and non-fiction books ranging from occult subjects to knot tying to card and other games. He also continued to write fiction including some Twilight Zone stories, a Man From UNCLE novel, and at least five books from the Biff Brewster series (two of which are also credited to Edward Pastore): Brazilian Gold Mine Mystery, Mystery of the Mexican Treasure, Mystery of the Ambush in India, Egyptian Scarab Mystery, and Mystery of the Alpine Pass. He died in 1985 at the age of 88, and was survived by his wife of 36 years.