Last Chance Detectives
The Last Chance Detectives was a series of Christian movies, books, and radio drama series produced by Focus on the Family in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The production of each video episode cost approximately one million USD. The series focused on four preteen sleuths who solve mysteries in their fictional desert town of Ambrosia, Arizona. When the radio shows were airing, Canyon Quest, a prequel book to the show, was released.
12-year-old Mike Fowler lives in the minute community of Ambrosia, Arizona (a fictional town) with his single mother and his paternal grandparents. The family runs the Last Chance Gas and Diner highway stop near the town's municipal limits, as well as the small hangar and airstrip nearby. The diner property is also home to Lady Liberty, a B-17 Flying Fortress flown by Mike's grandfather in World War II; it is in the plane that Mike and his three friends – Ben Jones, Winona "Winnie" Whitefeather, and Spencer Williams – run their detective agency called the "Last Chance Detectives". Together, they solve mysteries and have adventures, while learning Christian morals.
The radio series included a brand new cast, and Jason Whittaker, from Adventures in Odyssey in the first album. Both made by Focus on the Family, the series were partially joined together for this series. These episodes are available in the Adventures in Odyssey Club. Three albums were created:
- The Last Chance Detectives: The Day Ambrosia Stood Still
- The Last Chance Detectives: Mystery of the Lost Voices
- The Last Chance Detectives: Last Flight of the Dragon Lady
The Last Chance Detectives television films were filmed at Kingman Airport in Kingman, Arizona. Focus on the Family Films paid $3,000 to lease the land to film it there. There were three films created:
- The Last Chance Detectives: Mystery Lights of Navajo Mesa
- The Last Chance Detectives: Legend of the Desert Bigfoot
- The Last Chance Detectives: Escape from Fire Lake
- Mike Fowler: Mike's father and grandfather both served in the Air Force as pilots. Mike's family is the most examined in the series—when he was six (according to the opening of the first video episode, Mystery Lights at Navajo Mesa), his father was listed by the Air Force as "Missing in Action" after the aircraft he was flying exploded in midflight. While it appears that he has died in the video episodes, the radio episodes indicate that Mike's father may still be alive, and merely suffering from a case of amnesia sustained in the accident. He is the unspoken leader of the group. In the radio series, he was voiced by Adam Wylie.
- Winona "Winnie" Whitefeather: Little is known about Winnie, except that she lives with her grandmother. Winnie finds cases for the team to solve, and is often involved in conflict with Ben. In the radio series, she was voiced by Mae Whitman.
- Spence Williams: Spence is the group's technical expert who spends his time refurbishing electronic devices (most of which are found in the B-17) for use in solving cases. The only mention of his family is that his father is a geologist working in the vicinity. Even though he is the youngest of the group, Spence serves as the voice of reason of the group and uses his genius and creativity to solve problems. In the radio series, he was voiced by AJ Noel. He is the only black detective member and for that matter the only black character in the show.
- Ben Jones: He is somewhat overweight, and reads comic books. He comes up with conspiracies, and often clashes with Winnie with his opinions. His background is the most clouded, as it is only known that he has parents. He also has a "secret" crush on Winnie. In the radio series, he was voiced by Daryl Sabara.