The title of The Big Kerplop was supposed to be The Big Kerplop!, but the original publisher, MacRae Smith Company, dropped the exclamation mark. Even though it was written 14 years after the "The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake", chronologically it is the first story in the series, telling how the Mad Scientists' Club came into being.
Living in the fictional small town of Mammoth Falls, the members of the Mad Scientists' Club are:
Dinky Poore is the smallest (and most sarcastic) of the Mad Scientists; this is sometimes relevant to the stories, as in "The Great Gas Bag Race", in which the boys prepare to compete in a hot-air balloon race without deciding which two Mad Scientists will have the honor of crewing the balloon; since Dinky weighs less than anyone else in the club, he is the only one who is certain of being chosen.
In contrast to the supernatural, mystical, romantic, or preachy moral (Calvinist in the old days, political correctness today) elements usually found in children's books, The Mad Scientists' Club books build their plot devices around science, mechanical inclination, a do it yourself ethic, and some good-natured pranks, making the boys in these books sort of junior precursors to MacGyver - or a fictional counterpart to the real-life Rocket Boys. The early stories and the first book in the series were published in the wake of the impact of Sputnik and the space race and reflect the thinking of that period (the first book even includes a plug for joining the United States Air Force in the last story, "Night Rescue"). There is one odd, inexplicable exception to the usually science-based, non-supernatural nature of the stories, and that is "Big Chief Rainmaker" in the second book. The level of technology found in these books is of course "low-tech" by today's standards with no home computers or miniaturized electronics, but the technology depicted in the books (scuba, ham radio, helicopters, remotely radio-controlled devices) was, at the time, typical of the cutting edge of technology during the post-WWII, pre-Internet era.
The Mad Scientists began as a series of short stories in Boys' Life magazine, the official youth magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. They were later collected into two volumes, The Mad Scientists' Club and The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club, originally published by the MacRae Smith Company of Philadelphia. Only about 1000 copies of the third novel, The Big Kerplop!, were published in 1974 before MacRae Smith went bankrupt, so it is not well known.
Sheridan Brinley, the son of the author, authorized Purple House Press to reprint these books starting in 2001. The new edition of The Big Kerplop! was released in 2003 (with the exclamation point included), which includes all new interior illustrations by Geer. The earlier MacRae Smith version is the only MSC title without interior drawings, since Macrae Smith never commissioned them. On November 17, 2005 they released the final one, the previously unpublished second novel titled The Big Chunk of Ice, which has been newly illustrated by Geer.
A two-part episode in 1971 of the TV series Wonderful World of Disney was loosely based on "The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake". It was titled "The Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove" and starred Burgess Meredith. It would be repeated a few times, but doesn't seem to be available on DVD or Video.