Thursday, November 28, 2019

Journey Into Strange Tales! Atlas/ Marvel Horror Issue 48

The Marvel/Atlas 
Horror Comics
Part 33
December 1952 Part II
+ The 20 Best of 1952

 Spellbound #10

"How Many Times Can You Die? (a: Bill Everett) ★1/2
"The Living Mummy" (a: Manny Stallman) 
"When Grugg Goes to Sleep!" (a: Tony DiPreta) 
"Where There's Smoke" 
"Don't Turn Your Back" (a: Bill Benulis & Jack Abel) 

Investment partners Phil and Harry are in a heap of trouble when their customers demand their money back and the boys will have to admit to fraud. But Harry, the brains of the duo, comes up with a foolproof plan: Phil will take all the money, fake a suicide, and flee to California, where Harry will join up with him when the heat dies down. Harry's even paid for false ID to make it easier for Phil to assimilate himself into a new environment. All well and good until Phil decides to stab his partner in the back by leaving a note fingering Harry for embezzlement and for Phil's murder! Even though a body is never found, Harry heads up the river for a dozen years and exits prison one very embittered man.

He tracks his old friend down, demands his cut of the dough, and then ventilates the back-stabber. Harry is arrested for murder but he's convinced he can't be tried for murdering the same man twice. The police tell him they have no idea what he's talking about; this man's name was David, not Phil. Turns out the fake ID Harry got for Phil was worth the fortune he paid for it! "How Many Times Can You Die?" has a fairly literate script with a nice, ironic twist and some  fabulous art by Bill Everett. The uncredited writer fools with our expectations from the get-go; I was convinced Harry was going to be the double-crosser since Phil came across meek as a mouse. Nice to be wrong now and then.

The mummy of Egyptian king Tut Al-Amaan may be the key to discovering eternal life. At least that's the skewed view of a nut who breaks into the museum, kills a guard, and then injects Tut with a regenerating drug. "The Living Mummy" then decides freedom is just the ticket. He murders his savior, wraps him in bandages, and escapes the museum. My chuckles usually turn to groans when I come across these scientists/professors/amateur geniuses who have the skill and intelligence enough to come up with formulas that can bring dead Egyptians to life just so the egghead can discover the secret of eternal life! Why not cut out the middle man and keep experimenting until you've found what you're really looking for? I will say I probably enjoyed this "Living Mummy" much more than Tony Isabella's 1970s version in Supernatural Thrillers.

"When Grugg Goes to Sleep!," the poor Trrosstian has nightmares of transforming into Earthlings. Seeing a psychiatrist may help. A quick bit of Stan Lee-penned fluff with some cute captions and a funny fourth-wall breaking in the final panels. DiPreta's aliens are delightfully goofy. Silas Henning, the miser of "Where There's Smoke...," is so cheap he won't allow his wife to use the heating despite the sub-freezing temps in their cabin. Silas convinces his wife they're dirt poor but, in fact, he's got a boatload of greenbacks hidden away. But it turns out that Silas was out counting his money when they handed out brains since his hiding place is the old wood stove in the corner of the shack and the old lady just fired up the stove! Seriously? In the stove? In last place, both literally and figuratively, this issue is "Don't Turn Your Back," a deadly dumb vampire tale about a wealthy Englishman, whose estate may or may not be infested by vampires. There's not a single panel in this nonsense that isn't predictable.

 Suspense #25

"Men with Fangs" (a: Joe Sinnott) 
(r: Chamber of Chills #14)
"Where the Werewolf Prowled!" (a: Tony DiPreta) ★1/2
"I Died at Midnight!"
"The Man Who Sold His Soul!" (a: John Romita) 
(r: Crypt of Shadows #15)

Ellen is beside herself when she discovers the bait in the rat traps in the cellar has been taken but... no dead rats! She drags hubby Jim down to the cellar for a look-see and while he's meandering, Ellen is stolen away by man-sized rats. Jim tracks his into a nightmarish underworld city populated by giant erect vermin, finding her chained to a brick wall. The rat-men (calling themselves were-rats!) deliver their ultimatum: allow them to bite Jim and his wife and transform them into were-rats or die a horrible death. Jim agrees, providing the monsters release his wife first. The group unchain Ellen, who then reveals herself to be one of the were-rats, delivering the fateful bite.

So much to love here. Sheer lunacy packaged as kid's entertainment. Ellen strolls around, baiting rat traps in the cellar, dressed in an evening dress (and why is there an immense, foul cellar beneath what appears to be a swanky pad?), and then looks, for all the world, like a Shudder Pulp cover when chained to a brick wall. And an odd twist to the were-rat mythology in that a human can't become a monstrous mouse with just a bite; there has to be a declaration of commitment as well! Joe Sinnott does his best Heath imitation and delivers the cherry on top with his hilarious rat-men (think Lady Gaga with fur and fangs). I'd put "Men With Fangs" in a class with "Enter the Lizard," stories by writers that throw what they can at the wall and see what sticks. Most of it sticks.

"Where the Werewolf Prowled" is a lifeless and utterly predictable yarn about an old doctor in a European village, who tries to help his neighbors overcome a rash of vicious murders. From the moment the doc says "Even the person who is afflicted with this horrible malady does not know it is he who is the werewolf!," we know exactly who the werewolf is! Even the usually reliable DiPreta sputters here, though that may be due to a lack of interesting moments and a plethora of talking heads. "I Died at Midnight!" is yet another variation/rip-off of Owl Creek Bridge, this time starring a small-time hood who gets sent up for murder and is heading for the chair when Death appears and gives him a second chance to avoid his midnight rendezvous. Leading to the obligatory "he was in the chair the whole time" last panel.

Last up is the over-long "The Man Who Sold His Soul!," about a gravedigger who wants to be a toreador but lacks the training. He'll give his soul to be "a brave and fearless fighter" in the arena and, in the final panel, he gets his wish. The script drags on and on but the twist is a good one and John Romita puts a big nasty sheen of grime on his graphics to give the proceedings a perfectly dingy atmosphere.

Mystic #15

"The Silent One" (a: John Romita) 
"The Mark of Death" (a: Jay Scott Pike) ★1/2
"The Man Who Closed His Eyes" (a: George Tuska) 
"House of Horror" (a: Bill Benulis & Jack Abel) 
"No Trespassing" (a: Vic Carrabotta) 

Importer Harrison Dunlop falls for the ultimate in souvenirs: the priceless idol found in the Chapel Temple in Darjeeling. Cursed it is, or so they say, but that doesn’t stop Dunlop from committing murder to lay his hands on the statue. "The Silent One" has some great Romita art and a nice twist in its tail.

In "The Mark of Death," a doctor enters into an unholy pact with a grave robber, but when the police catch on (the ghoul leaves a green skull on the tombstone of the graves he robs — not very subtle), the doc realizes his corpses need to be fresher if he’s to give his wife all the good things in life she deserves. Unfortunately, our ghoul is not the sharpest tool in the shed and he leaves green skulls on the doors of his victims. The doc has had enough and he refuses to take the final corpse, telling his partner the business is closed, and heads home… to find a green skull on his door. Nothing new here, with the climax having been used several times in horror comics.

Romita, "The Silent One"

George Tuska's art is the only thing to recommend when it comes to "The Man Who Closed His Eyes," a yawner about who can't get a moment's sleep without ghosts popping into his head. Not much better is "House of Horror."  Grogan’s carnival has fallen on tough times, so when a stranger approaches Grogan with an offer to drum up business, the carny figures, “whatta I got to lose?”  That’s how Grogan’s carnival acquired its House of Horrors and, just like the man promised, business booms. Grogan finally gets a chance to experience the inside of the House one night and discovers its secret: the stranger is Satan and the House is a gateway to Hell! The reveal is not much of a surprise but didn’t any of the local authorities catch on that no paying customer ever exited? I like the cartoony and exaggerated stylings of Benulis and Abel.

Can't say the same, however, for Vic Carrabotta's ugly and amateurish work, but it fits perfectly with the setting of the plot for "No Trespassing." Two escaped cons brave the dangers of the swamp, but disregard all the “No Trespassing” signs one time too many when they stumble into a snake farm! The final panel, of one of the hoods beset by thousands of snakes, is a howler.

Uncanny Tales #4

"Worse Than Black Magic" (a: George Roussos) ★1/2
"She Married a Werewolf" (a: Jack Keller) ★1/2
"The Girl in the Grave" (a: Cal Massey) 
"Nobody's Fool" (a: Joe Maneely) ★1/2
"The Old Lady's Treasure" (a: Manny Stallman) ★1/2

Kurt Brown is an odd one, eschewing society and the companionship of another soul for the study of black magic. Kurt's always wanted to be king of the hill, ruler of the world, and he's convinced the answer is in the pages of one of those old tomes. The more deeper his nose gets into the volumes, the darker his heart becomes. Finishing college, he pushes aside his father nad goes to work in a graveyard, hoping the atmosphere will lead him to greater things. Finally, after years of research, Kurt stumbles upon the proper spell to conjure a demon and request the power he's always wanted: to be The Flash!

Yes, Kurt wants to be the fastest man alive and the friendly demon is only too happy to grant the fledgling sorcerer his wish. With his speed increased 1000 times the normal rate, Kurt is able to (what else?) rob banks without fear of capture. But after a very short career of crime (one bank), Kurt discovers his limbs are aging and, as he lay dying, the demon reappears to explain that in order for the would-be ruler of the world to live 1000 times faster than a normal man, he must also age at the same rate! "Worse Than Black Magic" is not a bad little thriller. Sure, it uses an ages-old concept (but sidesteps Satan in this case) but the twist is fresh. A lot of these lesser pre-code artists pretty much melt into each other's styles, which is why I pegged this as a Sekowsky until I saw the Roussos credit. Though George's art is way too rushed, sketchy, and cartoony for my tastes, I'll allow there are a few flashes of brilliance (such as the one reprinted to the right).

Walking through town one morning, Ella is chased by a werewolf and seemingly saved at the last minute by a dashing man named Mark. The mysterious, but cuddly, savior drives Ella home and soon they become inseparable. Eventually, Mark pops the question but adds an asterisk to their happiness: he's the werewolf that chased Ella that morning! A bit shocked but willing to work a little harder for their relationship, Ella recommends that she and Mark talk to Ella's parents. They'd know what to do.

Indeed, Ella's father recalls a Dr. Vardon, who's "performed wonders with cases like Mark's" and suggests they all pay a visit to the scientist. Just then, Mark begins his change into a hairy beast and Ella's pop hustles the young man down into his basement where he keeps a locked cell (!). All present decide, as they watch Mark transform into his alter ego, that a visit to Vardon is definitely the ticket. Operation completed, Mark is a new man but Ella and her parents want to make sure so they lock him in his cell during the coming of the full moon and watch as,,, nothing happens! Cured! With relief, Mark exits his prison cell and sighs that now he's a "hundred per cent human flesh and blood." Which is perfect for Ella and her folks because they are vampires!

Yep, I agree "She Married a Werewolf" has an incredibly silly finale but the whole megillah is so laugh-out-loud enjoyable, I just have to give it a light recommend. Of course, after reading that last (silly) panel we understand why Ella was so calm as Mark spilled the news about his personality change and why a middle-class family would have a dungeon with a locked cell, but as I'm reading I'm thinking writer Carl Wessler (who went on to fame as an EC scribe) was having one over on us. Tired of pumping out the same old five-page werewolf/vampire story, Wessler inserted a few eyebrow-raisers (such as Ella's dad immediately recommending a doctor who cures lycanthropy) that might be overlooked by the kiddies but appreciated by those of us who dissect the details. Fred Hembeck once compared Jack Keller's art to that of John Severin but I see flashes of Heath in there now and then (especially that final panel). That elevates Keller into my second tier of Atlas pencilers, an artist whose work I wouldn't necessarily seek out but one I wouldn't avoid.

Grave-robber Blackie Garrett is sick and tired of toiling away and ending up with worthless baubles, so a news bulletin alerting the world that a recently-deceased "millionairess" will be buried with her priceless gems strikes his fancy and, before you can say "dig deep," Blackie is unearthing the woman's remains. An odd series of obstacles (solid concrete and solid steel coffin) do not deter the determined ghoul and, very soon, he's got a heavy sack of loot and an ear-to-ear smile. The smile, however doesn't last when Blackie spies a discarded newspaper that contains the "rest of the story": "The Girl in the Grave" was encased in concrete and steel so that her deadly infectious disease would not contaminate any other person. Too late. You have to laugh out loud at the panels of Blackie pulling first, a pickaxe, and then an acetylene torch out of his bottomless bag of accessories, to cut through the layers above the corpse. The rest is utter boredom. Equally bad (but at least illustrated by the great Joe Maneely) is "Nobody's Fool," about Bradbury Bulldozer, a bullying horror comic publisher who can't find a good scary story anymore. When Whitely Whibble enters Bulldozer's office to sell him a werewolf tale, the publisher scoffs at the writer's plot about a lycanthrope who assimilates himself into regular society. "Ridiculous," Bradbury screams, and then Whitely shows the blowhard why it really isn't all that ridiculous.

Last up is "The Old Lady's Treasure," about a trio of hoods on the lam who suffer a blowout and must spend the night at an eccentric old woman's mansion. Things look up when the old bird mentions that her basement is filled with treasure. Immediately, the toughs begin sketching their plans. But when they finally get past the old lady and break into her basement, they discover her treasure is a room full of killer snakes. Not much logic here; we have no idea why this woman keeps her house stocked with cobras (at least, that's the way Manny Stallman draws the reptiles) or where she got them from. We're obviously just supposed to be so shocked we won't question the plot holes. Let's move on then.

Strange Tales #13

"The Witching Hours!" (a: Ed Goldfarb) ★1/2
(r: Vault of Evil #2)
"Death Makes a Deal!" (a: Ed Robbins) 
"The Hiding Place" (a: John Tartaglione) 
(r: Vault of Evil #2)
"The Bugs" (a: Larry Woromay) 
(r: Vault of Evil #2)
"The Secret of Christopher Morse" 
(a: Ed Winiarski) 

While judging a beauty contest, Tony Marden believes he sees a witch at her cauldron under the bleachers but no one will give his astonishing claim a second listen. Obviously bi-polar, Tony forgets the incident in about ten seconds and falls in love with a beautiful redhead entered in the pageant. A whirlwind romance follows and the two are married. After the wedding, Tony begins seeing the witch again but his wife tells him to settle down and stop being so mean to her mother. A humorous pay-off and some bits of brilliance from artist Ed Goldfarb are the only aspects of "The Witching Hours!" to recommend.

"The Witching Hours!"
"Death Makes a Deal" is yet another one of those stories that makes you question how the grim reaper ever had time to actually show up and claim his prizes when he was always hanging out making bargains with losers. This time, death agrees to give a boozed-up reporter tips on upcoming deaths so that he can scoop the other cubs in town only to mimic Satan in the end by pulling a fast one on the boozer. "The Bugs" is another disastrous EC swipe. Scientists collect samples from a far-off planet and take them back to their lab for study. Once under the microscope, it's revealed that the scientists are aliens and the specimens are humans! Holy cow, what a revelation.

"The Hiding Place" holds a fond place in my heart as I recall vividly reading this in Vault of Evil as a wee lad. Three toughs hide a fortune in a creek and then spend the rest of the story doubting each other's loyalty. The brains of the bunch, Nick, holds out to the last but when his pals go out on the town he hoofs it to the creek and leaps in. Nick gets stuck at the bottom while reaching for the bag and, as he breathes his last, he notices his two buddies in the same position at the bottom of the creek. I question why these knuckleheads would throw a bag of money into a body of water (the writer might have made it a bit more believable had it been a jewelry heist) but, otherwise, this is a fun (and quick) read, with some delightful graphics by John Tartaglione. The artist seems to be channeling Dick Briefer with his bug-eyed, flat-headed Nick. I love that crazy final panel.

Tartaglione Briefly
Christopher Morse is the most handsome actor on Broadway but his latest play, "No Time For Love," is a disaster, bleeding greenbacks by the minute. To complicate things, Morse, who's never been involved with any women, falls in love with the play's co-star Helga Frome, and the two decide to marry. Morse's agent approaches his client with a new project, a horror show, but the idea of make-up on his handsome face makes the pretty boy cringe. After "No Time" closes, Morse is desperate and agrees to take a part in the  scare show provided he's allowed to do his own make-up. On opening night, Christopher Morse is a hit with his terrifying guise. Later that evening, while entertaining Morse, Helga accidentally spills an entire pot of coffee on his face! Going mad, the actor stabs Helga to death and then kills himself. Later, when his friends arrive at Helga's, they find the two bodies and discover Christopher Morse's secret: his handsome face was actually the make-up!

Yep, this story has been done a million times since (in fact, a variation of this plot, Roy Thomas' "The Demon That Devoured Hollywood" from Tower of Shadows #5, May 1970, with killer artwork by a young Barry Windsor-Smith, scared the crap out of me as a kid) but this one has a bit of a nutty charm to it. So many questions. How could Helga be smooching with putty face and not notice? Is she joking when she asks innocently "Does it hurt?" while watching her fiance's face melt before her eyes? Did the coffee melt Christopher's teeth as well? I love this story! Artist Ed Winiarski (who often signed his name Ed-Win) worked for Timely/Atlas not long after the company started producing superhero comics but his best-known work is the horror stories he did for Strange Tales and Journey Into Mystery. His art for "Christopher Morse" is odd in that the first half of the story finds Winiarski supplying calm (some would say generic) visuals but once Morse shows his true colors, out comes the ECesque-Ed-Win!

Astonishing #20

"Mystery at Midnight" (a: Gene Colan) 
"The Cheap Skate" (a: Ed Winiarski) 
"When You Die" (a: Carl Burgos) 
"Just a Little Farther" (a: Vic Carrabotta) ★1/2
"Living Doll" (a: Jerry Robinson) 

A string of mysterious murders has the police baffled. Victims are found stomped to death (or dead from fright) and all clues point to Igor Rill. Problem is, Igor has an iron-clad alibi; several people saw him sitting in his run-down jalopy outside his apartment at the same time the murders were committed. In fact, another murder occurs while the police chief is questioning Igor! But the suspicious cop keeps at it and eventually he discovers the grisly secret. Years before, Igor was in a terrible train accident and was cut in two and now his lower half strolls into the night (with, evidently, a second brain in there somewhere to tell it what to do) to do evil while Igor sits in relative innocence.

The overwhelming percentage of Atlas horror stories are based on a foundation of silliness and impossibility. It's up to the writer to sell the nonsense in such a way that the reader will become involved and put aside any such distractions. But some stories just can't get over that hump and "Mystery at Midnight"is definitely one of those. The idea that Igor's lower half is committing these violent crimes without benefit of sight or sound is just too asinine to ignore. Gene Colan, usually a reliable go-to guy to distract readers, here seems hell-bent on patching together art based on photos (the police chief is obviously Winston Churchill) that have a very "posed" look to them. None of it flows together and that pay-off panel, of the two halves of Igor reunited side-by-side, is laugh-out-loud ridiculous.

Unfortunately, the other four stories this issue are not much better. "The Cheap Skate" sees Lester, our titular protagonist sucking up to the old and feeble Clarence Dolbridge, a doddering old fool who appreciates Lester's company but continually comments on the cheap knick-knacks Lester brings as presents. When Clarence admits he's leaving Lester his fortune, our scheming miser buys a time bomb (no, seriously!) and mails it to Clarence, with the bomb set to go off at exactly the moment Clarence is handed his mail. Of course, since Lester is "The Cheap Skate," the parcel is returned to him for more stamps. Boom! I've read a very close variation on this plot before but since I've ingested literally thousands of horror stories over my lifetime and, sadly, didn't always take notes, I can't cite story title and issue number. Ed-Win does his best EC imitation yet, with quite a bit of Jack Kamen sightings here (and then goes full-out George Tuska big-teeth in the final panel), and his art does just save "The Cheap Skate" from utter disaster.

"When You Die" is a Stan Lee quickie head-scratcher about embattled aliens on other worlds wishing they could die and go to heaven and the final panel shows the State of Liberty with the rhetorical caption "How do you feel in America... where each day you're living in heaven?!" What, no Russkies, Stan? Vic Carrabotta delivers a mightily ugly visual display on "Just a Little Farther," a highly predictable groaner about two murderers slogging through the desert with their water supply (and patience) running low. By that final dismal panel, my patience was equally low. Finally, "Living Doll" resuscitates the killer doll genre which had only been dormant a few months. A doll shop owner fears the toys in his store window are committing heinous crimes at night but can't convince the cops his fears bear investigating. When a cop witnesses a murder and then chases a doll back to the store, the police are finally willing to give the old man an ear. But, alas, they are too late; the dolls have killed their maker who, in a ridiculous twist, turns out to be a wind-up toy himself. So, who made the maker? The final panel reveals that, after the police found the old man's body, they set up a 24-hour guard over the doll collection, waiting to see if any of them move. Why not simply destroy the monstrous imps? It's Astonishing how bad this issue is.

Mystery Tales #6

"Skull-Face" (a: Tony DiPreta) 
"Thief in the Night" (a: Edward Goldfarb) 
"The Face in the Mirror" (a: Louis Zansky) 
"The Old Hag!" (a: Carl Hubbell) 
"The Traitor!"(a: Ed Winiarski) 

Tony DiPreta's art is the high point of "Skull-Face," about the re-release of the famous "Skull-Face" thriller that grossed millions its first time around. Now, the studio attempts to drum up excitement with a publicity stunt involving a scientist zapping a skeleton with millions of volts of electricity in an attempt to create a genuine Skull-Face. Of course, the faux-resurrection turns deadly and a monster is on the loose.

Edward Goldfarb, Louis Zansky, and Carl Hubbell each contribute some of the ugliest and most amateurish art we've yet seen in a back-to-back-to-back deluge of mediocrity. "Thief in the Night" details the attempted robbery of a priceless ruby aboard a docked freighter by two of the stupidest thieves in the annals of larceny.

In "The Face in the Mirror," millionaire Howard Mullins searches for the perfect anniversary gift for his wife and settles on a mirror that once belonged to Lucrezia Borgia. The glass reflects the "true character of the person looking into it" and, once the Mrs. has a gander, Mullins is convinced she's having an affair with their limo driver. He's wrong. Lucrezia's having a little laugh at the rich man's expense. The finale is out of left field and doesn't make much sense. Worst of the trio is "The Old Hag!," virtually unreadable trash about a man who marries a rich old woman and then... surprise, surprise, surprise... conspires with his girlfriend to murder his new bride. After searching the house, the couple find the hidden stash of greenbacks but manage to ignite a deadly fire that turns their fortune into a pile of ashes and their faces into melted putty. As a rule, I don't rate these stories any lower than one star, other wise "The Old Hag!" might have warranted my first zero rating!

Herman Dobbs, a scientist at an atomic research facility, becomes enraged when he is passed over for promotion and becomes "The Traitor!" Dobbs sells the plans for a bomb fuse to some dirty stinkin' Russkies for one million in silver dollars but the joke's on him when the fortune arrives and the opening of the box triggers an atomic bomb! As noted endlessly during this journey, I'm not a big fan of the Red-baiting tales that Stan and the boys used to dump in the laps of USSR-hating Americans on a monthly basis, but "The Traitor!" is a hoot, thanks to its grisly finale. Ed Winiarski's art is very rough but it seems to blend perfectly with the dark humor of the script. Easily the best story in an otherwise weak issue.


1952 was a good year for Atlas horror stories. 106 issues were published, containing 438 tales. 78 of those merited 3 stars or more (with 4 rating the full four stars). Here are the twenty that scored highest:

  1  "Death and Dr. Parker" Russ Heath (Suspense #14)
  2  "The Iron Door" Joe Maneely (Adventures Into Weird Worlds #2)
  3  "A Playmate for Susan" Bill Everett (Astonishing #12)
  4  "Enter the Lizard" Harry Lazarus (Adventures Into Terror #8)
  5  "The Growing Terror" Fred Kida (Suspense #19)
  6  "Iron-Head" Dick Ayers (Journey Into Mystery #1)
  7  "Fame" (Strange Tales #8)
  8  "Uninhabited" Russ Heath (Strange Tales #6)
  9  "The Frightful Feet" Bill Benulis (Strange Tales #10)
10  "Horror Story" Bill Everett (Spellbound #2)
11  "The Killers" Bernie Krigstein (Adventures Into Weird Worlds #10)
12  "The Blood Brothers" George Roussos (Suspense #22)
13  "It Waits in the Box" Manny Stallman (Journey Into Unknown Worlds #13)
14  "Witch Woman" Carmine Infantino  (Journey Into Unknown Worlds #13)
15  "The Monster" Paul Reinman (Marvel Tales #106)
16  "Skeleton in the Closet" Manny Stallman (Uncanny Tales #2)
17 "Skin Deep" Fred Kida (Uncanny Tales #2)
18 "The Man Who Vanished" Joe Sinnott (Marvel Tales #105)
19 "Tin Cup" Don Perlin & Abe Simon (Uncanny Tales #3)
20 "Mad Dog" Joe Sinnott (Spellbound #4)

In Two Weeks...
Don't Look Now But...
Here Comes 1953!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Star Spangled DC War Stories Issue 169: February 1976

The DC War Comics
by Corporals Enfantino and Seabrook

Blitzkrieg 1

"The Enemy"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Ric Estrada

"The Huns"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Ric Estrada

Jack: A Polish DJ on Radio Warsaw announces over the airwaves that, as long as listeners hear the national anthem playing, Warsaw has not fallen to "The Enemy." Nazi soldiers make their way through the city, being shot at by civilian snipers and returning fire, killing all in their path. Though the civilians seem to have little chance against the Nazi guns and a tank, the resistance fighters still manage to leave casualties in their wake. Eventually, the Nazis reach the radio station, killing the DJ and smashing his record, but in an apartment overlooking the street, an old Polish man puts his own copy of the national anthem on a record player.

"The Enemy"
The first story in DC's new war comic is not bad at all, with Kanigher's plotting and writing somewhat better than Estrada's usual, simplistic art. He's not a bad artist, it just seems like he doesn't put much effort or thought into his panels. Compare the interior art to the Kubert cover, which illustrates a scene from this story, and you'll see the difference between a competent, workmanlike job and something with real feeling.

Fifteen hundred years before the Nazis, Attila and the Huns swept across Europe, leaving death and destruction in their wake. A young boy who cleans Attila's sword is sent out by the leader to return with the head of an enemy, and he uses the sword to murder the first Goth he finds. As the boy stands above the corpse, about to behead it with his blade, the victim's sister rushes at him with an ax and delivers her own blow of vengeance. Attila marches on to conquer more land while the girl swears that her people will never fall to the Huns.

More good Kanigher plotting and scripting, more pretty good Estrada art. Big Bob makes a nice comparison of Attila to Adolf, especially in a panel where the Huns salute their leader with the familiar Nazi salute, and the story is unstinting in its violence. Blitzkrieg is off to a promising start!

"The Hun"
Peter: February 1976 sees the first new DC war anthology title to be introduced since 1971. The question is, of course, "why bother?" Why not integrate these stories into the five ongoing books rather than fight for spinner space amidst a glut of Marvels and DCs (not to mention a decline in sales of the war line)? Well, the funny thing is, I liked both of these stories quite a bit (I suspect "The Enemy" will find its way onto my Best of 1976 list), whereas I pretty much can't stand the nonsense being peddled in WWT, OAAW, OFF, and GIC in this era. What is it about Blitzkrieg that floats my boat? I guess it's a sense that Big Bob saw another chance to tell gritty, grimy, violent stories without worrying about cute catch phrases or whether a hook or plot would fit within Sgt. Rock's universe. It also carries the novelty of being presented as "the enemy's POV." For some reason, "Enemy Ace" never got resurrected and his "Gallery of War" feature had become scarce. We were left with Vanilla Battle, some distorted landscape of warfare where none of our heroes die or where they turn up in different countries from issue to issue. The Quality Baton, seemingly, had been handed over to David Michelinie and Kanigher had just settled into his office chair to plonk out the same ol', same ol' until the pink slip shows. Blitzkrieg gives me hope. That's the good news. Bad news is that readers obviously didn't warm to the blood 'n' guts approach and Blitzkrieg will be ambushed after five issues. I sure hope the rest of the run matches up to the premiere effort.

G.I. Combat 187

"The General Died Twice"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Sam Glanzman

"Round Trip to Hell"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Ric Estrada

Peter: After Jeb Stuart (the Civil War General) tells his descendant (the commander of the Jeb Stuart) that he's coming back from the dead for one last battle, the 20th-Century Jeb Stuart gets a nasty crack on the head and imagines the General really has come back from the dead. Trouble is, the General (who is actually General "Two-Guns" Gannon) orders the boys on a suicide mission: blow up a dam and flood an underground Nazi headquarters. The crew are decidedly upset about their mission but pull it off with nary a hitch, other than the death of "Two-Guns" Gannon.

"The General Died Twice"
One of the best Haunted Tank adventures of the last couple years, "The General Died Twice" is an engaging and exciting little drama that has a couple of pleasant surprises. I was almost certain, when General Jeb told our Jeb he was going to requisition the tank for an unfinished battle, that we were going to see another of those dreary "Battle of Two Centuries"-esque fantasy pieces but, thankfully, Kanigher had a second surprise up his sleeve. You still have to wade through Glanzman's muck, but at least we get a more-than-serviceable script this time out.

"Round Trip to Hell"
The back-up, "Round Trip to Hell," is written by Robert Kanigher under the pseudonym, Bart Regan. I'm assuming that's because Big Bob's plot, the ace who swears to his plane ("I'm not going to let those bandits get at you, beautiful!") that he'll bring her back in one piece no matter what, then dies in the air and still lands the plane somehow, has been done to death by Bob over the last twenty years. Seriously, this is one hoary old hook that needs to be retired. Ric Estrada's protagonists always look like they're hooked on heroin, with their anime eyes.

Jack: I can't recall another story where the ghostly general was this involved in the action. "The General Died Twice" was fairly entertaining, despite Glanzman's near inability to tell a coherent story in pictures. I must admit that I did not realize Jeb was mistaking the living general for the ghost till you explained it. As for "Round Trip to Hell," I agree that we've read this plot before, with the dead pilot landing the plane safely.

Our Army at War 289

"The Line"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Frank Redondo & Joe Kubert

"The 4th G.I."
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Ric Estrada

Jack: Easy Co. is in Germany, out ahead of the front line and given the task of entering a city that is not yet clear of the enemy. After sending Ice Cream Soldier and Little Sure Shot ahead to do reconnaissance, the rest of the men of Easy Co. march in and are met with German machine gun fire. Some grenades knock out the machine gunners, but soon a German tank appears and Rock tries to plant a grenade in its treads. The explosion renders him unable to move and he lies in the middle of the street, right in the path of the oncoming tank.

Suddenly, the tank is blown up, and Rock sees that he has been saved by a Russian sergeant wielding a bazooka. When Nazis emerge from the tank and try to make a run for it, they are mercilessly gunned down by Russian soldiers. Rock receives a message from headquarters telling him that they are now in the Russian zone and must fall back to the American zone. Little Sure Shot and Ice Cream Soldier are pinned down by gunfire on the edge of town and Rock defies orders to leave, instead marching off to rescue his men. He sees them being attacked by a Nazi tank's flamethrower, so he distracts the tank and finds himself a target once again until the Russian sergeant returns with his bazooka to blow up the tank and save his life. Rock and his Russian counterpart agree that sergeants the world over will gladly cross "The Line" for their men.

"The Line"
What a terrific story! It's always interesting to try to figure out where in the war these stories are set. This one seems to take place in Germany in 1945, not long before the end of the war in Europe, when U.S. and Russian forces were racing through Germany from opposite ends. I really like the depiction of the Russians, since it seems consistent with what I've read about their mixture of humanity and brutality. Redondo's art follows Kubert's layouts and, for the most part, he does a nice job. I hope we'll see more good stories like this in the rest of 1976!

Three G.I.s have to try to take a big German gun that is perched atop an icy cliff, shooting at all below. They shoot and kill Nazi soldiers who are hidden behind a frozen waterfall, then start climbing the side of the mountain as the Nazis above hurl potato mashers down at them. Well-placed machine gun fire empties a cave of Nazi soldiers and the G.I.s reach the top, where they use grenades to destroy the big gun. What is "The 4th G.I." of the title, you may ask? It's the sentient helmet of one of the U.S. soldiers and it comments in the last panel about how it protected the man's head from flying lead.

"The 4th G.I."
Just as a great ending can elevate a fair story, a moronic ending can sink one that was not special. That's the problem here, as Kanigher falls back on his old standby of the talking object. There's no real indication during the story that the title refers to anything in particular or that we're seeing events from the point of view of a helmet, other than one panel where there is a question mark that, in retrospect, seems to come from the headpiece. I guess we should be grateful that the helmet did not narrate the tale from start to finish!

Peter: Another month, another chronicle of how Rock defied the odds and defeated every stinkin' Nazi in his kill zone. The Russian sergeant was a nice diversion but Big Bob missed out on delivering one of his trademark final panels. No Mickey Mouse watch? "The 4th G.I." has to be the weakest "Gallery of War" entry of the dozens we've seen; there's no plot to speak of ("let's get up that hill!") and the final panel hearkens back to the bad old days when jets, dogs, horses, and grenades all narrated their own adventures.

Our Fighting Forces 164

"A Town Full of Losers"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Ric Estrada & George Evans

"Patrol to Hell"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by E.R. Cruz

Jack: The Losers parachute into Italy and walk three hours to a town that they have been assigned to protect from an enemy attack. The local priest tells the Losers that their beloved golden mirror has been looted; for five centuries, whenever they were threatened, St. Sebastian would appear in the mirror and inspire them to fight. Without the mirror, they have lost all hope.

The Losers head out of town to retrieve the mirror and locate it just as it's being loaded into a plane. They kill all of the Nazis around the plane, grab the mirror, and head back to the town, defeating various Nazi menaces (foot, plane, and tank) along the way with the help of the glass. Finally returning the mirror to the town, the Losers are surprised to see that their own reflection is heralded as signifying the presence of the inspirational saint!

"A Town Full of Losers"
Easily the best Losers story in recent memory, "A Town Full of Losers" benefits greatly from the return of George Evans, who is credited as co-artist. I really can't see any evidence of Ric Estrada here, so perhaps he did layouts and Evans did the finishing work. It seems a bit silly to go to all this trouble for a mirror, but Kanigher and Evans manage to make the story interesting and to use the object in creative ways to help the Losers defeat the enemy.

Captain Storm is riding across the English Channel on a rescue boat when the boat is called to aid a pilot who is going to eject from his plane ten miles away. The boat arrives just in time to see an enemy plane shooting the descending pilot; Storm takes over the gun and blows the enemy plane out of the sky, but it crashes into the boat and sinks it. Storm and the enemy pilot both end up clinging to a buoy, but Storm gets the upper hand when he unstraps his wooden leg and uses it to knock off the other pilot.

We haven't had a solo Captain Storm story in ages and "Patrol to Hell" is a lot of fun! E.R. Cruz's art is quite nice to look at, and enough happens in this story to keep it interesting. I especially like the surprise ending where Storm whacks the Nazi with his wooden leg!

"Patrol to Hell"

Peter: While the plot is lightweight (one step away from rescuing the town cat from a tree) and Big Bob populates his script with bad one-liners, the art, at least, has stabilized a bit. I'm not saying this work is on par with Kubert or Heath, but at least we can tell the difference between Storm and Gunner; Evans and Estrada seem to balance out each other's weaknesses and produce something that's at least competent. I'd consider the bullet Storm takes in his wooden leg a wink to the days when that event took place on a monthly basis, but I'm not sure Kanigher had a sense of humor. I'm comfortable with my supposition that the "New" Losers will live out the rest of its existence as just another average funny book series, no better or worse than the original Johnny Cloud or Gunner and Sarge strips. Much better is the back-up, with fabulous graphics by Cruz. The final panels reveal that I'm wrong; Kanigher did have a sense of humor now and then.

Star Spangled War Stories 196

"Target Red"
Story by David Michelinie
Art by Gerry Talaoc

"Just One More"
Story by David Michelinie & Steve Skeates
Art by Tenny Henson

Peter: In the exciting conclusion to last issue's story, the Unknown Soldier heads to Odessa, where he links up with Russian Army brass to search for the elusive Count Witschenbach. It's not long before the forces discover that the Count is hiding out in Villa Griefswald, high atop a spooky German mountain. Disguised as Nazi bigwig Ulrich Gerner, US infiltrates Griefswald and encounters an ally in Gerner's sister, Anna, who's being held prisoner by the infernal Count. Earning the trust of the Count, US is introduced to a boatload of German spies, all disguised as Soviet brass! The Unknown Soldier must feel at home with a room full of make-up artists, but duty calls and he rescues the captured Anna and blows the Nazi castle to hell. Resting on the beach with a wounded Anna, US wonders how he'll tell the girl that he's actually the murderer of her brother.

"Target Red"

Another snappy (if a bit complicated) chapter in the David Michelinie/Gerry Talaoc dazzler that's quickly becoming the best DC war series of all time. Lots of twists and turns and irony galore (I really wish we could be a fly on the wall when our hero tells the gorgeous (but delicate) Anna that he's not the hero she thought he was. The greatest compliment I can lay upon Michelinie's throne is that his Unknown Soldier could actually supplant Joe Kubert's Enemy Ace in my eyes as DC's finest battle saga. Those were huge shoes to fill.

"Just One More"
Rafe Donner seems like "Just One More" Yankee, but he's actually one of history's first "conscientious objectors," which doesn't sit well with his brother, Ben, a fellow Yank who lives for killing Rebs. When Ben catches a musket ball in the back, he makes Rafe promise he'll nail a Reb for him. But Rafe finds it impossible to kill, even for his dead brother. That's a fatal mistake. An anti-war tale that really doesn't cover anything but old ground. We're on Rafe's side (well, most of us are) but we've also read tons of anti-war stories and the climax is a tad predictable.

Jack: I was a little bit fuzzy about what was going on in the Unknown Soldier story but enjoyed it nonetheless; the art is excellent and the pacing rapid. I have noticed the the Unknown Soldier does a lot of leaping and kicking for someone in the early 1940s and I think some of the action in this series was influenced by the 1970s' Kung Fu craze. "Just One More" is very much of its time, with Vietnam-era sensibilities grafted onto a Civil War tale. Tenny Henson's art is always nice to see, though it strikes me as more promising than polished.

Weird War Tales 44

"Photo Finish"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Ernie Chan

"Fear No Evil"
Story by Jack Oleck
Art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

"The Emperor of Weehawken"
Story by Sheldon Mayer
Art by Alfredo Alcala

Peter: Hanson is a blood-thirsty war photographer who knows he can become famous if he can just catch a soldier on film at the moment of his death. The other men in his squad spurn him but he doesn't care; Hanson is after fame and fortune. The vulture follows new recruits around and witnesses their deaths but just can't catch the right moment until death shows up (scythe and all) and promises Hanson that the day will come when that famous shot will come, but it will be the day he dies. Sure enough, very soon after, he photographs a green recruit at the moment of death but the Grim Reaper has a surprise for him moments later. Wonder of wonders, a decent Jack Oleck script, one with a bit of pathos (though it does have a predictable final frame) and serviceable art by Chan. "Photo Finish" is just about as close as you're going to come to a good story in this title.

"Photo Finish"

"Fear No Evil"
The Sergeant can't wait to parachute into Germany and kill as many Ratzi-Bastards as he has ammo but, damn it all, the wind takes him off course and he finds himself hanging from the high branch of a tree inside a cemetery. A handful of Germans, passing the graveyard, see the Sergeant and approach, guns raised, but a kindly caretaker takes them out of it. Grateful, our "hero" heads for a nearby mausoleum with the old man, who seems happy to hide the American. That's because the crypt is not empty; it's full of his friends... the vampires! Oh no. After a bit of a reprieve from the usual Oleck dreck, we get a "classic" reveal like this one. It's like just as Jack was reaching for quality, they pulled him back in to the tripe zone. Garcia-Lopez is not one of the better artists brought over in the DC Spanish Armada; his graphics are just as pedestrian as those of Estrada and Chan.

In the third and final chapter of "The Year 700: After the Bomb!" (titled "The Emperor of Weehawken," but aka "The Epic No One Paid Attention To"), Barry of Bleeker Street finishes telling his fantastical story to the Security Chief at Lacy's Department Store and we learn that Barry never really had much of a story to tell. With a little planning, editor Joe Orlando could have stretched this dirge to four chapters, since a third of the running time was given over to a retelling of the first two parts. Alfredo Alcala is completely wasted here on a story that goes nowhere.

"The Emperor of Weehawken"

Jack: The art in "Photo Finish" hardly looks like the work of Ernie Chan, who we know from our journey through Batman in the 1970s. There are a couple of unusually graphic panels where characters get shot, but other than that I didn't think much of this story. "Fear No Evil" is worse, as you point out, and "The Emperor of Weehawken" is yet another confusing, badly-written tale. I do like Alcala's art, especially the skeletal narrator in rotting Robin Hood garb!

All told, not a bad month for the DC War comics. Losing Jack Kirby on The Losers was a huge step forward and Kubert's covers are better than ever. I'd go so far as to say that Kubert's work is what's probably most responsible for any sales these books continued to have by 1976.

Next Week...
Sutton starts heating up!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Hitchcock Project-Bill S. Ballinger Part Five: Deathmate [6.27] and Wrapup

by Jack Seabrook

Ben Conant awakens, showers, and dresses, proud of his latest conquest: Lisa Talbot, who left before dawn. A 43-year-old man who has been supported by a series of middle-aged women for eighteen years, Ben goes down to the hotel lobby, where he is approached by a grey-suited private investigator named Arvin Moss, who confronts Ben with the knowledge that Ben has gone by a series of aliases in various places, marrying a series of women for their money. Moss reveals that he was hired by Lisa's husband, Peter.

"Deathmate" was first
published here
After Moss leaves, Ben calls Lisa and tells her about the detective hired by her husband. Ben has spent the summer in Newport cultivating a relationship with Lisa, who told him that she inherited money from her father and married Peter, who was a blowhard and a disappointment. Lisa tells Ben that she plans to leave her husband that night and he shows her a telegram that says that he needs money to meet next week's payroll or he'll be forced to sell his silver mine. She reveals that Peter now controls all of her money but she is certain that she and Ben can live on what he gets for his mine.

Lisa tells Ben that she wishes that Peter would have another heart attack and die. Ben drives to Peter's beach house, where Peter laments that Lisa married him for his money and remarks that she and Ben are two of a kind. Ben knocks Peter out with one punch and then drowns him in the bathtub. He finds a letter that reveals that it was Lisa, not Peter, who hired the private detective, and just then Lisa bursts in with Moss and finds Peter's body; Ben realizes that he has been outplayed.

Lee Philips as Ben
"Deathmate," by James Causey, was published in the March 1957 issue of Manhunt and is a short, hardboiled story of a man who takes advantage of women for money and how he is outwitted by a woman who recognizes him for what he is and uses him for her own ends.

James Causey (1924-2003) wrote short stories in the weird fiction, detective fiction, and science fiction genres from 1943 to 1969, with a short interruption to serve in the military during WWII. He also wrote three well-regarded crime novels: The Baby Doll Murders (1957), Killer Take All (1957), and Frenzy (1960). "Deathmate" was his only story to be adapted for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Gia Scala as Lisa
The story was adapted for television by Bill Ballinger and aired on NBC on Tuesday, April 18, 1961. The show follows the short story fairly closely. The censors would not allow it to open with Ben waking up after spending the night in bed with Lisa, so instead the first scene shows Ben beating Peter at cards as Peter gets drunk and Lisa looks on. Peter is put to bed in a drunken stupor; with her husband passed out in the next room, Lisa embraces Ben and soon they recline together in front of the fireplace. As usual, with the translation from page to small screen, dialogue replaces narrative and exposition occurs quickly.

Downstairs in the lobby, Moss confronts Ben and their dialogue discloses Ben's history as a gigolo; unlike the story, where Moss says he was hired by Peter, Moss in the TV show refuses to say who hired him, instead allowing Ben to assume that it was Peter. Ben and Lisa then park at a spot outside of town and he tells her about Moss; she decides to leave Peter that night and the events of the teleplay follow those of the story closely. Ben visits Peter, knocks him out, and drowns him in the bathtub. In the final scene, Ben is steadying his nerves with a drink when Moss enters, alone; in Causey's story, he and Lisa arrive together. Moss pulls a gun on Ben and finds Peter's body. He reveals that Peter was rich and Lisa was not; he knocks Ben down and telephones his client, whom he reveals to be Lisa, not Peter, before calling the police, and the episode ends.

Russell Collins as Moss
"Deathmate" is a faithful translation of a story from page to small screen. Unfortunately, the short story lacks excitement and the TV show is similarly flat. The director, Alan Crosland, Jr. (1918-2001), uses some creative camera angles in an effort to liven up this tepid tale, but the story never really gets going. Crosland directed film and television from 1956 to 1986, mostly working in TV. He directed 19 episodes of the Hitchcock show, including "The Big Kick." He also directed episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.

Lee Philips (1927-1999) stars as Ben. Born Leon Friedman, he acted on TV and film, mostly on TV, from 1953 to 1975, appearing in four episodes of the Hitchcock show, including "Alibi Me." He also played in episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Phillips had a second career as a director, from 1963 to 1995, and directed 60 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.

Les Tremayne as Peter
The lovely but treacherous Lisa is portrayed by Gia Scala (1934-1972), who was born Josephina Grazia Scoglio in Liverpool and whose screen career lasted from 1955 to 1969. She was featured in three episodes of the Hitchcock show, including "Mother, May I Go Out to Swim?"

The wonderful character actor Russell Collins (1897-1965) appears as Moss, the private detective. He started out on Broadway and was on screen from 1935 to 1965, including parts in ten episodes of the Hitchcock series, such as "John Brown's Body." He also played on The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.

Ann Staunton
Les Tremayne (1913-2003) plays the doomed husband, Peter Talbot. Born in England, Tremayne started out in vaudeville and became a busy and popular radio actor in the 1930s and 1940s. He was on screen from 1949 to 1993 and was in four episodes of the Hitchcock show, including "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat." He also has a small part in Hitchcock's North By Northwest (1959). Tremayne was a regular on The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen (1958-1959) and Shazam! (1974-1976), appeared on Thriller, and did a great deal of voice acting in his later years.

Finally, Ann Staunton (1920-1994) has a brief appearance outside the elevator in the lobby. Born Virginia Ann Koerlin, she was on screen from 1942 to 1971 and this was her only appearance on the Hitchcock show. Her biography is here.

"Deathmate" is currently unavailable on DVD but may be viewed online here.

"Deathmate" was remade for the 1980s' version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and aired on USA on April, 18, 1987. The color version stars Samantha Eggar as Lisa but is not available for viewing online or on official DVD.

Thanks to Peter Enfantino for providing a copy of the short story!

Causey, James. “Deathmate.” Manhunt, Mar. 1957, pp. 52–55.
“Deathmate.” Alfred Hitchcock Presents, season 6, episode 27, NBC, 18 Apr. 1961.
The FictionMags Index,
Gia Scala - The Private Life and Times of Gia Scala. Gia Scala Pictures.,
Grams, Martin, and Patrik Wikstrom. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. OTR Pub., 2001.
Hanley, Terence E. “James O. Causey (1924-2003).” James O. Causey (1924-2003), 1 Jan. 1970,
Stephensen-Payne, Phil. Galactic Central,
Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation,

Bill S. Ballinger on Alfred Hitchcock Presents: An Overview and Episode Guide

Bill S. Ballinger wrote seven teleplays for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, six of which aired in the fifth season and one of which aired in the sixth. "Dry Run" was a faithful adaptation of a short story, well-acted and directed, portraying a tense showdown between two criminals. "Road Hog" was another script that stuck closely to its source, this time with a great performance by Robert Emhardt as an unlikable character. Perhaps most memorable of all was "The Day of the Bullet," a brilliant half-hour with great performances and expert direction. Ballinger's teleplay was nominated for an Edgar Award.

The script for "The Hero" deviates considerably from the obscure short story it adapts; the episode examines guilt and features good acting, especially by Oscar Homolka. In "Cell 227," Ballinger takes a thoughtful story by Bryce Walton and simplifies it, turning it into a straightforward thriller. "Escape to Sonoita" is another faithful adaptation of a tough short story with some odd sexual undertones added for TV. Finally, "Deathmate" is a rather dull adaptation of a forgettable short story.

For the most part, Ballinger's scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents are very good and represent a period (the fifth season) when the show was at its creative peak.


Episode title-"Dry Run" [5.7]
Broadcast date-8 November 1959
Teleplay by-Bill S. Ballinger
Based on "Dry Run" by Norman Struber
First print appearance-Manhunt, April 1956
Watch episode-here
Available on DVD?-here

Episode title-"Road Hog" [5.11]
Broadcast date-6 December 1959
Teleplay by-Bill S. Ballinger
Based on "Road Hog" by Harold R. Daniels
First print appearance-Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September 1959
Watch episode-here
Available on DVD?-here

"Road Hog"

Episode title-"The Day of the Bullet" [5.20]
Broadcast date-14 February 1960
Teleplay by-Bill S. Ballinger
Based on "The Day of the Bullet" by Stanley Ellin
First print appearance-Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, October 1959
Watch episode-here
Available on DVD?-here

Episode title-"The Hero" [5.29]
Broadcast date-1 May 1960
Teleplay by-Bill S. Ballinger
Based on "The Hero" by Henry de vere Stacpoole
First print appearance-Blue Waters by Henry de vere Stacpoole, 1917
Watch episode-here
Available on DVD?-here

"The Hero"

Episode title-"Cell 227" [5.34]
Broadcast date-5 June 1960
Teleplay by-Bill S. Ballinger
Based on "An Eye for an Eye" by Bryce Walton
First print appearance-Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, December 1959
Watch episode-here
Available on DVD?-here

Episode title-"Escape to Sonoita" [5.37]
Broadcast date-26 June 1960
Teleplay by-Bill S. Ballinger
Based on "Escape to Sonoita" by James A. Howard
First print appearance-Suspense, October 1959
Watch episode-here
Available on DVD?-here

"Escape to Sonoita"

Episode title-"Deathmate" [6.27]
Broadcast date-18 April 1961
Teleplay by-Bill S. Ballinger
Based on "Deathmate" by James Causey
First print appearance-Manhunt, March 1957
Watch episode-here
Available on DVD?-no

In two weeks: Our series on Stirling Silliphant begins with "Never Again," starring Phyllis Thaxter!

Listen to Annie and Kathryn's entertaining discussion of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, "The Gentleman from America," on the Good Evening podcast here!

Listen to Al Sjoerdsma's incisive podcast about the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode, "You Got to Have Luck," here!