austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Steady and strong / Looming along

Chapter Four, ``The Radio Riddle'', opens with the revelation that Ace Drummond is not dead.

Sure, the wall kept sliding to the (locked) door and should have enflattenated Drummond, but he cleverly positioned a gong so as to blockade the wall. Outside, the high Lama wants to know what's with all these fisticuffs and horseplay and is not the least happy about a man being crushed to death in their storage closet. Freed, Drummond thanks the Lama yet again and claims that seeing the prayer wheel (which here looks like a nightstand lamp from my grandmom's, with a dozen or so long skinny leaves which spin up like an electric fan would do when The Dragon is giving commands) gave him the inspiration to not give up and could he have it as a souvenir, which the Lama accepts, as though a white man could actually be interested in religious tokens of these heathens. The Lama is surprised to know this particular room was The Room Of Death; he knew one of them was, but never knew which. I guess it follows if The Room Of Death were one of the often-used ones you'd have learned the Death part pretty quickly. Still, I wonder how the property assessment goes for Rooms of Death of Uncertain Locations; do they raise or lower the value of the place?

Comic relief mechanic Jerry notices the pistol used to kill the prisoner was Harry Kee's, and when Drummond and Jerry say how they didn't have any reason to want the prisoner killed the Lama agrees to let them go.

Back home, Drummond transmits into the base radio, while in another building for some reason Peggy Trainor and Jerry listen to how it's not receiving. Billy suggests putting a metal bar into the radio's connector labelled ``The Octopus'' for some reason for some reason (I don't know why it's labelled ``The Octopus'' or why putting a bar into it would be expected to do anything), and the prayer wheel starts spinning and it receives. Drummond takes this chance to sing ``Give Me A Ship And A Song'' again, making me realize he didn't sing it last installment, maybe because there was no really inappropriate moment for it.

Harry Kee insists he sold the pistol to the ``archeologists'' a couple weeks ago, clipping his lines so we don't miss that he's supposed to be suspicious. The Dragon warns the ``archeologists'' that Drummond is coming, and their henchmen fail utterly at running him off the road because Billy catches up to them in the motorcycle and gives them the Kiss Army sign. Drummond then drives recklessly, goading the henchmen into driving right off the cliff (``I can't make it! We'll crash!'' ``Drummond made it, didn't he?''). Billy overheard the plans on the prayer wheel, suggesting The Dragon may know instantly when Drummond isn't dead but didn't keep track of whether he's got a receiving prayer wheel.

Drummond chats with the ``archaeologists'' about the gun, but while they deny owning it there's a cry of ``help'' from farther in the cave. They try covering this up (``oh, we hear all sorts of funny noises around here'') but Ace Drummond isn't the G-Man Of The Air for nothing: he follows the cries of help and finds Peggy Trainor's father in the pit cell. He can't identify who trapped him, though, just knows they're two men, and the ``archaeologists'' feign ignorance of how he got there or how they failed to notice him in their dig site for days. Drummond and Dr Trainor leave, and the ``archaeologists'' claim they can't go with since they don't make discoveries like the treasures in this cave every day. I'm not sure if Drummond falls for this or just pretends to.

Anyway, The Dragon's sent a biplane out to bomb Drummond's car, and they drop the first bomb --- by hand --- long before Drummond gets into his car and so far away the explosion not only isn't in the same scene as the car,it's not even on the same film stock. Several explosions follow, with the bombers not getting any closer until the last shot of the serial, when the car plainly and clearly blows up dooming Drummond and Dr Trainor beyond any hope of rescue, so what could there possibly be for The Dragon to Command us see next week?

Trivia: The last original You Bet Your Life, Number 528, aired 29 June 1961. Source: Quiz Craze, Thomas A DeLong.

Currently Reading: There's A War To Be Won: The United States Army In World War II, Geoffrey Perret. (I'd expected the book to talk more about the problems of logistics and how the army was assembled. There's a healthy bit of that in the book, so I can't really complain, and while it does go into detail on the well-worn paths of North Africa Italy D-Day Bulge Guadalcanal Tarawa Manilla Iwo Jima Okinawa, it does give decent space to the Chinese and Burmese campaigns that usually get a mention that the existed too.)


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