1934-11 The Sea Magician

Cover Date: November 1934
Volume 4 # 3
Copyright Date: October 19, 1934
Author: Lester Dent
Editor: John Nanovic
WHMC: The collection contains nine folders for this story, f.215-223
Recurring Characters. The entire Iron Crew are all present in this story.

The Sea Magician by Kenneth Robeson
Murder Gold by George Allan Moffatt
The Wreckers by John E. Jennings, Jr.
The Bait of Death by John H. Compton

Free Doc Savage Portrait

Doc Savage Club
– Helpfulness
– Coast Guard Valor
– Lost Lands
– The Great Mystery
– Doctors of the North
– Black Gold

From Our Members

The newspaper plane, with Monk and Ham on board, is approaching Magna Island. You may remember that the island looked something like a frog from the air. The Gold Firm spokesman is pointing out the gold extraction plant’s location. “Benjamin Giltstein pointed at the crotch where the legs, had the island been a frog, would have joined.” This just happens to be the particular spot where the gold extracting plant is located. It is a big joke. This little green frog is “excreting” gold bars.

One other thing came to my attention while trying to discover if the inventor’s name, Wehman Mills, had any particular meaning or significance. A web search produced this: “Wehman’s Book On Gymnastic Exercises For the Development of Muscle and Stature” (1910).

This brings up the question as to whether Dent was familiar with this book. It is certainly a topic Dent emphasized in the novels. The reader wonders if Dent took the inventor’s name from this book. That is practically impossible to answer unless someone was to produce a copy that had been in Dent’s personal library. But you have to wonder about the coincidence.

Western Historic Manuscript Collection: There are some differences in the manuscript. Early in the story we learn that Johnny is irked because he is sometimes addressed as Sir William Harper Littlejohn. He was knighted for exceptional achievements in his studies. This was cut from the printed edition.

Another cut scene occurs immediately after Elaine Mills and Henry Trump have been tied up and dumped overboard from the French vessel, La Colombe. They discuss swimming to shore. Elaine comments that she is no “Gertrude Ederle.” Gertrude Ederle was an American swimmer who became the first woman to swim the English Channel. She set this record in 1926 and it was regarded as a tremendous feat. She was nineteen years old at the time. Upon returning to New York, she was honored with a ticker tape parade. A reported two million people attended.

There are three different versions of the manuscript’s last page whereby the next story is introduced.  In actuality the published order was The Annihilist, The Mystic Mullah, and then Red Snow.

  • The first is titled “Veil of Silence” (Red Snow).
  • The next version references “The Annihilist.”
  • The third version cites “The Mystic Mullah” as the next adventure.

One more piece cut from the story has Doc telling Monk to leave his pet pig in London.

Another change from the manuscript occurs at the point where Henry Trump and Elaine Mills are captured on board the La Colombe. In the book, one of the gang masquerades as a deck hand scrubbing the deck. As they appear on deck, he pulls a pistol from the water-filled bucket and takes them prisoner. In the manuscript, Henry Trump knocks the gun from Elaine Mill’s hand after returning to the cabin. Paquis and Smith are holding guns at Trump’s back.

Colombe is French for dove.

The June 1934 issue of Popular Mechanics Magazine had an article, “Gold from the Sea?” featuring a mining operation that was extracting gold from sea water.


The main idea of a lost treasure in The Wash is based on historical facts.

The November 1932 issue of Popular Science Magazine published an article titled “Quicksand” detailing soil freezing as described in “The Sea Magician.”