Cover Date: March 1935
Volume 4 # 5
Copyright Date: February 15, 1935
Author: Lester Dent and W. Ryerson Johnson
Editor: John Nanovic
WHMC: The collection contains six folders for this story, f.256-261
Recurring Characters. The entire Iron Crew are all present in this story.
Table of Contents
Land of Always-Night by Kenneth Robeson
Coral Sands of Death by John H. Compton
Mileposts of Doom by Milton Burns
Free Doc Savage Portrait
Doc Savage Club
Need of Planning
The Code of Doc Savage
Will Restore Mayan City
Arctic’s Phantom Ship
From Our Members
The origin of this story began in an undated letter written in 1934 from W. R. Johnson about ghosting a story for Dent. The letter ends with Johnson’s signature and address at 140 West 49th Street. Johnson notes that correspondence for the next week should be sent to Lubec, Maine.
There is a two-page synopsis titled “THE IDEA BEHIND THE STORY.” The basic idea deals with a civilized ancient race that retreated to the underground caverns on an Alaskan island in order to escape the freezing ice. They now have a highly developed civilization, use cold light to illuminate their dark caverns, generate their own air for breathing, and raise mushrooms for nourishment. Any worthy Doc Savage reader should recognize the basic plot for “The Land of Always-Night.” Next follows a seventeen-page long synopsis. There are some basic differences in this first outline.
The treasure is gold and platinum rather than the cold light used in the published version.
The gangster is named Snag Rosellis instead of Watches Bowen.
One major scene in the outline takes place in the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The use of liquid air appears as a clever trick rather than the means of destruction as later written.
Source: WHMC Folder C3701_f4
I enjoyed this story. Ryerson Johnson is my favorite ghost author of the series.
The scene where Doc’s identity is discovered, and he taunts Watches Bowen and Ool by answering is classic.
Doc Savage speaks but the words are Dimiter Daikoff’s as he sarcastically answers “Yes, it is Doc Savage.”
That passage makes me laugh out loud every time I read it. I thought it was a great way of showing Doc still has human qualities even though he is a superman.