1939-05 The Gold Ogre

“The Gold Ogre” appeared in the May 1939 issue of Doc Savage Magazine. Lester Dent did something with this story. He took a previously published story, “The Monsters,” and turned it inside out while adding in parts of “The Czar of Fear.” It was a very clever trick.

Several elements from an earlier story, “The Czar of Fear” resurface in this story.

  • The basic plot involves a takeover of local businesses.
  • Victims are rendered insane as part of the takeover plan.
  • Doc stays at the home of one of the residents.
  • The climax occurs in an underground location.

“The Gold Ogre” also bears some similarities to “The Monsters” which was published in April 1934.

  • “The Monsters” story mentions a circus, “The Atlas Congress of Wonders.”
    This story mentions “The International Congress of Wonders.”
    In both stories the gang has a secret base on an island in one of the Great Lakes.
  • “The Monsters” uses giant humans while this story uses miniature ones.
  • Both stories have rich fat men who live in high-walled estates.
  • The roles of the rich men are reversed in the two stories. In “The Monsters” Griswold Rock is the villain and Pere Teston is the scapegoat. This story features Marcus Gild as the scapegoat and Vick Franks as the villain.
  • “The Monsters” describes Griswold Rock as short and fat – very fat. He is described as “lumpy” and having the appearance of a pile of melting butter.
  • “The Gold Ogre” is no less sharp in its description of Marcus Guild. His person is compared to that of a baby elephant. However, Ham expresses it succinctly: “He’s fat enough to tilt a battleship!”

There is also a continuity problem with the story. The origin of Ham’s nickname is changed from an incident involving the theft of hams during the last war to a simple and complete dislike of pork and anything made that came from a hog. This is likely a move by Street & Smith management to keep the characters young in the minds of the readers.