I’m continuing my look at Frederick C Davis’ pulp hero the Moon Man. In reality police detective Stephen Thatcher, the Moon Man stalked the night-darkened streets of fictional Great City (“Great City ya got here … it’d be a shame if something happened to it …”) clad in his black costume and his helmet made of one-way Argus glass. Armed with an automatic plus limitless courage and ingenuity the Moon Man captured or killed Great City’s most dangerous criminals (white collar and blue collar) and robbed them of their ill-gotten booty. He would then distribute that money to the city’s Great Depression-ravaged poor. ( “Great Depression ya got here … it’d be a shame if – ” oh, forget it!) All this made him hunted by both the crooks AND the cops. For more on the Moon Man and other neglected pulp heroes click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/
4. THE SILVER SECRET – While distributing money from our hero’s latest theft from a wealthy crime figure, the Moon Man’s assistant Ned “Angel” Dargan discovers a man killed by the mob running Great City’s rackets and political circles. The brutal means of execution was a bear trap planted in the man’s bed- pillows (that’s gotta hurt). Angel is knocked unconscious and left to take the rap and the victim turns out to be a former District Attorney destroyed by the criminal powers-that- be in Great City. The victim had compiled incriminating evidence on the big names in the city’s corrupt machine, including the top man, Judge Victor Benjamin and also bad cop Sid McEwen, the uncle of Stephen Thatcher’s lady love Sue.
Eventually the Moon Man maneuvers the incriminating files into the hands of the few honest Great City authorities, brings down Judge Benjamin and saves the dying Sid McEwen’s reputation for Sue’s sake, even though Sid doesn’t deserve it. A complication at the story’s end is the fact that Stephen Thatcher, in order to preserve his secret identity, is forced to remove and hide his Moon Man outfit nearby following the showdown with Judge Benjamin. The outfit is found by the cops, Argus- glass helmet and all, and locked in a safe at police headquarters.
5. BLACK LIGHTNING – This story opens up with Stephen Thatcher breaking into the safe of the Chief of Police – his own father – in the dead of night to retrieve his Moon Man costume and equipment. Donning the outfit, MM winds up spotted and pursued by the cops in a thrilling car chase through the streets of Great City. Naturally our hero escapes and, back in action now, plans to provide relief for more of the suffering poor of Great City. His next and most spectacular target yet is the Seven Arts Club, a secret gambling casino run by the city’s gangsters and a spot where they mingle with some of the wealthiest and most influential citizens of the community.
The Moon Man breaks into the casino one night, but another masked crook – “Solo” – beats him to the caper, raiding the gambling hall and artlessly shooting two men dead and wounding two more before making his escape with thousands of dollars. MM tracks Solo down and relieves him of the loot, in the process killing the crook and once again outwitting his most determined pursuer – Police Lieutenant Gil McEwen.
6. NIGHT NEMESIS – This tale opens with Stephen Thatcher’s father, Police Chief Peter Thatcher, being shot and seriously wounded by Ivan Orzag, a bloodthirsty Great City gangster hoping to fill the power vacuum left after the fall of Judge Benjamin and his cronies. The honest cops are powerless to move against Orzag because he has an airtight alibi provided by Police Commissioner John Sutton. Orzag has a tight grip on Sutton via his gambling and carousing son Russell.
With Peter Thatcher lingering at death’s door his son dons the garb of the Moon Man to do what the police cannot. MM and Angel kidnap Russell Sutton and then the Moon Man outmaneuvers Ivan Orzag in his bid to make a criminal fortune. After a deadly gunfight Orzag is killed by MM, Russell Sutton is returned to his father, Peter Thatcher recovers and our hero winds up with one hundred thousand dollars (in 1930’s money no less) of Orzag’s ill-gotten money to distribute to the suffering poor of Great City.
I’LL SYNOPSIZE MORE MOON MAN STORIES SOON!
OR SIMILAR ARTICLES AND MORE OF THE TOP LISTS FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG CLICK HERE: https://glitternight.com/top-lists/
© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.