"Journey Into Jeopardy" was a story printed in the second issue of The Twilight Zone comic published by Gold Key Comics.
Pop Dunphy was a man that lived in his past. He passed his time sharing elaborate and dramatic stories from his long, eventful life. When a neighbor boy becomes injured after having his sense of adventure elevated by Pop's stories, he knows that he could have helped the boy in the past. Enter a mysterious watch that may allow Pop to do just that. But when he returns to his grand past, will he ever want to leave?
Cast of characters
- Native American tribesmen (4)
"An outworn relic of the dusty past, Pop Dunphy spends his final years talking of bygone days. His tales are timeworn and dusty, but young Danny Carlin is always eager to listen..."
Story summaryPop Dunphy was a familiar face around the Carlin household. He was a neighbor that loved to spen his time sharing stories from his eventful past and young Danny Carlin loved to listen to them. One day Pop was telling the boy about the time he had spent in the nearby Black Hills, as a scout for George Custer, and stumbled upon a lost goldmine. Danny's parents were not sure the old man was a positive influence on their son, filling him with ideas of adventure that could lead him into trouble and away from his school work. Despite this, Danny's father could not bring himself to chase the frequent visitor away. Pop Dunphy was a fixture in the community, dating back to his grandfather's time. He had heard quite a few Dunphy stories himself, over the years. He urged his son not to believe every detail of what the elderly man said, knowing Pop was a great storyteller. Danny's curiousity had already been ignited. He promised to some day find the old lost mine.
One day Danny did not return to his home for dinner and the sun had begun to set. Just as his father prepared to mount a search for his missing son, they spotted Danny on the horizon, riding toward them and slumped over his horse. He had been injured from falling over a ledge while he looked for the legendary lost mine. His parents called the doctor, who concluded that Danny needed an emergency operation.Danny's parents and Pop stepped outside to allow the doctor room to work. The mother began to blame Pop for making up fanciful stories about the old mine which led her son on a dangerous wild goose chase. Pop Dunphy adamantly swore that he had been telling the truth, that the mine did exist. He remarked that if there were only some way of turning back time, he could prove it was the truth. As the man made this comment, the Carlins watched in horror as he began to become transparent! Before long, Pop Dunphy had disappeared altogether!
The couple could not accept what they had seen. They knew it must have been a trick their eyes had played on them, perhaps from the stress. Then, as quickly as Pop had disappeared, he returned to the chair in which he had been seated!Danny's father asked the old timer what had happened. Pop shared that he was not quite sure himself. He had been holding the silver watch that George Custer had given him as a reward for his scouting decades earlier and as he spoke his wish to travel back in time, he clicked the button on the watch. Suddenly, he felt as though he was flying and in seconds found himself in a canyon hidden deep in the Sierra Mountains! He recognized the location from the surroundings and designs painted on the canyon walls. The markers were placed there to help guide the way to El Conquistador, his lost gold mine!
Immediately Pop began to look for gold. With a chunk of gold, he would be able to pay for Danny's operation, ridding himself of the guilt he felt for possibly being responsible for getting the child into trouble. He started to shove gold into his pockets when he heard a noise from outside. It was a riding party of Native Americans, headed toward him on horseback and looking angry! Pop knew he was trapped and in desperation clicked the watch just as he had in the Carlin home, hoping he might return there. He did!
The Carlins had difficulty believing the old timer's story. They were less skeptical when Pop presented a handful of gold nuggets to the couple! They gladly accepted the gift and were extremely grateful for Pop's help, though still not totally believing the story they were told. Pop was a notorious storyteller, after all.
On the following day, Pop Dunphy had the gold valued. It was estimated to be worth five hundred dollars, not quite enough to pay for the urgent operation Danny needed. He knew that he would have to attempt another visit to the past. A man named Mike Durand had overheard the evaluation and became curious about just where the old "geezer" had been able to find so much gold. He followed Pop back to the Carlin cabin. From outside, he watched as Pop and Bill Carlin had a conversation about the money for the operation. Then, with a click of a watch, Pop vanished before his eyes! Mike burst into the cabin in disbelief, asking Carlin where the old man had gone.As Bill explained the situation as best as he knew, Pop in the meantime had returned to the lost mine. He stuffed his pockets full of gold before again being interrupted by Native Americans, this time off of their horses and within the mine itself. It seemed that he had been transported back to the past just moments after he had last left it. As the braves fired arrows at him, Pop once more clicked the watch and vanished.
Safely away from the dangerous past, back in his cabin, Pop appeared in front od Durand and Carlin's eyes with pockets full of gold. Pop was now sure he had enough for Danny's operation, if not more. Noticing this, Durand's greed was excited. As he questioned Pop about the watch, learning how it transported him back to the time when he had discovered El Conquistador, the old Spanish gold mine, it fed his avarice. He abruptly snatched the watch from the old man's hands and clicked the button, ignoring a warning from Pop about the hostile Indians. All Durand could think of was the gold.In an instant, Mike Durand found himself back in time, standing in the middle of a mine shaft, surrounded by gold. He began to yell in excitement and did not notice the Native American warriors sneaking up behind him. They grabbed him and ripped the watch from his grasp, aware that it was linked to the intruders' escape. Mike watched in horror as they smashed the watch on a large rock, stranding him in the past. He would spend the rest of his days as a slave to their tribe.
A few weeks after Durand's disappearance, Pop and Mr. Carlin were interviewed by the local sheriff. The police could not believe the story told to them. They asked the men to show them some sort of evidence, specifically the watch at the center of the tale. As it was lost in the past, this could not be done. With no other witnesses and no sign that any foul play had taken place, the police were forced to file the case as an unexplainable mystery.
"But the only witness to this mystery is Mike Durand, a slave to his own greed across the gulf of time."
Response and analysis
Notes and annotations
- Originally published in color
- Printed on newsprint, 9 pages
- Reprinted in The Twilight Zone (Gold Key) 28 and Mystery Comics Digest 12
- The El Conquestidor mine is marked with the symbol of the Sun painted in yellow paint.
- THe Native Americans in the story referred to the stopwatch as a "devil box."
- "Do Not Touch Exhibit", another comic story that involves George Custer
- Battle at the Little Bighorn, "Custer's Last Stand" in the Black Hills
Notes and references
- Bob Klein and Mike Tiefenbacher. "The Twilight Zone no 2 (1962 series)." Grand Comics Database. Retrieved: June 23, 2009.