"The Captive" was a story printed in the fourth issue of The Twilight Zone comic published by Gold Key Comics.
Mr. Gruber was a strict manager at a department store, in charge—among other things—of setting up displays in the store. He expected them to be done on time and done well and never let his employees forget how important it was that their job was done properly. Little did he know that the newest diorama he had ordered to be arranged would be the most important in his life. His terrible treatment of his employees would soon be answered for and that answer would could from...the Twilight Zone.
Cast of characters
- Billy the Kid
- Marshall Wyatt Earp
- Mr. Gruber
- Wild Bill Hichcok
- Bat Masterson
- Johnny Ringo
"Courtesy is often a neglected virtue in our everyday lives. In fact, some people are so used to being rude that only something drastic can make them remember the meaning of the word."
Gladys and Cynthia were workers in the toy section of a large department store, under the supervision of their strict and rigid manager, Mr. Gruber. While setting up a cowboy toy display one day, Cynthia accidentally bumped a cowboy action figure off his toy horse as Gruber approached. It did not go unnoticed by her condescending boss. "Well, Miss Fumble Fingers, trying to ruin that display? Personally, I detest cowboys, and horses make me ill, but they happen to be our best selling items. I also hate snivelling girls, so stop whimpering and fix that display before I fire you, you clumsy female," he chided. Cynthia responded obediently, in tears, and Gruber walked away.
Later, after the store had closed, the moustached Mr. Gruber sat alone in his office doing some paperwork when he heard a noise outside. He looked up and saw a silhouette of a man in a hat pass by his interior office window. He rushed to the door and flung it open. There stood a man in a cowboy hat and a golden vest adorned with a sheriff's badge. Gruber became anxious and demanded the intruder leave the premises. The man with the badge answered that he would leave, but when he did, he was taking Mr. Gruber with him! He said that he had a few friends that were interested in meeting him in person. At that point, Gruber had had enough. He threatened to call the police on the man, whoever he might be. The man in the hat replied, "I'm Wyatt Earp, marshall of Frontier City, and pulled a pistol on Mr. Gruber! He advised him to put down the phone and grab his coat instead. Gruber obliged.
Mr. Earp escorted the uptight store manager to the Frontier City Saloon where four men sat around a poker table. The marshall introduced the men as Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid, Johnny Ringo, and Wild Bill Hickok. Gruber protested, those men were all dead. Bat Masterson explained that the men had been until television had given them a "new lease on life." It was now to be there job to keep the peace and right wrongs that they encountered. The group had decided that Mr. Gruber was one of the people that they needed to teach a lesson. One "in humility," Masterson said. Mr. Gruber promised he had learned his lesson about bad-mouthing cowboys and swore that he would watch every one of their TV shows from that point on, even the reruns! Wild Bill was not so quick to let him go. He revealed that the real reason they were there was to address the poor manner in which he treated women. The men said that Gruber would be their guest in Frontier City for quite a while longer, until he learned proper manners. It was their job, after all.
The next morning, Cynthia and Gladys were again setting up toy displays in the department store. Cynthia said she felt better after some rest, but was not looking forward to seeing her supervisor again. She wished that he would disappear for a few days and give both the women a break. Gladys scoffed at the idea that he would ever leave. The two women set about their work, adding some new additions to their Frontier City diorama. Cynthia remarked how realistic the tiny figures appeared to be, as she held one of the them that looked like Wyatt Earp. As she set the toy back down, she noticed that another figure seemed to have fallen over in the middle of the display's roadway. He was a man with a moustache, in simple dress, and holding a broom. Neither woman could remember seeing that particular figure before but based on the broom, they placed him in the livery stable.
"It may be quite a while before Mr. Gruber works his way up from stable boy to section manager again. He has a lot to learn, and his captors have all the time in the world to teach him!"
Response and analysis
Notes and annotations
- Wyatt Earp March 19, 1848–January 13, 1929) was an American is best remembered for his participation in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, along with Doc Holliday, and two of his brothers, Virgil Earp and Morgan Earp. After the assassination of his brother Morgan, Wyatt decided to move the rest of his family to safety and in the process killed Frank Stilwell. For this murder, the Earps became wanted men and eventually fled the Arizona Territory. In his lifetime, Wyatt was also reported to have been a farmer, a teamster, a buffalo hunter, an officer of the law in various Western frontier towns, a gambler, a saloon-keeper, a miner and a boxing referee. Wyatt Earp has since become a legendary figure in American history and often referenced in movies, TV shows, biographies and works of fiction.
- James Butler Hickok (May 27, 1837–August 2, 1876), the legendary figure of the American Old West dubbed "Wild Bill Hickok," was a skilled gunfighter and scout. He first traveled to the western United States as the driver of a stagecoach, but found work as a lawman in the frontier land of Kansas and Nebraska. He would fight in the American Civil War on the side of the Union, becoming a well-known scout afterward. He would also supplement his income as a professional gambler and was reknowned for his marksmanship abilities, which he used to earn money in displays of showmanship. Wild Bill influenced numerous fictionalized accounts of his adventures and can be found represented in various forms of popular culture. Examples include being portrayed by Charles Bronson in the 1977 film The White Buffalo, by Lloyd Bridges in a 1964 episode of the anthology The Great Adventure, and appearing as the lead character in Richard Matheson's The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickok.
- Henry McCarty (November 23, 1859—July 14, 1881), known more commonly as "Billy the Kid," was a 19th century American frontier outlaw and gunman who participated in the so-called Lincoln County War. Despite claims of killing twenty-one men in his life, Billy the Kid's personality, cunning and skill with firearms led to him to be equally remembered for being an outlaw and a folk hero. Numerous aliases and multiple accounts of his biography have kept Billy the Kid a popular icon in television, movies, and books.
- William Barclay "Bat" Masterson (November 26, 1853–October 25, 1921) was a legendary frontier lawman of the American Old West. In addition, he was also amployed as a buffalo hunter, U.S. Army scout, avid fisherman, gambler, U.S. Marshal, and sports editor and columnist for the New York Morning Telegraph. In 1877, he joined his brothers, James and Ed, in Dodge City, Kansas. He served as a sheriff's deputy alongside Wyatt Earp and quickly was elected county sheriff of Ford County, Kansas. In 1879, he was voted out of office and spent his time immediately afterward as a wandering gambler, leaving the area just prior to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Bat Masterson has become a popular figure from the time period in fiction, inspiring the Bat Masterson comic book series by Dell and even a television series named for him which aired for 107 episodes on NBC from 1958 to 1961.
- John "Johnny" Ringo (May 3, 1850–July 13, 1882) was a contemporary of Frank James and Jesse James and cowboy of legend in the American Old West primarily as a result of his affiliation with the Clanton Gang in the era of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. However, it has been disputed as to whether Ringo actually took part, despite his notoriety as an outlaw, in any gunfight—although he had killed two unarmed men—and it is believed his participation in the legendary showdown in Tombstone did not go beyond a verbal level. Two months after the O.K. Corral he and Doc Holliday got into a public confrontation but they were both arrested before a gunfight took place. He would later be deputized and given the task of apprehending the Earps during the Earp Vendetta.
- Originally published in color
- Printed on newsprint, 4 pages
- Reprinted in The Twilight Zone (Gold Key) 25, Mystery Comics Digest 12, Mystery Comics Digest 21
- "Showdown with Rance McGrew", another story where justice is dealt in the modern world from the Old West.
Notes and references
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Wyatt Earp." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Version: September 2, 2009. Retrieved: September 2, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Wild Bill Hickok." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Version: September 2, 2009. Retrieved: September 2, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Billy the Kid." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Version: September 2, 2009. Retrieved: September 2, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Bat Masterson." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Version: August 21, 2009. Retrieved: September 2, 2009.
- ↑ Wikipedia contributors. "Johnny Ringo." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Version: September 2, 2009. Retrieved: September 2, 2009.
- Bob Klein and Mike Tiefenbacher. "The Twilight Zone no 4 (1962 series)." Grand Comics Database. Retrieved: July 26, 2009.