Artwork by Glenn Cravath
The Spider Returns © Columbia Pictures Corp.
The Spider TM & ©
Argosy Communications, Inc.
Spider Returns Synopsis
THE FAMOUS CRIME-SMASHER OF "THE SPIDER" MAGAZINE WARS
ON SECRET FOREIGN AGENTS! A thrill-filled Chapter-Play that rips the mask off
The following capsule synopses for each episode were included in the Spider
Returns Pressbook. They were also reprinted, along with a variety of other
pressbook material, in Alan Barbour's Serial Quarterly number 3
(July-September 1966), which was my source. The Returns screenplay is
credited to Jesse A. Duffy and George Plympton.
1. The Stolen Plans
When a gang of saboteurs, led by the Gargoyle, a mysterious
and powerful foreign agent, threaten National Defense projects, socialite
Richard Wentworth (Warren Hull), alias the Spider, returns to his wars with the
underworld. Disguising himself as Blinky McQuade, shuffling, one-eyed underworld
habitue, he meets one of the Gargoyle's men. Convinced by the man's boasting
that the very security of the nation is threatened by fifth columnists,
Wentworth calls a meeting of the country's biggest business men. The Gargoyle's
gang disrupts it with a tear-gas bomb! Racing after the criminals, Wentworth's
car is shot from under him. He keeps on, however, trailing the men to an
airport, but in a fierce fist-fight is knocked unconscious. The gunmen dump him
into an airplane and take him up to an altitude of 10,000 feet. After setting
the plane afire, the pilot bails out and leaves Wentworth prisoner in the diving
2. The Fatal Time-Bomb
Wentworth recovers in time to grab a parachute and float to
safety. Returning to the airport, he overhears a conversation that leads him to
one of the Gargoyle's hideouts. Dressed as the Spider, he charges the house, but
the fiend and his men get away after a desperate struggle. That same day, the
Gargoyle plans to destroy an explosive gas plant and Wentworth overhears the
details of the plot. Donning the mask and cape of the Spider, he hurries to the
plant in an attempt to foil the saboteurs, but they get the better of him after
a furious battle. Knocked unconscious, he is left inside the plant that blows up
with a terrific blast!
3. The Secret Meeting
Miraculously, the Spider is unhurt in the explosion, but is
seen by the police when he makes his getaway and is thought responsible for the
crime. Wentworth then calls a meeting of Holden, Gaylord, McLeod and other
executives engaged in defense work. They decide to put some valuable plans in
Gaylord's bank vault. The papers are immediately dispatched in an armored car,
closely followed by Wentworth. En route, the Gargoyle's men attack the car and
overpower the guards. Wentworth, however, takes the wheel and races away, along
a narrow mountain road. The criminals, though, have prepared a second trap for
their nemesis. Realizing that Wentworth must ride long the narrow road, they
send a heavy truck rolling down from above. Unable to avoid a crash, he steers
the armored car off the road and it topples over, plunging to the valley
4. The Smoke Dream
Wentworth is only bruised as the armored car rolls down the
embankment. Dressing as Blinky, he goes to the Gargoyle's headquarters and
listens in on their plans to do a job that night. They intend to destroy the new
Van Sloan plane motor by having the engine explode gas bombs during a
demonstration. Watching his chance, Blinly slips away, gets into the Spider's
disguise and rushes to the demonstration. When he starts fighting with the
saboteurs, who are already there, he is knocked out. The motor, rising to an
ominous roar, sets off the gas bombs and the plant explodes with the helpless
5. The Gargoyle's Trail
Luckily, the Spider is unhurt. Hurrying home, he learns that
Van Sloan has disappeared. Coming upon kidnap evidence, Wentworth trails the
kidnappers to the Gargoyle's hideout. His friend, Jackson, goes into the house
first and is immediately captured, but during the struggle, Wentworth slips
inside through a side door. He speedily routs the criminals and orders Jackson
to take Van Sloan to a hospital while he, himself, investigates the hideout.
Suddenly, the floor gives way and Wentworth drops into a pit. The floor of the
pit begins to sink at one end and he sees that below the rapidly tilting floor
is a bed of red hot coals!
6. The X-Ray Eye
Gripping the vertical floor with one hand, Wentworth loops
his Spider cape over a hook above and draws himself to safety. Dressed as
Blinky, he goes back to his underworld haunts and accompanies the Gargoyle's
gang that night in an attack on a defense plant. When the saboteurs load a
shipment of new bombsights onto their truck, Blinky quickly changes to the
Spider and cuts the lights! The gangsters are thrown into a panic and the Spider
is able to escape with the loaded truck. Speeding along a country road, he
suddenly sees a bridge washed out ahead of him! Too late to stop, the truck
swerves and tumbles crazily down a deep ravine!
7. The Radio Boomerang
The Spider leaps just before the truck crashes and escapes
unharmed. Returning home, he learns that the police commissioner is going to
round up all known members of the sabotage ring. Dressed as Blinly, he rushes to
the Gargoyle's hideout and warns the men. As a reward, he then demands to be
taken to see the Gargoyle. The request is refused, but in leaving, he steals a
secret radio. However, when he, as Wentworth, attempts to communicate with the
Gargoyle via the radio, the master saboteur orders his men to attack the
socialite at home. In the melee, Nita, his fiancee, is kidnapped. Following her,
Wentworth is knocked unconscious and bound to the railroad tracks in the path of
an onrushing train.
8. The Mysterious Message
With an heroic effort, Wentworth wrenches his way clear of
the oncoming train. In the meantime, the Gargoyle attempts to get plans of the
Van Sloan motor by threatening to harm Nita, who is the inventor's niece. The
inventor arrives at the designated rendezvous with the plans, but Blinky picks
his pocket. Unable to explain their disappearance, the inventor is imprisoned
with Nita. Dressed as the Spider, Wentworth attacks the place, but is captured
himself. He is placed on a small boat and Van Sloan and Nita are tied to a
movable dolly. A huge crane is then swung in the direction of the boat and the
dolly is pushed to the water's edge!
9. The Cup of Doom
Diving to safety, the Spider heroically rescues Nita and Van
Sloan. Certain that one of the defense executives is the mysterious Gargoyle,
Wentworth tells two of them that the Van Sloan motor is being shipped for flying
tests. The train is attacked, as Wentworth hoped, but he is on hand in the garb
of the Spider and foils the robbers. With the airport thronged with celebrities
waiting to see the test, Wentworth recognizes the pilot as a Gargoyle henchman.
He takes the plane up himself, but at 10,000 feet, the craft explodes. Without a
parachute, Wentworth is helpless in the falling airplane!
10.The X-Ray Belt
Miraculously surviving the crash, Wentworth learns that
Gaylord, the banker, has disappeared. Dressed as Blinky, he joins the Gargoyle's
gang in a midnight attack on Gaylord's bank. During the robbery, Blinky
purposely sets off the burglar alarm and, with the other members of the gang,
flees to the Gargoyle's secret headquarters. Dressed as the Spider, he rushes
into the Gargoyle's private chamber with guns blazing! After a tense struggle,
the floor suddenly opens up and the Spider finds himself on a conveyor belt. It
swiftly takes him to the end of the corridor and there, yawning cavernously, are
the jaws of a whitehot furnace!
11. Lips Sealed By Murder
In the melee, Gaylord, who is the Gargoyle's prisoner, fires.
His bullet shatters a switchboard, stopping the conveyor belt and the Spider is
able to escape during the general confusion. Suspicious of Blinky, the Gargoyle
inserts a newspaper ad asking him to get in touch with Trigger, one of the
Gargoyle's assistants. Trigger and his aides try to kill him when he arrives,
but Blinky escapes and hides in the trunk of the crooks' car. However, the
Gargoyle sees him through a television device and warns his men by radio. They
stop the car, overpower Binky, put him in the machine, and then send it hurtling
over a cliff!
12. A Money Bomb
Luckily, Wentworth is thrown clear of the tumbling car and is
rescued by Jackson. However, in the meantime, the Gargoyle kidnaps Police
Commissioner Kirk and sends a ransom demand to Wentworth. Deviating only
slightly from the demand, Wentworth takes fake currency in his plane and drops
the would-be money where ordered. He then rushes to the waterfront hide-out,
where Kirk is being held prisoner, and bursts into the room disguised as the
Spider! When the gangsters flee in a boat, the Spider follows in one with
gasoline drums aboard. A bullet punctures one of the drums and the motorboat
carrying the Spider goes up in splinters!
13. Almost A Confession
The Spider jumps overboard just before the boat explodes and
swims to safety. Returning home, he learns that Trigger has been captured, but
also discovers that the Gargoyle has kidnapped Nita, planning to use her as an
exchange prisoner for his lieutenant. Dressed as Blinky, Wentworth leads Trigger
to the Gargoyle's headquarters where he exchanges him for Nita. However, before
the two can leave the room, three walls of knives and one of flames drop down.
The lovers crouch in the center of the room as the walls slowly start to close
in around them!
14. Suspicious Telegrams
Police arrive in time to save the doomed pair. Wentworth then
decides to question one of the Gargoyle's men, who had been captured, in the
presence of many prominent industrialists, one of whom he believes is the
Gargoyle. Just when they're all assembled, the lights go off and when they go on
again, the witness is found dead, a gun at his side. That night, the
industrialists are attending another meeting when they are suddenly trapped by
the Gargoyle. His henchmen bar all exits and ignite large drums of liquid gas.
The Spider suddenly bursts into the room, but is quickly felled. The gangsters
flee and the plant explodes, dooming the Spider and the industrialists!
15. The Payoff
The Spider saves himself by diving into an empty oil drum,
and the committee escapes by following Cartwright out a window. That afternoon,
the Gargoyle succeeds in kidnapping Holden, Westfall, Van Sloan and Nita. Just
when the master saboteur is ready to gas Nita and the industrialists, the Spider
smashes into the room and routs the Gargoyle's henchmen after furious struggle.
He then overpowers the Gargoyle, himself, and the fiend is revealed as McLeod,
one of the industrialists.