[ASH] Coherent Super Stories #12 - Legend of the White Hat
Dave Van Domelen
dvandom at haven.eyrie.org
Sat Nov 17 19:31:35 PST 2007
Cover shows a movie-style cowboy in a white hat, stepping across a
landscape that's slowly transitioning from daguerrotype badlands through
black and white movie lot western town to four-color cityscape.
.|, COHERENT An ASHistory Series
'|` SUPER STORIES #12 - Legend of the White Hat
Featuring The White Hat copyright 2007 by Dave Van Domelen
LEGEND OF THE WHITE HAT
STARRING: CLAYTON GRANGER
DIRECTED BY: GUS RIDER
copyright Rider Studios MCMXIV
The year was 1893,
and the West was
[Abe Landon is on horseback, galloping hell bent for leather through the
Arizona badlands. Well, a revolving painting of them. Wind from a fan
off-camera blows at his hair and nearly whips off his white ten-gallon hat.]
[Several bandits in black hats are on horseback in front of the same
background, firing their pistols with exaggerated bursts of black powder
smoke. Camera switches back to Abe, who ducks under one of the shots. Cut
back to the bandits, whose leader shouts something.]
"He's headed for
a box canyon,
[Abe pulls his horse up short against a wall painted to look like a
cliff face. He wheels the horse around and looks about in panic.]
No way out!
[The bandits form a semicircle around Abe, pointing their pistols at
him. The leader addresses him.]
"I'll be taking
the deed to the
Bar-K Ranch, now!"
[Abe, in a closeup, shouts back defiantly.]
"Over my dead
[The bandits open fire, and Abe falls off his horse, dramatically
clutching his heart. Close up on the leering bandit leader, Rogers.]
"Guess I'll oblige
you, Abe. Now the
Bar-K is mine!"
[Rogers pulls a rumpled piece of paper out of Abe's saddlebag, then
hands Abe's horse off to one of his men. They ride off laughing. Iris out.]
Two years pass ~
[Dirk Landon is riding through the badlands, when he does an exaggerated
take, indicating he's spotted something interesting. He urges his horse to
pick up the pace, and in moments is dismounting next to where a white hat
hangs from a low cactus.]
"That looks like
uncle Abe's hat!"
[Medium shot as Dirk picks the hat up from the cactus and brushes off
some of the trail dust.]
"No one ever knew
where he went!"
[Siezed by a fit of whimsy, Dirk doffs his own battered hat and puts on
the strangely pristine white hat. His eyes go wide with shock. In a very
crude splitscreen, a half-strength ghostly Abe appears next to Dirk. The
[Dirk's expression becomes one of grim determination. He addresses the
"Worse than that,
he took over the
ranch and married
your widowed wife!"
[The ghost looks horrified. He points imperiously.]
But Jack Rogers was a
powerful man in Arizona
now, and not so easy
to accuse of murder ~
[Iris in. Dirk is being given the bum's rush out of a saloon by several
burly thugs, recognizable as part of the gang that killed Abe. One taunts
Dirk as the man in the white hat picks himself up from the dust.]
"And STAY out!"
[Abe's ghost appears and takes a swing at the thug, but in a fairly
impressive special effect for 1914, his fist passes through to no effect.
Dirk frowns and walks away, Abe catching up and trying to convince him to
return to the saloon, but Dirk waves him off. After a few repeats of this,
Dirk turns to Abe and explains.]
"Unless you got some
special ghost powers,
the direct approach
isn't going to work."
[Closeup on a pondering Dirk.]
"What we need is to
trick him into
confessing to the
dirty deed ~"
[End of reel.]
* * * *
White Hat versus the
M O O N O I D S !
Starring Clayton Granger
The White Hat
PART 5 - Rocket To The Moon!
~ The White Hat had been getting
ready for a little performance at
the old Bar-K Ranch when his old
enemy, Jack Rogers, showed up
looking to settle old scores. But
Rogers was backed up by strange
mechanical men, and captured Eddie!
The White Hat was able to rescue
Eddie, but discovered that Rogers
was in league with strange aliens
from outer space ~ the Moonoids!
Now he must find a way to chase
Rogers all the way to the Moon ~
[White Hat (Dirk Landon) is in a generic scientific laboratory, full of
various sciencey props. He's talking to Doctor Phillips, last seen in "The
White Hat and the Underground Empire".]
Doc, I just gotta go to the Moon! Jack Rogers is in cahoots with some
evil Moonoids, and if I can't find a way to stop him, there might be a
full-on alien invasion!
(fiddling with dials) White Hat, I understand the gravity of this
situation all too well. I've been tracking the activities of the Moonoids
for some time, and I would have been calling you soon to ask you to go there
Great! When do we leave?
As soon as I get the last shipment of fuel, my rocket will be ready to
take off. Come on, I'll show you around so you can familiarize yourself with
[Wipe to an underground lair with papier mache stone walls. Jack Rogers
is standing around looking nervous, surrounded by mechanical men that look
like actors wearing cardboard cylinders painted silver. A viewscreen on one
wall hums to life, revealing the Moonoid Leader, a man in a black skullcap
and Fu Manchu mustache, wearing a vaguely silly robe festooned with lightning
Report, Earthman! What is the status of your preparations?
I've found a source of Uranium, my lord. It's right under the Bar-K
Ranch, I just need to eliminate the White Hat and it's all ours.
What? You haven't eliminated that interloper yet? I gave you an army
of mechanical men, Moonoid science beyond anything your primitive world can
create, and a single man still eludes your grasp? Do you have any other bad
news to report?
(nervous) Uh, yes, dire leader. The White Hat has found out about the
Moonoid invasion plans, and I think he's going to try to go to the Moon. He
must think I'm up there with you, my liege. But don't worry! I have a plan
to kill the White Hat and everyone who might know about the invasion, in one
(furious) It had better work, Earthman! Or my mechanical men may just
dismantle you for spare parts and then seek out a more effective agent!
[The screen goes black. Jack Rogers points to two of the mechanical
You, you! Come with me. We have a rocket to blow up!
[Wipe to the interior of the rocketship, which looks like the inside of
an airplane cockpit but with more dials and flashing lights. White Hat is
wearing a bubble-helmeted silver space suit, with his trademark hat resting
jauntily atop the helmet. Eddie, a tow-headed teenager, is in a similar suit
in the copilot's seat. Abe's ghost fades into view standing behind the White
Hat. Oddly, he's also in a spacesuit.]
Gee, White Hat! I never thought I'd ever be inside a real live
rocketship! The other kids are gonna be so green about it!
(smiling) Well, Rogers did kidnap you, it's only fair you get a shot at
capturing him right back. You okay back there, Uncle Abe?
They never had a contraption like this back in my day, I tell ya. And
ya look like a durned fool wearing my hat on top of that fishbowl.
Well, when I tried wearing it under the helmet, you said you felt like
you were being crumpled up into a coffin, would you rather I go back to that?
(confused look) I sure wish I could hear the other side of the
conversation when you talk to yer uncle's ghost, White Hat.
(laughing) Oh, you're not missing much, Eddie. At least you don't think
I'm crazy anymore.
(sticking out tongue) Oh, yer crazy all right, but it's not MY fault.
(off screen, as if over radio link) How are you settling in, White Hat?
(leans in towards a microphone) Everything's checking out, Doc. How are
we on fuel?
(radio) Almost topped off, but I'd rather wait for the last truck to get
here. You have enough to get to the Moon, but might not have enough to get
back. Better safe than sorry.
[Wipe to a back road. A tanker truck is trundling along past a stand of
trees. Suddenly a black sedan pulls out from behind the trees and comes
alongside the truck.]
Hey, buddy! Watch where you're driving! I got rocket fuel here!
[Switch to a rear-projection shot with a static truck in closeup and
scenery moving past on the other side. A mechanical man is clambering up
onto the truck's running board, and reaches into the cabin, clamping his
vise-like hand onto the driver's throat.]
[Wider shot, truck with mechanical man clinging to the side slows to a
stop. The sedan pulls up next to it. Rogers and another mechanical man
emerge from the sedan and walk over to the truck. The first mechanical man
pulls the dead driver from the cabin and shoves him away.]
Number fifty-three, you will drive this truck to the airstrip and crash
it into the rocket, understood? Good. Number thirty-seven and I will
follow, you are to rejoin us after the explosion, if you survive.
[The first mechanical man gets into the truck and drives it off. Rogers
and the other mechanical man walk towards the sedan. Wipe to the rocket
(leaning in to the radio) Hey, Doc, I think I see the fuel truck
coming. Seems to be in an awful hurry. Guess he wants to drop off his
dangerous load and go home, heh.
(worried) White Hat, doesn't the driver look a little strange to you?
It's one of those clockwork owlhoots!
[Cut to the truck bearing down on the rocket. There's a tremendous
BE HERE NEXT WEEK FOR PART SIX ~
* * * *
The old man chuckled and got up from his seat. "Excuse me, this is
where I came in," he apologized to the couple between him and the aisle.
"What a load of nonsense," he muttered under his breath as he headed for
the exit. "Moonoids. Uranium under the Bar-K. Hah. And he really *does*
look like a fool in that spacesuit. Guess the studio fellas wanted to
compete against all those new Mysterymen," he coughed, pushing open the door
and stepping out into the Saturday afternoon sunlight.
"Jack Rogers," a weathered voice croaked.
The old man turned, shocked, to see a man nearly as old as he was,
wearing a pristine white ten-gallon hat.
"Dirk?" the old man's jaw dropped.
The real man who had been played on the screen by Clayton Granger for
over twenty years stared at Jack with eyes full of cold anger. "It's time
for a reckoning, Rogers."
"Damn it, Dick, it's been over for years. You got your revenge with all
these damned movies. Maybe I never did jail time, but you managed to put
away all my old friends, and ruined me financially. And then you made me
into a laughingstock," the old man gestured at the "White Hat" movie poster
behind him. "I couldn't even sue you for libel, you somehow managed to dig
up just enough evidence to create reasonable doubt, even if it wasn't enough
to indict me. I suppose your dead uncle's ghost had something to do with
that?" Rogers sneered.
"You never believed Abe's restless spirit was haunting me, Rogers. But
his voice just gets louder every year. He's not like the friendly spirit the
Hollywood fellas came up with, either. He's all blood and screams and
damnation every minute of every day. I can't even get rid of the hat, it
finds its way back to me, screaming for your blood. Fine. I may spend the
rest of my years in jail for this, but they'll be *quiet* years."
"Wait, no..." Rogers protested as Dirk cocked the hammer on his
revolver. "Don't kill me, I'll confess..."
"Not good enough for Abe, I'm afraid," Dirk sighed, holstering the
pistol. "I hope you two are good company for each other in hell."
Rogers gurgled, blood filling his lungs, as he collapsed onto the
sidewalk. Funny, he thought, it was a lot messier than in the movies.
His vision went black as he felt something land on his face. That
"Maybe now you'll let me rest, Uncle Abe," Dirk said.
And Jack Rogers died then, as the unholy laughter of a man he'd shot
over forty years ago echoed in his ears....
Still no actual plans. Not that this one was planned either. :)
This is one of those cases where I get a sudden inspiration and it turns
into a full story with very little effort...fortunately I had the morning
more or less free to write it, or it might have driven me nuts. :)
Anyway, while doing my morning walk, I was pondering what holes there
might be in the First Age that I could try plugging with a story, and my
thoughts turned to the recent issue of Welcome to Tranquility, with its
horror western elements. I really had no cowboy hero types, although there
was a sort of vague implication that there were some fantastic elements
running around in Victorian/Wild West times. A few minutes of turning the
idea over in my head, and I decided I didn't want to actually write a story
necessarily set in the late 1800s, but there was also the whole Gene Autry
sort of thing floating around I could draw on. And by doing most of the
story as movie scripts, I could meet the "experimental format" goal I had set
for Coherent Super-Stories.
The silent film section is actually an oater version of Hamlet, in case
it wasn't obvious. And the Saturday Serial chapter took its inspiration from
things like "The Undersea Kingdom" with Crash Corrigan mixed with all those
singing cowboy movies Gene Autry did. I don't think Gene himself ever
battled those walking trashcans that appeared in every third or fourth
serial, but I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he did. :)
Clayton Granger is, of course, a reference to Clayton Moore, the most
famous portrayer of the Lone Ranger. Abe and Dirk Landon as well as Jack
Rogers were names more or less pulled out of thin air, although Michael
Landon (Little House on the Prairie) probably had some influence. The whole
ghost schtick appears a lot in western-themed comics (Ghost/Night Rider, for
instance), as do the Significant Object and the Stolen Property. I'm not
really a big aficionado of the genre, but I know enough to get by.
As far as most people in the ASH Universe know, the White Hat is purely
fictional, a sort of poor man's Lone Ranger. The majority of his adventures
took place in the late 1890s and the first few years of the 1900s, and the
early movies were based on those real adventures (although he was generally
more successful against the fictional Jack Rogers than the real one). The
more bizarre stories of the serial age were pure Hollywood, though, as Dirk
had largely retired and was trying (ultimately without success) to ignore
Abe's howls. I haven't decided yet what happened to Dirk after he killed
Jack, in part to leave open the possibility of further stories (for me, or
for other writers). It strikes me that if he did go on trial, that's the
sort of thing that deserves a story of its own, not simply a summary.
For all the back issues, plus additional background information, art,
and more, go to http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/ASH !
To discuss this issue or any others, either just hit "followup" to this
post, or check out our Yahoo discussion group, which can be found at
There's also a LiveJournal interest group for ASH, check it out at
More information about the racc