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Chapter 102: The Tunnel of Terror

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Flash Gordon (serial)


Previous chapter: Next chapter:
Chapter 101: The Planet of Peril Chapter 103: Captured by Shark Men



Synopsis

Flash Gordon and Princess Aura fall through the trap door in the arena and into a pit of dragons. Seeing his daughter fall, Ming the Merciless pulls a lever and opens a net underneath them. Safe in the net, Aura leads Flash through a secret door and into the network of tunnels below the palace. Flash and Aura are pursued by Officer Torch and his guards.

Aura hides Flash in a rocket ship until she can talk to her father and plead for his freedom. He wants to go back and find Dale, but Aura promises to make sure Dale is all right. However, when Flash is hidden away, the jealous Aura murmurs, "You will never see Dale Arden again!"

Meanwhile, Dr. Hans Zarkov is put to work in Ming's laboratory, and Dale Arden struggles with her captors. The High Priest reports to Ming that Dale refuses to cooperate, and Ming orders that she be taken to the Dehumanizer, a hypnotic ray that will keep her docile during the marriage ceremony.

Ming sees on the Spaceograph that the gyroships of the Lion Men are attacking. Hidden in the rocket ship, Flash hears the gyroships approaching—and, concerned for his friends' safety, he blasts off to do battle with the Lion Men's ships. Flash's rocket crashes into one of the ships, and they both fall to the ground.

Flash and the Lion Man emerge from their ships unharmed, and they fight—but they soon realize that they're both enemies of Ming. The Lion Man introduces himself as Prince Thun, the leader of the Lion Men, and agrees to help Flash rescue his friends.

Dale is exposed to the Dehumanizer's ray, and prepared for her wedding ceremony. The Great God Tao must bless the ceremony, so a crowd of dancing girls worships a giant idol, an Oracle of Tao. The Oracle gives his permission; the wedding will proceed.

Flash and Thun overpower a guard, and gain entrance to the palace. They find Zarkov, who tells them that the planet's course has been changed, and will no longer crash into the Earth. He tells them that Dale is being forced to marry Ming in a secret underground chamber. Flash and Thun force the guard to show them the tunnel leading to the chamber.

Aura returns to Ming's throne room, and asks that Flash be spared. Ming says that they'll discuss it after the wedding. Hypnotized, Dale is led to the chamber.

Flash and Thun hurry through the tunnels to stop the wedding. Thun is caught by the guards, but Flash runs on to save Dale. Flash runs into a huge scaly Gocko, and is caught in the monster's giant claw.

Recap card

Flash, aided by Aura, was/ hiding in a rocket ship/ when the gyros of the Lion/ Men attacked Ming's palace,/ where Dale and Zarkov were/ held prisoners. Fearing for/ his friends, Flash attacked/ the gyros and brought down/ their leader, Prince Thun.//

Finding Flash is an enemy of/ Ming's, Thun promised to/ help him, and through a secret/ passage they entered the palace/ and learned that Dale was/ being married to Ming. Flash,/ trying to reach the wedding/ chapel, runs headlong into the/ tunnel of terror and...

First words

  • Prince Thun: "Why do you not slay me?"

Trivia

  • While her eyes don't close, it can be argued that Dale faints under the influence of the Dehumanizer Ray.
  • This chapter closely follows the story of Alex Raymond's original comic strip. The events in this chapter played out over three Sunday strips, published February 2–18, 1934. The faithful recreation of the comic strip includes the design of the gyroships and the Dehumanizer, as well as Flash's costume. The shot of Princess Aura leaning against the rocket ship's door and promising to keep Flash away from Dale is taken directly from a panel in the February 2nd strip.
  • The set for Ming's laboratory was borrowed from another 1936 Universal production, Dracula's Daughter. The footage of dancing girls worshipping the Oracle of Tao was borrowed from a 1930 film, Just Imagine.
  • Again, people who are armed don't use their weapons in a fight. At the end of the chapter, Thun and Flash come upon three soldiers. Thun has a raygun, and the soldiers each have swords—but Thun never fires his gun, and only one soldier draws his sword. Flash disarms this soldier, and from then on, it's a fistfight.

Cast

Sources

  • Roy Kinnard, Science Fiction Serials. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 1998.

Gallery

102title
102wonderwhathappenedtodale

Flash and Aura hide in the tunnels.

102battle

Flash meets Prince Thun.

102oracle

The Oracle approves of Ming and Dale's wedding.

Serialgocko

The fearsome gocko guards the tunnel.

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