Doc Savage fans understand that Doc’s career really took a turn when his father stumbled on the…
Doc Savage fans understand that Doc’s career really took a turn when his father stumbled on the Valley of the Vanished…
“As you all know,” he said at last, “only recently did we learn that my father had discovered a lost city built by Mayans in the Valley of the Vanished in present-day Hidalgo. Chicahua and the others belonged to that enclave, whose ancient gold mines now fund our operations. This was my father’s greatest secret, which only his untimely death revealed. He refused to touch that wealth, reserving it until the time I proved myself worthy of its use.”
“Did you ever discover any clue as to your father’s motivation for training you as he did?” wondered Ham. — Skull Island by Will Murray
The Pulp Triptych: Three pulp novels are concerned the Valley of the Vanished
“Quite suddenly, it had appeared before them — the Valley of the Vanished!
A widening in the strange, devilish chasm formed it. The valley had roughly the shape of an egg. The floor was sloping, of such a steepness that to land a wheel−equipped plane on it would be an impossibility. There was only one spot of comparative levelness, and that was no greater than an acre or two in area.
It was on this level spot that the eyes of Doc and his five men instantly focused. They stared, unbelieving.
“Good Heaven!” gasped Johnny, the archaeologist.
From the little flat towered a pyramid! It adhered in a general way to the architecture of the Egyptian type of pyramids, but there were differences.
For one thing, the sides, instead of drawing inward in a series of steplike shelves, were smoothed as glass from top to bottom. Only in the front was there a flight of steps. Not more than twenty feet wide was this flight, and the steps were less high and deep than those in an American home. The stairway was like a ribbon up the glittering, sleek side of the pyramid.
The top of the structure was flat, and on this stood a sort of temple, a flat stone roof supported by square, wondrously carved pillars. Except for the pillars, this was open at the sides, permitting glimpses of fantastically wrought idols of stone.
Strangest of all, perhaps, was the color of the pyramid. Of a grayish−brownstone, yet it glowed all over with a strange yellow, metallic aurora of tiny lights caught and cast back.
Soldiers mounted to the canyon rim overlooking the Valley of the Vanished. Other khaki−clad figures appeared from the opposite end of the gorge. The men moved forward, cautiously.
Below them, they could see only the collection of queer−shaped buildingsand the huge, gold−built pyramid.
Eyes became feverish; a tenseness filled those advancing soldiers of fortune. Captains shouted orders harshly, delaying with difficulty the advance of troops that were muttering rebelliously.
“That’s the gold we’re after. What are we waiting for?” a gigantic, red−eyed invader snarled.
“There is no one in view. It might be a trap,” a companion counseled.
“Trap, hell!” The big soldier spat contemptuously. “That bunch down there is licked, and they know it!”
Doc Savage saw his father.
He saw his father move and speak. It was his father. Clark Savage, Sr., was dressed as Doc had often seen him dressed. He was dressed for the jungle.
There was jungle all around. It was a tropical country. There were uamil bushes all around, ceiba trees, cuhoon palms, and chichem trees. There were tiny parakeets and pairs of yellow−headed
parrots dining off chichem berries.
So it was Central America.
There was a man with Clark Savage, Sr. He was a small, wide man who was thin in spite of being so wide.
He was a pleasant man, with a face as square and amiable as a child’s building block. He wore snake boots, laced breeches, and a helmet; nothing else. An enormous machete was lying on the table.
The table was in a tent.
Doc Savage’s father had just come out of the jungle.
“There is nothing,” he told the small man. “Nothing at all, Stevens. I reached the Valley of the Vanished, and it is all a cock−and−bull story. There are no Mayans and no treasure.”
Clark Savage, Sr., was lying.
Doc advised: “Brothers, I’ve just returned from our warehouse on the Hudson. The latest shipment of gold has arrived. But it was shy 4 crates. In one of the cases was a message from King Chaac. He stated sorrowfully that this would be the last gold shipment sent North.”
This news stunned the five aides.
Since their first great adventure long ago, their activities had been funded by Mayan gold. This wealth came from a secret valley deep in the Republic of Hidalgo in Central America. Doc Savage’s father had discovered it a generation-or-two ago. The place was known as the Valley of the Vanished. Kindly King Chaac ruled over this enclave that had survived untouched by civilization since before the days of the Conquistadors.
Sometime after Doc Savage had been born, his father had made an arrangement with the King. The agreement stipulated that when his first-born son came of age, he would have unlimited access to the treasure. After all, it did not do the Mayans much good since they did not treat with the Outer World (which still did not know of their existence to this day).
This was the legacy that Clark Savage, Sr. had left to his son. Doc had learned of it only upon his father’s death and, following certain clues, visited the Valley. There they had been welcomed by kindly King Chaac.
Five other pulp novels mention the Valley of the Vanished:
The Polar Treasure (06/33), The Pirate of the Pacific (07/33), The Terror in the Navy (04/37), The Devil’s Black Rock (12/42), and The King of Terror (04/34)
Will Murray also mentions the Valley of the Vanished in five more of his post-pulp novels:
The Frightened Fish (07/92), The Jade Ogre (10/92), Skull Island (03/2013), Phantom Lagoon (12/2013), and The War Makers (05/2014)