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Lois Lane 38
"Lois Lane's Signal Watch!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Script: ?, pencils & inks: Kurt Schaffenberger

“One day, at a criminal hideout in METROPOLIS…” a man who looks like a shady barber is removing bandages from another man’s face. “For Pete’s sake, Boss, that plastic surgery operation,” says the subject patient as he eyes a looking-glass mirror, “made me look like SUPERMAN! What’s the big idea?” “Relax, ‘Muscles’! That’s just who you’re supposed to look like!” replies the boss, the nattily-dressed, double-chinned Kimbo. Kimbo pays the “doctor” the first installment of his fee, then begins tutoring Muscles: “Right now I want you to study these pictures of SUPERMAN’S friends and learn to recognize them on sight! I also want you to practice imitating his voice from some records I have!” [Kimbo’s collection includes all of Superman’s biggest hits.]

“Days later, in the office of the Daily Planet,” Lois suddenly realizes that it’s been five years since racket king Bugs Gorcey vanished, which means it’ s time they opened the sealed letter he left for her. Perry, instantly pulling out the letter, points out that the five years will actually be up at 3 o’clock the day after tomorrow—apparently it’s been on his mind. “I once rushed Bugs to a hospital when a rival gang shot him! He said he’d repay me some day! I wonder…” wonders Lois. Perry, who looks younger, slimmer and more handsome when drawn by Schaffenberger than in the Swan story, continues the exposition: “Rumors say that Gorcey had a million-dollar smuggling deal cooking when he vanished! Maybe that letter tells you where to locate the mysterious loot! Gorcey meant to repay you with a scoop! But your life may be in danger if you learn the location of that loot! Why not notify SUPERMAN?” Lois, as could be expected, replies that Superman is on a mission in Kandor and that she wants to handle this scoop of a lifetime on her own. They agree to open the envelope at 3PM on the appointed day, right after Lois covers a ship arrival that morning. However, a hidden microphone and radio inside a picture frame are broadcasting this conversation to Kimbo, Muscles and the “Doctor,” who is enthusiastically twiddling knobs on a huge radio receiver. “I always suspected Gorcey gave Lois Lane the location of his loot before he disappeared! That’s why I had the PLANET office wired!” explains Kimbo. “All right, Muscles, try this costume on for size! In two days you’re going on your first mission—as SUPERMAN!”

“Two days later, on the METROPOLIS waterfront,” Muscles-as-Superman approaches Lois, explains that he just got back from Kandor, and presents her with a signal watch like Jimmy’s. “Ohhh, SUPERMAN! What a thrilling gift!” gushes Lois, touched to finally be on a par with Jimmy in Superman’s heart. “Lois, my super-hearing detected your conversation with Perry about Gorcey’s hidden loot! Promise me you’ll signal me if you get in a jam!” explains Muscles. Lois agrees, thinking “CHOKE! I never realized how much he worries about me!” Muscles dives off the pier into the water, saying that he needs to help test the escape hatch on a new atomic submarine and telling Lois not to mention the watch to anyone. “Goodbye, SUPERMAN, dear!” Lois coos, thinking, “That watch shows how much he cares for me! Oh, joy! Perhaps some day soon he’ll be giving me a RING!” [Sorry, Lois, but it hasn’ t worked out that way for Jimmy—who, unlike you, doesn’t have to keep his watch a secret.] Under another pier, Kimbo helps Muscles into a rowboat while the “Doctor,” now wearing a suit and tie instead of his barber smock, sits holding the oars. “It worked like a charm, Boss!” says Muscles. “The Lane dame will be wearing that signal watch 24 hours a day!” “Good work, ‘Muscles’!” replies Kimbo. “With that watch, which signals only US, Lois Lane will lead us right to Gorcey’s million-dollar loot!”

Back at the Planet, Lois runs into Jimmy, who has a bandaged head and his right arm in a sling--an arm that appears to be missing its hand. “That’s right, Lois…I stopped a runaway horse in the park! I tried to signal SUPERMAN, but I forgot he was in KANDOR!” says Jimmy, gesturing with the hand he has left. “But, Jimmy, I spoke to him and he even gave…er…maybe you ’re right! I was mistaken!”says Lois, thinking “I mustn’t mention my watch! SUPERMAN asked me NOT to…ULP…that is, if it WAS SUPERMAN!” Kimbo and the boys, listening in, begin to worry that Lois is getting wise. Lois and Perry open Gorcey’s envelope. “Geronimo! You were right, Perry! This letter tells exactly where to find the loot that Gorcey hid!” blurts Lois with a greed-crazed look on her face. “Hmm! But that hiding place is a dilly! You’ll need special equipment to reach it! I’ll order it for you at once!” responds Perry, looking over her shoulder.

Perry makes the arrangements and gives Lois the address where she can pick up the equipment. Listening in, Kimbo hears Lois say that she’ll take a taxi and gets an idea: “So she’s going to take a TAXI, eh? Boys, I think I know how to prove to Lois Lane that she really saw SUPERMAN today! Doc—put on these dark glasses—you’re about to become a taxi driver!” An hour later, Lois steps out of the Planet building and Doc, in cab driver disguise with dark glasses and a cap with his suit and tie, immediately pulls up. “Soon, as the taxi races down a steep incline,” Doc cries out: “EEEYOW! My brakes just failed! The taxi’s out of control!” “ULP! What a spot! I’d better call SUPERMAN! GULP! That is, if this signal-watch works!” thinks Lois. As soon as the “ZEEE! ZEEE!” comes out of the watch, Doc starts using the brakes and the cab slows. “Hey, Miss, look! It was SUPERMAN who stopped us!” yells Doc, thinking, “CHUCKLE! It’s really ‘Muscles’ in disguise! He was waiting here at this pre-arranged spot!” As a relieved Lois relaxes in the back seat, Doc thinks, “Now it’s up to ‘Muscles’ to fake SUPERMAN’s ‘flight’ away from this phoney rescue!” Muscles is behind a tree, thinking “Ha! Ha! As soon as this compressed helium inflates this rubber balloon of SUPERMAN, it’ll rise in the air, and that Lane dame will think it’s her dream boy flying away!” Unlikely as this sounds, it works, with Lois saying, “He didn’t even wait for our thanks! Isn’t he just wonderful?”

Lois prudently has the cab drop her off blocks from her destination, the Acme Industrial & Safety Equipment Co. at the edge of Metropolis, where a long green Daily Planet station wagon is parked, loaded with the things Perry had obtained for her. She drives to “Old Bat Grotto,” where she changes into a miner’s outfit—apparently the “special equipment” consists of coveralls, a helmet, and a rope. Once inside the cave, she tilts a stalagmite as instructed by Gorcey’s letter. This opens a hidden door in the rock formation, revealing a hidden chest. “Good grief! It’s loaded with diamonds!” thinks Lois. “Now I remember! There was a big robbery of industrial diamonds in Europe about six years ago! Gorcey must have smuggled the stolen goods into this country! I’ll have to call SUPERMAN to help me with that chest!” “ZEEE-ZEEE,” goes the signal watch, and the signal is received by a helicopter hovering nearby. “There’s your supersonic signal, Kimbo! It seems to be coming from that cave!” “HA! Lois thinks she’s signaling SUPERMAN! Is she due for a surprise when she learns her watch is so fixed that its signal reaches only OUR SPECIAL RADIO!”

The three crooks enter Old Bat Grotto and Kimbo starts shooting. “Stand where you are, Miss Lane, “ he orders, “or my next bullets will be aimed right at you!” Lois ducks for cover, but Kimbo’s shots cause several stalactites to land on her. She is trapped, though “miraculously uninjured,” thinking, “I’m pinned down here! But why doesn’t Superman answer my signal? Hmm…the watch was damaged by the falling stalactites, but I’ll try it again!” Muscles appears in his Superman costume and sneers, “Forget the watch, girlie! It’s a PHONEY! I gave it to you myself while pretending to be SUPERMAN!” “Oh, no!” gasps Lois. Suddenly, into Old Bat Grotto flies Supergirl, whose “amazing heat vision melts the stalactites and stalagmites into a barrier,” which the crooks run smack into. “OUCH…my nose!” yells Muscles. Supergirl seals them in a cage made of more stalactites and stalagmites, as Muscles pouts, “CHEE! You broke my nose, SUPERGIRL!” “Gosh, I’m sorry, ‘Superman’! -CHUCKLE!- But I thought you were as invulnerable as I am!” laughs Supergirl.

Back in Perry’s office, Lois asks, “But if the signal watch was a phoney, how did you manage to find me, SUPERGIRL?” As Jimmy, still bandaged, eyes her warily, Supergirl explains, “When the falling stalactites struck the watch, they CHANGED the frequency of the signal! By a freak twist, the NEW frequency was tuned to MY super-hearing, just as the frequency of Jimmy’s watch is tuned only to SUPERMAN’s hearing! Then, with my telescopic vision, I traced the course of the supersonic alarm, and…” In a flashback panel, Supergirl thinks, “It’s Lois Lane! Those crooks have her trapped in Old Bat Grotto! I’d better hurry!” Later, when they’re alone, Supergirl says to Lois, “I’m sorry that signal-watch was a fake! But between us girls, perhaps some day soon you may get a GENUINE signal-watch!” Lois, nearly overcome with emotion, replies, “Oh, SUPERGIRL, do you think it will really happen some day?” A final caption asks, “How about it, readers? Do you think Lois ought to have her own signal-watch? Write and tell us your view!”

The story is followed by the letters page, Letters to Lois, which contains eight letters, including this one from Joe Pedecino of Marietta, Georgia:

Dear Editor: I think Lana Lang would make a much better wife for SUPERMAN than Lois Lane for the following reasons: She is prettier than Lois…She is not as inquisitive as Lois…She is not as jealous as Lois…She does not get into as much trouble as Lois…She knows SUPERMAN longer than Lois, ever since he was SUPERBOY back in Smallville.

(We think you are overlooking several of Lois’ qualifications. She is a better reporter than Lana…she has offered to sacrifice her life to save SUPERMAN on many occasions…she has proved to be more generous than Lana, and often does good deeds anonymously, without wanting credit. However, to sum it up, both girls have virtues which far outweigh their faults—so, let the best girl win!—Ed.)