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Night Of TerrorEpilogue
by Tom Nichol

Based on the 1951 episode of the same name from the
Adventures of Superman

[Author’s Note: At the time this episode was filmed, there were many tourist homes, now known as motels, that did not have individual telephones in each room. Also, this was more than 60 years prior to cellular telephones and smart phones becoming widely available. Finally, the reader should remember that, during the 1950’s, the tone of many television series tended to be darker than audiences today would accept. This was especially the case during the first season of the “Adventures of Superman,” whose producers initially opted to follow the general tone of the radio episodes which inspired the television series. When Kellogg’s became the primary sponsor of the series following the filming of the first season, they insisted that the overall tone of the episodes be made significantly lighter, in order to avoid frightening the younger viewers of the series. A number of parents’ groups also complained about the dark tone and the level of violence of these episodes. Faced with these combined forces, the producers had to agree to their demands.]

A week had passed since Lois Lane’s vacation had come to a nearly tragic conclusion... when she, Jimmy Olsen, and the owner of the Restwell Tourist Cabins had nearly been brutally murdered by a gang of hoodlums who had been using the lodge as a stopping point for criminals who needed to go over the Canadian border in order to escape capture and prosecution. Because the lodge was located a mere 20 miles south of the border, the gang decided to take over the place for just that purpose. Frank King, the owner’s husband, had been shot dead without mercy when he had tried to alert the authorities by telephone.

Lois had just barely been able to phone a warning to Jimmy Olsen at the Metropolis Daily Planet by using an outside phone booth before she too had been discovered.

Superman had finally gotten Lois’s message, and had arrived only a few seconds before the three gunmen would have shot Lois, Jimmy, and Mrs. King dead. As might be expected, the Man of Steel had most thoroughly trounced the trio, who had finally been turned over to the State Police, and were now awaiting trial.

Perry White, editor and owner of the Daily Planet, had been horrified at the ordeal the trio had been put through. The fact that Frank King had been so brutally murdered had angered him still further. His first concern, however, had been for the immediate welfare of the three survivors, and he had insisted that all three of them be examined and treated by a doctor. He had also insisted on paying for Frank King’s funeral arrangements, despite the protests of his widow.

He was now holding a follow-up discussion of the case with Clark Kent, Lois, Jimmy, Mrs. King, and Inspector William Henderson of the Metropolis Police Department. Perry, who was a trained lawyer as well as a journalist, explained that he had asked Henderson to act as liaison between the Metropolis police and the state police, as well as the FBI and the U. S. Attorney. The latter agencies had been brought into the case due to the fact that fugitives were being smuggled over the U.S.-Canadian border, and thus Federal statutes had been violated. The Canadian authorities had also been alerted to the situation, and were fully co-operating with their American counterparts.

Once Perry had concluded these explanations, Mrs. King expressed her thanks for the assistance that the Daily Planet had provided in the wake of the tragedy. Perry then commended Jimmy for his efforts to help Lois and Mrs. Martin.

What you did, Olsen,” he concluded, “was a real act of courage. Normally, I would chew you out for your impetuous behavior. In this case, however, I can see that the situation was desperate enough that you had little if any other choice!”

As the two ladies beamed in his direction, Jimmy naturally blushed with pleasure. A moment later, however, his face once more grew serious. “What’s gonna happen to those three goons, Mr. White?” he asked.

Plenty, Olsen,” Perry shot back hotly, his face, like those of Kent and Henderson, turning brick red with fury. “At the very least, two of them will be directly charged with felony murder!”

FELONY murder?” Mrs. King put in, her face assuming a look of puzzlement. “Excuse me, Mr. White, but what does that mean?”

Inspector Henderson answered. “It’s a rule of law, Mrs. Martin, that states that any death which occurs during the commission of a felony—that is, a crime for which the penalty is more than one year in prison – is automatically classified as first-degree murder, and is therefore eligible for the death penalty.”

Why is that?” Lois asked.

Clark responded, “The reasoning behind the rule, Lois, is that the commission of a felony creates an automatic legal presumption of murderous intent – or what the law refers to as ‘malice aforethought’. Not all states in America follow this rule, but our state does.”

Yes, and so does the Federal Government,” Perry added, “and especially in a case such as this!”

As Lois nodded her understanding, Jimmy piped up, “What about Baby Face Stevens? He didn’t kill Mr. King!”

No, Jimmy,” Inspector Henderson replied, “but your own testimony, as well as that of these two ladies here, makes it clear that he fully intended to kill all three of you! In addition, Stevens already has a long and notorious record of multiple murders. Since, by law, there is no statute of limitations on the crime of murder, and there are already several outstanding warrants against him for murder, there‘ s no way on earth he’ll be going anywhere except the electric chair – and so will his two literal ‘partners-in-crime’!”

That was exactly what happened. Federal, State, and local authorities on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border subsequently smashed the gang that Baby Face Stevens and his two fellow gangsters had been a part of. As a result, more than 100 other criminals were located, arrested, and extradited to the United States for subsequent trial and punishment. Stevens and his two colleagues in crime were all tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by electrocution. A year later, after all three men’s appeals had been firmly rejected, they were each executed in the Federal electric chair at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.

In the wake of these events, Mrs. King decided to close the Restwell Tourist Cabins. The property was sold, and the buildings were demolished at Mrs. King’s request. Not until then was she able to begin putting the tragedy of her husband’s death behind her, and the case of the “Night Of Terror” finally brought to a close.

Posted: January 20, 2023

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