The Flash #148: "Doorway To The Unknown!"

The Flash #148
"Doorway To The Unknown!"
November, 1964

Creators: John Broome (Script).  Carmine Infantino (Pencils).  Joe Giella

The strength of will which is called the spirit of man is still a
mystery.  It is only seen its wonder in instances which would be
considered unexplained, then forgotten.  If you believe in the spirit of
man, then you will believe in this story.  Fred Dallman has come for aid
from the Flash at Barry Allen's apartment, but the Scarlet Speedster can
only wonder how his visitor arrived in the locked room.  Perhaps the
mystery man used... "The Doorway To The Unknown!"

It's midnight as the fastest man on Earth passes through the wall of the
apartment belonging to Barry Allen.  The Flash has spent the evening
capturing a group of smugglers and placing them in prison.  The Scarlet
Speedster decides to turn in, especially since the police scientist has
to be at work early in the morning.  Before the Flash can change out of
his uniform, he feels a draft in the room, but the windows and doors are
all locked.  Turning, he sees the visitor standing behind him.  The man
doesn't have much time left, but he needs the speester's aid.  For the
past eight years, Fred Dallman has been the vice-president of the
National Bank in Arizona City, but it is only now that he must make a
confession.  In that time, the bank vice-president had embezzled $300,000
of the customers' money.  He concealed the crime by adjusting the books
and was never suspected.  He led a modest life, hiding the money, but it
was then that the state auditors began their investigation.  His thefts
were being uncovered.

Dallman's back-up plan was to frame a bank teller, David Dean, for the
crime.  The sight of an innocent man arrested for his crime did not
disturb the vice-president, but what happened next to Dean did.  The bank
teller was tried and sent to prison.  Fred Dallman rode the train to
Central City, where he deposited the stolen money in a bank under a false
name.  His co-workers at the National Bank thought that Dallman was on a
three-day weekend.  In his hotel room, the vice-president learned of a
prison break in Arizona City.  Four prisoners have made their escape,
taking a five man with them, named David Dean.  The authorities believe
that the four cons want the bank teller to reveal where he hid the money
stolen from the Arizona National Bank.  Fred Dallman was an embezzler,
but he never meant for the bank teller to pay with his life.  Dean can't
tell the escapees where the $300,000 is -- because he didn't take it.

David Dean will die and Fred Dallman will be responsible for his death.
This will be on his soul and this is something that the vice-president
hadn't anticipated.  This is why he needs help from the fastest man
alive.  The Flash is the only one who can aid him.  Time is running out
for David Dean and Fred Dallman.  He is to head to Arizona City and find
the bank teller.  The pleas from the vice-president are the last things
to be heard in the apartment of Barry Allen.  Fred Dallman has faded from
sight and for a moment, the Scarlet Speedster wonders if he's been
dreaming.  The Flash must race to Arizona City, if he is to save the life
of an innocent man.  The fastest man on Earth makes a cross-country trip
and heads for the state penitentiary at Arizona City.  He sees that the
local police have already set up roadblocks.

The policemen haven't seen any sign of the escaped convicts, then ask if
the Flash is here to help them.  They are welcome to have help searching
the big state, and all listen to the incoming message from the police
band radio.  A group of men have been sighted near Dandy Dude Ranch on
Route 86.  The police officer figures that it must be the escapees
they're looking for, then realizes that the Scarlet Speedster has already
left.  He knows that David Dean's life may be hanging in the balance
right now.

Inside a small shack near the Dandy Dude Ranch, the convicts have grown
impatient with the bank teller, when the fast-moving form of The Flash
appears in their doorway.  The three escaped prisoners fire their guns at
the fastest man alive, striking only his after-images.  David Dean
watches as the Scarlet Speedster punches out the three men at the same
time.  The state troopers arrive to take the convicts, while Flash tells
the bank teller that he'll have a word with the warden about Dean's false

Before the speedster can take his leave, the bank teller has a favor to
ask of him.  Dean is worried about his younger brother, Jack.  They grew
up alone and the teenager had always looked up to his older brother.
When he was in jail, David had learned that Jack had joined a gang in
Arizona City.  It was earlier today that he learned about his brother's
upcoming caper tonight at the drugstore.  Knowing that Jack is not a
crook, but he could ruin his life, David asks the Flash to stop him while
there's still time.  The troopers are ready for David Dean, who is
worried not for himself, but for his brother.

The Scarlet Speedster races for the next town, knowing that he is a part
of a much greater destiny this evening.  Having listened to Fred
Dallman's plea, he is now on his way to help Jack Dean.  The fastest man
alive passes through a southwestern city in search of a certain
drugstore.  He sees Jack being told by two men to go through with the
planned robbery.

The fastest man on Earth grabs Jack Dean and places him out of harm's
way.  The young man is now a spectator to the Flash's showdown with the
two crooks.  BAM  BAM  BAM  BAM  He sees the bullets heading for him, but
at his current rate of speed, they are just hanging in the air.  The
Scarlet Speedster is able to slap each bullet down, his palm moving so
quickly that the air is being compressed.

As the Flash punches out one of the crooks, the other prepares to shoot
him from behind.  Before the gun can be fired, the fastest man alive
whirls at super-speed, and pulls the gun from the startled crook's hand.
The disarmed hood receives a swift punch to the jaw.  With the two crooks
in custody, it's time for the Flash and Jack to have a little talk.  In
the brothers' apartment, Jack Dean sees how close he came to making the
biggest mistake of his life.  The teen promises to stay out of trouble
from now on.

The Flash visits the warden at the Arizona prison and learns that if Fred
Dallman gives his confession, David Dean will be set free.  The Scarlet
Speedster begins his cross-country run once again.  The swiftest way to
find the vice-president is by alerting the local authorities in Central
City.  The Flash is in for a surprise when he arrives at police
headquarters and speaks with the desk sergeant.  Fred Dallman was driving
from Central City towards Arizona City when he lost control of the rental
car, and ran into a tree.  The wreck was not discovered until the
following morning and the time of death was placed at midnight last
night.  It was midnight when the vice-president made his appearance at
the police scientist's apartment.  Now it is the desk sergeant who
wonders if he's hearing things clearly.  The embezzled money was found in
Dallman's car, and David Dean will be released.

The Flash believes that Fred Dallman was on his way to Arizona City last
night.  The vice-president must have learned of the prison-break, and the
bank teller's life being in danger.  He must have been heading back to
return the stolen money when he had the accident at midnight.  When the
Scarlet Speedster saw Dallman, the man was already dead.  He had seen and
spoken to Fred Dallman, but how could this be explained?  The main thing
was that Dallman found a way to help David Dean and also aid his younger
brother.  Although he had committed a crime, the vice-president paid for
it in the end.  The force of will known as the spirit of man is still a
mystery.  It is only seen during times of great strife and is soon
forgotten over time.  If you believe in the indomitable spirit of man,
then you will believe in this story.

The writer of this story was John Broome, whose work has shown what the
spirit of man is capable of.

The art of Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella presents the Scarlet
Speedster at his running best.

When the story first ran, fans voted for this story, and "The Doorway To
The Unknown" won an Alley Award for best story.

For a man who can run fast and vibrate through solid objects, the
surprise visit from a mystery man definitely gets the attention of the
fastest man alive.

In life, Fred Dallman embezzled from the bank's depositors, but soon
learned that there were other matters which had to be accounted for.

For his deeds, Dallman saw the situation he placed David Dean in, and the
life of an innocent man would be in his hands.

He paid the ultimate price in trying to accomplish the greatest good.

The television bulletin told of the prison break in Arizona City, with
four prisoners on the loose, but when the Flash found them, there were
only three of them with David Dean.  (Holy Editor's Note, Batman!)

How would police scientist Barry Allen explain what happened to him at
his apartment?  Whatever the explanation, he couldn't possibly have a
problem with the results.