The Galloping Ghost


Harold "Red" Grange, whose exploits on the football field for the University of Illinois made him one of the major sports icons of the "Roaring Twenties", along with "Babe" Ruth and Jack Dempsey, and this 12-chapter serial from Mascot was made to cash in on that fame. He was also a mainstay of the early-day National Football League, and went on to be one of the leading broadcasters of professional football games in the 50's and 60's and proved that he could play the game better than he could talk it. Chapter One, "The Idol of Clay" -- a double meaning title since Clay was the name of the college the Grange character played for in the serial -- opens with the Clay-Hampton annual football game and things don't look good for the fans of Ol' Clay. Hampton is making a runaway of the game and Clay's two big stars, "Red" Grange and Buddy Courtland, are gathering splinters on the bench. Clay's coach Harlow puts them in the game with five minutes to go and Grange engineers a one-point victory. Two crooked gamblers, Brady and Mullins are at the game and more than a little distressed over the outcome of the game, since they had bet heavily on Hampton. Barbara Courtland, Red's girlfriend and Buddy's sister, meets them after the game to congratulate them. The already-soupy plot then thickens; late that evening, in violation of training regulations, Buddy leaves the campus and hotfoots it to a roadhouse. Red follows. A mysterious man, (Theodore Lorch, who was always mysterious whether the plot called for it or not) follows Red. Buddy meets Irene, to whom he is secretly married. Irene, not the kind of girl to take home to meet Mom, demands money from Buddy or she will blow the whistle about them being married, as such an announcement would mean dismissal from Clay College -- hey, it's 1931 -- and a break from his family. Buddy accepts a bribe to throw next week's game. Red, who has heard and witnessed the transaction, takes the money from Buddy after a bitter fight. Now, Buddy is in no shape to play the game, much less throw it. The gamblers inform Coach Harlow that Red prevented Buddy from playing so that Clay would lose the game. Harlow dismisses Red from the team in disgrace. Red now begins his own 11-chapter campaign to clear his name so he can be reinstated and play in next week's game. Since eleven serial chapters take eleven weeks to run, math majors might incorrectly conclude that Red fails.