If I ever got the chance to meet Space Cabby live and in person, I don’t know what I’d do! And that’s the situation Space Cabby himself finds him in when he meets one of his lifelong heroes!
It all starts when Space Cabby meets one of his lifelong heroes:
The starstruck Space Cabby hands the reclusive idol his autograph book. As Bruce signs it, SC asks him why he retired, but gets no reply.
When he drops Bruce off on Mars, the film legend discards something in the bushes. Space Cabby goes after it and discovers:
Before he can look into the matter further, a passenger asks to be taken to Earth, and for SC, duty always comes first. But back on Earth, he decides to confront the secluded star by, well, going to his house and knocking on the door.
So it’s back to Mars, and the place where he dropped Bruce off. Turns out there’s only one house on that street, so the investigation is pretty quick. Sure enough, looking into a window of the house, he sees the real Jak Bruce within.
He grabs Bruce and dashes out of the house, then takes off in the space cab, hotly pursued by another ship! This time he remembers that he has a button that automatically calls Ippy, so he pushes it and waits for them to arrive. And waits. And waits. No Ippy, and his pursuers are getting closer, so he uses “an old space-trick” to lose them by impersonating a comet. This does the trick, but at the cost of all his fuel, forcing him down on an asteroid.
Once there he realizes that the reason Ippy didn’t show up is that he pushed the wrong button. He fixes that issue just as Jak Bruce wakes up. They go for a walk and Bruce thanks Space Cabby by calling him a blundering fool. Whaaaaa? It turns out — and I’m sure none of you expected this — he wasn’t kidnapped, he was in the process of restarting his film career!
He has his dashing good looks now, but because he wasn’t under the ray long enough they’re only temporary. Space Cabby has to get him back to Mars! They start heading back to the cab when they get jumped!
Yes, this is “Hollywood” Hollywood, where actors did their own stunts and if they once played a chef in a movie they can whip up a twelve-course gourmet meal in no time. Bruce jumps for the vine, but his creaky old muscles aren’t what they used to be. It’s up to Space Cabby, imitating his idol, to do the swing and disarm the bad guys. Likewise, a dropped sword is too heavy for the former swashbuckling star, so Space Cabby holds them off. And when a narrow ravine separates them from the cab, it’s not Bruce who pole-vaults across, but just a humble little ol’ Space Cabby. They escape from the blue barbarians and make it to the cab as Ippy arrives.
Jak Bruce realizes a youthful face isn’t enough…he’ll never be able to do his athletic stunts again, but by the time they get back to Earth Space Cabby has convinced Bruce that it wasn’t his heroic feats that made him a hero, it was his acting ability! Bruce decides to continue his career as a distinguished character actor. And sure enough:
At this point, Otto Binder remembers he’s writing a Space Cabby piece so crooks bust in and steal Bruce’s Oscar. But that’s another story.
Next week: The Riddle of the Rival Space Cabbies!
“Search for a Star!”
Mystery in Space #46 (September 1958)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Bernard Sachs
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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