The Old Ones

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The Old Ones
Start date: April 2nd, 1945
End date: June 30th, 1945
# of strips: 78 (13 weeks)
Writer: Lee Falk
Artist: Phil Davis
Preceded by: "The Ice Lady"
Followed by: "The Mysterious Prince"

"The Old Ones" is the 35th Mandrake daily story. The story was written by Lee Falk and drawn by Phil Davis.

Plot Summary

Mr. Digge has invited Mandrake for a tour of his latest engineering project, the Mid-Town Traffic Tunnel. When Mandrake, Lothar, and Narda arrive, Mr. Digge reveals a mystery. Three of his workers disappeared without a trace while working in the tunnel, and now a fourth has just vanished.

While in the tunnel, a hole opens in the wall, revealing a picture of a saber-toothed tiger and a small stone statue that appears to be from the Stone Age. Suddenly, cavemen attack, knocking down Mandrake and Lothar and kidnapping Narda. Mandrake and Lothar recover and begin searching for Narda in the underground natural tunnel system. They enter a large cave made of natural crystal and encounter an attack from a saber-toothed tiger. Lothar engages and quickly overcomes the beast, only to discover that the giant cat wears a gold collar. They continue wondering who could have tamed and kept a saber-toothed tiger as a pet. Suddenly, the cave expands, revealing an enormous underground world with a large city illuminated by cave walls glowing with radioactive material.

Lothar manages to drive away a tyrannosaurus rex, but they are soon attacked by a flock of flying pterodactyls. They flee into a smaller cave, only to discover it is inhabited by a cave bear. Barely managing to capture the bear inside the cave, they find themselves surrounded by giant cavemen who lead them to their city.

Trapped in the village, their arrival attracts the interest of a young cave girl. Mandrake tries to communicate with her, showing her a projected illusionary image of Narda, only to find that magic frightens her. A man appears, introducing himself as Senator Hook, who Mandrake knows disappeared without a trace in 1909. He claims to have been a captive of the cave men since his disappearance. The inhabitants of the cave village routinely went to the surface to capture people who became their slaves. The senator was there to learn the cave men's language, and after three weeks of teaching, Mandrake and Lothar could understand their simple language.

Mandrake and Lothar manage to escape and encounter the cave girl they met initially. Now, Mandrake can make himself understood, and the girl reveals that Narda is in the Temple of the Ole Ones. Once again, Mandrake and Lothar are captured by the cave men, now riding dinosaurs. They are taken to the temple of the Old Ones, where their judgment will be delivered by their goddess. Joy fills Mandrake when he discovers that their goddess is none other than Narda. All three run to escape the cave men, and Narda explains that after being kidnapped, she was chosen to become their goddess in the Temple of the Old Ones. Riding on the cave men's tame dinosaurs, our friends return to the village and free all the slaves. The cave woman, who has fallen in love with Mandrake, shows them a secret way out of the cave, and everyone finally escapes.


Recurring characters

One-time characters

  • Mr. Digge, chief engineer of the Mid-Town traffic tunnel
  • Casey, a worker
  • Cavemen
  • A cave girl
  • Senator Hook, kidnapped by the cavemen in 1909
  • The Old Ones
  • prehistoric animals


  • New York City
    • Mid-Town Traffic Tunnel
      • A giant cavern of natural crystal
        • City of the Cavemen
          • The Temple of the Old Ones

Behind the scenes

  • The title for the story is taken from the strips of April 2, 1945 (Beginning: The Old Ones).
  • Mandrake use the interjection of surprise: Great Scott!
  • It is interesting that the cave girl's dress comes in three different variations. The first dress has one shoulder strap, the second has one shoulder strap but is shorter. The third has the same length as the first one but has two shoulder straps. Finally, she appears in the same dress as when we first saw her.

Signifiant covers


This story has been published in the following publications:

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Mini germany.gif West Germany

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Mini nz.png New Zealand

Mini portugal.gif Portugal

Mini spainunderfranco.gif Mini spain.gif Spain

Mini sweden.gif Sweden

Mini uk.gif United Kingdom

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