Tomb of the Emerald Pharaoh

Despite its exotic locations, Tomb of the Emerald Pharaoh was the lowest budgeted of the serials Pinnacle had planned for 1948. It was scripted by Isabella Tindall, daughter of Cyrus Munroe, the Marshmallow Mogul. Several commentators have suggested that this was the fulfilment of a promise made to Munroe by Spenser Packard when Munroe provided financial support to Pinnacle Pacific Pictures in the late 1930s. Recent research has disproved this claim. Tindall had made several sales to slick magazines through the 1940s and enjoyed a growing reputation as an action-adventure writer. Packard hired her because she had a flair for writing exciting, fast-paced adventure stories. Tomb of the Emerald Pharaoh was the springboard for a successful Hollywood screenwriting career during which she penned The Eye of Set (1953), The Hour Glass (1962) and the Oscar-nominated Winter Kills (1968).

To help bring Tindall’s story to your table, we have suggested how the serial’s cast could be represented in 7TV: Pulp.


PITCH

Tomb of the Emerald Pharaoh is a twelve-chapter whirlwind of action set amidst the burning sands of Egypt. Edwina Carter, a wealthy American weird fiction writer living in Cairo, is researching the ruined city of Avaris for her latest novel, The Mummy’s Ire. As a resident of Cairo for almost twenty years, her knowledge of ancient and modern Egypt is unparalleled. When a team of archaeologists from the Sorbonne ask her to assist in their search for the tomb of the fabled Khamudi, the Emerald Pharaoh of Avaris, Edwina gets more than she bargained for. Racing against thieves and braving a tomb laden with devious traps, Edwina and her party are plunged into the adventure of a lifetime.


PRODUCTION NOTES

Tomb of the Emerald Pharaoh satisfies Pinnacle’s need for a low-budget production to offset the projected costs of Return of the Radium Rangers. The art department can recreate the Cairo bazaar exteriors – market stalls, alleys, rooftops, et cetera – in the parking lot behind Stage 2 with sand shipped in from Hollywood Building Supplies. Interiors for Edwina’s apartment, the Mena House Hotel, the museum and the thieves’ hideout can be reused from The Idol of Balaam-Rey. The damage sustained in storage can be repaired for the apartment and the hotel sets, but untouched will add greatly to the seediness of the thieves’ cafeteria lair (and save further costs). With all of the Cairo scenes in the can, the parking lot will be redressed as the ruins of Avaris with parts from the Central Temple set from Secrets of the Golden City. The Temple of Set and the interior tomb scenes will be shot in Stage 1’s scene dock, dressed with flats printed with hieroglyphics. To minimize expenditure and production time, the art department are already working on stencils for the designs.


Commonly used props from Pinnacle’s thrilling adventure serials that were likely to reappear in Tomb of the Emerald Pharaoh.
Image courtesy of Jemima Woodford

CASTING

The principle cast pits rugged adventurers against malign villains who will stop at nothing to achieve their nefarious goals.

  • Edwina Carter is a popular American novelist with the heart of an adventurer. She quit her native country to reside in Cairo, Egypt, a place she finds more in keeping with her adventurous spirit. A skilled horsewoman, explorer and amateur archaeologist, she has had her fair share of run-ins with bandits, tomb-robbers and other miscreants. Fluent in Arabic and no stranger to the desert, she is hired by Jean Beaumont to act as translator and guide in uncovering the mysteries of the Emerald Pharaoh (Intrepid Adventurer).
  • A professor of ancient history at the Sorbonne, Professor Jean Beaumont has spent his life pursuing the Emerald Pharaoh. Once drawn to the reign of Khamudi by stories of fabulous wealth and rumours of mysterious rites, Beaumont is now motivated by a search for knowledge and a desire to write his own name in history. Intensely loyal, trustworthy and witty, Beaumont is a well-educated sophisticate capable of defending himself whenever the need arises (Stalwart Sidekick).
  • Lady Dorothy “Dotty” Pennington is Beaumont’s research assistant and postgraduate student. The daughter of Duke Arthur Pennington, Dotty is an intelligent, attractive young English woman with a keen eye for detail and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Egyptian history. She is the expedition’s record-keeper, a role she would gladly forego in favour of a greater involvement in any excavation. Although she is besotted with Beaumont, his failure to recognise her obvious intellect, and Edwina’s easy charm, draw her increasingly to the American, much to Beaumont’s confusion (VIP).
  • Dr Henri Fabron isthe second member of the Parisian excavation team. Although a competent archaeologist, the gangling, uncoordinated Henri is something of a bumbling buffoon. Despite his constant pratfalls, he seems invulnerable to even the deadliest of traps and encounters. The only real danger to Henri, is Henri himself (Comic Relief).
  • The third and final member of the Parisian archaeological team is Raymond Labelle. A field archaeologist with considerable experience, Labelle is also an ex-French Foreign Legionnaire with a shadowy past. When he learned of Beaumont’s discovery of the likely location of the tomb of the Emerald Pharaoh, he volunteered for the expedition, intending to betray his countrymen to Ahmed Nazari. Labelle knows Nazari from his time in the Legion and plans on conspiring with him to steal whatever treasures Beaumont unearths (Soldier of Fortune).
  • Ahmed Nazari is leader of the Brotherhood of Sobek, a well-organised gang of cutthroats, tomb-robbers and vagabond thieves. Unlike his brethren, Nazari is a cultured man, intent on preventing foreigners from stealing more of his country’s heritage. He is not opposed to making himself rich in the process and has a reputation for supplying the choicest antiquities to local collectors. Informed by Labelle of Beaumont’s quest for the Emerald Pharaoh, Nazari intends to steal the Frenchmen’s finds and sell them to the highest Egyptian bidder (Kingpin of Crime).
  • Treacherous and cruel, Mo Essa is Nazari’s sycophantic henchman. Outwardly loyal, he is a back-stabbing, merciless crook eager to rise through Cairo’s criminal underworld. His obsequiousness is largely an act, a mask worn to manipulate others for his own gain (Twisted Sycophant).
  • Youssef Mustofah is Nazari’s chief assassin: sharp-featured, hollow-eyed and the nimblest of tomb-robbers. Like a ghost, Mustofah haunts the desert night, a dark stain on the shifting sands armed with a poisoned dagger he calls the Fang of Sobek. Since his family were killed by the British, he has no mercy for any foreign devil (Master of Shadows).
  • Kareem Safar is Mustofah’s most trusted subordinate, a sure-footed killer equally at home on the rooftops of Cairo or the subterranean labyrinths of tombs half-buried for millennia. He is both fearless and reckless, which makes him an asset and a potential liability (Assassin).
  • Nazari’s most brutal henchman, Omar Hassan is a heavy-set mute with an appetite for choking the life out of his enemies. He is sometimes used to seize hostages for the Brotherhood of Sobek’s extortion rackets, but his unpredictable temper makes him a dangerous ally (Strangler).
  • Captain Ihab Salah is a proud graduate of the Royal Military Academy and a competent army officer. Charming and eloquent, he is dedicated to ridding his country of tomb-robbers both foreign and domestic. He has been pursuing Nazari for several years, confident that the criminal mastermind has bribed the Cairo constabulary into overlooking his activities. Despite his prejudices, Salah has great integrity, fulfilling his duty to protect those in danger no matter his personal politics (Army Officer).
  • Assigned to his older brother’s company for breaches in discipline, Private Fares Salah is a headstrong young man with a tendency to impetuous acts of courage that imperil those around him. Nevertheless, Fares is intensely likeable, and his ready humour brightens the darkest places (Army Private).

Prop photograph for Tomb of the Emerald Pharaoh.
Image courtesy of Jemima Woodford

SYNOPSIS

A fabulous treasure awaits, and the race is on…

Professor Jean Beaumont has discovered the approximate location of the tomb of Khamudi, the Emerald Pharaoh of Avaris. Legend tells that Khamudi reigned from a throne cut from a single, massive emerald. On Khamudi’s death, this throne, and much of the pharaoh’s fabled wealth, is said to have been interred with his mummy in a vast underground labyrinth. Cunning traps, supernatural guardians and undying servants are said to guard Khamudi’s tomb. Undeterred Beaumont and his team join forces with Edwina Carter, never suspecting that their trusted companion, Raymond Labelle, is working with a gang of Egyptian killers.

The action occurs in three acts following an opening chapter that establishes the main cast. The first act is a perilous pursuit across a hostile desert in search of Khamudi’s resting place; the second, a frantic search for the Amulet of the Nile, the long-lost key to unlocking the entrance to the pharaoh’s tomb; and the third a spine-chilling exploration of Khamudi’s puzzling, booby-trapped mausoleum and its unnatural horrors.

A story of loss and treachery, not even the tunnels of Khamudi’s sepulchre twist as much as this nail-biting tale…


CAST

  • Edwina Carter – Vera McHenry         
  • Jean Beaumont – Louis Lataille
  • Dotty White – Betty Young
  • Henri Fabron – Maurice Corbeil
  • Raymond Labelle – Albie Chevalier
  • Ahmed Nazari – Najeeb Zaher
  • Mo Essa – Net Salib
  • Youssef Mustofah – Mahmoud Al Seddik
  • Kareem Safar – Mo Rustam
  • Omar Hassan – Abbas Ashraf
  • Ihab Salah – Youssef Fares
  • Fares Salah – Stephan Gamal

CHAPTERS

1. Betrayal In Cairo

Working on her latest novel, Edwina receives a telegram from Beaumont requesting her presence at the Mena House Hotel. When she leaves her apartment, she is followed by Essa. At her meeting with Beaumont in the hotel bar, she is introduced to Dotty, Fabron and Labelle, and learns of Beaumont’s obsession with Khamudi, the Emerald Pharaoh. As Beaumont explains the legend of Khamudi’s fabulous wealth, and the undying servants said to guard it, Labelle excuses himself for a secret meeting with Nazari. In the Brotherhood of Sobek’s shadowy cafeteria he explains to the Egyptian crime-lord that all Beaumont’s research into Khamudi is contained in a journal hidden in the Frenchman’s hotel room. Nazari dispatches his agents to steal the book. Meanwhile, at the hotel, Edwina agrees to lead the archaeologists to Avaris. The group withdraw to Beaumont’s room to consult his notes. They are discussing the expedition when Mustofah, Safar and Hassan burst through the door. A fight breaks out. Fabron runs into a wall, knocking himself senseless, and Beaumont and Dotty are overpowered. The assailants escape with the journal, pursued by Edwina and Beaumont, who chase them onto the rooftops of Cairo. A breakneck gun-battle ensues, ending with Edwina and Safar struggling for the notebook on top of an apartment block. Edwina tries to seize the book, but Safar pushes her off the rooftop. She plunges to the street below.

2. Ambush at the Oasis

Edwina’s fall is broken miraculously by a series of awnings shading balconies on the side of the building. She lands at the feet of Captain Ihab Salah and his patrol, who have been drawn to the area by the sound of gunfire. Edwina and Beaumont explain the situation. Salah agrees to help the archaeologists against the thieves on the understanding that any artefacts recovered from Khamudi’s tomb will be surrendered to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Realising they are out-gunned, Edwina and Beaumont agree. Luckily, Beaumont has most of the content of his journal memorized. In his lair, Nazari tells the Brotherhood to prepare an expedition. He instructs Essa to join Edwina’s party as a digger. Morning finds Edwina’s group riding out across the desert, accompanied by Salah’s soldiers, bearers, diggers and the weasely Essa. As evening approaches, they make camp at an oasis. Essa builds a great fire, supposedly to keep the cold at bay but, in reality, to signal Nazari. As darkness falls, Mustofah, Safar and Hassan lead a party of assassins into Edwina’s camp.

3. Serpents in the Sand

Edwina’s party repel Nazari’s attack, but not without fatalities amongst Salah’s men and the porters. Fares Salah is injured protecting Beaumont. Edwina defends Dotty, who also proves herself adept with a revolver. Realising how dangerous their opponents are, Salah sends most of the bearers and diggers back to Cairo, continuing on to the tomb with a small, well-armed party to protect both the archaeologists and Khamudi’s mausoleum. Nazari is furious at Mustofah’s failure. With so many injured men to treat, he knows Edwina will beat him to the tomb. At twilight, Beaumont finally locates Khamudi’s sepulchre in Avaris. The hasty, torchlight excavation reveals a massive stone door. A cavity at its centre glows ominously, revealing a strange cartouche. As the archaeologists puzzle over the inscription, sinister Ophidians rise from their deathless watch beneath the sands.

4. The Riddle

Edwina’s group is almost overwhelmed by the serpent-men before Fabron falls into a buried antechamber. There, he discovers a temple to Set, the Egyptian god of chaos. On the high altar is a magnificent emerald held in the fangs of a golden snake. The jewel glows with an eerie light. Intrigued, Fabron takes the emerald from its resting place. As he does, the serpent-men on the surface fall to dust. After Fabron is hauled out of the hole, Dotty, Beaumont and Edwina work to decipher the cartouche. Dotty pieces together the first part of the puzzle: to open the great door to Khamudi’s tomb they must find the Amulet of the Nile or face a terrible curse. Essa overhears her translation. Beaumont dismisses the curse as superstition, but realises they could never break through without explosives, which Salah forbids. Edwina is about to lead everyone back to Cairo when Nazari’s men arrive and open fire.

5. A Fight in the Museum

The archaeologists escape into the desert. Before they do, Beaumont defaces the cartouche, hoping Nazari will never find the secret of how to open the door. He reckons without Essa, who hides among the dead. Once Edwina’s party has fled, Essa reports his discovery to Nazari, who knows exactly where to find the amulet. Back in Cairo, Edwina and her companions work on translating the rest of the cartouche Dotty transcribed. Dotty deciphers the rest of the hieroglyphics, discovering that the amulet was a revered object in the Temple of Edfu. Edwina is about to plan an expedition to Edfu when Captain Salah explains that most of the artefacts discovered at the temple are held in the Museum of Antiquities. They leave for the museum immediately. Labelle excuses himself and rushes to inform Nazari who, already aware of the amulet’s location, has also returned to Cairo. Both groups meet at the museum where they fight a pitched battle.

6. Amulet of the Nile

The battle rages through the museum. Dotty and Fabron sneak away from the fighting with Fares Salah as their protector. Fares knows the location of the amulet and they soon have it in their possession. They are about to escape when they spy Labelle in cahoots with Nazari. Labelle sees them and sends Hassan in pursuit. Hassan seizes the young soldier, who sacrifices himself to save his friends. As Dotty and Fabron run down a back stair, they are intercepted by Mustofah and Safar. Fabron leaps to defend Dotty, but he falls down the stairs. Hassan captures Dotty from behind.

7. Rescue and Revenge

Dotty is about to be abducted when Edwina rescues her from Hassan’s clutches. A fight breaks out in the stairwell, ending with Captain Salah shooting Hassan. Mustofah draws the Fang of Sobek and engages Edwina is a desperate knife-fight. Safar attempts to pin Edwina for Mustofah, but the wily American slips his grasp and Mustofah mistakenly scratches Safar with his blade. Poisoned, Safar collapses and Mustofah escapes. Ordering his men to hold Nazari’s forces, the grieving Salah leads the archaeologists out of the museum. Back at the hotel, they organise a hasty expedition and ride out of the city. In the museum, Nazari, Labelle, Essa and Mustofah escape the Egyptian forces. At the cafeteria, they reorganise what is left of the Brotherhood of Sobek before pursuing Edwina’s party into the desert. Nazari is furious and bent on destroying the American and her French allies. A breathless pursuit ensues as gunfire echoes across the shifting dunes.

8. Enemies at the Door

Arriving just ahead of Nazari and the Brotherhood, Edwina places the amulet in the great door. A thunderous boom rolls across the desert and the door swings ponderously open. Fabron is the first through, triggering a flurry of poison darts when he stumbles into a tripwire. Throwing himself flat, he is surprisingly unscathed, and finds himself sprawled on an extensive map carved into the floor of the entrance hall. Giving Beaumont her torch, Dotty sketches as much of the map as she can before Nazari’s men reach the tomb and open fire. Gunshots drive them through a maze of tunnels into a long chamber. Six mummies stand immobile in alcoves along the walls. By torchlight, Dotty reads the dire warning over the doorway. The mummies are the protectors of the Emerald Pharaoh, tasked to protect his tomb for all eternity. As Dotty finishes her translation, the ancient guards raise their wizened heads and regard the invaders with eyeless stares. Edwina and his party shoot them, but their bullets are useless against the undying creatures.

9. Dust of Ages

Holstering her revolver, Edwina grabs a khopesh and uses the sickle-shaped sword to drive the mummies back. Beaumont, Fabron and Salah follow suit. Together they dispose of the ancient guards. Attracted by the sound of battle, Nazari and Labelle lead the Brotherhood through the tomb with renewed determination. Essa is unnerved at the sight of the fallen mummies and is about to run away when Mustofah threatens him with the Fang of Sobek. Reluctantly, Essa follows Nazari, cursing Mustofah. Edwina and her companions continue, following Dotty’s map. At the end of a wide corridor, Fabron triggers a booby trap that brings a huge log swinging out of the darkness. He avoids being crushed by a hair’s breadth, but the log crashes into the stonework sending ominous rumbles echoing down the corridor. The whole area begins to shake. Dust and sand pour from the ceiling and then, with a mighty crack, the roof falls in, burying the archaeologists beneath tons of rock.

10. Trapped!

Edwina pushes her companions out of the way seconds before the ceiling collapses. She scarcely avoids the cave-in herself but emerges unharmed. Behind them, Nazari and Labelle work to clear the rubble and pursue them. Exploring further, Edwina’s party stumble on a wide ravine that splits the tomb complex in half. After edging along a narrow ledge, they navigate a dangerously decayed wooden bridge. They are halfway across when Nazari’s men appear and open fire. Under a hail of bullets, Edwina and her friends manage to reach the other side but have no time to cut through the bridge’s ancient moorings. Labelle leads the Brotherhood in pursuit, with Essa and Mustofah bringing up the rear. When they reach the bridge, Essa pushes Mustofah off the ledge and into the ravine before turning tail and running for the entrance. Nazari watches him flee with hatred. At the limits of Dotty’s map, Edwina leads her companions down a corridor to a dead-end room. They are trapped.

11. The Deadly Puzzle

Working together, Edwina and her friends realise they must complete a fiendish puzzle in order to continue. A series of pressure plates must be depressed in a specific order to raise the stone door leading to Khamudi’s burial chamber. Using kitbags, sand and stones, the adventurers can depress all but one of the plates. Someone will have to stay behind. Edwina volunteers, but Dotty refuses to abandon her. Beaumont, seeing their mutual attraction, agrees to remain, sacrificing a lifetime of searching for the Emerald Pharaoh. Edwina dismisses the suggestion moments before Nazari’s men attack. Trapped in the antechamber, Edwina and her party prepare for the end.

12. The Emerald Pharoah

Under heavy fire, Fabron insists that he stays behind. He takes up his position on the final pressure plate. The door to the tomb grinds upwards on ancient counterweights as Nazari insists Labelle charge Edwina’s position. Reluctantly, Labelle leads the Brotherhood forward. Volley fire from Edwina’s party drives him back and gives Edwina an idea. As Beaumont and Dotty enter the burial chamber, Edwina dodges into the corridor covered by fire from Salah and Fabron, who almost shoots Edwina by mistake. Edwina grabs one of Nazari’s fallen men and drags him into the antechamber, dumping the body on Fabron’s pressure plate. With the door to the burial chamber held open, Edwina leads Salah and Fabron into the presence of the Emerald Pharaoh. Khamudi’s mummy sits on an emerald throne, resplendent in gold and precious stones. Around him in the high, pillared chamber are caskets brimming with treasure. For a moment, Edwina and her companions stand dumbfounded at the wealth before them. Then they realised they have left one trap for another: there is no way out of the chamber. Gun shots from behind them drive Edwina and her party into cover behind the heaps of gold. Remembering his vow to protect Egypt’s treasures from tomb-robbing foreigners, Salah produces a handful of grenades from his pack. Edwina, seeing the explosives, nods grimly. As Nazari and Labelle lead the surviving Brothers of Sobek into the tomb, Salah throws the grenades. The explosions rip through the chamber, shattering stone and toppling pillars. When the dust clears, Nazari and his men are gone, buried under fallen masonry. Sunlight streams down from the shattered roof, a single beam striking Khamudi’s glittering emerald throne. Fares is avenged. Edwina embraces Dotty to Beaumont’s rueful smile. Fabron stumbles into Khamudi’s mummy and winds up sitting at the pharaoh’s feet cradling the monarch’s skull, which has fallen in his lap. Salah’s glare of disapproval breaks into a grin as bright as the Egyptian sun.