Watching Callan – “If He Can, So Could I” on Talking Pictures TV recently reminded me of the comic strip sequel young Harry Dobermann penned back in 1972. In the interests of brevity, I will recreate this lost piece of TV merchandising history in the style of the “Mission Reports” from the 1990’s Fleetway Captain Scarlet Comic.

1972: as agent James Cross lay dying in a College courtyard, the power of the Mysterons pierced time and space to create his exact likeness under their control.
2070: “We the Mysterons will ensure Colonel White is never born, by assassinating his Great Grandfather!” On Cloudbase Colonel White responded to the latest Mysteron threat, “Although I have a vested interest, I hope you will agree Captain Scarlet, that the fate of mankind depends on your actions!”. Doctor Fawn had reconstructed the time belt of Professor Blishen (*See ‘Lost in Time’ TV21 Annual 1970). Colonel White ordered Scarlet to journey back in time to thwart the Mysterons!

1972: Lonely steered his cab through the London streets. As Cross sat impassively in the back seat, Lonely radioed Control that he was bringing “Mr Poncey Pants back to base!”. In the Section, Callan exploded, “Cross? But he’s dead!”

Lonely hit the brakes. Standing in the middle of the street was Captain Black, pointing his futuristic gun at the cab’s windscreen. Cross stepped out of the cab, to meet his Mysteron commander.
Lonely edged out of the driver’s seat, but Cross grabbed his collar in a steely grip! At that moment Captain Scarlet materialised out of the future, locating Black through his strange sixth sense!
As Scarlet and Black exchanged gunshots, Callan and Meres arrived on the scene. Callan was astounded to see Cross standing next to Lonely. As Captain Black turned his gun on the newcomers, Scarlet moved to intercede. Meres and Callan instinctively drew their pistols, dropping both Black and Scarlet!

Cross smugly raised his hands in surrender as Callan ordered Meres to load the two bodies in Lonely’s cab and take them back to Section headquarters. Lonely climbed back into his cab muttering, “I wish someone would tell me what was going on!”

At the Section, Doctor Snell reported to Callan. Although Scarlet and Black were dead, their bullet wounds appeared to be healing. As for the live prisoner, every test showed that the man in their custody was Cross. “So who the hell was shot at Cambridge?” Callan demanded.

Before Snell could answer, Meres’ voice crackled over the intercom. “David! The Man in Black’s come back to life! He’s freed Cross! I’ve got them covered but I need help!” “Stay here!” Callan snapped to Snell, grabbing his pistol and diving into the corridor.
Callan and Meres opened fire, but Captain Black and Cross were unstoppable.

Suddenly, Captain Scarlet burst out of the morgue. He opened fire with his anti-Mysteron gun, electrocuting Cross. “Only this can kill a Mysteron” he told Callan.

As Meres covered the lifeless body of Cross, the Mysterons dematerialised Captain Black. Scarlet’s strange sixth sense alerted him to a futuristic device left behind by Black. A micro-bomb! Scarlet swiftly deactivated the device before it could explode!
“Everything’s safe now,” Captain Scarlet told Callan as Dr Snell entered the corridor. Scarlet turned to Snell and said, “I can’t explain, but if the Mysterons had killed you, the whole future of Earth would have been threatened!”
Captain Scarlet triggered his time-belt and returned to the 21st Century. Meres and Snell exchanged bewildered glances with Callan who sank behind his desk saying, “I hate to think how I’ll write this one up!”