operator_5_bk_1936_10_11 operator_5_bk_1936_04
Full Name: Sam Farrell
Nationality: American
Organization: Naval Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Emile C. Tepperman
Time Span: 1936 - 1936


Sam Farrell is an agent with the American Naval Intelligence.

Farrell, in performance of his job, carries a warrant card on which is printed: "NAVY DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C. Be it known that the bearer of these credentials is SAMUEL FARRELL, a duly commissioned Lieutenant Commander of the United States Naval Intelligence. It is requested that all arms of the Service grant him full cooperation as may be demanded by him." It is signed by the Secretary of the Navy.

The time frame for the activities of this operative is the mid-1930's. The memory of the Great War is still around but receding while tensions are growing quite strong in the worries of a repeat. Several spheres of power are worrisome to the citizenry of the States, namely the rapid expansionism of Japan in the Far East, the increasingly worrisome fascism that has taken hold in Italy and Germany and is reaching into Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, and the ever growing threat from the Soviet Union and its communism.

In that context the activities of agents of Naval Intelligence are particularly interesting and important. In that ere there were only two branches of the military - Army and Navy. As of yet, there were no American army troops serving outside the nation's borders therefore the need for intelligence operations were non-existent. Not so with the Navy which routinely traveled around the world showing the American flag and providing protection to the merchant fleet. The Navy was a constant target of saboteurs and foreign spies which in turn required a robust and ever-vigilant Intelligence department to protect the ships and crews wherever they were.

Answering that need was Sam Farrell, a man with a "long and lanky quietness" what was, according to Admiral Beasley, head of Naval Intelligence and his direct boss, "the best man we've got". Farrell was an officer in the Navy, holding the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Though we are not told a great deal about Farrell, we can deduce that he is likely in his mid-30s based on his achieving that rank and the fact that we are told he had a couple years before we meet him served for several years in Europe, notably the Balkans.


Number of Stories:2
First Appearance:1936
Last Appearance:1936

     From 1934 to 1939 the adventures of Operator 5 filled an eponymous digest magazine available on newstands across the States. In each of those 48 issues additional stories of derring-do and escapist excitement were also available to entertain the readers who handed over 10¢ for the thrills.

     Usually these stories were one-shot affairs, i.e., not series. In a few cases, such as these two adventures below of Naval Intelligence agent Sam Farrell, they were.

     Roy Glashan's Library is an awesome source of a ton of great stories from the past and I strongly recommend checking it out for these adventures here and a whole lot more.

1 Hi-Jackers From Hell Hi-Jackers From Hell
Written by Emile C. Tepperman
Copyright: 1936

Printed in Operator #5 #25, April 1936.
"Sam Farrell, Naval Intelligence, was all set for a soft assignment when he met the beauty from Brazil... But he found her as hard to handle as a buzz-saw out of control—and as dangerous!"

2 When One Spy Dies When One Spy Dies
Written by Emile C. Tepperman
Copyright: 1936

Printed in Operator #5 #28, October-November 1936.
"'At midnight,' the dying woman spy told Lieutenant Commander Sam Farrell of the U.S. Naval Intelligence, 'the Battleship Arkansas will be sunk in the Potomac!' And it was just an hour till midnight!


     The creator of these two stories, Emile Tepperman, was a master of the pulp short story and novella format and wrote a ton of them. I wished he had taken the time to write more about Farrell because these are good reads, well-crafted and quite interesting.

     Given the occupation of the character, working for the US Naval Intelligence, he could have been sent literally anywhere so opportunities for lots of good adventures existed. Unfortunately, there were apparently far better fields for the author to explore and two was all I could find.


My Grade: B-


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