Thursday, March 17, 2011

Key Chain EC Comics Crime Suspenstories #25 November 1954

Click and double click on the  pages to enlarge them.

 A guy ends up trying  to find one key in a pile of hundreds or thousands of  keys on the floor.
This story made a big impression on me in 1954. And years later when I went to work as a Security Officer at  the Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. I really got the full meaning of Key Chain.
Back in 1976 hotels still used keys for their rooms. Most hotels and motels now have long since replaced metal keys with plastic cards that are computerized. The guest checks in and the computer assigns a code which is immediately changed when the guest checks out.

But back in the days of metal keys it was a different thing altogether.
The Security Office had a key closet. It was filled with thousands of keys. One or more for each door in the hotel. And the Shoreham Hotel had over 1000 rooms not to mention all the offices and meeting rooms.
On my first day on the job I reported for work at 3pm to work to 3pm to 11pm shift.. The Chief of Security was sitting behind his desk. No one else was around. He looked anxious to leave and head to his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

I had had no training but this was obviously going to be on the job training. The Chief got up and handed me a big ring of keys. These were what the Security Officers carried.  He got up and started for the door.  I said "Wait. What are all the keys for?"
He turned and said, "They are all self evident". Or something to that effect. And with that he was gone.
I was left with a handfull of about 150 keys(not counting what was in the key closet)with no idea what they went to.

Finally the guy who I was to work with showed up. He wasn't much help. Finally I found someone to explain at least the most important ones to me.
We never knocked all the keys in the key closet on the floor but every time I entered that key closet I remembered this comic book story from 1954 called KEY CHAIN.

Desk Clerks and Security Officers today no longer have  metal key problems. I hope that key closet at the Shoreham no longer exists. But I have an idea it is still there with all the keys to the offices and meeting rooms.

My memory of the story Key Chain was that the story ended with the guy sitting on the floor babbling to himself surrounded by thousands of keys when the cops found him there in the morning picking up the keys and looking at them one by one.

Below is a synopsis of the story KEY CHAIN.

Synopsis for "Key Chain"A man suffers a nervous breakdown after plotting a diamond heist and being unable to find the correct key to a locksmith's front door after making a key to the intending victim's lodging and then knocking several trays of keys onto the floor. What he doesn't know is that the locksmith's front door has a broken lock and he could have left at any time.