The Great Leslie, whose full name is Leslie Gallant III, is a wealthy daredevil and showman who is famed for such things as setting speed records and performing escape feats worthy of Harry Houdini. Deliciously devilish Professor Fate is Leslie's nemesis, whose own daredevil shows usually end in failure or at least embarrassment. Leslie has the respect and admiration of businessmen and the media, while Fate sulks behind the walls of his dark mansion and is not taken seriously in general; hence, he bears an eternal grudge against his white-suited rival. On several occasions, Fate attempts to sabotage Leslie's stunts, but each attempt backfires and he ends up a victim of his own scheme instead.
Leslie proposes that the Webber Motor Company promote its brand-new open-top tourer by sponsoring, entering and (hopefully) winning a race from New York to Paris. Fate is at pains not only to build his own supercar, the Hannibal 8 (complete with features reminiscent of James Bond's movie cars), but also to sabotage Leslie's preparations. Meanwhile, the editor of New York City's most prominent newspaper–The Sentinel–is cajoled by Maggie DuBois, a young female photojournalist and suffragette, into entering a car with her as the driver, since her previous attempts to insinuate herself into either Leslie's or Fate's cars have failed.
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