Saturday, 31 December 2016

Holman F. Day - Newspaperman, Novelist, Poet

Holman Day was an author who appeared in “Blue Book”, “Short Stories” and “The Popular Magazine”. I found a biographical article about him in the Lewiston Journal Sunday Magazine, January 18, 1969. It started with a reference to his home. I found a picture of it on Google maps, looks amazing. The interiors look even more amazing - take a tour of the house here.




Holman Francis Day, Author (1875-1935)
Holman Francis Day, Author (1875-1935)


Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Lost God - short story by John Russell - with illustrations

On the occasion of the recent biographical article on John Russell, i thought it would be good to share his most famous story as it originally appeared in a magazine . The story was published in the August 18, 1927 issue of Collier's magazine; it was illustrated by W. H. D. Koerner.

Collier's magazine, August 18, 1927
Collier's magazine, August 18, 1927

Download it here.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

John Russell - Newspaperman, Short Story Writer and Scenarist

John Russell, whose short story, The Lost God, was featured on this blog earlier started his career as a newspaperman, moved on to writing short stories for magazines and ended as a screenplay writer for Fox Studios. He worked on the screenplay of Frankenstein (1931), a few movies based on his own stories and Beau Geste (1926) among others.

This article about John Russell originally appeared in "The Morning Telegraph", New York, on August 5, 1923. It's the only biographical article about him that i've found.

Author John Russell (1885-1956) c. 1918
Author John Russell (1885-1956) c. 1918


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Fanny Ellsworth article on writing western stories for Ranch Romances

Fanny Ellsworth, editor of Ranch Romances and Black Mask magazine
Fanny Ellsworth, editor of Ranch Romances and Black Mask magazine
Fanny Ellsworth was one of the many uncredited women editors of the pulps who did an excellent job editing Ranch Romances - the longest running pulp that appeared from 1924 to 1971 - and Black Mask (the premier detective pulp that had the first print appearances of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler).  This article originally appeared in the newspaper The Ogden Standard-Examiner, on March 26, 1941. 
 

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Article on editing by Ray Long - magazine editor

Here’s an article on editing by Ray Long, one of the top American magazine editors of the early 20th Century. The article originally appeared in the January 1927 issue of The Bookman. At the time that this article was written, Long was at the peak of his career, editing Cosmopolitan magazine, a very different magazine than the one today – full of fiction. His annual salary was reputed to be about $180,000, approximately two and a half million dollars in 2016.

Magazine Editor Ray Long c. 1910
Magazine Editor Ray Long c. 1910


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Arthur S. Hoffman - Profile of Fritz Duquesne, adventurer


Fritz Duquesne was an adventurer who wrote some stories for Adventure magazine.

  • Sekokoeni’s Raid (ar) Dec 1910
  • The Man-Eaters of M’wembi (ar) Jan 1911
  • When the Rain Was Red (ss) Sep 1911
  • The Fighting Dwarfs of the Congo (ar) Jun 1912
  • A Fire-Hunt at Kivu (ar) Dec 1913
Adventurer and Avenger - article about Fritz Duquesne by Arthur S. Hoffman in Adventure magazine, April 1938
Adventurer and Avenger - article about Fritz Duquesne by Arthur S. Hoffman in Adventure magazine, April 1938


He's the subject of the only article written by Arthur S. Hoffman for Adventure magazine in April 1938. It's an interesting profile; Hoffman was a patriot, and Duquesne was so against the British that he actively supported Germany in both World Wars. In spite of being on opposite sides, it seems to me that Hoffman respected Duquesne, even as he didn't agree with him.

The facts may be questioned, the impression from the article is of a man forged hard by tragedy to become an avenger with a tragic life. You can read it here.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Pulp AdventureCon 2016

Photos:

Pulp AdventureCon 2016 - Panoramic View
Pulp AdventureCon 2016 - Panoramic View (click to see more detail)

Dealers are collectors too
Dealers are collectors too

Some rare magazines and books

John Gunnison of Adventure House had this new line of pulp art there
John Gunnison of Adventure House had this new line of pulp art there

John Gunnison of Adventure House had this new line of pulp art there
John Gunnison of Adventure House had this new line of pulp art there

Many old magazines (Collier's, American Weekly, Saturday Evening Post) on sale
Many old magazines (Collier's, American Weekly, Saturday Evening Post) on sale

Science fiction digests, paperbacks and dime novels going cheap
Science fiction digests, paperbacks and dime novels going cheap

I raided the Short Stories box and came away with about 10 issues
I raided the Short Stories box and came away with about 10 issues

Comics from Basement Comics
Comics from Basement Comics

The Pulp Mafia - (L-R) - Ed Hulse, Scott Hartshorn, Digges LaTouche, Walker Martin
The Pulp Mafia - (L-R) - Ed Hulse, Scott Hartshorn, Digges LaTouche, Walker Martin

Movie poster for Bulldog Drummond at Bay
Movie poster for Bulldog Drummond at Bay

Some of the costlier pulps
Some of the costlier pulps
Some more of the costlier pulps
Some more of the costlier pulps



Mike Chomko had the latest books from Altus Press



Really nice issues of Dime Mystery
Really nice issues of Dime Mystery


Strange Stories from August 1939 - cover by Earle Bergey
Strange Stories from August 1939 - cover by Earle Bergey

Original Art by Hannes Bok from a detective pulp
Original Art by Hannes Bok from a detective pulp


Some interesting books - Red Book had Dashiell Hammet's 1st appearance of The Thin Man
Some interesting books - Red Book had Dashiell Hammet's 1st appearance of The Thin Man

Scott Hartshorn had some interesting Tarzan artwork

This art appeared in a newspaper comic strip
This art appeared in a newspaper comic strip

My find of the show - an early issue of Short Stories from 1915
My find of the show - an early issue of Short Stories from 1915


Movies on DVD - the titles are interesting
Movies on DVD - the titles are interesting

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Dee Linford - Western Author, Journalist, Technical Writer

Dee Linford is not a well known author today, remembered if at all as the author of the story Man Without A Star, which was made into two movies, Man Without A Star (1955), A Man Called Gannon (1968), and an episode of a TV series, The Virginian, in 1963.

He wrote a series of stories about Sudden John Irons, a range detective. I liked a couple of stories of his in Short Stories magazine, especially Dead Man’s Dome in the August 25, 1948 issue. It begins with this passage:
CHAPTER I
FUGITIVE TOWN

THE sign was a crudely lettered shingle, nailed to the trunk of the only tree in sight. "Welcome to Wildcat,” it bade the stranger—expressing in three short words the whole timeless spirit of friendly optimism on which such towns are founded. But the town itself was nowhere in sight.

Stub Williams, so called because of his unusual angular height, sat hunched on the spring seat of his high-bedded wagon, looking at the sign and at the sentinel cottonwood which rose like a skeleton above the rubbish-littered flat. Weighing a problem in his mind.

The sign was in the right. The sign had to be in the right. The map the saloonman had sketched for Stub in Casper had placed the town squarely between the forks of Deadman Creek, here on the Poison Spider Plains.

Well, Stub was sitting within sight of Big Deadman, to his right, and Dry Deadman, to his left. And there was the sign welcoming him to town. The rubbish scattered around showed the town had been there, no more than a week before. But the town, clearly, was not there today.

The whole setup was baffling, and slightly eerie. Stub rubbed the back of his sunburned neck and looked quickly behind him, as if expecting to find the missing community of five thousand souls stalking him from the rear. But he saw only the bleaching bones and rusty tin cans. The heaps of whiskey bottles where the saloons had stood. The fly-crawling refuse and charred debris of what once had been a thriving town. A town where Merrybelle had lived, wanting to have a well sunk.

How can you not go reading on after that? I did; it's a story of a rich man dominating an entire town, with a stranger riding in to rescue the exploited townsfolk, a theme to which Dee returned many times.

DeVerl (Dee) Linford, pulp western author (Undated photo courtesy FamilySearch,org)
DeVerl (Dee) Linford, pulp western author (Undated photo courtesy FamilySearch,org)

Deverl (Dee) Hess Linford was born on March 3, 1915 in Afton, Wyoming, a town on a section of the Oregon trail bordering Idaho and Utah, in a grassland valley surrounded by forested mountains. His parents were Joseph Linford and Sarah Hess, both of whom had English and Utahn parents. Joseph Linford had earlier studied at Brigham Young University and moved to Afton where he homesteaded a ranch and worked in the dairy business. This history and backdrop was later used by Dee Linford in some of his stories.

Dee went to the Star Valley High School in Afton, where he was a scholarship student. In 1932, he gave the salutatory address at his high school graduation.

Star Valley High School (Picture courtesy the Kennington and Weber Families blog)
Star Valley High School (Picture courtesy the Kennington and Weber Families blog

After that came the University of Wyoming, Laramie where he studied journalism. He worked briefly on the Laramie Republican-Boomerang. In 1934, he married Helen Grace Bagley, also from Afton. She was in the class that graduated one year after he did. They moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he became the editor of the Wyoming Wildlife magazine, published by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. In 1938, he was also assisting in the preparation of the WPA Guidebook to Wyoming, Wyoming: a Guide to its History, Highways, and People.

I came across a newspaper report from 1939 that says he had sold his first two stories for $200. His first stories appeared in Dime Western in early 1940, according to the FictionMags index, so this feels right.

In World War 2, Dee served as on the U.S.S. Neshoba, an attack transport ship that operated in the Pacific theatre of war from 1944 to 1946, participating in the battle of Okinawa, travelling from Guam and Saipan to Seattle and San Francisco with POWs and soldiers.

Photo of U.S.S. Neshoba courtesy PriorService.com
Photo of U.S.S. Neshoba courtesy PriorService.com

During this time, his output dropped to a couple of western stories a year, still an impressive feat considering the conditions he was working under. He didn’t start writing about his war experiences or setting some stories in the area, unlike other writers.

Sometime in the very late 1940s or early 1950s, the Linfords moved to Socorro, New Mexico. Helen joined the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology as a professor of mines. Dee went to work in the publications office of the University before becoming a technical writer and editor in the New Mexico State Engineer’s office. It was just as well they did this, the pulp magazine market was collapsing in the early 1950s and they must have financially benefited from the move.

In 1952, Dee published the book “Man without a star” that was subsequently made into the Kirk Douglas starrer, Man Without A Star. The movie has another pulp connection; one of the screenplay authors was Borden Chase, a writer who had moved to California as a studio writer.

Poster for Man Without A Star (Courtesy FilmAffinity.Com)
Poster for Man Without A Star (Courtesy FilmAffinity.Com)
This book seems to have been the last of his writing career; I can’t find any records of either books or magazine articles/stories written by him after 1952.

In 1954, Helen died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage, leaving Dee to raise their four children. Dee passed away on August 20, 1971 after a long illness. His papers are at the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Kindle edition of Richard Matheson's classic vampire story, I am Legend $2 at Amazon.com



The Kindle edition of Richard Matheson's classic vampire story, I am Legend, is now on sale at Amazon.com for $2. Those of you with an allergy to ebooks can ignore this, others should pick this right up.

Matheson delivers a knockout punch at the end of what seems to be just another apocalyptic "vampires are taking over the world" scenario. Leaves you contemplating the nature of deviation from the mean, and at what point it becomes the new mean...further commentary would spoil the book. Go ahead and get it, it's cheap at the price.

Disable your adblocker to see the Amazon link:

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Clarence Budington Kelland - The transmigration of a sheep

This is a change from the usual content from the pulp magazines - a story from one of the slick magazines - Country Gentleman. This magazine was a sister publication of the Saturday Evening Post, aimed at farmers.

http://www.magazineart.org/main.php/v/farm/countrygentleman/Country+Gentleman+1931-01.jpg.html
Country Gentleman magazine, January 1931 cover courtesy MagazineArt.org

This particular story is one of a series about Scipio Mather, written by Clarence Budington Kelland. The author is not particularly well known today, and if at all remembered, it is as the author of the story behind the Frank Capra movie "Mr. Deeds goes to Washington", and also apparently the originator of this quote about fathers "He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."

 I was put on to the track of these stories by Walker Martin, who mentioned it in passing as a series that he sought out to read - similar to the Alexander Botts stories by William Hazlett Upson that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. Well, I like the Botts stories a lot, and i recently found out that the public library near me has a complete run of the magazine from 1920ish to 1954. I went and dusted off the volumes (literally blew about 20 years of dust off the top) and read one story, probably the first in the series.

The story is a rags to riches tale told with considerable humor, with a good slice of Yankee ingenuity added. The dialogue between Scipio Mather and the heroine is of the sparkling, charming variety that can be found in good screwball comedies. In the course of this story, Scipio goes from being a wandering man owning a sheep to being a part owner of the local bank, never selling or buying anything, instead bartering his way up the economic and social ladder.

You can read the story here. The complete story's there, but due to my limited success in copying the bound pages, i was unable to keep the illustrations by James C. McKell. The story is from the January 1931 issue of the Country Gentleman.

If you like the story, leave a note in the comments and i'll consider adding more of them.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

In memoriam - Bob Weinberg (1946-2016), pulp and art collector extraordinaire

Recently, I got the sad news that Robert (Bob) Weinberg, pulp and art collector extraordinaire a passed away. I didn't know Bob very well, I spoke to him only a few times, but he shared his knowledge and passion for pulp magazines and art with me in many ways.

Robert (Bob) Weinberg - portrait by Jon Arfstrorm, Weird Tales illustrator (courtesy David Saunders)
Robert (Bob) Weinberg - portrait by Jon Arfstrorm, Weird Tales illustrator (courtesy David Saunders)
It all began with my picking up an issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries on EBay. It was part of a lot i purchased; i would not have picked it up on its own merit. If i remember right, it was this issue:
Famous Fantastic Mysteries magazine, October 1946

To be honest, the cover art rather put me off reading the pulp, and I put it aside to get at the others in the lot. About a week later, I picked it up and started flipping through the pages. I was struck by the amazing interior artwork - this issue has illustrations by both Virgil Finlay and Lawrence Stevens. It was the first time i ever flipped through a magazine looking for more art and ignoring the stories entirely. When i was done, i knew i wanted to see more of their work and read about how they did this. So i googled them - and i came across some articles by Bob on collecting pulp artwork, including many by Finlay and Stevens - they're listed here:

Collecting Fantasy Art #1: Starting at Zero
Collecting Fantasy Art #2: Aces and Earls
Collecting Fantasy Art #3: Meet Marty G.
Collecting Fantasy Art #4: Art Mania!
Collecting Fantasy Art #5: Lail, It Rhymes with Gail
Collecting Fantasy Art #6: An Art Potpourri
Collecting Fantasy Art #7: Susan and Betsy
Collecting Fantasy Art #8: Sam and the Scientologists
Collecting Fantasy Art #9: Darrell and Sam, Two Famous Collectors
Collecting Fantasy Art #10: A Party and Some Sales
Collecting Fantasy Art #11: Secrets of New Jersey -- Part 1, Two Visits
Collecting Fantasy Art #13: Two Great Artists

Bob's anecdotes of buying art without any real competition amazed me, as was the wide variety of pulp art that he collected. I discovered a lot of titles and artists through him that i wouldn't have considered collecting otherwise.

The first time i spoke with Bob was at the Windy City pulp convention in 2015. It was my second year at the convention, and i had just walked into the hospitality suite, and was looking around to see if there was anyone who remembered me. I ran into someone and he and i started chatting about recent acquisitions, which led to his talking about the pulp art in those issues, and i said that the best i had ever seen was in Famous Fantastic Mysteries. At this point, Bob joined the conversation and agreed with me. We talked a bit about the art in other pulps - I mentioned that Blue Book was a title that i liked - but Bob remained firm in placing Famous Fantastic Mysteries above it. At the time, i didn't know who he was. The conversation moved on to other topics and i left the group to meet other friends.

The next day, i visited the art display, always a highlight of Windy City. It was the first time i saw a Finlay illustration up close, and i was even more impressed than i had been the first time i saw his art. A day later, i was attending the panel discussion and i saw Bob walk on stage and get introduced as Robert Weinberg. I couldn't believe who I'd been talking to  - a person who had been collecting pulp art since a long time, and who i regarded as a guide. I also saw the pulp art on display at the convention, a lot of which was from his collection. 

The last time we spoke was at the 2016 Windy City. I saw him sitting at his table, and i went up to him and complimented him on the work he'd done on Collector's Book of Virgil Finlay, most of the originals for which came from his and Doug Ellis' collections. I grabbed it when it came out, as it's probably the closest I'm going to get to having an original Finlay in the house. 

R.I.P., Bob. Thank you for the books and generously sharing your art with other fans. You will be missed.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Improbably beautiful covers #1 - Western Story Magazine, December 21, 1929 cover by Gayle Hoskins

Western Story Magazine, December 21, 1929 cover by Gayle Hoskins
Western Story Magazine, December 21, 1929 cover by Gayle Hoskins

Another minute, and there would have been only a red dot on the ground, so i suppose this was the more interesting moment...a very well painted one at that. Gayle Hoskins manages to give the impression of a immense herd of bison very well in the limited space for the painting's portrait orientation, one dictated by the magazine's orientation on the newsstand. 

I wonder if a different perspective - maybe over the hunter's shoulder - would have worked better, though. Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Adventure magazine covers featuring a pirate

In honor of International Talk like a Pirate Day today, here's a series of covers from Adventure magazine featuring a pirate. All these covers were done by the artist A.L. Ripley and appeared in the magazine from 1922 to 1925. During at least part of this period (1923-1925), Ripley was in Europe on an art scholarship, so it's interesting to speculate whether these were done in Europe and sent over, or done in bulk earlier and then appeared one at a time.

Pick your favorite and leave a note in the comments. Mine's the March 10, 1924 issue with the two pirates shown in shadow fighting over treasure.