Saturday, 17 March 2018

Beautiful covers #2 - Walter Baumhofer - Western Story

Walter Baumhofer, one of the best cover artists for the pulps, got his start with Street and Smith in an interesting manner.

In 1930, Baumhofer married another artist Alureda, whose nickname was "Pete". Their income dropped precipitously due to reductions in advertising budgets during the Great Depression and by 1932, the Baumhofers were running out of money. They had one month's rent left in savings.

"Like any sensible young squirt, instead of paying the landlord, I took a chance and invested $30 to hire a model and paint a rather more detailed speculative cover for [pulp fiction publishers] Street & Smith. They were crazy about it. The general reaction from the top brass was overwhelming, and they hired me to paint covers of Doc Savage and Pete Rice. That pretty much ended the Depression for me."

This is that famous cover that launched his career; it was on the September 3, 1932 issue despite having been the first one accepted. Maybe they waited till they had a story they considered worthy of the cover.


Western Story, September 3, 1932 cover by Walter M. Baumhofer
Western Story, September 3, 1932 cover by Walter M. Baumhofer


Great cover, and he followed it up with some more amazing covers for Western Story, a couple of which i have below:

Western Story, December 12, 1931 cover by Walter M. Baumhofer
Western Story, December 12, 1931 cover by Walter M. Baumhofer

Western Story, September 19, 1931 cover by Walter M. Baumhofer
Western Story, September 19, 1931 cover by Walter M. Baumhofer
Notes in my copy of the Sep 3, 1932 issue. Guess who the author is...Walker Martin
Notes in my copy of the Sep 3, 1932 issue. Guess who the author is...

2 comments:

  1. I see no one has guessed the mystery author who commented on the Coburn story back in 1981. I confess. My pulps, digests, paperbacks, and books have thousands of such notes, all giving the date, number of pages, a grade, and my comments, sometimes brief but often longer and more detailed. Some even contain biographical details such as the book I was reading when my father died, the book I was reading when my children were born, the pulp I was reading the first day in my new house, etc.

    Other collectors in addition to Sai have mentioned to me that they have stumbled across my notes. Steve Kennedy found several in WESTERN STORY, Chuck Miller found a couple, and John McLaughton found a couple where I attack the Moon Man series in TEN DETECTIVE ACE(I thought the whole fishbowl thing was silly).

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    Replies
    1. I do enjoy coming across these. Some collectors make notations in the table of contents to denote read and liked. Some use a star system. Walker's are the only full reviews I've come across.

      Walker, there's a book in your notes. You need to get them cleaned up and published.

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