Apr 072015

Startling Stories 47-05One-hundred years ago today, author Henry Kuttner was born. A very prolific writer, Kuttner freelanced for AMAZING STORIES, ARGOSY, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION, FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, GALAXY, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, MARVEL TALES, PLANET STORIES, STARTLING STORIES, STRANGE STORIES, SUPER DETECTIVE, THRILLING ADVENTURES, THRILLING MYSTERY, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, UNKNOWN, WEIRD TALES, and many other magazines. Employing a large number of pseudonyms, Kuttner wrote supernatural fiction, mystery and detective stories, space operas, sociological science fiction, scientific romances, and more. As Charles Stoddard, he wrote the Thunder Jim Wade hero-pulp series for Standard’s THRILLING ADVENTURES. He also wrote for television and comic books, including the Golden Age Green Lantern series for DC Comics. In later years, most of his writing was done in collaboration with his wife, C. L. Moore, another talented writer in a range of genres.

Much of Kuttner’s early fiction owed a great deal to H. P. Lovecraft, whose 125th birthday will be feted at this year’s PulpFest. His enjoyment of the pulp magazine WEIRD TALES, led the emerging writer to correspond with the “Old Gentleman from Providence.” Soon Henry Kuttner was adding to Lovecraft’s evolving Mythos:

“My dizziness, my half-fainting state, saved me from seeing the thing too clearly. As it was, a scream of utter horror ripped from my throat as I saw, through a spinning whirlpool of darkness, a squamous, glowing ball covered with squirming, snake-like tentacles–translucent ivory flesh, leprous and hideous–a great faceted eye that held the cold stare of the Midgard Serpent . . . . dimly I could hear Hayward still chanting.

‘Iä! Rhyn tharanak . . . Vorvadoss of Bel-Yarnak! The Troubler of the Sands! Thou Who waiteth in the Outer Dark, Kindler of the Flame . . . n’gha shugg y’haa . . .’” (from “The Invaders,” as by Keith Hammond, STRANGE STORIES, February 1939)

Although he worked for a variety of publishers including Street & Smith, Popular Publications, Short Stories, Inc., and Culture Publications, a great portion of Henry Kuttner’s fiction saw print under the auspices of Ned Pines’ Standard Magazines or Better Publications. In addition to the Thunder Jim Wade stories for THRILLING ADVENTURES, Kuttner contributed weird-menace fiction to THRILLING MYSTERIES; supernatural tales to STRANGE STORIES; science fiction to THRILLING WONDER STORIES, CAPTAIN FUTURE, and others; and scientific romances to STARTLING STORIES. It’s also believed that he wrote a number of the Phantom Detective novels for the long-lived Thrilling hero pulp. In addition to Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES, PulpFest 2015 will be paying tribute to the Standard line of pulp magazines.

Henry Kuttner died of heart failure in 1958, at the age of forty-two.

(Artist Earle Bergey began contributing to pulp magazines during the Great Depression, at first creating good girl art for pin-up magazines. In the late thirties, he found a ready market for his work at Ned Pines’ Thrilling Group, painting covers for the publisher’s sports and science-fiction lines–including this one for the May 1947 issue of STARTLING STORIES. As the pulp market started to shrink, Bergey’s work increasingly found its way to the covers of paperback books, particularly those published by Pines’ Popular Library. He died in 1952 at the age of fifty-one.)

Ninety Years of , “Emsh”

 Ed Emshwiller, Emsh, History, pulp art, Standard Magazines  Comments Off on Ninety Years of , “Emsh”
Feb 162015

Thrilling Wonder 1955-WNinety years ago today, Edmund Alexander Emshwiller was born in Lansing, Michigan. Although known primarily for his work composed for the digest and paperback markets, “Emsh” created a few covers for pulp magazines such as the Winter 1955 issue of THRILLING WONDER STORIES, pictured here. The bulk of his work for the pulp market consisted of interior illustrations for AMAZING STORIES, ASTOUNDING SCIENCE-FICTION, FANTASTIC STORY MAGAZINE, FUTURE SCIENCE FICTION, SPACE STORIES, STARTLING STORIES, and the aforementioned THRILLING WONDER.

PulpFest will be saluting Standard Magazines–publisher of FANTASTIC STORY, SPACE STORIES, STARTLING, and THRILLING WONDER–at its 2015 convention. Be sure to join the celebration beginning on Thursday, August 13th and running through Sunday, August 16th at the beautiful Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2015 and join hundreds of pulp fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe! You can book a room by clicking here or call 1-888-421-1442. We hope to see you in August.

(Thanks to David Saunders of The Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists for helping us to keep our facts straight and for the THRILLING WONDER image. If you’ve never been to David’s site, you owe yourself a visit.)
 Posted by at 6:30 pm

PulpFest? What’s PulpFest?

 History, Munsey, Pulpcon, PulpFest, pulps, Tarzan  Comments Off on PulpFest? What’s PulpFest?
Jan 212015

So what’s this PulpFest thing that has so many people talking? With over two-thousand likes on Facebook and hundreds of followers on Twitter, it certainly has been generating a lot of excitement. But what’s it all about?

AllStory-12-10PulpFest is named for pulp magazines, periodic fiction collections named after the cheap paper on which they were printed. Frank A. Munsey pioneered the format in 1896 with THE ARGOSY. A decade later, pulps began to pick up steam with titles like BLUE BOOK and ADVENTURE, then exploded in 1912 when ALL-STORY printed a little yarn by Edgar Rice Burroughs called “Tarzan of the Apes.” Soon thereafter, genre titles began to flourish, among them DETECTIVE STORY, WESTERN STORY, and LOVE STORY. In the twenties, publishing legends such as BLACK MASK, WEIRD TALES and AMAZING STORIES took hold. The following decade saw the advent of the so-called “hero pulps” with magazines such as THE SHADOW, DOC SAVAGE, and THE SPIDER attracting new readers to the rough-paper format.

By the early fifties, the pulps were gone, killed by competition from paperback books, comic books, radio, and television. But the fiction and artwork that appeared in these everyday consumables of the early twentieth century kept them alive in the hearts and minds of countless individuals. Haunting back-issue magazine shops, flea markets, science-fiction conventions, and other venues, these hearty souls gradually assembled astounding collections of genre fiction, all published in the rough and ragged magazines known as pulps. Eventually, these collectors organized a convention dedicated to the premise that the pulps had a profound effect on American popular culture that reverberated through a wide variety of mediums—comic books, movies, paperbacks and genre fiction, television, men’s adventure magazines, radio drama, and even video and role-playing games. Today, we call this convention, PulpFest.

The summertime destination for fans and collectors of vintage popular fiction and related materials, PulpFest seeks to honor the pulps by drawing attention to the many ways these throwaway articles have inspired writers, artists, film directors, software developers, and other creators over the decades.

Why not come see what it’s all about? PulpFest 2015 will take place at the beautiful Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio beginning on Thursday, August 13th. It will continue through Sunday afternoon, August 16th. Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2015 and join hundreds of pulp fiction fans at the pop-culture center of the universe! You can book a room by clicking here.

Published by the Frank A. Munsey Company, the October 1912 issue of THE ALL-STORY featured Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel “Tarzan of the Apes,” published in its entirety. Clinton Pettee painted the front cover art for the magazine.

 Posted by at 1:15 pm

A Scandal In 1907

 History  Comments Off on A Scandal In 1907
Sep 152014
1907 Scandal

Early women’s rights activist Annette Kellerman posed in this fitted, one-piece bathing suit to protest the restrictive clothing of the day. She arrested for indecency because of this picture. Australians can thank Annette Kellerman every time they take a swim. In 1905 she invented the streamlined one-piece swimming costume for women, a liberating garment, which became her trademark. But more than that, she re-awoke the pleasure of swimming for everyone including men, women and children. Known as the Diving Venus and the Australian Mermaid, Annette Kellerman (1887–1975) was an athlete as well as a vaudeville and movie star, one of the most famous women of her day.

Kellerman set out to challenge the legal restrictions on women’s bathing clothes in the United States. In 1907, preparing for a promotional coast swim, she was arrested for indecency on Revere Beach, Boston. She was wearing one of her fitted one-piece costumes that had no skirt, clung to her body and revealed her thighs. The judge accepted her arguments in favor of swimming as healthy exercise and against cumbersome bathing suits, provided she wore a robe until she entered the water. Her arrest generated worldwide publicity. She continued to wear her one-piece swimsuit in her stage shows and public swimming events.

 Film Career
The Bride of Lammermoor: A Tragedy of Bonnie Scotland (1909)
Jephtah’s Daughter: A Biblical Tragedy (1909)
The Gift of Youth (1909)
Entombed Alive (1909)
Siren of the Sea (1911)
The Mermaid (1911)
Neptune’s Daughter (1914)
A Daughter of the Gods (1916)
National Red Cross Pageant (1917)
Queen of the Sea (1918)
What Women Love (1920)
Venus of the South Seas (1924)

 Posted by at 7:33 pm

4th Anniversary

 History  Comments Off on 4th Anniversary
Sep 142014
4th Anniversary
Today is this blog’s 4th anniversary
Thanks for all the support and comments
Looking forward to another year
The original post from this date in 2010
Bonus Cover
Transport Publishing Company
for and on behalf of Horwitz Publications, Inc

Novelette Series
“Lovely” Mystery
 Posted by at 1:33 pm

Smithsonian Day

 History  Comments Off on Smithsonian Day
Aug 102014
Today is Smithsonian Day
The Smithsonian is home to 137 million artifacts works of art, and speciments
James Smithson was an English chemist, mineralogist and an Oxford graduate. He devoted his life to science, as well he authored 27 published papers on mineralogy. Smithson did not even visit the USA, but when he died in 1829 he left his entire estate to the United States to found an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men. This establishment was to be founded in Washington D.C. and to be called the Smithsonian Institution.
His bequest was sent to the US in the form of gold sovereigns filling 11 boxes, along with his personal papers, minerals, and library. The gold was sent to the Treasury in Philadelphia for a total over $500,000.
There are 19 different museums and galleries in the Smithsonian complex. One of the most popular exhibits in the Smithsonian is the Star Spangled Banner Flag, also called the Great Garrison flag. The flag flew over  Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The flag was sewn by Mary Pickergill with 15 star and stripes in 1813 for the sum of over $405. The flag has undergone several restorations, first in 1914 and the most recent in 1999.
The National Air and Space Museum is home to a lunar roving vehicle, The B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay, and Eugene Cernan’s spacesuit. Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon on December 14, 1972.
 Posted by at 7:30 am

100 Years Ago Today

 History  Comments Off on 100 Years Ago Today
Aug 042014
Today is the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI or the Great War, also call the War To End All Wars. Germany invaded neutral Belgium on Aug. 4, 1914, as part of a planned attack on France. By nightfall, Britain had joined the war. The prelude to the war happened on June 28th 1914, when Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. A group of six assassins  from a nationalist group had gathered on the street where the Archduke’s motorcade would pass. One of the assassins threw a grenade at the car, but missed. The other assassins failed to act as the cars drove past them quickly. An hour later, when Franz Ferdinand was returning from a visit at the Sarajevo Hospital, the convoy took a wrong turn into a street where one of the assassins stood. He shot and killed Franz Ferdinand and his wife. At the end some 7 million lives lost. On November 11th, at 5:00 am, an armistice with Germany was signed in a railroad carriage at Compiègne France. At 11 am on November 11th, 1918 (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month) a ceasefire came into effect.
One of my grandfathers served in the 91st Infantry Division (The Wild West Division), 364 Infantry Regiment. He first saw action in the Battle of Saint-Mihiel (September 1918) and fought in the battles of The Meuse-Argonne Offensive and The Fifth Battle of Ypres. He died in March 1977.
 Posted by at 2:54 pm
Jul 062014

Terror Tales 39-11Not only will we be celebrating science fiction’s “Golden Year of 1939″ and “75 Years of Fantastic Fiction,” PulpFest 2014 intends to pay homage to “The Weird-Menace Magazines of 1934.” Called shudder pulps, these magazines experienced a brief period of popularity that began in late 1933 and ran until 1941, when a concerted reform movement brought an end to the genre.

Noted pulp authority Don Hutchison, author of The Great Pulp Heroes, has contributed a look at the weird-menace genre, “Pulp Horrors of the Dirty Thirties,” to this year’s issue of The Pulpster, our award-winning program book. Offered here are just a few of Don’s gory details concerning “The Shudder Pulps.”

Pulp Horrors of the Dirty Thirties: An Excerpt

Back in the days of bread lines and hobo jungles, millions of readers found escapist thrills in the pages of cheaply produced magazines printed on rough pulpwood paper. Pulp magazines catered to every imaginable reading taste from detective yarns to pirate stories, from jungle adventures to science fiction and even romance. But the wildest of them all were the notorious horror tomes known collectively as the shudder pulps.

The so-called “shudder� or “weird-menace� titles were a blood-red splash of color in the grey days of the Great Depression. They announced their monthly wares with circus-poster-style covers featuring voluptuous under-dressed beauties being pursued by hordes of leering lunatics as bent as boomerangs. Their promise: cheap thrills, and plenty of them.

Dime Mystery 33-10In their nightmare universe it was always a dark and stormy night. Tethered damsels suffered in the clutches of fiends such as hell-mad surgeons, warped scientists, and masked and cowled cultists, eagerly abetted by legions of demented dwarfs and horny hunchbacks. They stripped, whipped, and boiled their curvaceous victims with the enthusiasm of medieval inquisitors. Even the requisite rock-jawed heroes of these stories suffered a purgatory of horrors in order to rescue their brutally treated fair maidens.

The weird-menace magazines lasted for but a few brief years, roughly from 1933 to 1941, when the actions of blue-nosed watchdogs helped propel them from the market. In contrast to previous horror magazines with their literate but fusty eldritch mysteries, the new breed of terror pulps dared go where no newsstand magazines had gone before. These few magazines were largely responsible for the low opinion people held (and still hold) of the entire pulp fiction field. Many dealers sold them under the counter, and New York’s mayor Fiorello La Guardia singled them out when he warned the pulp publishers to clean up their act or get out of town.

With stories written to a strict formula by seasoned pros, shudder pulps featured some of the most unashamedly lurid fiction and art ever produced for the newsstands of middle America. Each month they announced their presence with covers illustrating in chromatic detail the titillating promise of stories like: “Flesh For the Goat Man,� “The Corpse Wants Your Widow,� “Food for the Fungus Lady,� “Mate For the Thing in the Box,� and “Summer Camp for Corpses.�

Horror Stories 35-01The first of the new breed of fiction mags, Dime Mystery, lurched onto the newsstands in October of 1933. It was the brainchild of Popular Publication’s resourceful young publisher Henry Steeger and took off like skyrockets. Popular Publications lost little time in producing not one, but two companion monthlies: Terror Tales, followed by Horror Stories.

Readers responded in large numbers to the lure of these purple prose set-ups and the inevitable pay-off in hell-spawned horrors. Soon, other publishers rushed into print with similar books of their own. Chief among them was publisher Ned Pines, whose Thrilling Mystery was a clone of Popular’s Dime Mystery. Believing that the public can never get too much of a bad thing, more newcomers tested the limits of sensationalism. There was Ace Mystery, Eerie Mysteries, Eerie Stories, Mystery Novels and Short Stories, Mystery Tales, Spicy Mystery Stories, Uncanny Tales, and others.

In the early 1940s there developed a public rejection of the permissiveness and thrill-seeking of the thirties. When New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia threatened to rid his city of sex-and-sadism magazines, publishers retrenched in fear of losing newsstand sales as well as their U. S. postal mailing privileges. As shudder pulp stalwart Bruno Fischer described it “Clean-up organizations started throwing their weight around and gave editors jitters, and artists and writers were instructed to put panties and brassieres on the girls.�

Speed Mystery 43-01Dime Mystery was retooled as a straight mystery magazine. Spicy Mystery soldiered on for awhile, but was then re-titled Speed Mystery. Terror Tales and Horror Stories were shut down in 1941. Pulp fiction’s bloody reign of terror had ended, not with a bang but with a whimper. Unfortunately, in discarding key ingredients of their appeal, the magazines failed to develop new innovations, much less new readers. And, with the coming of World War II, the extent of human madness and misery could no longer be viewed–much less enjoyed–as mere fiction. In a more innocent time, it was thought that the brand of horror perpetrated by the fiends of the shudder pulps was purely imaginary. Now people knew that such things–and worse–were possible.

If you’d like to read the unabridged version of Don Hutchison’s article, it will be appearing in the PulpFest 2014 program book, The Pulpster. You’ll find ordering instructions at the bottom of our post entitled “To Infinity and Beyond.” It was featured on our home page on June 15th.

To learn more about the images used in this post, click on the illustrations.