Vintage Pulp Jun 13 2015
WHEEL OF MISFORTUNE
They call it the Devil’s wheel for a reason.


It’s been a while since we’ve put together a pulp collection, so below you’ll find vintage cover art that uses the roulette wheel as a central element. They say only suckers play roulette, and that’s especially true in pulp, where even if you win, eventually you lose the money and more. Art is by Ernest Chiriacka, Robert Bonfils, Robert McGinnis, and many others.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 8 2013
MAX CAPACITY
Hundreds of novels made him the top Brand in pulp westerns.

National Road Books sent us the covers of five Max Brand westerns and mentioned that they were for sale on the website. We ventured over there and were surprised to find that they were six dollars for the lot, which is a pretty sweet deal for one of the most popular and successful American writers of his era. At one point Brand, née Frederick Faust, earned $3,000 a week, which was a year’s salary for an average worker during the 1930s. When World War II broke out, he wanted to do his part, and finagled a front line correspondent gig in Italy. In May 1944 he died after sustaining critical shrapnel wounds, but his legacy was secure—he had written 25 to 30 million words, 500 novels, and along the way created the characters Dr. Kildare and Destry. We’d order the books ourselves if the international shipping wasn’t guaranteed to kill the savings for us. But for folks in the States they’re a great deal. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 28 2011
DR. MANHATTAN
Okay, now you’re going feel a little prick.

Did you ever see the movie Doc Hollywood? Well, 1962’s A Halo for Dr. Michael is the same sort of thing—i.e., a bright young doctor passes up a glittering career in the big city (Manhattan) and practices medicine in a small southern town. He learns a little about himself, and of course finds love. Author Dorothy Worley specialized in this stuff, churning out books such as Dr. John’s Decision, Dr. Jefferey’s Awakening (are you sensing a theme here?) Dr. Michael’s Challenge, and, for a change of pace, Cinderella Nurse. It’s cheeseball stuff, but sometimes only a medical romance will scratch that itch. The cover art, in all its overwhelming pinkness, is by Tom Miller, who did a lot of work for Monarch and Fawcett. You don’t hear his name mentioned with the top rank of pulp artists, but he was a first rate stylist who created more than a few classic images. We’ve collected a few below so you can see for yourself. 

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Reader Pulp Jan 28 2011
THE ARGOSY AND THE ECSTASY
Frank Munsey’s Argosy had humble beginnings but lasted nearly a century.

The guys at National Road Books have fed us more scans from their large Argosy collection, and above are five from 1938 through 1940. In these issues there’s fiction from Max Brand, C.S. Forester, and a raft of capable in-house writers. The cover art is from Rudolph Belarski (panels one and two), G.J. Rosen (three and four), and Emmett Watson (five).

After two years of finding almost nothing from Argosy suddenly we have a pipeline into a treasure trove thanks to NRB and we’re ecstatic, because Argosy was the first real pulp magazine, launched on a $500 budget by Frank A. Munsey in 1882. The venture wasn’t an instant success. Munsey had conceived a children’s publication and that version of Argosy went bust immediately. But Munsey managed to keep ownership of the idea and kept publishing on a shoestring budget.

As he learned the market, he realized a children’s magazine wasn’t the direction he wanted to continue. By fits and starts, he began shifting from young readers to pulp fiction and eventually transformed the magazine into an American staple that lasted until 1978. We’ll have more on Munsey’s publishing adventures later. Got any pulp treasures of your own? Feel free to do what National Road Books did and use the pulp uploader in our sidebar. Our mailbox is always open. 

Edit: The Pulp Intl. uploader is on the fritz and has been for a long time. We keep meaning to fix it, but you know how it goes.

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Reader Pulp Jan 2 2011
LA GRAN FIESTA
Dancing girl of the golden west.


Above is a cover of Frank A. Munsey’s Argosy from June 18, 1938, with a famous painting by Rudolph Belarski for Max Brand’s western adventure story “Señor Coyote”. Even though Argosy was the first real pulp magazine, we haven’t featured it often here because issues in good condition can be difficult to find. With this one we got lucky—the highly regarded antiquarian and collectible website National Road Books, who we’ve bought other magazines from, sent us an e-mail letting us know they’ve uncovered a trove of more than a hundred issues of Argosy, and included the scan. So thanks for the assist, guys. It’s always needed. And speaking of assists, we want to remind everyone that our reader pulp feature, in the sidebar at right, is available to anyone who wants to share pulp treasures. How’s about we all make that a resolution for 2011? Agreed? Great. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 03
1931—Schmeling Retains Heavyweight Title
German boxer Max Schmeling TKOs his U.S. opponent Young Stribling in the fifteenth round to retain the world heavyweight boxing title he had won in 1930. Schmeling eventually tallies fifty-six wins, forty by knockout, along with ten losses and four draws before retiring in 1948.
1969—Stones Guitarist Is Found Dead
Brian Jones, a founding member of British rock group Rolling Stones, is found at the bottom of his swimming pool at Crotchford Farm, East Sussex, England. The official cause of his death is recorded as misadventure from ingesting various drugs.
July 02
1937—Amelia Earhart Disappears
Amelia Earhart fails to arrive at Howland Island during her around the world flight, prompting a search for her and navigator Fred Noonan in the South Pacific Ocean. No wreckage and no bodies are ever found.
1964—Civil Rights Bill Becomes Law
U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Bill into law, which makes the exclusion of African-Americans from elections, schools, unions, restaurants, hotels, bars, cinemas and other public institutions and facilities illegal. A side effect of the Bill is the immediate reversal of American political allegiance, as most southern voters abandon the Democratic Party for the Republican Party.
1997—Jimmy Stewart Dies
Beloved actor Jimmy Stewart, who starred in such films as Rear Window and Vertigo, dies at age eighty-nine at his home in Beverly Hills, California of a blood clot in his lung.
July 01
1941—NBC Airs First Official TV Commercial
NBC broadcasts the first TV commercial to be sanctioned by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC began licensing commercial television stations in May 1941, granting the first license to NBC. During a Dodgers-Phillies game broadcast July 1, NBC ran its first commercial, from Bulova, who paid $9 to advertise its watches.
1963—Kim Philby Named as Spy
The British Government admits that former high-ranking intelligence diplomat Kim Philby had worked as a Soviet agent. Philby was a member of the spy ring now known as the Cambridge Five, along with Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross. Of the five, Philby is believed to have been most successful in providing classified information to the Soviet Union. He defected to Russia, was feted as a hero and even given his commemorative stamp, before dying in 1988 at the age of seventy-six.
1997—Robert Mitchum Dies
American actor Robert Mitchum dies in his home in Santa Barbara, California. He had starred in films such as Out of the Past, Blood on the Moon, and Night of the Hunter, was called "the soul of film noir," and had a reputation for coolness that would go unmatched until Frank Sinatra arrived on the scene.
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Reader Pulp
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