August 2015


GEORGE DILNOT – The Crooks’ Game. Geoffrey Bles, UK, hardcover, 1927. Cherry Tree, UK, paperback, 1938/1945. Houghton, US, 1927. McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie: “The Scotland Yard Library,” US, no date given. Also published in Detective Classics, May 1930.

   According to Al Hubin’s Crime Fiction IV, George Dilnot was the author of 22 works of detective fiction, two of them collaborations with Frank Froest, and another three of them Sexton Blake paperbacks in the 1930s. All but a handful were never published in the US, so any that weren’t are going to be scarce. Based on reading this one, which I purchased at PulpFest, I may go looking, but if no cheap inexpensive copies turn up, I won’t go into a funk about it.

   Dilnot’s hero is a rather down-to-earth gentleman by the name of Detective-Inspector Strickland of Scotland Yard, no first name ever stated, so far I can recall. The case revolves around a millionaire from the US, one Buck Shang, and his daughter Shirley. Having been pardoned from the jail sentence he was serving back in Colorado, he now goes by the name of Earl Millard.

   Some former associates have followed father and daughter to England, and they are determined to get two million dollars from them, no matter how they get it or who gets in their way, and that includes Inspector Strickland.

   What follows in the story is a grand game of murder, capture, escape and recapture, boat trips up and down the Thames, and all around London town, good sections and bad, accomplices, assorted gang members, double-crosses and twists galore. It’s a lot of fun to read, and not until you’re finished do you realize that only a very routine lot of detective work ever went on.

   One really striking surprise occurs well before the end of the book, with the unfortunate result being that it also ends the case as well. What follows from here is a long recap, mostly unnecessary, and a short romantic interlude at the very end.

   Which also means that Strickland is about to chuck his job at Scotland Yard and head to the US with the Millards (if I’m telling you anything I shouldn’t, I apologize), and yet Strickland showed up in one of Dilnot’s novels two years later, in The Black Ace, his second and final appearance, but still in England. I’m curious enough to make this the first one I may go looking for.

Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         


“Joaquin Murietta.” An episode of Stories of the Century.   Syndicated / Republic Pictures, 16 April 1954 (Season 1, Episode 13). Jim Davis, Mary Castle, with Rick Jason as Joaquin Murietta. Screenplay: Milton Raison. Director: William Witney.

   In this Stories of the Century episode, Matt Clark, Railroad Detective (Jim Davis) and his female partner, Frankie Adams (Mary Castle) take on legendary/quasi-fictional bandit Joaquin Murietta. Directed by William Witney, this episode plays like an extended serial or a very short B-Western. Unlike many other television Westerns from this era, the hero not only has a female partner, but a strong willed and independent one more than willing to speak her mind.

   The plot is adequate, but some details don’t make a whole lot of logical sense. The characters, such as they are, aren’t all that developed, although it should be noted that Murietta is portrayed as both as a ladies man and as a cruel bandit. Still, there’s action, gun-fighting, allusions to gold treasure a plenty. Most importantly, there’s a Whitneyesque drawn out, bare-knuckles fistfight at the very end. How could there not be?

   You can watch the entire episode on the YouTube videobelow:






Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         


THE SCARLET COAT. MGM, 1955. Cornel Wilde, Michael Wilding, George Sanders, Anne Francis, Robert Douglas, John McIntire, Rhys Williams, John Dehner, Bobby Driscoll. Director: John Sturges.

   The Scarlet Coat is at once a docudrama epic, a Revolutionary War era swashbuckler, and a war film. Directed by John Sturges, the movie stars Cornel Wilde as the fictional Major John Bolton of the Continental Army. His task: ferret out the traitor in the colonists’ midst, a trail that ultimately leads him to none other than the infamous historical traitor, Benedict Arnold (Robert Douglas). To accomplish this task, Bolton goes undercover as a deserter in British-controlled New York City where he aims to deceive Major John Andre (Michael Wilding) and the loyalist Dr. Jonathan Odell (George Sanders).

   Filmed in Cinemascope in Eastman Color on location in New York’s Hudson River Valley, The Scarlet Coat benefits from a stellar cast, and lavish, detailed costumes. Yet, when all is said and done, it’s the alternatingly flaccid and meandering script that makes the movie an altogether humdrum affair.

   That’s not to say that the movie doesn’t have its moments. Indeed, the film’s last thirty minutes or so have enough action and suspense to keep you engaged and anticipating what happens next.

   But it’s simply not enough to make up for the fact that, for much of the movie, the actors seem to be going through the motions more than anything else. Likewise, the friendly rivalry between Bolton and Andre over the fictional Sally Cameron (Anne Francis) seems forced, as if the screenwriters decided upon introducing a romantic subplot just for the sake of having one in the movie.

   And the character of Benedict Arnold, nominally the pivotal character, barely appears on screen, making the film more the story of British spy, John Andre than of the American spy, Arnold.

   The Scarlet Coat, which was not a commercial success, is not a bad film so much a as a movie which reached for a level of historical relevancy that, despite gallant effort, ultimately eluded its grasp. That’s not to say that it’s not worth watching. In a way, it still is, so long as you do so with tempered expectations.

RICHARD COWPER – Out There Where the Big Ships Go. Pocket, paperback original; 1st printing, October 1980. Cover art: Don Maitz.

   A wonderfully designed and colorful work of art for the cover of a fascinating collection of short stories, also colorful, sparkling and intricately designed. I’ve never read any of Richard Cowper’s novels, many but not all of which have been published in the US, and perhaps I shall. Or perhaps Cowper was an author like Harlan Ellison, and his forte was short fiction only. On the basis of this collection, it is worth finding out.

   The first story is also the title of the collection, and the cover illustrates it well. A young boy unknowingly turns out to be the generational catalyst for mankind on our evolutionary path to the stars, based on one chosen leader’s proficiency in The Game, designed by an alien race to determine whether or not we are ready.

   Trying to summarize the story in one paragraph such as the above I realize is a hopeless task. I’ll refrain from trying further and say only that while it’s an old idea, Cowper comes at it from a new direction and tells it in fine fashion.

    “The Custodians” is a gem of a story about free will versus a preordained universe, one that stretches over nearly a thousand years time but one that takes place only in an isolated monastery in Europe. The question is, will Marcus Spindrift’s final vision come true, or can it be averted? Or if he had published the Exploratio Spiritualis, would the world have taken its warning about greed and the search for power seriously enough to avert a full-fledged worldwide disaster?

   Once again its the telling, sharp and precise, yet again at an angle, that makes the difference between this story and anything similar written in a 1940s issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories.

    “Paradise Beach” is the shortest story in the collection, and the slightest, about a piece of art, a neo-anamorphic window, if you will, upon, well, a paradise that may be more real than even the artist (may have) intended.

    “The Hertford Manuscript” takes the hero of H. G. Wells’ The Time Machine, and as a sequel of sorts to that story flings him into the past, that of London in 1665 and (temporarily?) strands him there. By the time you have finished this one, you will have suffered through the Great Plague nearly as much as being there yourself. Beautifully written.

   But in many ways, even more so is “The Web of the Magi,” the last story in the collection and by far the longest. In the year 1886 an engineer trying to map the path for a telegraphic link across the land of Persia finds himself in a lost world, one whence came the Magi of the Christmas story. Overseeing this world is a beautiful woman, of course, and the two of them make beautiful music together, but in trade for the key to such a paradise, there is always a …

   The story gets a little too mystical for me at the end, but until that time it had me as enchanted as the hero of the tale himself. This is a story that is nearly as much fantasy in style as science fiction, but somehow Cowper manages to keep at least one foot on the ground at all times. If you like lost race stories, you will love this one.

   This is a book that will be appeal to you if you prefer atmosphere rather than action in the science fiction that you read. I’m fond of space opera myself, but books such as this one seem to stay with me longer than do tales of derring-do on worlds light-years away from ours, as fun as they may be.

      

REVIEWED BY WALTER ALBERT:         


THE STUDENT OF PRAGUE. Sokal-Film GmbH, Germany, 1926; original title: Der Student von Prag. US title: The Man Who Cheated Life. Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss, Agnes Estherhazy. Script by Henrik Galeen and Hanns Heinz Ewers, based on the short story “William Wilson” by Edgar Allan Poe (1839). Director: Henrik Galeen. Shown at Cinefest 18, Liverpool NY, March 1998.

   A legendary German horror film that lived up to its reputation. Veidt is the student who sells his reflection to Krauss for the love of an heiress and is drawn into a nightmare that culminates In a magnificent sequence in which he confronts his mirror reflection and tries to destroy it.

   The haunting cinematography and art direction are by Guenther Krampf and Hermann Warm (art director of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari). A scene in which Krauss stands on a hilltop and orchestrates the elements and the activities of a hunting party reminded me of Veidt’s summoning of the storm in The Thief of Bagdad (Korda) and a long shot, later in the film, in which we see only the elongated shadow of Krauss’ arm and hand as he reaches up toward a garden terrace is equally unforgettable.

   Veidt is perfectly cast as the obsessed student and his deterioration is reflected in an extraordinary alteration of his face, which seems to grow thinner and more furrowed in the course of the film. A great film.

REVIEWED BY DAN STUMPF:


CHLOE, LOVE IS CALLING YOU. Pinnacle, 1934. Olive Borden, Red Howes. Georgette Harvey, Philip Ober, Francis Joyner, and The Shreveport Home Wreckers. Written and directed by Marshall Neilan.

   An intriguing little B-movie from 1934, with no one you ever heard of, perfunctory screenplay (the characters enter, explicate and move on to the next scene) and rudimentary direction. Needless to say, I found something worthwhile and memorable in it.

   The story is something about old black Mandy (Georgette Hervey) returning to her former home in the swamps with her grown-up light-skinned daughter Chloe (played by the lovely and tragic Olive Borden) and Jim Strong, another light-skinned black man, who loves Chloe in vain. Jim is played by Philp Ober, who will always be remembered for his short scene as Lester Townsend in North by Northwest, and who looks about as black as a Vanilla Wafer.

   It seems old Mandy has returned to take Voodoo Vengeance for the lynching of her husband, some fifteen years ago, and the opening scenes, as the roving camera tracks her skiff through the bayou are really rather effective. Likewise the notion of retribution for racial injustice is surprisingly daring for films of this era.

   Then, alas, we get into the plot, as Ol’ Colonel Watsisfuss sips mint juleps with handsome young Wade Carson and they tell us that Carson has been hired to look into thefts at the Colonel’s Turpentine Plantation or some such.

   They also tell us that old Colonel Whatisfuss, had an infant granddaughter who supposedly drowned in the swamp maybe fifteen year back or so.

   It takes about five minutes for Wade to meet Chloe while sleuthing in the swamp, and less time than that for them to fall in love, but Chloe knows their love can never be, because she be black.

   You have guessed the ending? So did I, but director Marshall Neilan (a rather interesting personality in his own right) walks us through it at his own pace, which could be charitably described as Lame. The acting is hard to judge fairly, given the spartan script fed to the unhappy thespians, but I have to say they handle themselves with a sincerity I found pleasantly disarming, with Chloe and her two suitors at odds while the Turpentine Rustlers and Voodoo Hoodoos hatch their fiendish plans between musical interludes by the Shreveport Home Wreckers, until we reach the ending, when poor distraught Chloe runs off through the swamp and is promptly grabbed by the local Voodooers for their weekly fish fry and human sacrifice.

   At which point the movie actually gets pretty good; the scenes of the Voodoo ritual are hauntingly evocative, with, big old Oak trees dripping Spanish Moss behind a huge bonfire, while black silhouettes writhe and dance in the foreground like souls out of Hell. And the images of poor Chloe tied to the sacrificial altar as Wade Carson and Jim Strong battle to her rescue recall the very best pulp-cover art, providing a lurid finish to a distinctly uneven but somehow memorable film.

CONVENTION REPORT: PulpFest 2015
by Richard Moore

   I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s PulpFest. Part of the pleasure is seeing old friends such as the Albert brothers, Walter and Jim. Their table in the dealer’s room is always my home base. Walter and I were both members of a mystery oriented Amateur Press Association (DAPA-Em) for many years. A highlight this year was meeting Steve Lewis of Mystery*File fame in person after sharing the apa with him for three decades and communicating often through the years. Also around was another DAPA-Em veteran Dan Stumpf, retired cop and now novelist. I’m reading his novel for Hard Case Crime Easy Death (by Daniel Boyd) right now.

   Of the programs I attended, I think my favorite was Leo Margulies, Little Giant of the Pulps. Leo was the editorial director of the more than 45 pulp magazines of the Thrilling Group, aka Standard Magazines. After that he was publisher of several digest magazines including Fantastic Universe, Saint Detective, Mike Shayne, Satellite SF, Man From Uncle and even one of the revivals of Weird Tales.

   The center piece of the panel was Leo’s nephew Philip Sherman, who is working on a biography of his uncle. Sherman is the son of Margulies sister Ann and grew up in Brooklyn. As Leo’s mother lived with them, Leo and his wife would come out to visit every two or three Sundays. Leo enjoyed playing with his nephew Phil and his sister and was especially good at hide and seek. Given Leo’s reputation of a quick temper with his editors, this was another side of the man.

   Phil also recalled as a young man Leo employing him as a proofreader paying two cents a word. As Leo only paid most of his writers one cent a word, this caused a bit of a humorous crowd response. It was likely that this represented Leo finding a way to channel money to his nephew than his regular pay for proofreaders.

   Joining Sherman on the panel was Ed Hulse and Will Murray, and they both said Leo had a great reputation with writers because he made quick decisions on submission with quick payment on acceptance. Leo was also generous with writers needing an advance because of bills or a family illness. Phil said he had a large file of thank you letters from writers. Sometimes Leo would hear a writer was in the hospital and he would, unasked, send a check to his hospital room. Such things built loyalty among writers.

   I did not know that Leo took a leave from the company during WWII to serve as a war correspondent with the US Navy in the Pacific. I also did not know that a few years after the war, Leo and his wife Cylvia Kleinman moved to the south of France with the intention of editing from there and publishing from Europe a Saint Detective magazine in partnership with Leslie Charteris. The logistics proved to be too difficult and Leo and his wife returned to the U.S. and eventually Leo left Standard Magazines to form King-Size Publications which published the Saint Detective Magazine and Fantastic Universe.

   Cylvia Kleinman was a name seen regularly on the mastheads of Leo’s magazines and she was an active editor. On one of my early rejected stories to Mike Shayne I was excited to get my first note of encouragement from an editor signed CK. I later sold Shayne but it was to Sam Merwin, Jr.

   Phil Sherman told the crowd that he happened to be in London when Leo and Cylvia were there attending a writer’s meeting. Leo suffered a stroke and after a few days in the hospital, Cylvia asked Phil to fly with them back to New York. Leo died a few months later.

   Another highlight of the convention for me was the Guest of Honor presentation of Chet Williamson. GOHs were common back in the Pulpcon days when ex-pulp writers were hale and hearty and available for a trip to Ohio. Now the few remaining are in their 80s. Williamson, of course, never appeared in a pulp but he is a lifelong pulp collector as well as a fine writer horror, suspense, and various other stories and novels.

   Turns out Chet is also a sometimes actor and performer and his presentation had great wit, dash and entertainment. Based on this success, we’ll see more Guests of Honor at future PulpFests.

   For the second year in a row, there was a group dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant for anyone signing up to attend. It is a chance to mingle and talk and meet other pulp fans. My table included the aforementioned Chet Williamson and George Vanderburgh of Battered Silicon Dispatch Box fame. I had met and enjoyed several conversations with George back at the 2012 PulpFest but he had missed the last two cons. It was good to catch up with him and hear more of his great stories.

   Finally, I also enjoyed the presentation of Mike Hunchback on his (and Caleb Braaten’s) Pulp Macabre: The Art of Lee Brown Coye’s Final and Darkest Era, which has just been published. Mike is an enthusiastic fellow and loves his horror. Adopting the name of Hunchback is rather clear evidence of that.

   The book features many fine illustrations from Coye’s work with Carcosa Press, the magazine Whispers and others from final years. It is a gorgeous book, and Jim and Walter Albert joined me on Sunday morning in buying copies from Mike. Highly recommended!

   So that’s my PulpFest report. I tell you folks, if you love pulps, this is the place you need to be each summer. I resisted the many invitations to Pulpcon I had from friends, and now I regret waiting so long to join the fun.

Reviewed by DAVID VINEYARD:          


“The Sting of Death.” An episode of The Elgin Hour. ABC-TV; 22 February 1955. (Season 1, Episode 11). Boris Karloff, Robert Flemyng, Hermione Gingold, Martin Green. Teleplay by Alvin Sapinsky, based on the novel A Taste for Honey by H. F. Heard. Directed by Daniel Petrie.

         “My dear sir, the game is afoot.”

   Superb live melodrama from television’s Golden Age features Boris Karloff as the mysterious beekeeper Mr. Mycroft, and Robert Flemyng as Mr. Sidney Silchester, a bachelor teacher on holiday in Sussex who finds himself in the midst of a murderous plot of sinister proportions all because he has an inordinate taste for honey.

   It seems Mr. Hargrove, a local beekeeper has found a way to suppress rival bee populations and cornered the honey market locally, but he has also spread out from that occupation and recently killed Mr. Mycroft’s dog, Musgrave. The mysterious Mycroft is convinced, as he tells Mr.Silchester, that Hargrove plans to expand his experiments, and it seems he may be right when Silchester’s housekeeper Alice (Hermione Gingold) announces poor Mrs. Hargrove was stung to death.

   But it isn’t until the nervous Mr. Silchester is targeted by the Master Criminal, as Mr. Mycroft, describes Hargrove, that a tense game of cat and mouse develops with life and death at stake.

   H. F. Heard’s novel, and its sequel, Reply Paid, feature Mr. Mycroft and Mr. Silchester in two sinister adventures mixing science fiction (Heard penned the classic SF novel Doppleganger), horror, and mystery in a tasty mix for those with a taste for Sherlockian lore equal to Mr. Silchester’s taste for honey, and this well written and directed drama by Alvin Sapinsky and director Daniel Petrie more than rewards on both levels.

   Karloff and Flemyng are obviously enjoying themselves, with the former relishing his chance to play Sherlock Holmes, however obliquely. There are numerous nice touches in the script from the book, and one nice bit as Karloff hangs a coat hastily over a fore and aft on a peg by the door. It’s clear Karloff relished this part.

   This one is well worth catching, with fine performances all around, and only a few minor problems with props like walking sticks that fall over, bandages that won’t stick, and spectacles that come off at inopportune times to remind you it was done live aside from the sets and painted backdrops, and even those contribute to the fun here.

   All and all this entertains as far more than a curiosity. The book was filmed again as The Deadly Bees by Freddie Francis with Frank Finlay and Guy Doleman, minus Mycroft and the Sherlockian bit as a straight suspense/horror outing with a subplot involving a rock star with a nervous breakdown that always seemed totally out of left field to me. It isn’t awful, but it has none of the charm of this well acted 52 minute production on a shoestring budget.

   And you have to admit the idea of Boris Karloff as Sherlock Holmes is worth watching in and of itself.

CONVENTION REPORT: PulpFest 2015
by Walker Martin

   As usual I was among four collectors who rented a SUV to transport us to Columbus, Ohio, the site of the 2015 summer pulp magazine convention. The Great God Cthulhu was supposed to make an appearance but he evidently was busy at some other horrifying business. Lucky for us book collectors because so many stories show that nothing ever good happens when he visits.

   The other three collectors with me were Ed Hulse, our driver and editor of Blood n Thunder; Nick Certo, long time book dealer and art collector; and Digges La Touche, otherwise known as The Reading Machine. A normal car was not big enough for us because of the books, pulps and artwork that we expected to buy and bring back to New Jersey.

   Theme of this year’s PulpFest was the 125th birthday of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, Weird Tales, and the Thrilling magazine group of pulp titles. The ID badge showed the cover of Weird Tales, November 1944 by Matt Fox, a very weird and bizarre portrait of Cthulhu. We arrived at 5:00 pm and quickly joined the other dealers who were setting up during the early bird hours on Thursday, August 13, 2015.

   There were 120 dealer tables and attendance was announced as 420, making this one of the better attended PulpFest. and Pulpcons. I always have a dealer’s table at these conventions, not only to sell my duplicates but also to have a sort of headquarters for me and my friends to meet and store our purchases. I was constantly tripping over stacks of books and pulps behind my table, mainly items bought by my pals Digges and Sai S, who runs the excellent pulp blog, Pulp Flakes. At one point, while looking at this mound of loot and evidence of bibliomania, I had no idea what was my stuff and what belonged to Digges and Sai.

   But somehow we sorted it all out by the end of the show and I bought quite a few items including original art by such Weird Tales artists as Hannes Bok, Lee Brown Coye, and Matt Fox, I also picked up some art by Emsh and Gahan Wilson. But the biggest purchases were a great Galaxy cover for the March 1952 issue. Titled “Year of the Jackpot”, it illustrates the lead novelet by Robert Heinlein. I also bought another Galaxy cover by Dember for the October 1966 issue. This was only $500 and a real bargain.

   I had to buy some weird art to honor Cthulhu, so I obtained the cover art from Nyctalops 15, January 1980 by Potter. It shows Lovecraft and Cthulhu. I was really impressed by the art I obtained that was done by Lee Brown Coye and Matt Fox. Many collectors don’t like Coye and Fox but I think they are two of the finest of the Weird Tales artists. Their work appeared in the 1940’s and really portrayed the bizarre and unusual elements in Weird Tales. As I mentioned above, an example of Matt Fox’s art was used on the ID badge.

   I also sold quite a few interesting items, including 12 bound volumes of Adventure from the 1920’s; several bizarre crime digests from the 1950’s like Off-Beat and Two-Fisted; and a couple of Smart Set‘s containing early stories by Dashiell Hammett, including his first appearance.

   I probably could have sold a lot more but I was often away from my table because I was buying so many books and artwork. I had a great time talking to old friends that I have known for decades including Don Hutchison and Steve Lewis, who runs this Mystery*File blog. Steve had missed the convention for a few years and it was good to see him again. Don I have known since the early days of Pulpcon.

   I didn’t see Gordon Huber this year and if he missed the convention, it will break the unbroken string of his appearances at every Pulpcon and PulpFest since 1972. Someone pointed out that if Gordon did indeed miss the show, then it makes me the next in line for having attended the most pulp conventions. As I recently pointed out in my article “Why Attend Pulpfest?”, I really think it is important to support and attend these conventions.

   It sometimes seems that my entire life has revolved around the Pulpcons and PulpFests, not to mention the Windy City Pulp Conventions! I really believe the collecting of books and pulps can be a life work and of great importance. What’s more important than a life spent reading and collecting such great artifacts? I wish we could continue doing this forever!

   I mentioned the great fiction magazine Adventure above and three of us decided to honor the memory of this excellent title by wearing T-shirts with the circled “71”, which stands for the Campfire letter column and the old Adventure stations that used to exist.

   These stations were manned by the magazine’s readers and provided a sort of way station for other readers to relax and talk about the magazine. On Friday, Ed Hulse, Tom Krabacher, and me wore the shirts and revived the Campfire station in Columbus, at least temporarily. It’s been decades since an Adventure station has been active.

   What was the most expensive item sold at PulpFest? I believe it was a copy of New Story magazine with an Edgar Rice Burroughs story. The magazine is a very rare and hard to get title. I heard it sold for around $4,000. Speaking of selling, the Saturday night auction saw over 80 lots sold, including a Philip Jose Farmer manuscript for $450, a Tales of Magic and Mystery for $275 and many stacks of pulps.

   This year PulpFest shared the hotel with a big convention of around 4,000 Japanese anime fanatics. Mainly teenage girls, these ladies were dressed in all sorts of bizarre and interesting costumes. A couple nights I woke up in my room to the sounds of screams and laughter as they raced up and down the corridors and through the hotel meeting rooms. For the first time I saw several Columbus police officers patrolling the hotel since many of the girls were minors and drugs may have been in use.

   I would like to give a special thanks to Bill Mann who turned his room over to several beer drinking pulp collectors. One night security visited the room and even told the collectors to keep the noise down. It’s possible we acted even more bizarre than the anime people! I’m sure non-collectors would think so…

   I had a strange room and at first I was not sure I liked it. The hotel has 19 or 20 floors and at one point the building ends in a sharp edge. My room was at the sharp edge and when I opened the door I at first though the twisting corridor leading to the bed was from the silent film, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. Then I noticed the walls were all windows, not just one or two and the bathroom as a big window overlooking the city of Columbus. This made me think of the film, Things to Come. Maybe I’ll ask for this room again!

   Chet Williamson was the Guest Of Honor and I had a table near his in the dealer’s room. In addition to being the author of around 20 books, he has written over 100 stories, many of them horror classics. He’s a book and pulp collector and I remember him from the old Pulpcons and the Tonikons that were held in Al Tonik’s home in the 1990’s.

   Steve Miller, a long time pulp collector, won the Munsey Award, mainly for his two great reference books: Mystery, Detective and Espionage Fiction with Michael Cook and Science Fiction, Fantasy and Weird Fiction Index with Bill Contento. He’s deserved this award for a long time.

   PulpFest is known for its panels, and there was a full slate of daytime and evening programming. During the evening there were several panels dealing with the Thrilling magazine group, Leo Margulies, Weird Tales, and the Cthulhu Mythos. I have never attended the daytime panels and discussions because of my collecting and dealing activities in the dealer’s room. When the room closes at 5:00 pm, then I eat and attend the evening programs. However this year there was a subject being discussed during the day that I had to attend.

   For the first time in over 40 years, I closed my table and walked out of the dealer’s room to attend the daytime discussion being given by Mike Hunchback, the author of Pulp Macabre: The Art of Lee Brown Coye. Recently three books have been published about this excellent and unusual artist and Pulp Macabre covers his last years when he was illustrating not only books but Whispers magazine and Fantastic. I highly recommend this book.

   One of the problems in recent years has centered around the lack of living men and women who wrote or drew for the pulps. This year they found a surviving member of the pulps in Jon Arfstrom. He is just about the only surviving artist of the great Weird Tales. David Saunders interviewed him and Mr. Arfstrom had a table where you could buy some of his original art. Unfortunately Weird Tales had a policy of not returning the art to the artist, and he had no examples to show or sell. David Saunders also gave an excellent talk on the pulp artist, Rudolph Belarski.

   Usually, if you want to see movies, you have to attend Windy City but this year PulpFest had such Lovecraft influenced films as Out of Mind, Pickman’s Model, The Call of Cthulhu, Cool Air, and The Whisperer in the Darkness.

   The big new issue of Blood n Thunder made its debut. You can order issue number 45, Summer 2015 from amazon.com or the Murania Press site. It has a very valuable and interesting long article on one of the greatest of the pulp magazines, twenty pages on Famous Fantastic Mysteries, and since it is part one, there will be a second part to read and enjoy.

   The Pulpster also was given to each attendee and it’s a big magazine edited by William Lampkin. Articles discuss Erle Stanley Gardner, Street & Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, the Thrilling group of magazines, Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson, and other subjects.

   Next year’s convention will be held again in Columbus, Ohio. Dates are July 21-24, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency hotel. Keep an eye on the pulpfest.com site for details. This is a must attend event if you read or collect the pulps. I’ve tried to give an idea of just how much fun this convention is and frankly I don’t see how you can miss it. I ought to know; I’ve been attending them almost every year since 1972 and I have a house full of pulps, books, and art to prove it!

   You too can be a slave to bibliomania by attending Pulpfest and Windy City. I’ll end my report on this great convention by thanking the members of the Pulpfest committee: Mike Chomko, Jack Cullers, Sally Cullers, Barry Traylor, and Chuck Welch. Thank you and the other volunteers for all your hard work and dedication. Believe me, it’s worth it…

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