Friday, April 29, 2011

PULP COVERS: Lesser Known Western Pulps

In honor of the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival that is going on right now at Melody Ranch, here are some covers of some of the more obscure Western pulps - for the most part, these magazines never ran more than 5 issues.

If you are going to the Festival, I'll be signing copies of PULP WRITER at the Buckaroo Book Shop starting at 11 AM.

And if you want more information about the Festival, go here for all the goods.











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Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival is Here!

The Cowboy Festival is going on now and will be going full throttle through Sunday.

I'll be there both days, signing copies of PULP WRITER and taking orders for RIDING THE PULP TRAIL, at the Buckaroo Book shop starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday. I'll also be participating in a panel at 2 p.m. at the same location on the topic of "True Grit."

Hope you all can come out and enjoy Melody Ranch over the weekend. It promises to be a great event.

For more information on the festival, go to the official website here.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Royal Wedding, Pulp Fiction Style

To celebrate the Royal Wedding on Friday, here are a sample of British pulp magazines through the years. Most of these were sister publications to those that originated in the United States, and many were reprints of stories that had appeared first in the Yankee counterparts.










TEXAS RANGERS, December 1943



WEST, March 1928


WINGS, August 1935

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sale Prices from the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention Auction

The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, held annually in Chicago, is known for having great auctions full of stunning pulp magazines for sale, many from the collections of some of the finest collectors in the world. Judging from what I've heard and from the list below, it looks like this year's auction (held last weekend) was no exception. Most of the collection came from the estate of well-known collector and comic authority Jerry Weist, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

Many, many thanks to Barry Traylor, who was kind and patient enough to sit through the auction and jot down the winning prices. The only ones he wasn't able to get were some of the Edgar Rice Burroughs books.

Each lot has a handwritten number written at the end of the description: that is the price - in dollars - it sold for. If you do a double take, you're not alone.

You can click on each page to get a bigger view.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pulp Artists: Al Savitt (and a Wonderful Discovery)

A few months ago I ran a Pulp Artists post on Sam Savitt, the famous equine artists who also did some interior work for various pulp magazines.

A few weeks ago I received a very nice email from Helen Ross-Long. Helen writes:

"I came across your blog today and found it very interesting. My uncle was Sam Savitt, a great equestrian illustrator. My other uncle, Al Savitt, was also a noted artist and illustrator. Though his fame was not as great as Sam, he nevertheless created beautiful artwork."

Here is a photo of Helen and Al, taken from her web site:

As it turns out, Al did a great many more interior illustrations than Sam (at least according to Fiction Mags Index). Al's artwork appeared in FIGHTING WESTERN, THRILLING WESTERN, EXCITING WESTERN, SPEED WESTERN, THE RIO KID WESTERN, and POPULAR WESTERN, among others.

On a hunch, I pulled out the copies of the pulps I have that have Paul Powers' stories from the post-WILD WEST WEEKLY era. What do you know: From my collection, two of Al's illustrations accompany Paul Powers stories!

One is in this THRILLING WESTERN issue from July 1948, accompanying the story "A Pard for Navajo Jack" (which, by the way, is included in the new Paul Powers collection RIDING THE PULP TRAIL):

The other accompany a story "Kid Marshall" in the July 1947 issue of THRILLING WESTERN:

Helen has a wonderful web site dedicated to Al at and she very generously allowed me to copy the biography she has on a website dedicated to her uncle. Here is the biography:

"Alfred Savitt was born to Rose and Hyman Savitz on August 10th, 1922 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. This was a very close and loving family. Al was the third of four children, Sally, the eldest, Sam, Alfred and Evelyn, the youngest. Alfred and his brother, Sam changed their last name to 'Savitt'.

Al was a quiet child who loved to draw. His artistic ability became apparent at a very young age. He received lots of encouragement, and was influenced greatly by his brother Sam, an exceptionally talented artist. During high school Al was also greatly influenced by an art teacher who helped direct him towards a career in the art field.

In the summer, Al would find jobs in order to pay for his art supplies. A neighbor had a business in which he delivered fresh vegetables to the local community by means of a horse drawn cart. Al worked for this man caring for the horse, cleaning and grooming him. This is probably where his love of the animal began.

Tragedy struck the Savitz family when Evelyn came down with a serious illness and passed away at the age of 13. Al was devastated and suffered a breakdown requiring his hospitalization.

After graduating high school in 1940 Al stayed and worked in Wilkes Barre. He would often travel with his family to Old Forge, Pennsylvania to visit relatives. There he would walk to the local farms and watch the horses, how they cared for their young, how they related to each other and their owner. Al's love of horses grew during these visits, always admiring their beauty and grace.

During the 1940s Al met a man who owned a ranch in Idaho. They became friends and Al was invited to Idaho to work on the ranch. Still mourning the loss of his young sister Evelyn with whom he was very close, he decided to move to Idaho feeling the change would be beneficial. He lived and worked on the ranch for several years, tending to cattle, repairing fences, caring for horses and other ranching jobs.

After he returned to the east, he attended and graduated from Pratt Institute in New York. Al worked and lived with his sister Sally, her husband Leon and their two children Robert and Helen for several years until the late 1950's when his sister moved to a house in upstate New York. He decided to move into Manhattan where he found a small apartment on the east side of the city.

He remained there for many years, meeting people and making connections in the art world. He was able to maintain a comfortable living through his illustrating and painting, always trying to stay within his specialty and, of course, his favorite subject horses.

It was there that he met a woman named Illiana, a known and respected art dealer. Illiana became a mentor to Al, helping him find jobs and promoting his work. Over the years Illiana and Al became very close.

During the span of time Al lived in New York, he illustrated books such as the Jed McLane series, Heroic Horses, What goes on in Horses Heads and many others. He also illustrated a series of western comics through Western Publishing Company. From 1938 to 1962, Western's comics were published with the Dell Comics imprint.

In the mid 1960's Illiana contracted Alzheimers disease. Alfred devoted himself to taking care of her, neglecting his work. As her disease worsened, Al spent more time with her, taking classes on Alzheimers care and attending support groups. He remained by her side, taking on the total responsibility of her nursing care and did so until her death.

Al spent a lot of time visiting his brother Sam, who lived in North Salem, New York and owned a small horse farm. Alfred would travel back and forth from the city, spending more and more time with his brother, helping with the horses but doing very little artwork. After Sam’s death in 2000, Alfred's health deteriorated.

Now approaching the age of 80 and no longer able to properly take care of himself, Al went to live with his nephew Robert, his wife Laura and their son Kyle, where he remained for several years until his condition required close supervision and hospitalization.

In 2001, Alfred was diagnosed with Alzheimers. He passed away in March, 2009. We will always remember a kind, thoughtful and caring person, and a wonderful uncle whose passion was to draw and paint what he loved so much, horses."

I encourage you to go over the the Al Savitt web site and check out his art work. In addition, Helen has compiled a beautiful book of Al's work in a book called HORSES - A LIFE'S WORK, and it's available for sale through the web site.

Thank you, Helen, for contacting me. Another wonderful connection made through the pulp world and the Internet!

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pulp Covers: The Lone Ranger (with some movie gossip)

The new Lone Ranger movie is still very far off: the scheduled release is 2014. Of course, there's all kind of buzz going on because Johnny Depp has been tapped to play Tonto. For a while it was rumored that Ryan Gosling would play The Lone Ranger, but it was announced a few days ago that he's out of the project due to his schedule.

Gore Verbinski of Pirates of the Caribbean is directing the film. The fact that Disney is backing this makes me a little troubled. I'm thinking amusement park rides, video games, merchandising....but then how does a big movie get made nowadays without all that?

On a positive note, ScreenRant posted producer Jerry Bruckheimer's logo for the movie, which is pretty cool - reminiscent of the original series.

According to the Wikipedia page on the Lone Ranger , this new movie has been in development hell since 2002. It's been through several rewrites, (at least three) and early on there was even discussion to change Tonto character to a female love interest. Really?? It seems that the only constant over the past few years has been the commitment of Johnny Depp to the project.

I found it quite interesting that the Wikipedia entry, which lists at great lengths all of the television shows, films, radio programs, serials, toys, and comic books for the Lone Ranger, doesn't mention the fact that the Lone Ranger had his own pulp magazine.

The LONE RANGER pulp magazine lasted for only 8 issues, although there are 9 covers listed on the Galactic Central site - the first one being from August 1936 and is an "ash can" issue. (Can someone clue us in on the term "ash can" for pulps?). The first issue was April 1937, and it ran monthly until November of that year. The ADVENTURE HOUSE GUIDE TO PULPS shows the publisher as Trojan Publishing Corp.

Here are some of the covers.

August 1936

April 1937

July 1937

August 1937

September 1937

Let's just hope that the new Lone Ranger movie goes the way of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and not the latest Sherlock Holmes movie. Or the Green Hornet movie, or the Spiderman Broadway production, or......

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