Somewhere a Roscoe: Dan Turner and SPICY DETECTIVE

Jun 13, 2017 by

“From the window that opened onto the roof-top sun deck a roscoe sneezed: Ka-Chow! Chowpf! and a red-hot hornet creased its stinger across my dome; bashed me to dreamland.”

That’s Robert Leslie Bellem communicating through Hollywood gumshoe Dan Turner. The story is “Lake of the Left-Hand Moon,” originally published in the December 1943 issue of HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE.

Born in Philadelphia and trained as a newspaper reporter, Bellem began writing for the pulps in 1928. “I was thumbing through a magazine one day. I stumbled on an illustration to a story . . . It depicted two or three native South Seas island gals — clad in no more than the law allowed — surrounding one rather embarrassed-looking beachcomber. I squinted at the daub and got a definite inward reaction. I sat down at my typewriter and batted off ‘Eden Island,’ a sex yarn. It was the first sex farce I’d ever written. I sent it to PEP. They bought it and yelled for more of the same. That’s four years ago — now I sell about five or six sex farces a month, and hardly get time to write anything else!”

In 1934, Harry Donenfeld’s Culture Publications introduced SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES. Edited by Frank Armer, the former publisher of PEP, Bellem would be on board from day one, penning the adventures of Dan Turner, “six feet plus and one hundred ninety pounds of wisecracking, .38 toting, whisky-swilling, womanizing private eye.” The character would go on to fight, shoot, and kiss his way through a “good two hundred tales,” published in SPICY and SPEED DETECTIVE STORIES, as well as HOLLYWOOD DETECTIVE STORIES.

A prolific writer, Robert Leslie Bellem “knocked out hundreds of other stories, at one stretch selling about a million words of fiction per year.”

He wrote a variety of fiction including adventure, detective, western, mystery, weird and of course the sex farces. During the 1930s Bellem regularly appeared in the Trojan/Culture pulps SPICY DETECTIVE, SPICY MYSTERY, SPICY-ADVENTURE and PRIVATE DETECTIVE (and their later incarnations as the SPEED titles) both under his own name and a stable of pennames. On more than one occasion an entire issue of a pulp was comprised of works by Bellem under several names. Bellem also published fiction in REAL DETECTIVE STORIES, DETECTIVE FICTION WEEKLY, THRILLING DETECTIVE, MAMMOTH DETECTIVE, THE GHOST, THRILLING SPY STORIES, SUPER DETECTIVE, and POPULAR DETECTIVE, to name a few.

As the pulp market contracted and died, Bellem turned to the television industry, scripting for DICK TRACY, PERRY MASON, THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, 77 SUNSET STRIP, CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT, THE F.B.I., BROKEN ARROW, WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE, DEATH VALLEY DAYS, THE MILLIONAIRE, and others.

Join PulpFest 2017 on Thursday, July 27, at 9:40 PM as we welcome author, editor, and publisher John Wooley for a look at Robert Leslie Bellem and Dan Turner. Immediately following John’s talk, members of the Pulp-Pourri Theatre will perform a reading from one of Bellem’s entertaining tales of “Hollywood, U.S.A.’s number one gumshoe.”

One of the first books John Wooley sold — to Bowling Green State University Popular Press — was a collection of Dan Turner stories. He has since written, co-written, or edited over three dozen books, including the current HOMICIDE HIGHBALL: THE LOST DAN TURNER MOVIE SCRIPT (Bold Venture Press), which spotlights the alternative screenplay for the Dan Turner made-for-TV movie. John has also written comic books, trading cards, and thousands of magazine and newspaper stories, most of them in conjunction with his work as the music and horror-movie writer for the TULSA WORLD, a position he held from 1983 through 2006. Winner of the Lamont Award in 2006, Wooley is co-owner, with John McMahan, of the pulp-related Reverse Karma Press. In 2015, John was inducted into the Oklahoma Historians’ Hall of Fame.

(Beside the outrageous writing of Robert Leslie Bellem and his peers who wrote for Culture Publications, the Spicy line of pulp magazines is collected for the pulp art of the talented H. J. Ward and others. Ward contributed the cover illustration for the December 1937 number of SPICY DETECTIVE STORIESThe artist began working in the pulp industry in 1931, selling freelance pulp covers to many different publishers, including Munsey, Dell, Popular. However, the majority of his work was published by Culture/Trojan. Ward became the publisher’s top artist.

Many thanks to Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books for his highly informative afterword to CORPSE ON ICE, quoted in this article.)

 

Saturday at PulpFest

Jul 23, 2016 by

Argosy 20-06-12There’s still time to get in on the action. The PulpFest dealers’ room will be open today from 10 AM until 4:45 PM. Located in Battelle South exhibition hall on the third floor of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, our dealers’ room will feature exhibitors selling and trading pulp magazines and related materials, digests, vintage paperbacks, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first-edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age as well as pulp-related comic books and games. That’s why PulpFest is known as the “pop culture center of the universe!”

Single-day memberships to PulpFest will be available for $20 for Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. Members will be able to register for the convention at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. You can download a copy by clicking here. Paper forms will also be available at the door. Those who have prepaid for their memberships, will also be able to pick up their registration packets at our door. Please visit our registration page for further details.

For those visiting PulpFest for the day, you can also use the Chestnut Street Garage for parking. Rates vary based on time, but at this writing, $14 will get you a day’s parking. Additional parking is available at the Convention Center underground garage. Again, rates are time-based and, at this writing, $14 will get you parking for 12 hours with no in and out privileges. Click here for a more detailed look at parking near the Hyatt Regency. Alternately, if you don’t mind walking a few blocks, there are many inexpensive options. Click here for an interactive parking map of Columbus and search near 350 North High Street.

Our Saturday afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with our New Fictioneers readings. Afterward, Ron Fortier will moderate a New Pulp Fiction Panel on “Writing Hero Pulp.” It will be followed by a presentation on Anthony Tollin’s Sanctum Books featuring Mr. Tollin and Doc Savage author Will Murray.

Amazing Stories 70-05For pulp fans who like games, gaming fans who like pulps, or just people who like to have fun, PulpFest 2016 will be organizing a gaming track. Many of the themes found in the world of modern games resonate from the pulps and the stories published in those magazines. There are games based on Conan, the Cthulhu Mythos, space operas such as Doc Smith’s Lensman series, westerns, mysteries and, of course, the pulp heroes. Role-playing games, or RPGs, are especially noted for quick action, cliff-hangers, and adventure.

The PulpFest 2016 gaming track will begin at 10 AM on Saturday and last until 10 PM or thereabouts. All games will be set up in the Clark Room, located on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. The only requirements to play games at PulpFest 2016 are a PulpFest membership, your imagination, and a desire to have a good time. So if you enjoy pulps and you enjoy games, PulpFest will be the place to be.

Come out to PulpFest 2016 where you can explore our substantial dealers’ room and find exciting pulp fiction and books to read. Then stop by our game room where you can save Earth from aliens, explore new planets circling far-flung stars, or seek out ancient artifacts and knowledge.  You’ll learn how to play a variety of new games and “boldly go where no man has gone before.”

The PulpFest dealers’ room will closing be at 4:45 PM today. This should allow plenty of time for people to prepare for our Saturday Night Dinner at Dick’s Last Resort, a get-together arranged by registration and volunteer coordinator Sally Cullers. Dick’s is located at 343 North Front Street, just a few minutes’ walk from the Hyatt Regency Columbus in the Arena District. If you don’t plan to attend PulpFest‘s group meal, there are plenty of other restaurants close to the hotel. You’ll find a guide to the many fine downtown restaurants by clicking here.

Saturday evening’s events will include the PulpFest 2016 Business Meeting. Two lucky PulpFest members who prepay for their membership, book a room for three nights at our host hotel, and choose to attend our business meeting will receive free memberships to PulpFest 2017. You must provide proof of your stay at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and be present at the drawing to receive your prize. It will be followed by the 2016 Munsey Award Presentation.

Our programming for Saturday evening will include Our Guest of Honor presentation, featuring science fiction author and pulp fan Ted White. The editor emeritus of AMAZING STORIES, Mr. White will speak about his career, AMAZING STORIES, science fiction fandom, the pulps, and much, much more from 7:30 to 8:15 in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency. Pulp collector and scholar Doug Ellis — the co-founder of the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention — will also be on hand with a presentation on 120 Years of THE ARGOSY — The World’s First Pulp Magazine. All PulpFest members are very much welcome to attend.

Our evening will conclude with the annual PulpFest Saturday Night Auction. Featuring material consigned by our membership, any member of PulpFest 2016 can submit items to the auction. Your PulpFest badge number will be used as your auction bidder and/or seller number. All lots submitted must have a minimum value of $20. All lots that do not receive a bid of $20 or more will be passed. If you plan to offer an auction lot with a reserve price, your reserve must be $50 or more. No lots with a reserve price of less than $50 will be accepted. PulpFest reserves the right to reject any auction material that is unlikely to meet our minimum bid or reserve price standards as well as our content standards. The convention charges sellers 10% of the selling price for anything sold in the auction.We will begin taking consignments for the auction when our dealers’ room opens at 10 AM. Barry will be accepting material for our auction near the entrance to the PulpFest dealers’ room. The sooner you submit your consignment to our auction coordinator, Barry Traylor, the more likely that it will be included in our auction. All auction lots must be submitted to Barry prior to 2 PM on Saturday, July 23. For additional information, please click on the auction link on our programming schedule.

Spicy Adventure Stories (July 1935)Click on the “Our Auction” link under our homepage banner for highlights of this year’s auction. We’ll have a half-dozen early Arkham House books, including a very collectible copy of H. P. Lovecraft’s THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS. We’ll also have over two hundred pulps from the collection of the late Woody Hagadish.

You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by clicking the 2016 Schedule Button found at the top of our home page. Each event on the schedule is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title.

If you are not from the Columbus area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-888-421-1442 to reach the Hyatt Regency. Perhaps there has been a cancellation. Alternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor  or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Other sites include www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.phpcourtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, and the Experience Columbus lodging page at http://www.experiencecolumbus.com/stay.

PulpFest 2016 will continue tomorrow. Our dealers’ room will be open to all members from 10 AM to 2 PM as our exhibitors pack up. If you are coming just for the day, please be aware that buying and selling opportunities may be limited. Admission to the convention for Sunday, July 24, will be $10, the cost of our annual program book, THE PULPSTER.

Please join us in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” You’ll have a FANTASTIC time!

(Although Harold Lamb’s “The Caravan of the Dead” was the cover feature to the June 12, 1920 ARGOSY — featuring front cover art by Fred W. Small — the real highlight of the issue was Murray Leinster’s novelette “The Mad Planet.” Often anthologized, Leinster’s story was called “One of the greatest Munsey scientific romances” by science fiction historian Sam Moskowitz. Pulp scholar Doug Ellis will be discussing such highlights in his presentation on ARGOSY on Saturday, July 23.

Our guest of honor, Ted White, served as the editor of AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC from October 1968 until October 1978, upgrading the quality of both magazine’s fiction while showcasing a variety of talented illustrators. One such artist was John Pederson, Jr., whose front cover for the May 1970 AMAZING STORIES was the first original cover painting for White’s magazine. Pederson would paint a half dozen covers for AMAZING and its companion. He also contributed covers to GALAXY, IF, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, and WORLDS OF TOMORROW.

Granted, the PulpFest auctions are a bit more tame than the sale of a slave girl, painted by the incomparable H. J. Ward’s as the cover for the July 1935 issue of SPICY ADVENTURE STORIES. Nevertheless our auctions are quite exciting. Plan to attend PulpFest 2016 and find out for yourself why it’s called “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!”)

Head North Young Pulp Fan

Apr 11, 2016 by

2016 Fantastic Pulps Show & SaleThe Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale is celebrating its 20th year! The show is held annually in the lower level of the Lillian H. Smith Branch of the Toronto Public Library, 239 College Street in Toronto, Ontario.

A small but terrific show featuring a wide variety of pulp and pulp-related items, you’ll find over twenty-five dealers’ tables crammed with collectible pulp magazines, pulp reprints, vintage paperbacks, posters, and other ephemera. There’s also a half-hour pulp magazine cover slide show. It’s a great time for both serious pulp collectors as well as the casually interested, with lots of great stuff to see!

Admission is only $3, with tickets available at the door. Children under ten are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

So if you reside in the states, grab your passport, and head north to Ontario for the Fantastic Pulps Show & Sale on Saturday, May 7th, beginning at 10 AM and running until 4 PM. For additional details, you can email Neil or Leigh Mechem at info@girasolcollectables.com or call 905-820-7572. Please tell ’em that PulpFest sent you.

(This year’s Fantastic Pulps poster — designed by Neil and Leigh Mechem — features the art of the great H. J. Ward, the leading artist for the spicys. It originally appeared on the cover to the November 1936 issue of SPICY-ADVENTURE STORIES, a pulp magazine published by Harry Donenfeld’s Trojan or Culture Publications. To learn more about the spicy pulps, please visit The Pulp Magazines Project.

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