Rediscovered: Belknapius Auto from 1946

We’ve done John Hancocks from Frank Belknap Long before, but recent ones, where it seemed Young Belknapius of Lovecraft Circle fame leaned more toward printing out his name.

Kevin Cook, noted book and pulp collector, and I got to wondering if his older signatures were more holographic, fancier — courtesy Kevin’s pal Dave Kurzman we’ve got a sample from 1946.

Yeah, some flow of ink between some of the letters, but not that different from his pensmanship in the 1980s.

To further Super today’s Super-Sunday Autograph Hound (Revisited) presentation, here you go.

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Rediscovered: E. Charles E. Vivian

Autograph Hound Super-Sunday (Revisited), and the noted book and pulp collector Kevin Cook returns to one of his favorite authors, “Viv.”

The shots of the jacketed books, by the way, were caught on film in the wilds of Kevin’s vast library by Victoria Cook.

Take it, Kevin:     

On a visit to the London home of legendary British science fiction and fantasy collector/dealer/ publisher and researcher extraordinaire George Locke, I was shown a pile of dust jackets and advertising material from the files of British publisher Hodder & Stoughton that George had purchased.

He told me to look through to see if there were any dust jackets that I wanted to purchase. I already had a copy of The Lady of the Terraces in dust jacket so I initially started to skip past, but my eyes seemed stuck to it.

There was something different with the jacket in my hand.

I examined it carefully.

The author’s name on the right side of the jacket was incorrect.

Instead of E. Charles Vivian, it read Charles E. Vivian. Otherwise, the jackets are completely identical except for the placement of the “E.” 

I showed it to George but he simply dismissed it as a mistake that H&S obviously corrected prior to the book’s publication. Yes, no disagreement there.

I saw something more desirable, though, purchased it, and placed it on a jacket-less copy of the book. I think that I can state that I have the only “Charles E. Vivian” dust jacket in existence.

Probably the only copy of a book with the author named as Charles E. Vivian — and Viv had a lot of pen names.

It would also have to be the first state of the jacket.

Just another one of many treasures that I can thank George for from our decades of book trades and purchases with each other.

The inscription is from the E. Charles Vivian copy.

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Rediscovered: Woolrich and Mom

Autograph Hound Saturday yet again, and I think this round we’re going to go with the theme of Revisited — John Hancocks you’ve seen here before, but different. Can’t call them new, because they’re hauled forth from Out of the Past.


Noted book and pulp collector Kevin Cook has been raining Cornell Woolrich cheques on us the last few months. Woolrich, one of the most noir of the noir guys.

But of all the Woolrich signatures in his files, Kevin has been talking about one different than all the others, and presents it today.

Kevin says, “The ‘unique’ Cornell Woolrich check in my collection is one signed by both Woolrich and his mother, Claire.

“I won it in an auction and there was no explanation for the two signatures, although the obvious supposition is that they kept at least one joint bank account.”

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Sinister Cinema: The Mummy’s Ghost

Now I’ve caught the Pulps in the Movies bug!

The other night I fell into an impromptu Mummy marathon, and personally spotted a woodpulp in the cinematic wild.

The Mummy’s Ghost (1944) with Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine, even Barton MacLane (Inspector Dundy from the Bogie Falcon) — roughly halfway in, the museum sequence. Oscar O’Shea as the museum watchman does his rounds, then sits in a chair and picks up what appears to be Detective Tales (1935-1953). And yes, soon enough the Mummy grabs his neck in that lefty stranglehold and chokes all the joy out of him, as a gloating Carradine looks on.

I checked with John Locke to see if he had that one in his queue, and of course he did. I mean, The Mummy’s Ghost — for this sort of thing, it’d be like not spotting a pulp in Citizen Kane.

And also of course, John knew which exact fictionmag pulled the cameo: “It’s the March 1942 Detective Tales.”

IMDb trivia reports the movie was shot between August 23 and September 1, 1943, so it was not quite hot off the newsstand.

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Hammett: And 90 Years Ago Today

A couple of sweet lovebirds named Sam and Brigid made woo as Alfred A. Knopf released a new novel by Dashiell Hammett.

The title? The Maltese Falcon.

Happy Valentine’s Day, you romantic saps.

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Sinister Cinema: Ghost Breakers

As the fourth presentation in his Pulps in the Movies series, John Locke introduces us to a new wrinkle in the pulp sighting game. He’s already established spotting actual wood pulp fictionmags in old movies and even relatively modern movies.

But he adds, “There are also the rare audio sightings, where someone mentions a pulp in dialog, but you don’t see the book.”

Sightings — or hearings?

I thought, okay, it won’t be easy, but I ought to be able to paste in some live audio. I’ve done a few video clips over the years, notably the songs “Lee Van Cleef” by Primus and “The Continental Op” by Rory Gallagher.

John shelled out some good news on that front: “For the audio grabs, I didn’t actually capture the audio.

“I just added subtitles to the image, like this one from The Ghost Breakers (1940).”

And so, Bob Hope makes his Mean Streets debut!

Should have been some noir ref to My Favorite Brunette, but what the hell.

In addition to the audio bit, this offering presents yet another angle on the whole Pulps in the Movies theme: the fake pulp created for purposes of the flick.

Obviously Weird Tales is the pulp being referenced — even evoked. But to keep the comedy moving and not get bogged down in rights and permissions, Bob’s line read Weird Stories.

We all know what he’s talking about, though.

And Up Next Week:

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Sinister Cinema: Fatty Paws a Blue Book

John Locke is back with “another pulp sighting for the queue,” third in his new series of Pulps in the Movies. Catch them Wednesdays here on Up and Down These Mean Streets!

This one is an example of the best kind of sighting: a pulp in a movie, and both from the same year. Fresh as fresh can be.

John says, “This scene from Mabel and Fatty’s Wash Day (1915), depicts Fatty Arbuckle in happier days, before the unfortunate events that brought him into near-contact with Hammett in late 1921.

“Here, he’s put his wife (Alice Davenport) to sleep with a story from the January 1915 Blue Book.

“We’d like to think it was Frank R. Adams’s short story ‘The White Woman’s Burden,’ but that was at the back of the issue.

“Sophisticated photogrammetry techniques reveal that he had just begun ‘The Jolt,’ by another Adams, Minnie Barbour.”

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Hammett: “The Tenth Clew”

Brian Leno just let me know that Library of America put up the Op story “The Tenth Clew” as their Story of the Week feature.

There’s a brief introduction, but we covered — or uncovered — the main points circa 2011. The inconsistency in the ending Mike Nevins spotted. The “lost” interview with Hammett Terry Zobeck found.

If you’re a New Guy, though. . . .

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Rediscovered: A Francis Stevens Pulp Gallery

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Rediscovered: Mrs. Gertrude (Francis Stevens) Bennett

Autograph Hound Super-Sunday — and noted book and pulp collector Kevin Cook is back to commemorate the passing of another of his favorite authors, 72 years ago today:

Gertrude Barrows Bennett was born on September 18, 1884 in Minneapolis, but she died in San Francisco on February 2, 1948. Another moment in the history of Literary San Francisco.  

Bennett wrote fantastic fiction under the name of Francis Stevens. The odd thing about her was that for someone who wrote so well she had no burning desire to be an author.

She wrote because she was trapped at home with an invalid mother and an infant daughter to take care of. Once her mother passed away, though, and she could get out of the house, she never wrote another published word.

There have been two glaring misconceptions about the work of Francis Stevens that have unfortunately been repeated too, too many times.

First, she did NOT write fantasy.

Her three fantastic fiction novels for Argosy, “The Citadel of Fear,” ” Claimed” and “Serapion” are all supernatural horror.

Her novel for The Thrill Book, “The Heads of Cerberus,” is parallel world/time travel, a concept sometimes referred to as “sidewise in time” — but whatever you label it, it’s still science fiction, not fantasy.

Second, H.P. Lovecraft did NOT read “The Citadel of Fear” and write glowing letters of praise to Argosy about Stevens.

This falsehood was printed  in the introductions to two Stevens books, first by Sam Moskowitz  (The Citadel of Fear, Paperback Library, 1970), repeated by Gary Hoppenstand (The Nightmare and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy, University of Nebraska Press, 2004).

An individual named Augustus T. Swift of Providence, Rhode Island did write glowing letters of praise to Argosy regarding Stevens.

However, Augustus T. Swift was NOT a pseudonym used by Providence’s own horror writer H.P. Lovecraft.

Augustus T. Swift was a real person, as evidence from census records and the Providence city directory has established. The repeat of this misconception by Hoppenstand was especially egregious because the Swift connection to Lovecraft had been debunked a full decade before his Introduction appeared in print.

These misconceptions about Stevens in books and online have bothered me for years.

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