Rediscovered: More Cap Shaw

A few days ago Brian Leno sent in scans of a book he has that comes from the library of famed Black Mask editor Joseph T. “Cap” Shaw — nothing less than the Hammett-edited Creeps by Night.

Today he sends in somewhat blurry (Leno is no techno-wizard) evidence of another book he has secured, this time one Shaw gave away as a presentation copy. Another primo item: the landmark 1946 anthology The Hard-Boiled Omnibus compiled by Shaw.

“Anyway,” Leno notes of his recent acquisition, “now I have a book he once owned, and a book he once gave away.”

Plus he landed a bonus item of ephemera with a little card requesting reaction to the book from the publisher, Simon and Schuster.

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Rediscovered: A Shadow Puzzle

Brian Leno greets me this morning with a puzzler.

“A little quiz for the Mean Streets, Don: Which of these three does not belong?”

The reboot or reimagining or defunding of The Shadow by James Patterson came out the other day. I had thought about giving it a shot, and then I saw the cover. The only thought I could process was Where the fuck is HIS HAT???

Someone in our ragtag little group will have to at least skim the new book to see how bad it is (I volunteer Leno), but each new report and rumor provides less hope.

Tom Krabacher just told me, “I’ve heard that in addition to not wearing his slouch hat — plus now toting around a teen-age sidekick — the Patterson Shadow  goes about unarmed and DOES NOT carry his brace of .45’s. This is getting so d*mned sacrilegious. . . .”

I realize the book probably will make money, but why bother?

No hat and no guns, that’s not The Shadow.

My prediction as of this moment is that Jack Kerouac did a much hotter version in his tribute to the Shadow pulp, written while staying with William S. Burroughs in Mexico City in 1952: Doctor Sax.

If you’re going to completely rework the character, make something like literature out of it.

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Rediscovered: Lost Quinn (and Hall)

The noted book and pulp collector Kevin Cook doesn’t want you to think that Brian Leno is the only guy who has so much stuff in his collection he doesn’t know what he has — hell, no!

Here’s Kevin with a report from the depths of his collection:

The post you put up about Brian Leno’s Adventure issue really resonated with me.

About six or seven years ago in an auction an item came up that I thought was really neat: Conrad Rupert’s Christmas 1938 printing of Roads by Seabury Quinn. The Weird Tales connection definitely convinced me that I should own a copy.

I ended up going back and forth with another bidder and before I knew it the price was in excess of $500.00, and then the thought struck me that I probably did not really need a copy — although it would have been nice to have one.

I stopped bidding.

Lo and behold, when I unpacked the boxes for my library after we moved to South Carolina in spring 2018, there was a copy of that first printing of Roads.

I have zero memory of how or when I bought it. From the box it was in, I had it prior to that auction.

We’ve covered the subsequent Arkham House edition of Roads on the blog before — Brian Leno now owns the copy that once belonged to Jack Palance.

After relocating from the New York City area and unboxing all his books and pulps to put them on display in a customized library, Kevin was sure he now could find everything. But no.

Kevin again:

You may recall my past comments that I have too much stuff and cannot always keep track of it. I just discovered that I own the check from Munsey to Austin Hall for his share of The Blind Spot that he co-authored with Homer Eon Flint. The novel was serialized in Argosy All-Story Weekly in May 1921, meaning that its 100 year anniversary was a couple of months ago.

If I had seen it in time I would have sent it to you for the blog on the anniversary.

It would have been appropriate too because we already used a Homer Eon Flint check a few years ago.

What I do is place the check in an envelope and slip it into the bagged issue of the magazine where the story was first printed; it’s on top of the cover so I cannot miss seeing it.

Obviously, though, if my brain does not connect to the fact that I should be looking for the magazine, it does not turn up.

The sad point here is that there are probably other examples whose existence I am completely unaware of at this moment.

I cannot even recall buying the Hall check, although it was probably at a pulp convention auction.

T-o-o  m-u-c-h  s-t-u-f-f !

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Sinister Cinema: Juggling The Glass Key and Red Harvest

Today Evan Lewis in his digging through digital archives pulls up some interesting news articles from 1941, covering the birth of a film version of Hammett’s Red Harvest.

Hollywood had decided not to do a new version of The Glass Key. So they were working Red Harvest into the schedule, to star Brian Donlevy and Paulette Goddard — with the hot young actor Alan Ladd as the third-billed player.

By the time a movie was made for a 1942 release, it was The Glass Key — with Donlevy still top-billed, although anyone can see third-billed Alan Ladd is the star. Somewhere in there Goddard was replaced with Veronica Lake (second billed).

Lake and Ladd — hot young stars fresh off This Gun for Hire, released earlier in 1942.

The creative — and commercial — foment of Tinseltown.

And the Alan Ladd Red Harvest, yet another lost film.

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Rediscovered: Slide Redux into the O.P. Column

Keeping casual track of the Pilgrim’s Progress of my Kid Protégé John D. Haefele, I was surprised a couple of days ago to notice that his 2010 monograph August Derleth Redux had slipped out-of-print.

I popped the news to him, and Haefele replied: “Amazing! After seeing multiple copies available on every site for it seems like forever, suddenly they are gone from ABE, Amazon, and eBay.”

Yeah, I noticed that Amazon lists it as Out of Print-Limited Availability — which I think translates as, Good luck finding one, compadres.

With a reported print run of strictly 150 copies, not everyone will be able to track it down. Not as bad as his Cimmerian Library booklet at around 100 copies. Amazon just says Currently Unavailable on that one. No shit.

And what may be his first book, an Arkham House bibliography, ought to prove even more difficult — with only 45 numbered copies. John Gunnison has one on the block for $100.

Seems like a lot, but then. . . .

The first book from the author of Lovecraft: The Great Tales. . . .

It’ll be fun to watch the proceedings.

And don’t forget that Redux sports a rousing one-page intro by me, as I took the fledgling author under my wing and kicked him out of the nest into the wide world of books.

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Rediscovered: Lost Adventure

Brian Leno has been ditching unwanted odds and ends on eBay, Stephen King and stuff like that, saleable at the moment (but what savant would bet money on those books keeping their value, long-term?) — which led to him sending in this sad tale:

Was digging through the darkest areas of the Leno horde, looking for stuff to sell, and I came upon this item:

Adventure. March 20, 1924. 

Noteworthy because of Robert E. Howard’s letter requesting information on the Mongolians.

I’ve been looking for this pulp on the book sites for a long time.

Forgot I had it.

Is it right that someone like me collects books?

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Hammett: Collecting Creeps by Night

Autograph Hound Super-Sunday again, in this instance spurred on by Terry Zobeck mentioning to me that he finally landed a copy of the Hammett-edited Creeps by Night in dustjacket — after years of having it as a Grail Item on his Want List.

I then mentioned the find to Brian Leno, who told me he has a copy of Creeps, too.

No dustjacket.

However, it’s the copy once owned by famous Black Mask editor Joseph T. Shaw. Brian says:

Inscribed to Shaw by J. Paul Suter, whose story “Beyond the Door” is included.
Would have been nice to be additionally signed by Faulkner and Hammett, but I’m happy.

Not bad, right?

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Hammett: #MeToo 2

Awhile back I linked to a set of contemporary newsprint articles on Hammett and the assault on Elise De Viane. At that moment Cosby had been thrown in the hoosegow — and now he’s out. The weird meanderings of history-in-the-making. . . .

Michael S. Chong just hit my inbox with another piece on “Whatever Happened to Elise De Viane?” from CrimeReads, if you want to explore more of the story. Probably goes on too long — Tl;dr — for most people, but you can skim around and get the main points.

And don’t miss the Comments, where Nathan Ward slugs out a defense against a little attack made in passing on his book The Lost Detective. (One reason I merely skimmed the article is that the guy seems to use the Joan Mellen biography of Hammett as his main go-to. Please. She makes up entire conversations between Hammett and Lillian Hellman when they’re sitting in the back seat of cabs. Among other improbabilities.)

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Rediscovered: 50th Anniversaries

And as an inevitable footnote to the celebration of Donald Sidney-Fryer’s 1971 book Songs and Sonnets Atlantean reaching its fiftieth anniversary, obviously the death of his publisher August Derleth only weeks after release would have occurred fifty years ago, as well — July 4, 1971.

A large part of the mystique of S&SA consists of the fact that by chance and happenstance it was the last Arkham House book released under the personal guidance of Derleth. As I once noted in Firsts: The Book Collectors Magazine, by one calculus of collecting you could begin your set of Arkham House books with Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others from 1939 and close it down with S&SA.

The Derleth Years.

A good run.

Over on the DMR blog Deuce Richardson handled the landmark anniversary of Derleth’s death yesterday. If interested in this sort of arcane literary material, surf over and check it out. Many intriguing points — perhaps my favorite being the note that Derleth did what he did in real time, which is to say editing collections of modern science fiction when the genre was emerging from the pulp magazines and the top talents weren’t as yet deified. Battling to get recognition for Lovecraft when he had only the most tentative toeholds on cultural standing.

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Rediscovered: Sidney-Fryer to Sabato

The month kicked off with talk about Donald Sidney-Fryer’s book Songs and Sonnets Atlantean and we may as well whip out a Worm Ouroborus move by going out with yet more DSF and S&SA to sign off June.

Martin Stever has been on the tour in years past, and keeps his thumb on the pulse by checking Mean Streets — he just shipped in the image above of the inscription in his copy of S&SA after reading my account of picking up a variety of inscribed copies.

The Stever copy is pretty interesting. Obviously one of an unknown number of copies DSF flat-signed with his name and title as Last of the Courtly Poets. Until better evidence shows up, I think of these copies as signed early in the life of the book.

Looks like a flat-signed copy was taken up and the actual inscription added later — different pen, pretty obvious even if you’re not Sherlock Holmes. The holograph strikes me as more typical of DSF’s hand a few years after the summer 1971 release, but we won’t get into the forensics now. With the colored pen DSF added a little paraph as a flourish to the final “d” in Donald, made the dash much bolder in the Sidney-Fryer (I wonder if the original dash struck him as just not marked enough — or possibly he may have signed some copies without the dash, just his birth name Donald Sidney Fryer, and needed to update it). And he followed Poets with a period — I’ve seen other flat-signed autographs with and without the period.

Martin’s copy once belonged to Sabato Fiorello, pretty famous as a Gay Artist (since it’s Pride Month, quite fitting for this occasion). He died January 13, 2017 at the age of 79. I’ll have to check with Martin to see if he landed the item after the estate was broken up, or if it had gone out into the marketplace earlier.

If you read DSF’s autobio Hobgoblin Apollo you’ll get some of his history as a Gay Man, or as I think of it in his case, Mostly Gay (like “Mostly dead” in The Princess Bride).

Fritz Leiber was telling me once how L. Sprague de Camp (pronounced El Spray guh dee Kamp) kept asking him after seeing DSF do his flamboyant poetry performance at the First World Fantasy Convention in Providence, 1975: “Honest, that Donald Sidney-Fryer was in the Marines???!!!”

Sure. Check his autobio. The Marines. You can be a Marine and a Last Courtly Poet, too. A bit too complicated for a linear thinker like de Camp, perhaps.

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