Rediscovered: Mark Channing White Python Slugfest

Autograph Hound Saturday once more, and it looks as if the theme for the weekend is “Lost Race” John Hancockery.

You know the Lost Race genre, where one dude or another — Alan Quartermain or Tarzan, usually the athletic type — often as part of an expedition — trudge into Africa or the Himalayas or some other vast and remote fastness, and — What the Hell, indeed —stumble across a lost race from Atlantis or other exotic land, holed up in some corner somewhere — not just hanging out in a village or two like the native population. 

Both of our stalwart Autograph Hounds, Brian Leno and Kevin Cook, jump into the fray — I couldn’t hold them back. Had to let ’em both loose or they’d have torn the joint down.

Brian punches in first with the image at the top: “It might be a bit of a surprise to admit that, even though I pursued his signature, I have never read Mark Channing, and so know very little about him.  I guess some people will think I’m nuts to buy signatures of writers I’ve never read, but I’ve never read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and I continue to look for a L. Frank Baum autograph.

“Douglas A. Anderson has a pretty nice write up about Channing and includes a photo of the author. Channing spent time in India, and his books — as Anderson puts it — ‘were similar to the novels of Talbot Mundy, and their mix of adventure and Indian mysticism was popular with readers, particularly in the United States.’  

“I first heard of Channing years ago,” Brian continues, “when I was reading Talbot Mundy.

“I always liked Mundy, and so I thought I’d dip into Channing but I wanted to get his signature first. He’s not an easy find, and he can be high, usually too much for what I wanted to pay.

“But a few weeks ago I found his White Python, signed, for a very reasonable price from an U.K. dealer and that book is now in my collection.

“Which means I can begin to start reading Channing, although I’ll have to find cheap copies of his books, because I certainly don’t want to take a chance on breaking the spine or spilling something onto the signed volume.

“Any person who treasures inscribed copies knows exactly how I feel.

“I believe the inscription reads: ‘To Samuel Hopkins adorable personality and a great healer from his grateful friend and client Mark Channing Xmas 1934’ — I like Christmas signatures.

“I looked up Samuel Hopkins, if that’s who it is, and really found nothing of value that might trigger who this ‘healer’ might be.

Brian wraps it up: “Channing’s handwriting is a bit sad. The inscription is in a Hutchinson, second impression.”

I’m willing to bet that Kevin Cook’s copy is a first, because that’s how he usually rolls.

The holograph remains crummy, but it’s a double whammy signature — full “Mark Channing” after the “For [decipher the name to your heart’s content] from” and then an additional note initialed “M.C.”

Kevin says, “I believe that what he wrote was ‘All good wishes to a great sportsman!'”

Looks like the writing is on the front free endpaper, in a Hutchinson edition from 1934.

This entry was posted in Lit and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.