Rediscovered: Race Williams Lamps a Flivver


How about another volley in my Great Flivver War of 2015 against the dummy dumb dumbos in Robert E. Howard fandom who don’t know that a flivver is a Ford (and usually a Model T Ford)?

As I told them, I have many years expertise in the lingo of the era courtesy of Hammett’s stories and related reading, so why they would take their info from superficial online sources vs. me, I do not know. Howard fandom always has had more than its fair share of the uninformed and, regrettably, has never shaken them off.

I think that today there may be more Comic Book Dinks and Ack/Wanks in the mob than ever.

For people who appreciate knowledge gleaned straight from the day, I’m here to report that I am chipping my way through the monumental Them That Lives by Their Guns, the first volume of collected Race Williams detective yarns by Carroll John Daly. I’m doing it all fair and square, story by story. I may have to do interim reports from time to time on my findings, because this baby’s got more bulk to it than War and Peace.

After looking over the intro and miscellaneous matter in the back, I set to and did a reread on the very first Race adventure, “Knights of the Open Palm” from Black Mask for June 1, 1923. I’ve read it before, but some years have passed since — and as I said, I’m giving Daly the fair and square.

So, what do you think — would one of the major writers for The Mask know that a Ford is a flivver? You know, like everyone else on earth with some sharps?

Sure. I noticed this moment as Race is lurking in the woods, waiting his chance to infiltrate a Klan-style meeting, as various cars roll up and the riders step out to put on their robes:

After that I waited near an hour and then my man comes; all alone in a Ford he is and in some hurry. He don’t even get out of the flivver, but tries to do the lightning change right in the car.

Straight from the heartland of the Pulp Jungle from 1923.

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