January 22. Birthday number 114 for the Texas pulpster Robert E. Howard (1906-1936), one of the favorite tough guy writers here on These Mean Streets.
What could we do to fire up an ebony candle to his memory?
I didn’t have anything particular in mind, but then pulp expert John Locke jumped into the fray.
“One of my sub-hobbies is spotting pulp mags in movies,” John just wrote to inform me. “My latest is a doozie.
“It shows a Navy man reading a Fight Stories.
“Better yet, the issue has a Sailor Steve Costigan story by Howard.
“Therefore, in the alternate reality of Planet Celluloid, this is film of an actual sailor reading a Sailor Steve story fresh in 1930.”
Got that? A copy of Fight Stories for March 1930 — containing the tale of fisticuffs “Sailor’s Grudge” featuring Costigan.
Showing up hot off the presses in the Robert Montgomery movie Shipmates, released in 1931.
A Robert E. Howard pulp in a movie — in his lifetime.