Saturday, November 01, 2014
Saturday Morning Western Pulp: 10 Story Western, September 1944
(This post originally appeared in different form on November 21, 2005.)
I like this one because instead of the clean-cut hero you usually find on Western pulps, this guy is one ugly, mean-looking son of a gun. A good line-up of authors, too, with Tom Roan and Cliff Farrell heading the list. The "Gipson" listed lower on the cover is Fred Gipson, author of OLD YELLER. Many of his stories appeared in the pulps. And "Emley" is Alan M. Emley, who was actually Alan LeMay, author of THE SEARCHERS.
I don't know if you can make it out in the scan or not, but just below the barrel of the gun in the character's left hand is some faint pencil scribbling that reads "BW Gardner". This pulp is from the collection of the late Barry Gardner, a good friend and an absolutely wonderful fellow who was the son of Bennie Gardner, who wrote extensively for the pulps as "Gunnison Steele". Before he passed away, Barry had collected several hundred pulps with his dad's stories in them, and I wound up with the collection. Bennie Gardner wrote some very good full-length pulp Western novels, but he was really the master of the Western short-short, packing action, a credible plot, and usually a twist ending into two or three pages. Well worth reading, if you're ever flipping through a Western pulp with a Gunnison Steele story in it. This one likely has two in it, since "Gardner" is listed on the cover and he often used Barry's name as a pseudonym as well.
This issue was lost in the fire, of course, along with the rest of Barry's pulps, but I'm glad I was able to preserve cover scans of a few of them.