Saturday, May 28, 2011
Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Popular Western, March 1937
This is a pretty typical Western pulp cover from the Thirties. Lots of poker tables were overturned on pulp covers in those days. I've read very little, if anything, by two of the featured authors, Eli Colter and Forbes Parkhill. Eli Colter was actually a woman, Elizabeth Colter, who began writing action-packed stories for the Western pulps in 1925, when she was still a teenager, and kept it up until the early Fifties. Forbes Parkhill had a similar career, writing for a variety of pulps from the early Twenties to the late Forties. Tom Gunn, also featured on the cover, may have been a house-name, but the long series of stories published under that name about Sheriff Blue Steele of the town of Painted Post are generally considered to be the work of Syl McDowell, another prolific pulpster with a career ranging from the Twenties to the Fifties. I have one of the Blue Steele novels reprinted in paperback by Pocket Books but haven't read it yet. McDowell, under his own name, contributed another long series of stories to THRILLING WESTERN about a pair of incompetent cowboys called Swap and Whopper. The Swap and Whopper stories are comedic yarns and always struck me as an attempt to transplant Abbott and Costello to the Old West. I'll be honest with you: I don't like Swap and Whopper and after failing to finish many of the stories featuring them, I finally just stopped trying to get through them whenever I was reading an issue of THRILLING WESTERN. I've read some of McDowell's other stories that I thought were pretty good, though, so I still have hope for Sheriff Blue Steele.