Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Morning Western Pulp: Star Western, October 1953

We were talking about this issue on the WesternPulps group the other day, so I thought I'd use it for this week's pulp cover. By this time STAR WESTERN had been around for about twenty years and was considered one of the top Western pulps, but I'd be willing to bet that sales had dropped off some by that point. The magazine seems to be going for some of the RANCH ROMANCES market with that above-the-title banner "Big Romances of the West". Regardless of the slant, this looks like a fine issue with stories by good authors such as William Heuman, Frank Castle, Jonathan Craig (better known for his hardboiled mysteries and police procedural novels), and Will Cook. I'm not familiar with Charles Beckman Jr., the author of the lead novel, but it made for good cover fodder. There's also a poem by the ubiquitous S. Omar Barker and a few other stories. My favorite title in the issue: Craig's "Honkatonk Hussy". And the reason we were talking about this on WesternPulps is that it was reprinted in part as the British edition of WESTERN STORY for October 1956, with the addition of a story by Ed La Vanway that doesn't appear in the American STAR WESTERN version.


Walker Martin said...

You are right about sales must have been dropping off. By the early 1950's, all the pulp titles were in serious trouble because of TV, paperbacks, and the digest revolution. It was just too expensive to produce a pulp magazine for only 25 cents when you could sell more copies at a cheaper price by printing digests and paperbacks.

STAR WESTERN lasted 218 issues and finally bit the dust with the last issue dated September 1954.

Anonymous said...

I ran across your comment about your unfamiliarity with my husband, who wrote as Charles Beckman, Jr., back in the vintage pulp days. He wrote for a wide variety of magazines in the mystery, detective, suspense, western genres. At 91, he has recently discovered the pulp fans around the country and is now putting together a collection of some of his stories. This is a do-it-yourself project, so the going is slow, but we'll get there. Just thought you might to know that an old pulp author is still among the living.By the way, his real name is Charles Boeckman. (I don't understand the significance of the choices under Choose and Identity, so I am selecting anonymous.