Sunday, March 30, 2014

FREE PREVIEW: "Mr. Crockett and the Longrifle"

For a limited time, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine is offering a lengthy preview of Davy's latest adventure on their website, The Mystery Place. The screenshot above is just a sample. Davy and I would be mighty proud if you took a squint at the whole excerpt, right HERE

The whole adventure, in case I've been bashful about mentioning it, is now appearing in the May 2014 issue, available from select retailers and purveyors of fine eMagazines. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Forgotten (and FREE) Stories: Race Williams returns in "A Corpse in the Hand" by Carroll John Daly

Here's the eleventh in our continuing series of unreprinted adventures of Race Williams. (For a look at the earlier stories, click HERE.) Like most of Race's Dime adventures from this period, this one shows evidence of being part of a larger story cycle. Hopefully we'll someday be able to read them all and put them in context. 

"A Corpse in the Hand" opens with an intimate picture of Race's lifestyle:

     I'm not exactly what you'd call a nervous citizen. I sleep quietly and respectably even though I do have two apartments, except when the jack runs out. Then I have to drop the Park Avenue penthouse. The money had run out now, a more or less regular occurrence, and I was parked in my walk-up—third floor of five, with its steel door that could hardly be bashed in without awakening me as well as half the people across the Hudson in Jersey. No "soft as a feather" business would work, either. I'd be onto the sound of that floating feather before it ever crashed to the floor.
    Sure I've got good ears and eyes—and a couple of good hands, too. The right one was caressing the trigger of a forty-four revolver beneath my pillow. My other gun was in its shoulder holster, hung carefully over the chair, all of six inches from the bed. Two good reason why I'm alive—and why some others are dead. 

As usual, I'll be sending scans of this story to you hundred-odd stalwarts who have requested earlier stories. If you're not among them, just drop me a line at and I'll shoot you the whole collection.

This one originally appeared in June 1939.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"The Ballad of Davy Crockett" by K.R. Wood & Friends

I had the pleasure of seeing these guys perform at a party in San Antonio a couple of years ago, where they did this song. I was also honored to meet a couple of old Davy's direct descendants, including the guest singer above - his great, great, great granddaughter. The family does not generally approve of folks calling him Davy (they prefer David), but they do make exceptions.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Overlooked Films: SUPERMAN (1948) Watch it here!

I talked with Kirk Alyn at a comic show back in the '70s, and he said he'd never seen this 15-chapter serial. At the time it came out he was too busy working, and he finally got around to asking Columbia to show it to him they denied having a copy. He had it on good authority, though, that they had it locked away in their vault.

Well, somebody sure had a copy, because it was finally released on VHS in 1987. Alyn was around until 1999, so it's pretty likely he finally got to see it. Anyway, here's the whole dang thing. This one's for you, Kirk.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


These Lido guys, averaging about two inches tall, were peculiarly flat (maybe their molds were limited as to depth?), often short-limbed, and sometime awkwardly posed. Like everyone else, Lido did cowboys & Indians, knights, and Civil War soldiers (all coming eventually to this space), but I think they were only American company other than Marx (who did a great Captain Gallant set) to make Foreign Legion and Arab figures, complete with camels.

More Toy Soldiers HERE.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Forgotten Books: DANGER CIRCUS by Raoul Whitfled (1933)

The more I read Raoul Whitfield, the more I see different styles. Danger Circus is the fifth Whitfield novel I’ve read recently, and no two have been quite the same.

In addition to his five mystery novels, Green Ice, Death in a Bowl, The Virgin Kills (reviewed HERE), and the two books published under the pen name Temple Field, Five (HERE) and Killer’s Carnival, Whitfield wrote four juvenile books.

One of those, Silver Wings (HERE) is a collection of stories. Wings of Gold (coming soon) is a full length novel. I have yet to read Danger Zone, but Danger Circus is just a puffed-up novelette.

Danger Circus (1933), a hardcover of less than two hundred pages, has large type, wide margins and oodles of white space. I finished it’s twelve chapters in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Stylistically, Danger Circus is in the same ballpark as Wings of Gold. Both feature seventeen-year-old protagonists, and both boys are between sessions of “Prep” school. Both and nearly full grown and behave pretty much like adults, and neither has an aversion to handling a gun. But while they exhibit courage in dealing with adults,, both are clearly subservient to (and respectful of) adult authority.

In Danger Circus, young Gerry Brant is a pilot working for the manager of the Greater Stevens Circus. With his mechanic pal Sandy, he does whatever is needed to promote and support the traveling show.

As the circus begins a new season, the Greater Stevens is beset by a series of calamities. A storm brings down the big top, a deadly leopard is let loose upon the countryside, and a star performer is found trussed up and buried beneath a pile of straw. As the circus folk try to figure out who’s behind it, the problems just keep on coming. A show balloon catches fire and crashes, setting fire to a side show tent and terrorizing a polar bear. Still later the troupe must stop a pack of elephants from stampeding into the crowded big top.

It’s all related in perfectly serviceable - if undistinguished - prose. I started this the same day I finished Green Ice, and if Whitfield’s name hadn’t been on the cover, I would have been hard-pressed to believe it was the same writer.

Herewith, along with illustrations by William Heaslip, are samples of Whiifield's "junvenile" prose:

     There was a fiercer shrilling of wind—the rain beat down in a sweeping fury. In the distance there was a crackling sound that made Gerry’s body stiffen. He knew that sound; he had heard it before. Wood snapping—poles breaking! The big top was going down!

     “Gerry—that’s the leopard—lying down there!”
     The monoplane was low, winging across the field. And almost instantly Gerry Brant saw the leopard. There was no mistaking the spots. The animal lay sprawled on the earth—legs thrust forward and behind. Sandy called:

      Sandy muttered: “I hear he told Callahan that he never knew what hit him. He was in the recreation car alone, heard someone behind him, and started to turn. Something hit him on the head—he lost consciousness.”
     Gerry nodded. “That’s it. When he regained consciousness, his hands were tied behind him and he was gagged. He could hardly breathe—there was straw piled all over him. He managed to roll to one side. That elephant they call Rango was very close to him, and she’s pretty bad at times. The storm last night has her in nervous shape. She might have trampled him—but of Ben’s assistants happened along; he saw the straw move. That’s how they found Delgoda.”

     Fire flared from the hoop, hanging just below the platform on which Queenie stood. But the flame made no difference to the horse. She moved her fine head slightly, but her feet were rooted to the wood of the platform.
     The flame from the loop died; once again the spotlights played on the horse. For a second there was silence—and then the shot sounded! One sharp, clear crack! The crack of a rifle!

     As the ship came round, Sandy called out hoarsely:
     “Gerry—stampede! The elephants!”
     Gerry groaned as he roared the plane over the animal tent, a hundred feet off the ground. The elephants were moving from their end of the animal tent, led by the tusker, Sindor. Their ears were spread, and their heads were held high. Their trunks twisted and flayed at the air. They were milling about, some thirty of them, in a half stampede!