Monday, November 18, 2013

Talbot Johns (1909-1969)

Advertising Agent, Naval Officer, Author
Born February 14, 1909, New York
Died June 12, 1969, Los Angeles, California

Talbot Johns was born on February 14, 1909, and grew up in Queens, New York. Johns' mother was Florence Wilcox Johns, mother of four and a soprano soloist in her church choir. His father was William Hingston Johns, a British-born businessman and an amateur yachtsman, singer, organist, and composer. William H. Johns ran an advertising agency, Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn (BBDO), and co-founded the American Association of Advertising Agencies. The Dutch Boy paint trademark was his original concept. His son, Talbot Johns, attended St. Paul's School, Andover Academy, and Williams College, graduating in 1930. In the 1940 census, Talbot Johns was living in Minneapolis and working in advertising like his father before him. Johns served as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve during World War II. He settled in southern California sometime after the war and died in Los Angeles on June 12, 1969, at age sixty.

I have found three short stories by Talbot Johns published in American magazines:

  • "Date in the City Room" in Weird Tales (Jan. 1939)
  • "Death of a Truck" in Collier’s, illustrated by Hardie Gramatky (Mar. 21, 1942)
  • "Past Midnight" in North•West Romances (Spring 1950)

"Date in the City Room" was reprinted in the British edition of Weird Tales (#12, 1951) and in 100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories, edited by Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Robert Weinberg and Martin H. Greenberg (Barnes and Noble, 1993). I believe Johns also wrote a piece called "The Best Places Are Flat."

Talbot Johns' Story in Weird Tale
"Date in the City Room" (Jan. 1939)

Further Reading
"W.H. Johns Dies; Advertising Man" in the New York Times, Apr. 18, 1944, p. 21.

    Talbot Johns' lone story for Weird Tales appeared in the January 1939 issue with a cover by Virgil Finlay.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

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