Saturday, December 5, 2015

Leo Margulies (1900-1975)

Editor, Writer, Literary Agent, Publisher, War Correspondent
Born June 22, 1900, Brooklyn, New York
Died December 26, 1975, Los Angeles, California

Leo Margulies was born on June 22, 1900, in Brooklyn, New York. He attended Columbia University but left for work at the Frank A. Munsey chain of magazines. Starting as an office boy, Margulies learned about being an editor from Bob Davis. After leaving Munsey, Margulies worked for Fox Films and Tower Magazines and formed the first of his three literary agencies in 1929. He returned to magazine work in the early 1930s with Ned Pines' Standard Magazines, a group that at one time or other included Beacon Magazines, Better Publications, and Nedor Publishing Company. Nicknamed "the Little Giant of the Pulps," Margulies was editor or editorial director of Pines' many titles of the 1930s and '40s. He is supposed to have overseen forty-six different titles in his career. Mort Weisinger and Oscar J. Friend were among the editors who served with him or under him.

During World War II, Margulies served as a war correspondent in the Pacific Theater in 1943 and 1945. He was aboard the U.S.S. Missouri when the Japanese surrendered in September 1945. Returning to civilian life, he helped form the Popular Library line of paperback books. He also edited a number of science fiction and fantasy anthologies in hardback and paperback.

In the early 1950s, Margulies started his own publishing company, King-Size Publications. Over the years, he published The Saint Detective MagazineFantastic Universe Science FictionSatellite Science FictionThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. MagazineZane Grey's Western Magazine, and other titles. In the mid-fifties, after it had ceased publication, Margulies purchased Weird Tales magazine. In the 1960s, he collected stories from that magazine in four paperback anthologies, two of which he edited himself and two of which were ghost-edited by Sam Moskowitz. Margulies and Moskowitz teamed up again for the four-issue revival of Weird Tales magazine in 1973-1974.

Margulies and his wife lived in France in the early 1950s and moved from New York to Los Angeles in 1972. While attending a meeting of the Mystery Writers of America in London in October 1975, Leo Margulies suffered a stroke. He died on December 26, 1975, in a hospital in Los Angeles. He was seventy-five years old. Robert Weinberg acquired Weird Tales late in Margulies' life or after his death. From his hands, it passed to Viacom, the current owners.

On August 14, 2015, Leo Margulies was the subject of a talk at PulpFest in Columbus, Ohio. The talk was in observance of the 115th anniversary of Magulies' birth and was presented by his nephew, Philip Sherman. The panel also included Ed Hulse and Will Murray. Mr. Sherman is working on a biography of his uncle, whom he remembers as "a lot of fun" and "a great, great uncle." You can listen to the talk at a website called The Pulp Net, here.

Leo Margulies' Credits (An incomplete list)
Magazine Editor, Editorial Director, and/or Publisher
  • Thrilling Wonder Stories (1936-1944)
  • Thrilling Mystery (1936-1938, 1940-1941, 1944)
  • Captain Future (1940-1944)
  • Startling Stories (1939-1944)
  • Strange Stories (1939-1941)
  • The Saint Detective Magazine
  • Fantastic Universe Science Fiction (1954-1956)
  • Satellite Science Fiction (1957)
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Magazine (1966-1968)
  • Weird Tales (1973-1974)
  • Charlie Chan Mystery Magazine
  • Zane Grey's Western Magazine
  • Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine
Book Editor
  • From Off This World (New York: Merlin Press, 1949) with Oscar J. Friend
  • My Best Science Fiction Story (New York: Merlin Press, 1949) with Oscar J. Friend
  • My Best Science Fiction Story (New York: Pocket Books, 1954) with Oscar J. Friend
  • The Giant Anthology of Science Fiction: 10 Complete Short Novels (New York: Merlin Press, 1954) with Oscar J. Friend
  • Race to the Stars (New York: Crest, 1958) with Oscar J. Friend
  • Three Times Infinity (Greenwich, Connecticut: Fawcett Gold Medal, 1958) ghost-edited by Sam Moskowitz
  • 3 from Out There (New York: Crest, 1959)
  • Get Out of My Sky (New York: Crest, 1960)
  • The Ghoul Keepers (New York: Pyramid Books, 1961)
  • The Unexpected (New York: Pyramid Books, 1961)
  • Three in One: Novels (New York: Pyramid Books, 1963) ghost-edited by Sam Moskowitz
  • Weird Tales (New York: Pyramid Books, 1964) ghost-edited by Sam Moskowitz
  • Worlds of Weird (New York: Pyramid Books, 1965) ghost-edited by Sam Moskowitz
Much of this list is from the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.

Further Reading
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Internet Speculative Fiction Database

From Off This World, Leo Margulies and Oscar J. Friend's first anthology, from 1949, with dust jacket art by Virgil Finlay. Note Hugo Gernsback's old word scientifiction.

Original text and captions copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

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