TELLERS OF WEIRD TALES!
Cover art by Virgil Finlay
|Jane and Paul Annixter from Something About the Author (1971).|
|Ralph Snider's illustration for "The Long Arm" by Franz Nabl, October 1937. If this was the work of the artist I have written about here, then he would have been twenty years old when he drew this very Virgil Finlay-like illustration.|
|A photograph of Ralph Snider from his college yearbook, Heald College, 1935.|
|Ralph Snider's illustration for "The Long Arm" by Franz Nabl, misidentified as Franz Habl, Weird Tales, October 1937.|
Thomas P. Kelley's THE BLACK DONNELLYS (Signet, 25 cents) can hardly be recommended for moral instruction, since the author seems determined to prove that lynching can be a Good Thing; but it's valuable as a full-length treatment of a sensational Canadian affair wholly unknown to American readers. The story of a criminal clan (a family hardly paralleled since the days of Sawney Bean) who terrorized a district in Ontario for decades until their collective murder by vigilantes in 1880, is an absorbing one, even in so slipshod and ungrammatical a treatment.
|Thomas P. Kelley's father ran a traveling medicine show. Strangely, Albert Roanoke Tilburne's father ran a traveling wild west show. Kelly wrote the story. Tilburne provided the cover illustration. Weird Tales, November 1938.|
|Kelley got a lot of mileage out of "I Found Cleopatra." There was a reprinting in the Canadian magazine Uncanny Tales . . .|
|In a paperback novel (1946) . . .|
|And in a later paperback with a cover illustration by Stephen Fabian (1977).|
|Kelley had two stories in the November 1940 issue of Uncanny Tales. Note his credit at the bottom: "Creator of the Original Stories Adapted to Radio in 'Out of the Night'."|
|Kelley's byline also landed on the cover of the May 1941 issue of Uncanny Tales. The art was by nineteen-year-old Tedd Steele.|
|Thomas P. Kelley's nonfiction book, The Black Donnellys, is supposed to have been among the most popular of the Harlequin paperbacks. Notice the death dates: February 4, 1880, for five of the Donnellys.|
I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best.
|I have never read the Anne of Green Gables books, but I saw the PBS series from many years ago. In that series, Anne is of course a positive and cheerful girl. Little did I know that there were darker undercurrents in the life of her creator. Among the Shadows (1990) collects the darker stories of L.M. Montgomery. Five of the nineteen tales in this collection have supernatural elements.|
|Here is the French-language version of the book . . .|
|And a variant cover, which looks more like a Gothic romance from the 1970s.|
|I have written about "The Yellow Peril" and the Oriental villain in a previous posting, here, but I thought I would offer an image from the movies, the poster for The Face of Fu Manchu, from 1965.|
|Here's an image from television from about the same time. That's Leonard Strong as "The Claw," a Fu Manchu-type villain who calls himself "The Craw." ("Not Craw! Craw!") The show was Get Smart, one of the great television shows of the 1960s. Sax Rohmer had a detective hero named Klaw. Rohmer's first movie credit was for a film called The Yellow Claw.|
|I don't know whether this is the same Yellow Claw or not, but he's no doubt related to Fu Manchu.|
|The Claw in the Daredevil comics of the 1940s was even more monstrous.|
|Here's a comic book adaptation from 1951 with a cover by Wally Wood.|
|And another from 1958. That was fifty-five years ago, yet Fu Manchu lives on.|
One of the cowboys picked up a story half-written [and] made me finish it. Those same waddies carried it into town, had it typewritten, and sent it to the editor of the old All-Story Magazine. The editor called it the damnedest lie ever concocted, and bought it. (1)
One day when Hall was with Homer Eon Flint, Hall held his finger up before one of his eyes and said, "Couldn't a story be written about that blind spot in the eye?" Not much was said about it until four days later at lunch; then Hall outlined the whole classic to Flint; asked him to write it with him.
[W]e had just come back from a ride. It was a foggy night--two o'clock in the morning, weird and ghostly. Homer stepped away, into the mist--I can see him yet--his dim figure and his voice floating back to me: "Well, so long. I'll speak to you from the Blind Spot." (2)
|A poor reproduction of People of the Comet, a hardbound edition of Austin Hall's earlier novel. This is the Griffin Publishing edition from 1948. The cover artist was Jack Gaughan (1930-1985).|
|Two years later, the story was adapted to the comics as "La comète rouge" in the Belgian magazine Bravo.|
|Austin Hall is most well known for his collaboration with Homer Eon Flint on the serial "The Blind Spot." Here is the cover for a reprint in Fantastic Novels, July 1940. The cover artist was Virgil Finlay (1914-1971). I think this was my first encounter with Finlay's art. I saw it as a black-and-white reproduction in the Indianapolis Star when I was a teenager.|
|Here's another reprint, the Ace paperback edition of 1976. The cover artist was Alex Abel (1932-2013).|