Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, May 27, 2018


Robert Silverberg was that year's Toastmaster.  Clifford D. Simak was Guest of Honor.  Harry Warner, Jr.,  was Fan Guest of Honor. Hugo winners that year were Larry Niven (Ringworld), Fritz Leiber ("Ill Met in Lankhmar"), Theodore Sturgeon ("Slow Sculpture"), The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, artists Leo and Diane Dillon, Locus, Richard E. Geis, and Alicia Austin.  Bob Shaw brought his lilting Irish accent from across the sea.  Lester del Rey gave a moving tribute to the recently deceased John W. Campbell.  Isaac Asimov embarrassed his "beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed" 16-year-old daughter.  Harry Warner gave an impassioned speech about the need for space exploration.  Somewhere in the audience Kitty was singing "42nd Street" with Forrest J. Ackerman.

Ah, memories...


Texas Gladden.

Saturday, May 26, 2018


"Along the Rio Grande, the river that borders the south-west territories of the Unites States and Mexico, a tall mysterious stranger, who, accompanied by a large wolf-like dog, appears from time throughout the years never seeming to grow older is known as El Lobo, el hombre a ninguna parte -- the wolf, the man from nowhere.  His habit of quietly appearing in troubled areas where his amazing prowess as a gunfighter earns for him the fear and the respect of the just and the unjust, adds to the legend of this strange man."

Here's an interesting western comic book from Australia.  Written and illustrated by Keith Chatto, El Lobo -- The Man from Nowhere ran for 23 issues beginning in 1956.

This episode, part of a saga titled "The Four Winds of Diggers' Reach!" puts on display Chatto's incredible artwork.


Friday, May 25, 2018


Jerry Woodard.


Trigger Law by "Jackson Cole" (1952)

"Jackson Cole" was a house name used the the main story in each issue of Better Publications pulp magazine Texas Rangers (1936-1938).  The name was used by such western stalwarts as Tom Curry, A. Leslie Scott, and Peter Germano.  One of the main characters used by "Cole" was Texas Ranger Jim Hatfield, a.k.a. The Lone Wolf, the hero of over two hundred stories.   As a true pulp cowboy hero, Hatfield is an expert shot, a quick draw, an expert fighter, an experienced cowboy, and a whole bunch of other stuff.  And he's tall and good-looking.  A loner bringing justice to a wild frontier...

Jim Hatfield and Jackson Cole also made it to paperbacks in the early Fifties, evidently both as reprints and as original novels.  Trigger Law appears to be a paperback original (no story under that name was published in Texas Rangers) and Worldcat lists the author as Oscar Schisgall, who has not been identified as one of magazine's house writers.  UPDATE 5/26:  Once again, I am wrong.  Rather, Worldcat is wrong.  See James Reasoner's comment below.)

In Trigger Law, the wild frontier that Hatfield brings justice to is the cow and mining town of Sanders, near the Mexican border.  Hatfield's superior has sent him to investigate stories about an outlaw gang known as Roma's Raiders.  Before he got to the town, however, he stumbles on an old Mexican man who is dying from a snake bite.  Hatfield gives the man the last of his water, but the man dies minutes later.  His last act is to thrust a strange metal object into Hatfield's hand.  Minutes later,a stranger with a gun tries to take the object from Hatfield -- not a wise move.  Then, in the distance, comes a band of men firing guns at him.  Hatfield hops on his horse to make a fast escape, only to come to face another band of men, pistols blazing.  The only way out is down a steep canyon wall to the gulch below.  Luckily, a hero ranger needs a hero horse such as Goldie, Hartfield's magnificent steed.

When he arrives in Sanders, Hatfield finds a town on edge.  The outlaw gang has spread terror throughout the area.  Because they are masked and because they seldom leave victims alive, no one knows who is in the gang and no one knows whom the mysterious "Roma" is.  Roma could be anyone -- even a respected member of the town -- and suspicions are heightened.  Without revealing that he is a lawman, Hatfield takes a job on a nearby ranch where some gold had been discovered and a mining operation begun.

The action comes fast.  Shoot-outs, murders, sabotage, arson, a train robbery, attempted large-scale rustling, a lost Aztec treasure...all take place in rapid sequence.  I don't think it's a spoiler to say that on the last page Hatfield rides off into the sunset toward another adventure.

Pure pulp here.  Nothing major or "lit'ry."  Just plain enjoyable and colorful writing with some inventive descriptions:

"The big fellow seemed to take unto himself wings.  He flew through the air, great limbs revolving, landed on his back and stayed there.  Hatfield rubbed his tingling knuckles and spoke, his voice quiet and unhurried."

Except for some unnecessary (albeit interesting) padding, Trigger Law is a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


I don't know if Sam Phillips realized the he would be making music history back in 1952 when he started Sun Records in Nashville.  Phillips loved rhythm and blues and wanted to bring it to a white audience and, in doing so, he brought out the first records of Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins.  Other sun artists included Conway Twitty, Charlie Rich, Howlin' Wolf, and Little Milton.

The link takes you to The Legendary Sun Records Story, a compilation of sixty great tunes with that essential Sun Records touch.

Let's start rockin':


By most accounts old-time radio ended in the early Sixties, pushed aside by music, new, sports, and talk radio.  Radio drama was not completely dead.  In the Seventies such programs as CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Theater of the Mind, and Radio Adventure Theater were all launched, as was The CBS Radio Theater.

Successful producer-directors Elliott Lewis and Fletch Markle pitched a unique idea for a multi-genre radio drama series.  The CBS Radio Theater would present  a different genre each weeknight, each with their own host.  Lorne Greene would host western night; Andy Griffith, comedy night; Vincent Prince, mystery night; Cicely Tyson, "love and hate" night; and Richard Widmark, adventure night.  The show premiered on February 5, 1979 and  ran through February 28 the following year for a total of 266 episodes with 129 original scripts-- some of the repeated scripts were aired with a different cast.

"The Hamster Caper of Curtis Cleever" aired on June 28, 1979 and featured Robert Towers and Noelle North as "a college student and his girlfriend, hoping to become overnight millionaires, go into the hamster-breeding business -- with a gimmick."