Wednesday, March 23, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: March 23
This deliberately vague 1935 cover suggests that the people at Argosy weren't sure yet of how to promote W. C. Tuttle's new character. Henry Harrison Conroy, who had made his debut one month earlier, would not cut an imposing figure on a pulp cover by normal standards. Conroy, as readers may recall from the Feb. 23 Calendar entry, was a middle-aged vaudevillian turned Arizona rancher whose most prominent feature was a red, bulbous nose -- in short, W. C. Fields as reimagined by W. C. Tuttle as one of his comical mystery-solving cowboys, though neither of the figures on this cover really matches that description. It wouldn't be until after Henry had appeared in two more stories after this issue's "With the Help of Henry" that Argosy dared put him on a cover. By then -- specifically the September 14 issue -- Tuttle's creation had proved so popular that he'd get the cover whenever one of his serials premiered. Even if they were coy about Henry, Tuttle still outranked Fred MacIsaac, no slouch with Argosy readers, whose new serial, The Wild Man of Cape Cod, probably should have gotten the cover. Elsewhere this issue, Singapore Sammy reaches the penultimate installment of George F. Worts's serial, The Monster of the Lagoon, while spy story specialist Ared White delivers a novelette, "Baited Cipher," and Donald Barr Chidsey, C.C. Rice and William Merriam Rouse contribute short stories. It isn't the most formidable lineup, but just about any 1935 Argosy will have plenty worth reading in it.