Friday, March 25, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: March 25
There's nothing special about this 1932 Short Stories cover except for the number in the top corners, which represents a daring move during the Great Depression. Since the magazine went twice-a-month in 1921, its size had held steady at 176 pages. With this issue Short Stories took a monster 48 page jump to 224 pages, with no increase in price. The Doubleday pulp was now 32 pages thicker than its principal twice-a-month rival, Adventure. I don't know whether pulp people had a notion that Adventure and its publisher were in trouble that year, but five months after this challenge from Short Stories there was no doubt.In September the Doubleday pulp reverted to 176 pages and continued as before. Simultaneously, Adventure cut its page count by half and slashed its price from twenty-five to ten cents. Within another year it shrunk from twice-a-month to monthly while Short Stories chugged along on its normal schedule, which it would keep until 1949.
Taking no chances, this D-Day issue of Short Stories boasts two of its most popular recurring features: the Major by L. Patrick Greene's and James B. Hendryx's Black John of Halfaday Creek. William McLeod Raine continues his western serial Gone Bad, while Bertrand W. Sinclair throws in a novelette. Bill Adams, Courtney Ryley Cooper, Houston Day, Cliff Farrell, Meigs O. Frost, Paul Hosmer, John Mersereau and Walter Snow contribute the actual short stories this issue. Of those, I'm only familiar with Farrell, though I've read at least one story by Day. Man for man the typical Short Stories lineup might not match Adventure, but with heavyweights like H. Bedford-Jones, W. C. Tuttle, and J. D. Newsom -- all of whom wrote for both pulps -- weighing in through the spring and summer Short Stories could make the case for quantity and quality, and it must have been fairly convincing.