Tuesday, October 11, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: October 11
This symbolic absence represents the 1941 demise of Argosy as a weekly magazine. The last Argosy Weekly has an October 4, 1941 cover date. In better times you could have expected an October 11 issue, but the next issue was dated November 1 beginning a biweekly schedule that would last only a few months before Argosy went monthly in the spring of 1942. I don't know the boardroom details in the case, but it seems that the Munsey corporation made some catastrophic decisions, starting arguably with the misadventure of the monthly All-American Fiction in 1937-8. There followed a quixotic attempt to expand the "Red Star" line, with old reliables Argosy and Detective Fiction Weekly shrinking as more doomed magazines appeared. How much creative errors like replacing cover paintings with a standard cover format, with only the text changing, had to do with the decline is unclear, though they couldn't have helped. There may have been less demand for weekly pulps by this time, but Street & Smith were able to keep some going all the way through 1942. Say what you will about trends, but it's impossible to eliminate human error as a factor in this humbling of a once-mighty pulp magazine. In time, of course, and with the help of a different publisher, Argosy found a format that allowed it to outlive almost all its erstwhile competition in the pulp field, but fans in 1941 might not have believed such an outcome possible.