Sunday, December 11, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: December 11
A dramatic Rudolph Belarski cover fronts this 1937 Argosy, one of many from that year that have been scanned and made available online. I read it a couple of years ago and recall that the first installment of Eustace L. Adams' Loot Below nearly lived up to that cover. Unfortunately, the thing I remember most vividly about this issue is that Robert Griffith's "complete novel" "Rhythm in the Ring" was probably the most racist story I'd ever read in the Argosy. Griffith was a boxing story specialist who broke into the slicks during the war, publishing regularly in Collier's from 1943 to his retirement or death in the early 1950s. His premise this time is that a black contender times his footwork and punches to the music of his favorite jazz band as they play outside the ring. The most insulting thing about it, actually, is the editorial comment that Griffith's premise might explain the success of Joe Louis and other black champions. As a rule, or at least in my experience, Argosy avoided "darky" humor (as opposed to Blue Book and the major slicks), but this is a rotten exception. There's more bad comedy in Lester Dent's serial Genius Jones and one of Foster-Harris' Mr. Weeble stories, but along with the Adams you get an installment of Borden Chase's Sandhog and a Frank Richardson Pierce No-Shirt McGee story to balance things out.