Sunday, December 18, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: December 18
This 1937 cover probably isn't the sort of scene that comes to mind if people recognize the name of Cornell Woolrich. Known for his noirish thrillers, Woolrich occasionally broadened his interests for Argosy. His previous story for that pulp was "Black Cargo," dealing with slavery. According to Woolrich chronicler Francis M. Nevins, Woolrich wrote "Guns, Gentlemen," to go with Emmett Watson's pre-existing cover. It seems to have been something more than some Ruritarian adventure, however, since it was later reprinted (as "The Lamp of Memory") in an anthology of Woolrich's horror and fantasy stories. He reportedly submitted it to Argosy as "The Twice-Trod Path," but "Guns, Gentlemen" definitely goes better with the cover. All this aside, the issue's highlight is probably L. Ron Hubbard's big novelette (by Argosy standards at 39 pages) "Orders is Orders," or else the second installment of Eustace L. Adams' serial Loot Below -- which would be made into a 1941 B movie called Desperate Cargo. Three movies would be made from Adams stories -- including two versions of "Sixteen Fathoms Deep," made 14 years apart, both with Lon Chaney Jr. -- while he wrote an original screenplay for the 1933 film Under Secret Orders. North Pole explorer Matthew Henson is this issue's "Man of Daring," though artist Stookie Allen condescendingly refers to him as an "Arctic Man Friday" for Robert E. Peary. Still, it's probably a rare appearance by a black man in the weekly illustrated feature.