Saturday, December 3, 2016
THE PULP CALENDAR: December 3
Argosy took credit for introducing C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower to the American reading public, and they probably deserve some share of the credit. Hornblower first saw print in this country in book form when Beat to Quarters (known in Great Britain as The Happy Return) appeared in April 1937. Argosy stepped in in February 1938 when it serialized the second novel, A Ship of the Line, one month prior to its American publication and two months prior to its UK appearance. While waiting for Forester's next, Argosy reprinted Beat to Quarters as a serial in September. The third novel, Flying Colours, was published in Britain in November 1938. Little more than a month later Argosy began its serialization. The complete novel appeared in January 1939. You could tell Hornblower had caught on because he next appeared in a slick magazine, Collier's, in 1940. In 1941 Forester gave Argosy a deleted chapter from Ship of the Line that was published as the short story, "The Bad Samaritan." After that Argosy was out of the running for Hornblower stories, Forester's favored port being the Saturday Evening Post. Elsewhere this issue, firefighter specialist Karl Detzer continues his series of novelettes about rookie fireman Michael Costello and Judson Philips continues his annual football serial, while Holmes Alexander, Edgar Franklin, George Michener and Garnet Radcliffe contribute short stories and the magazine finishes its reprint of A. Merritt's The Ship of Ishtar. Argosy had shrunk from 144 to 128 pages earlier in the year, and now it was relying on reprints in an alarming way, though to be fair, they advertised their reprints on the cover as "by popular demand" special attractions. The next issue started John Buchan's 39 Steps, which I presume was tied into an American release of Alfred Hitchcock's film version of the story. But however they spun it, reprints were not a good sign for Argosy.