The world was a very different place in the immediate years following World War Two. Even though on the surface, the late 1940s and 1950s seemed to be an idyllic time of peace for the United States, there was an undercurrent of worry and paranoia, that whatever success and contentment Americans had at that time might be short-lived. This feeling was of course a prime breeding ground for movies, books, and other forms of entertainment to produce heroes that represented everything that was good, true, and tough about America, men who had fought for their country abroad in the War and were now home to fight to keep all that was America safe. And radio was no different, giving birth to several heroes of this type. Such as Frank Race.
First heard in the spring of 1949, “The Adventures of Frank Race” starred Tom Collins and, later, Paul Dubov as an attorney turned O. S. S. agent turned worldwide investigator. Race had spent most of the war years in Foreign Service and was frequently decorated for valor but, after he was discharged, he found the courtroom atmosphere of a practicing lawyer to be dull, stuffy, and unchallenging. Clearly, adventure was calling him and so, after finding a strong ally and sidekick in Mark Donovan, a rough but enthusiastic New York City cab driver, Race began a new career as a far-flung investigator.
Even though most of Race’s cases dealt more with insurance issues and less with international intrigue and espionage, he still fit the mold of the sort of hero people sought in the late 1940s and 1950s. Being former O.S.S., he had that connection to a time when men stood up for their nation and became heroes and therefore reflected the skills that the public thought their heroes needed even when the war was over to protect them from all who might threaten their standard of living.
The Adventures of Frank Race still rings with a good old-fashioned two fisted pulpy feel. Mysteries wrapped in suspense and adventure, as the title of each show indicates, and with even hints of romance thrown in make this classic show a definite must have for fans of Action and Adventure today! And the final eleven timeless adventures in this third collection can be yours for $17.98 on CD and $11.98 by Digital Download from Radio Archives!
In a world where medical dramas are almost a dime a dozen, it might surprise some that this type of entertainment has a much longer history than ER, St. Elsewhere, or even Marcus Welby, MD. One of the best known figures to ply his medical trade in movies, television, and radio was a young doctor by the name of James Kildare, the central character in The Story Of Dr. Kildare, Volume 1.
This series is quite simply a joy and pleasure to listen to on several levels. Set in Blair Memorial Hospital in New York City, the episodes follow Dr. Kildare played by Lew Ayres as he addresses the needs of his patients at the hospital, often more than just whatever may be physically ailing them. Kildare is not alone in his endeavors and that’s one of the charming aspects of this show, its supporting cast. The phenomenal actor Lionel Barrymore played Dr. Gillespie, Kildare’s crusty, crotchety mentor and a role Barrymore had played in the movies that inspired the radio series. Throw in Virginia Gregg as Nurse “Nosy” Parker and you have a stellar cast supporting the work of Ayres, also continuing his role as Kildare from the films. Gregg and Barrymore keep listeners in stitches as Gillespie and “Nosy” verbally spar with one another, all amidst the medical drama swirling around them.
This show is not carried simply by its cast, however. Each and every story is engaging and captures the attention of its audience. Although I’m no doctor, research indicates that the medical procedures reflected in The Story of Dr. Kildare were based on the cutting edge methods of the period and that seems apparent to an untrained ear. The pacing of each episode is usually dead on as well, building the tension of the particular illness or issue while intermingling character bits and the traditional trademarks of the show, like the Gillespie-Parker bouts or Kildare conferring with Gillespie. Although some might say the episodes are overall melodramatic, I am of the opinion that medical drama at its finest has a bit of melodrama poured over the top of it. The Story of Dr. Kildare is a series of equal parts medical practice, character building, and satisfying dramatic peeks into the lives of the staff and patients at a hospital.
Want to hear the Doctor that paved the way for those you love today? You can by picking up The Story of Dr. Kildare, Volume 1 for $29.98 on CD and $19.98 by Digital Download from Radio Archives!
Very few heroes in the Pulp Pantheon compare to The Spider. Although reminiscent of The Shadow in many ways, this passionate, sometimes psychotic avenger brings his own style, code, and level of action to his tales like few other of his fictional peers can. The level of pure adventure, tension, and absolute fun screams to spring off the page. And now it has.
The Spider stars in the first of Will Murray’s Pulp Classics, an audiobook line from Radio Archives. The Prince of the Red Looters, produced by Roger Rittner and featuring the excellent voice talents of Nick Santa Maria and Robin Riker, showcases all of the reasons The Spider is still one of the most popular, sought after, and discussed Pulp Heroes today.
Although quite literally initially a thought born due to the success of another Pulp hero, The Spider took bold steps in his own directions, thanks largely to the pen and imagination of Norvell Page. The Shadow, first a voice on the radio and then a character in Street and Smith’s magazine, erupted in popularity not soon after the first stories appeared, so much so that it became a magazine that printed twice monthly! Harry Steeger, Publisher of Popular Publications, noticed the attention Street and Smith’s latest creation was getting and promptly determined that Popular could create a similar hero and share in the spotlight and wealth that Street and Smith seemed to have tapped into.
Initially written by RTM Scott and named, according to legend, because Steeger saw an arachnid crossing a tennis court, The Spider really came into his own in the capable hands of crime reporter and Pulp writer Norvell Page. As Page wrote upwards of 100 Spider tales, this dark seeker of Justice did not simply drift away from the character which inspired his creation, he became something apart, something all his own.
His secret identity is millionaire Richard Wentworth, a criminologist. His supporting cast of characters is in many ways as colorful and lively as he is, especially the exquisite Nita Van Sloan, Wentworth’s love interest and The Spider’s partner in many of his adventures. The Spider doggedly pursued those who committed Evil and gave all he had to ending their criminal enterprises and their careers altogether. Permanently.
The bloodthirsty way in which Page portrayed The Spider carrying out his self appointed mission is one of the key factors giving Wentworth’s alter ego his own identity in the Pulp community. If The Spider had truly existed in the real world and been allowed to deal final sentence via his flaming .45s, then the population of New York City would have been wiped out several times over and the city streets would be forever stained red.
Quite a bit has also been made of The Spider’s possible mental stability. Page clearly writes a man that is troubled greatly, not just by the evil around him, but something eating at him from within. Be he paranoid schizophrenic or manic depressive, or any other possible diagnoses, it is clear that The Spider is not simply a bored rich boy fighting crime because he has nothing better to do. He is a force of nature hell bent on insuring that all who are innocent are protected and all who are guilty are afraid for their lives.
The Prince of the Red Looters is an excellent tale to not only spotlight what makes The Spider special, but it was also a great choice for kicking off Will Murray’s Pulp Classics. Through the voices of Santa Maria and Riker, The Spider’s desire to see Justice done and his struggle to hold onto his own sanity as well as Nita’s undying support and love for him shine through in two fantastic audio performances. This audiobook also features the debut of The Spider’s arch enemy, the sword wielding Fly! Before this tale, no villain had been audacious enough to take on The Master of Men one on one. The Fly not only calls out The Spider in this wonderful story, but also lives to return again, a rarity often for villains in the Pulps.
Hero. Madman. One or both, The Spider has left his brand on Pulp forever and Radio Archives now takes this classic character to a whole new level with The Prince of the Red Looters produced by Roger Rittner. Get your six hours of The Spider today for $19.98 on CD and $13.98 via Digital Download! All from Radio Archives!
I love mad scientists. Why? That’s simple. They’re mad. They never ever contemplate that their plans and schemes won’t work no matter how bizarre and off-the-wall they may be. Even in the face of overwhelming common sense they persist in going ahead with whatever it is that strikes their fancy. Whether it be reanimating the dead or creating portals to other universes or genetic manipulation or astral projection. Mad scientists blithely go about their business, solidly convinced that they’re the only one in the whole wide world who knows what they’re doing. I could be a little nuts myself but I find such insane behavior entertaining.
Take Doctor Death for instance as heard in Doctor Death – 12 Must Die, an audiobook from Will Murray’s Pulp Classics. Now you want to talk about mad scientists…they don’t get much madder than Doctor Death. Claiming to be the greatest scientist the world has ever seen (there’s a certain Swiss Baron who might challenge that claim) Doctor Death intends to wipe out all the technological progress man has made and return the world to a pre-industrial period. Even though he’s a scientist of considerable ability, Doctor Death has apparently made a pact with the very forces of Hell itself as he uses zombies and demons as his army. He also displays an amazing range of personal abilities such as telepathy to further his goals.
To combat such an overwhelming enemy is Jimmy Holm, Occult Detective extraordinaire who is appointed the leader of The Secret Twelve. This is an organization made up of scientists, law enforcement officials, industrialists, business magnates, The President of The United States and the head of organized crime in the United States himself, Tony Caminetti. It gives you some idea of how frightening the threat of Doctor Death is when Tony Caminetti gives his word that all organized crime in The U.S. will cease until Doctor Death is captured or destroyed.
From start to finish, Doctor – Twelve Must Die is nothing but solid fun. For me, the main thing about listening to an audiobook is the voice doing the reading. If it’s not an interesting voice full of energy and the ability to convey whatever emotion needed to tell the story, well, I’m just not gonna listen to it.
I’m happy to say that Joey D’Auria is a very interesting and exciting voice to listen to, especially during the sequences where Doctor Death goes off into one of his world conquering speeches which are simply a hoot to listen to. Doctor Death waxes wroth indeed as he outlines what malignant mischief he’s going to unleash next.
I’d never heard of Doctor Death before listening to this audiobook and it’s a great introduction to the character. If you’re a fan of supervillains as the star then you’ll enjoy this one. And it’s available today, five hours of fantastic Pulp goodness for $14.98 on CD and $9.98 as a digital download!
When asked what Pulp Fiction is, regardless if its classic tales from the medium’s greatest era in the early 20th Century or new stories written in the same vein and style by today’s writers, there are a few common traits usually mentioned by enthusiasts and fans. Pulp Fiction is usually described as being fast paced and plot driven. For the most part, this results in action packed short stories, packing all the wow possible into an economy of words. Even most Pulp novels fall into the realm of 60,000 words, definitely short by today’s standards for books. To every rule, even if it’s just more of a guideline, there must always be an exception. For New Pulp, that exception is the work of Wayne Reinagel, the one-man creative powerhouse behind Knightraven Studios.
Publisher, writer, artist, researcher, and formatter, Reinagel took the opportunity to dedicate his time to fulfilling a dream he’d had since childhood. “Being a passionate reader of comic books and novels since I was about knee-high,” said Reinagel, “I have always had a deep-seated desire to write and illustrate my own series of stories. About five years ago I started working on an epic-length ‘Steampulp’ story involving dozens of Victorian era characters of the late 1800’s combined with a group of four heroes of the 1930’s pulp era in a universe known as Infinite Horizons. The main title is Pulp Heroes and the individual novels are subtitled More Than Mortal, Khan Dynasty, and the upcoming Sanctuary Falls. The Hunter Island Adventure is the first of a long series of short stories, and it takes place between Khan Dynasty and More Than Mortal. The next series of novels take place in the 1800’s, and are described as Gothic Horror Steampunk. These are Modern Marvels – Viktoriana and the upcoming Modern Marvels – Gothika.”
The mix of historical and literary characters, as well as Reinagel’s own homages to known Pulp characters, makes his work stand out from most. Although many writers have tinkered with guest starring a literary character or tying their stories into historical events, very few, save possibly those involved in the writing of Wold Newton stories, have endeavored to weave such massive tales around known personages, both fictional and real. Reinagel’s decision to do this again goes back to his youth.
“At a very early age I began reading novels written during the mid-to-late 1800’s, such as Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Dracula, and so on. During my teen years, I discovered reprints of the pulp era, specifically, Doc Savage and the Shadow. Even after all these years, these are still the stories I prefer to read for recreation.”
Reinagel recognizes that although he feels quite at home in the New Pulp world, some may not consider his books to be traditionally Pulp in the strictest sense. “My stories are a bit unique and often described as ‘epics.’ They are not a light snack, but rather an eight course dinner including a dessert and appetizer, and as such, not intended to be consumed at one sitting. They take the readers around the world and sometimes back through decades of time. The characters are more realistic – living, growing and sometimes even dying. The stories are vastly more complex than your average short pulp story, but I have had nothing but positive feedback from all my readers, so I must be doing something right.
“And,” continued Wayne, “I believe readers enjoy the addition depth added to existing stories and characters. For instance, in Khan Dynasty we explore a deeper storyline involving Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. I actually wrote more pages regarding these two characters than the original author, Robert Louis Stevenson.”
As far as why people read Pulp and how his work clearly fits into that niche, Reinagel stated, “Pulp is fun, fast-paced, entertaining, and the best bang for the buck. Personally, I enjoy reading action/adventure stories that take me on a wild roller-coaster ride and still leave me wanting more. And that’s what I try to offer in each of my stories. A reader recently emailed me and stated that after he finished Khan Dynasty, which is nearly 600 pages long, he couldn’t wait to start reading the next novel. That’s a high compliment, indeed.”
As previously mentioned, Wayne Reinagel is currently the sole employee and only staff member of Knightraven Studios. This was not so much a part of his initial plan, according to Reinagel, as it was just a circumstance of the moment. “Honestly, I didn’t know any professional writers or artists when I began writing More Than Mortal. And I wanted to explore this opportunity in both writing and illustrating a full-length story. It’s also very gratifying to know that I accomplished so much in my little one-man studio.
There are positives and negatives for Wayne being the only driving force and labor pool for his studio. “The upside is I control every aspect of the story and art. I drive myself very hard, working on improving my craft. And it’s something I really enjoy. The downside? Sometimes progress is very slow, doing everything myself. Occasionally, I feel the need to step back, take a deep breath, and realize everything that I’ve accomplished.”
Regardless of the length of his works or the complexity he applies to plot and character, Wayne Reinagel clearly sees his work as Pulp. And his fans do as well. “One of my readers described my books as, “Lightning in a bottle.” I don’t think I can come up with a better description than that.”
Find out just how epic Wayne Reinagel’s work is by checking out the Knightraven Studios page in the Pulp Book Store!
Pulp fiction’s legendary Master of Men returns in two classic novels from the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction, written by Norvell Page under the pseudonym of Grant Stockbridge. First, in “Overlord of the Damned” (October 1935), the Boss unleashes horrible death with his demonic acid guns… with a vat of the same deadly corrosive reserved for those who talk too much! With his beloved Nita van Sloan a hostage to a terrible doom, the Spider faces the soul-tearing prospect of planting the Spider seal on his friend Stanley Kirkpatrick, Commissioner of Police! Then, in “Dictator’s Death Merchants!” (July 1940), The jaws of death gape open when El Crocodilo feasts! With uncanny skill, he forestalls even the Spider’s best attempts to trap him. Striking without mercy, this menace from the past rises anew by demolishing a banking institution each night, in a mad scheme to take control of nothing less than all of America’s finances! This volume is available in two editions and features the original artwork from the October 1935 or the July 1940 edition of “The Spider” magazine. Both versions feature reformatted text and original interior illustrations to accompany each story. Available now for $14.95!
The Pulp Era’s strangest mystery man returns in two more epic adventures by Paul Ernst writing as “Kenneth Robeson.” First, can Justice, Inc. prevent secrets of an ancient civilization buried for centuries in The River of Ice from destroying the modern world? Then, scientists in Paris, Berlin and Montreal exhale fire as they die, setting The Avenger on the trail of The Flame Breathers and a deadly secret that threatens to plunge the world into a fiery infernal! BONUS: a thrilling adventure of Police Commissioner James Gordon, a.k.a. The Whisperer! This classic pulp reprint showcases H. W. Scott’s classic pulp covers, all the original interior illustrations by Paul Orban, and historical commentary by Will Murray. This fantastic reprint is only $14.95 in the Pulp Book Store!
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! The Master of Darkness, agent Clyde Burke and Secret Service agent Vic Marquette investigate deadly plots in two thrilling pulp novels by Walter Gibson as “Maxwell Grant.” First, The Shadow’s investigation of The Embassy Murders unearths a sinister plot that threatens world peace. Then, the kidnapping of Clyde Burke leads The Shadow and his agents on a winding murder trail through New Jersey’s Hills of Death. BONUS: a two-fisted adventure of Police Commissioner James Gordon, a.k.a. The Whisperer! This instant collectors’ item features both classic cover paintings by George Rozen, the original interior pulp illustrations by Tom Lovell and Edd Cartier and historical commentary by popular culture historians Anthony Tollin and Will Murray. And it can be yours for $14.95!
Doc Savage and his beautiful cousin Patricia battle threats to national security in pulp classics by Evelyn Coulson and Lester Dent writing as “Kenneth Robeson.” First, while testing an experimental plane for the Army, Renny disappears after his airship is engulfed by The Yellow Cloud. Then, what has transformed Monk, Ham and Johnny into cowardly Men of Fear? The incredible secret could end the war, unless Nazi agents seize it first. This special collectors edition showcases the original color pulp covers by Emery Clarke, Paul Orban’s classic interior illustrations and historical commentary by Will Murray, author of eight Doc Savage novels. Available now for $14.95!
Follow the adventures of Mary Backstayge, Handsome Harry Backstayge, the idol of a million other women, their next door neighbor Calvin Hoogavin, stage door man, Pop Beloved and Broadway producer Greg Marlowe, who is secretly in love with Mary, as they leave Skunkhaven, Long Island to board a train for Seattle where they will open at a theater atop the Space Needle. Fielding Backstayge, Harry’s long-lost blacksheep brother, does his worst to disrupt the play, while the play’s backer, Wealthy Jacobus Pike, keeps a worried eye on things. A mysterious ululating Train Buff mysteriously appears, followed by many sprained ankles. Webley Webster, Artie Schermerhorn, The McBeeBee Twins, Chester Hasbrouck Frisbee, Ralph Flinger, Mr. I-Know-Where-They-Are, Dr. Elmer Stapley, The Word Wizard and the incomprehensible Dean Archer Armstead show up from time to time. Plus The Gathering Dusk. All in Volume 5 of Bob & Ray: The Soap Operas for $29.95 in the Pulp Book Store!
Already the best place to find Classic and New Pulp tales and Pulp related products from the best companies in the business, The Pulp Book Store goes itself one better! The Treasure Chest, the place to find great deals, now exclusively features products for the Pulp Book Store! Just click on the Treasure Chest on the Pulp Book Store Page and you’ll find fantastic monthly discounts on an ever changing variety of items from our various stores! Check the Treasure Chest now to see what great discounts await everyone from the avid Pulp Fan to the casual reader! The Treasure Chest is Open now in the Pulp Book Store!
“Six Men of Evil” was originally published in the February 15, 1933 issue of The Shadow Magazine. Six men with a bizarre secret, exploit that secret in order to begin a crime wave that covers the entire United States. The Shadow will travel from New York to Mexico to San Francisco’s Chinatown before he will be able to conquer the evil of those six men. As our story opens, six men are on horseback, crossing the border from Mexico into Texas. They have only recently been released by ancestors of the ancient Aztecs, where they had been held captive as punishment for crimes against the lost tribe. Each man will adopt a new name and enter a new community as a respectable citizen. They will plan crime. Regardless of whether they murder or steal, they will do it openly and allow witnesses to see them. Because, they will have an iron-clad alibi. The perfect crime!
But before The Shadow can begin to combat this crime, he must take a trip to Mexico and find the lost city of Zeltapec. And this is where the story, which is already a corker, gets even better. And then, as if a trip to a lost civilization isn’t enough, we get a rousing climax when The Shadow visits San Francisco and it’s famed Chinatown. There we learn another secret about The Shadow’s girasol ring.
The Shadow appears as Lamont Cranston in this story. He is accompanied by his agents Burbank, Harry Vincent, investment-broker Rutledge Mann and reporter Clyde Burke. There is no mention of Kent Allard; author Gibson hadn’t invented him yet.
This is definitely an early version of The Shadow. He is nearly all-powerful. He wields a hypnotic presence; his eyes contain a mesmeric glint that brooks no refusal. He shoots to kill, not to wound; and he shoots straight the first time. His mastery of even the esoteric languages of the ancient Zeltapec chief is demonstrated here.
The early years of The Shadow Magazine are universally recognized to contain the best of The Shadow’s pulp adventures. And this story is definitely one of the best. Plenty of action. Plenty of mystery. Visits to far-flung places. And the exciting power of The Shadow at its most concentrated. It all goes to make this story a must-read. Treat yourself to one of the best of the best today for $12.95 at Radio Archives in the Pulp Book Store!
Comments From Our Customers!
And Doc! Oh I do love being read to! I left off start of disc 4 of Python Isle–Doc is on the scene! Tear-gassed, surrounded by dead canaries and yowling cats, but he’ll find a way! (I’m quite partial to Ham, case you’re interested.) This is beyond rich, and the Book List lady’s comments re McConnohie made me smile. O my, isn’t he a wonder! I had to back track when he did the female holler for help. Murray’s jargon is even more fun on audio than in printed form. I tell you listening in the stillness of the night, lights on low, is just magic. I’m hooked. If I sound obsessed it’s because I am. Eager to rescue Renny, wonder what’s happened to Habeas. And never ever will “here kitty kitty” sound the same.
E. Tomlinson Fort:
The audio production of The Jade Ogre is absolutely terrific. Michael McConnohie has a good narrative voice and the production has nice little music cues throughout. As a novel, the books has its high and low points. There is good character development and the slower’ opening gives Murray plenty of time to set up his narrative. Likewise, I enjoyed the heavy involvement of Pat in this adventure, It is also a nice change to feature Ham without Monk for a good portion of the story. While I enjoy both characters immensely, their constant interaction occasionally needs a break. Having Ham playing a more prominent role is again a clever move by the author.
I just wanted to write you and thank you for your quick service in sending me my order and also a great big thanks for putting out these wonderful operetta/musical comedy radio recordings. I certainly hope they sell and you are able to keep putting more and more out for the public to purchase. So thanks again for your terrific efforts in getting these Railroad Hour’s out for us to buy.
If you’d like to share a comment with us or if you have a question or a suggestion send an email to Service@RadioArchives.com. We’d love to hear from you!
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