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Harold Fraser Cruickshank (1893-1979)

Link - Posted by David on February 26, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re spotlighting the work of Canada’s favorite son, Harold F. Cruickshank. We’ve had some good stories the past couple weeks spanning his pulp career. Unfortunately, like all great things, it must come to an end. And we’re ending our month devoted to Harold F. Cruickshank with his obituary.

In finding his obituary, we discovered that his lifespan as listed around the internet is wrong. He did not pass in 1965, but fourteen years later on March 31st, 1979—ten days after his 86th birthday!

So, without further ado—

War-era author dies after lengthy illness

Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, Canada • Tuesday, 3 April 1979, pD8

One of Edmonton’s most prolific authors, Harold Cruickshank, is dead at 86.

The writer of numerous action-adventure stories, Mr. Cruickshank died Saturday in the Misericordia Hospital. He had been in failing health for several months.

His early wartime stories appeared regularly in American, Canadian and British ‘pulp’ magazines, so named because they were printed on newsprint rather than fine paper. They were often looked upon as being too racy.

Mr. Cruickshank’s career began in the early 1920s and continued almost to his death, though he actually began writing while fighting in Belgium in 1915.

Soldiers in his battalion, the 7th Canadian Infantry, were asked to write something to keep them busy. For his piece he received first prize. It was later sold and published in a British magazine.

After being wounded in the Battle of the Somme, he was discharged in 1918.

Bom in Wales of Scottish parents, he emigrated to Alberta with his father and brother in 1905 settling near Barrhead. But because of his health he was unable to return to homesteading and settled in Edmonton where he worked for the education department.

In his spare time he became one of the more popular pulp authors. He began writing full-time, selling his first major story in 1923 to Western Home Monthly, forerunner of Chatelaine.

He often produced and sold up to eight 6,000-word stories a month published under various pseudonyms, the most well-known being Bert Fraser.

Stories ran in such famous magazines of the day as Battle Stories, Battle Birds, Battling Aces, Dare-devil Aces, Air War and Sky Fighters, under titles like “The Village of The Living Dead,” “Judgment of The War Gods” and “Where Death Lurks Deep.”

Drawing on his own war experiences as background, his characters were often involved in war exploits. He created heroes like Captain Bill Dawe the Sky Devil, a First World War flying ace, whose escapades were run in serials. Dawe was patterned after Mr. Cruickshank’s own infantry commander.

As the demand for war stories began to fade he turned to writing wilderness adventure stories based on his early homesteading experiences.

In addition to changing times, he also found himself competing with other popular pulp writers of the day — Erie Stanley Gardner, Luke Short, James Warner Bellah and George Fielding Eliot.

The emergence of modem magazines, paperbacks and television eventually killed the pulp magazines, a situation which Mr. Cruickshank, according to son-in-law Bert Nightingale, found disturbing.

“He worried about its effects on young people,” said Mr. Nightingale. “While he did not have a simon pure attitude, he felt his writing as it used to be was more suitable.”

Mr. Cruickshank was also a frequent contributor to Liberty and Maclean’s magazines, as well as to the old Edmonton Journal feature Third Column.

Recent works were published in Heritage Magazine and other government publications. Tie received an Alberta Achievement Award for writings on pioneer life.

Mr. Cruickshank lived at 10925 126th St. for almost 40 years. He is survived by his wife, Dolly; a daughter, Edith (Scotty) Nightingale; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A son, John, died in 1945.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Foster and McGarvey Chapel.

“Wild King Savagery” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on February 24, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE celebrating the works of Canada’s very own Harold F. Cruickshank this month. Mr. Cruickshank launched his career writing stories based loosely on his war experiences. As tastes turned from straight out battle field stories to air war stories, Cruickshank shifted his setting from the trenches to the cockpit. After the Second World War, taste again shifted toward westerns, Cruickshank was right there cranking them out for magazines like 10 Story Western Magazine, Western Short Stories, Texas Rangers, Dime Western, Popular Western, Thrilling Western, New Western Magazine, Wild West Weekly, North-West Romances, Thrilling Ranch Stories, Big Book Western, Rodeo Romances, .44 Western, West, Exciting Western, and Range Riders Western!

Cruickshank wrote 35 stories chronicling the trials and tribulations of Dal and Mary Baldwin carving out their piece of the Wild West in Sun-Bear Valley, Wyoming. Cruickshank was born in Wales and emigrated to Alberta with his father and brother in 1905, establishing a homestead when they settled near Barrhead. Ill health would drive him off the farm when he returned and into Edmonton where he worked for the education department and wrote in his spare time. Cruickshank drew on those years on the farm for his Pioneer Folk stories for Range Riders Western.

Here are the first two in the series:

First we have “Wild King Savagery” from the Spring of 1945 issue in which Dal and his wife find the ideal place to start their life in the wilds of Sun Bear Valley. A perfect spot with everything they could want including the most magnificent wild stallion Dal had ever seen—and a half-breed horse thief who wants to catch it.

Dal Baldwin and His Young Wife Face Bitter Hardships as They Strive to Carve a Home for Themselves Out of the Wilderness!

Cruickshank followed this up with “Challenge of the Wilds” from the Summer issue. Dal and Mary try to get everything in order at their homestead before winter comes when tragedy strikes!

Dal and Mary Baldwin Face Disaster When Their Horse Dies and Their Traps Are Robbed —but Their Courage Lives on!

A listing of Harold F Cruickshank’s PIONEER FOLK stories.

title magazine date vol no
1945
Wild King Savagery Range Riders Western Spr 13 1
Challenge of the Wilds Range Riders Western Sum 13 2
Spring Borning Range Riders Western Fal 13 3
Red Harvest Range Riders Western Dec 14 1
1946
Terror Neighbors Range Riders Western Feb 14 2
Wilderness Justice Range Riders Western Apr 14 3
Squatter’s Law Range Riders Western Jun 15 1
Wild Hoof Justice Range Riders Western Aug 15 2
The Valley Beyond Range Riders Western Nov 15 3
1947
Stampede Conquest Range Riders Western Jan 16 1
Frontier Courage Range Riders Western Mar 16 2
Wild King Savagery Range Riders Western May 16 3
Death Loops a Widelooper Range Riders Western Jul 17 1
Satan Tugs the Jerkline Range Riders Western Sep 17 2
Hell and High Water Range Riders Western Nov 17 3
1948
Good Neighbor Gunfire Range Riders Western Jan 18 1
Frontier Timber Wolves Range Riders Western Mar 18 2
The Devil’s Eye Range Riders Western May 18 3
Courage in the Craglands Range Riders Western Jul 19 1
Death Rides the Freight Trail Range Riders Western Sep 19 2
Satan Dabs a Wide Loop Range Riders Western Nov 19 3
1949
Drum Thunder Range Riders Western Jan 20 1
Showdown Range Riders Western Mar 20 2
Satan’s a Bad Neighbor Range Riders Western May 20 3
Wild Hoof Battle Loot Range Riders Western Jul 21 1
Satan’s Shroud of Death Range Riders Western Sep 21 2
Tough Test Range Riders Western Nov 21 3
1950
According to Colt Range Riders Western Mar 22 2
Rescue Range Riders Western May 22 3
The Scars of Victory Range Riders Western Aug 23 1
Backfire Range Riders Western Oct 23 2
Cupid Packs a Gun Range Riders Western Dec 23 3
1951
Buckaroo Bridge Gang Range Riders Western Feb 24 1
Dauntless the Pioneer Range Riders Western Apr 24 2
1952
Phantom Hoofbeats Range Riders Western Jan 25 3

 

“Wolf Worship” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on February 22, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE celebrating the works of Canada’s very own Harold F. Cruickshank this month. One of the most successful series of animal wilderness stories Cruickshank produced was the “White Phantom” series which primarily ran in the pages of Thrilling Adventures and West magazines.

Olak, the White Phantom, is an extraordinary wolf. He is large, handsome and is an albino. Because of his unusual coloring, the superstitious natives, Indians, think of him as allied with the spirit world and as such influences their hunting, the weather elements, famine conditions and so forth.

In the January 1940 issue of Thrilling Adventures, Tuc Cramer’s brother-in-law Tan goes searching for his lost friend Sa, son of Olak, the great White Phantom wolf king of Nahanni. Along the way he finds himself in the next valley over where the strange tribe there worships Olak-Achak—and about to be sacrificed to the spirit of the White Phantom!

Tan, the Indian Youth, Follows the Trail of the Son of the White Phantom!

As a bonus, here’s an article Cruickshank wrote about writing his animal stories that ran in the pages of the October 1944 issue of Writer’s Digest!

“The Fangs of Otan” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on February 19, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE celebrating the works of Canada’s very own Harold F. Cruickshank this month. As the winds of war swept across Europe, Cruickshank continued to crank out aviation stories for the pulps, but he also started to write animal stories. These stories proved to be very popular in the pages of western and adventure magazines.

Otan, a proud she-cougar, fights to save her precious liter of three cubs from the likes of Yeepek, a great bald eagle, and Mishi, a sour-tempered old barren she-grizzly! From the August 1939 Thrilling Adventures, it’s “The Fangs of Otan!”

A She-Cougar Fights for Life and Safety in the Untracked Wilds!

“The Red Eagle” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on February 16, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE celebrating the works of Canada’s very own Harold F. Cruickshank this month. Mr. Cruickshank launched his career writing stories based loosely on his war experiences. As tastes turned from straight out battle field stories to air war stories, Cruickshank shifted his setting from the trenches to the cockpit. With stories appearing in such titles as War Birds, War Aces, Sky Birds, Airplane Stories, Flying Aces, and Sky Fighters.

For Harry Steeger’s trio of Popular Publication’s titles—Battle Aces, Dare-Devil Aces and Battle Birds—Mr. Cruickshank developed continuing characters that ran generally in short novelettes each month. Although the final issue of Battle Aces had just hit the stands in November of 1932, Cruickshank created a brand new series when asked to for the new companion magazine to Dare-Devil Aces—Battle Birds in December 1932.

In “The Red Eagle,” Cruickshank gives us Ted Blair—a Yank Eagle who excelled more than any other with fighting guts and his ability to maneuver in tight loops and slip-offs which amazed and baffled his opponents. His eye was quick, as quick as the flash of greased lightning, and his Vickers twins were deadly accurate. In the dive he was merciless; he struck like a hungry, angered eagle, hence his nom de guerre, Red Eagle. That, and because of his flaming red hair and freckled spotted face.

Cruickshank gave him a brood much like the Sky Devil’s—formed from his old B Flight of the 44th, Blair had played with, fought with, nursed, and built up those members of the Brood—Lieutenant Sam Martin, the tall, blond deputy leader; Lieutenant Pete Monty Rider, the hard-egg scrapper from America’s ranch country; Lieutenant Frank “Spud” Fallon, the Irish-Yank, whose wit was no less appreciated than his fighting quality, and his flair for fixing things mechanical; and Lieutenant Dave “Babe” Deakin, the big-framed ex-fullback of Yale, a good-natured fighting hellcat, whose piano playing and singing, though of secondary importance, brought a big hand from his intrepid pals. They were all men of guts. Each wore a single decoration. Each packed an unswerving brand of loyalty and a fighting heart. These were the Red Eagle’s Brood—big-chested, rollicking sky scrappers, who feared nothing, save the tongue of their leader.

The Red Eagle and his Brood were established as an semi-independent flight under the command of Major Bruce Grove. Unfortunately, Grove had his own problems—a splendid fellow in every way, he had jeopardized his position some months back by taking the rap for a wrong done by one of his former flights. He knew that if he rode just once over a Wing order, his term of command was done. Bruce Grove was, literally, on the spot and Wing was ready to get him. Bill Mond, the surgeon, knew this. Ted Blair, the Eagle skipper knew it too.

With all that in mind, we present The Red Eagle’s self-titled premier outing from the December 1932 issue of Battle Birds!

Zeps stalked above; from below a flight of super-Fokkers zoomed, Spandaus snarling. But the Red Eagle led his devil’s brood straight on; like monster bird killers they dived straight for the staffle of Death, determined to slash a gap through this hell trap—or meet their doom fighting!

A listing of Harold F. Cruickshank’s RED EAGLE stories.

title magazine date vol no
1932
The Red Eagle Battle Birds Dec 1 1
1933
The Iron Eagle Battle Birds Jan 1 2
The Phantom Staffel Battle Birds Feb 1 3
The Masked Buzzard Battle Birds Mar 1 4
The Gray Phantom Battle Birds Apr 2 1
The Black Skull Staffel Battle Birds May 2 2
The Red Death Battle Birds Jun 2 3
Hellion’s Brood Battle Birds Jul 2 4
The Coffin Ace Battle Birds Aug 3 1
The Buccaneer Flight Battle Birds Sep 3 2
The Hell Busters Battle Birds Oct 3 3
Dodoes from Hell Battle Birds Nov 3 4
The One-Eyed Squadron Battle Birds Dec 4 1
1934
Storm Eagles Battle Birds Jan 4 2
Mad Shark of Prussia Battle Birds Feb 4 3
Staffel of Skulls Battle Birds Mar 4 4
Squadron of Lost Men Battle Birds Apr 5 1
The Bloodhound Patrol Battle Birds May 5 2
Tiger Patrol Battle Birds Jun 5 3
Dynamite Busters Dare-Devil Aces Oct 8 3
The Bloodhound Flight Dare-Devil Aces Dec 9 1
1935
The Black Comet Dare-Devil Aces Apr 10 1
Gunpowder Eagles Dare-Devil Aces Jul 10 4
The Vampire Flight Dare-Devil Aces Dec 12 1

 

“Sky Devil’s Trap” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on February 12, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE celebrating the works of Canada’s very own Harold F. Cruickshank this month. Mr. Cruickshank launched his career writing stories based loosely on his war experiences. As tastes turned from straight out battle field stories to air war stories, Cruickshank shifted his setting from the trenches to the cockpit. With stories appearing in such titles as War Birds, War Aces, Sky Birds, Airplane Stories, Flying Aces, and Sky Fighters.

For Harry Steeger’s trio of Popular Publication’s titles—Battle Aces, Dare-Devil Aces and Battle Birds—Mr. Cruickshank developed continuing characters that ran generally in short novelettes each month. Following on from the success of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces, Cruickshank was asked to develop a series for the newly premiered sister magazine, Dare-Devil Aces. For Dare-Devil Aces, Cruickshank developed his best known war hero—the rough and tumble Captain Bill Dawe—The Sky Devil! Cruickshank based Bill Dawe on his own infantry commander from WWI.

There was no better flight in France than the Sky Devil and his Brood. Led by Captain Bill Dawe, the famous Yank ace known to all of France as the Sky Devil, the brood consisted of Chuck Verne, Mart Bevin, Slim Skitch and Slug Walton. The crimson devil insignia on their silver Spads brought fear to any German pilot unlucky enough to meet them in the air. But the Sky Devil’s greatest enemy might just be his own C.O., Major Petrie, who had been railroaded into command of 120 Squadron over Dawe’s head. Jealous of Dawe’s popularity, Petrie will do anything to bring down the Sky Devil and his Brood!”

Sky Devil flew through the Hell Skies of 29 adventures in the pages of Dare-Devil Aces from 1932-1935. Cruickshank returned to the savior of the Western Front in six subsequent stories several years later. The first two were in the pages of Sky Devils (June 1939) and Fighting Aces (March 1940). The other four ran in Sky Fighters (1943-1946) where he was aged up and moved to the Second World War where Bill Dawe changes his name to get into the air service and flys along side his son!

Here we present The Sky Devil’s premier outing from the April 1932 issue of Dare-Devil Aces, it’s “Sky Devil’s Trap!”

Swiftly those Yank bombers ripped in, blasting that fake staffel to hell. They didn’t see the Fokkers swinging down from above; didn’t guess they were cold meat—snared in a blood trap from which only the yammering guns of one doomed sky devil could hope to snatch them.

Here is a listing of Harold F. Cruickshank’s SKY DEVIL stories.

title magazine date vol no
1932
Sky Devil’s Trap Dare-Devil Aces Apr 01 02
The Green Devils Dare-Devil Aces Jul 02 01
Hell’s Skipper Dare-Devil Aces Sep 02 03
The Sky Devil’s Brood Dare-Devil Aces Oct 02 04
Killer’s Drome Dare-Devil Aces Nov 03 01
The Sky Tiger Dare-Devil Aces Dec 03 02
1933
Captain von Death Dare-Devil Aces Jan 03 03
The Flaming Ace Dare-Devil Aces Feb 03 04
Sky Devil’s Trap Dare-Devil Aces Mar 04 01
The Haunted Fokker Dare-Devil Aces Apr 04 02
Buzzards’ Brand Dare-Devil Aces May 04 03
Torpedo Buzzards Dare-Devil Aces Jun 04 04
The Bat Patrol Dare-Devil Aces Jul 05 01
Hell Buzzards Nest Dare-Devil Aces Aug 05 02
The Sky Cobra Dare-Devil Aces Sep 05 03
The Outlaw Ace Dare-Devil Aces Oct 05 04
Ace of Devils Dare-Devil Aces Nov 06 01
Skeleton’s Drome Dare-Devil Aces Dec 06 02
1934
The Sky Pirates Dare-Devil Aces Jan 06 03
Staffel of Hate Dare-Devil Aces Feb 06 04
The Flaming Vulture Dare-Devil Aces Mar 07 01
No-Man’s Squadron Dare-Devil Aces Apr 07 02
The Storm Buzzard Dare-Devil Aces May 07 03
The Derelict Patrol Dare-Devil Aces Jun 07 04
Staffel of Skeletons Dare-Devil Aces Jul 08 01
Graveyard Staffel Dare-Devil Aces Sep 08 02
1935
The Stratosphere Patrol Dare-Devil Aces Feb 09 03
The Undersea Buzzard Dare-Devil Aces Jun 10 03
Staffel of Dead Men Dare-Devil Aces Sep 11 02
1939
Wings of the Brave Sky Devils Jun 01 06
1940
A Torch for the Damned Fighting Aces Mar 01 01

 

When Cruickshank brought The Sky Devil back in the 40’s for Sky Fighters, he moved his theater of operations from the First World War to the Second World War. Older, more reckless and enlisted under false pretenses, he’s fighting the good fight and watching out for his son as well!

 

1943
Sky Devil and Son Sky Fighters Jan 28 02
Return of the Sky Devil Sky Fighters Mar 28 03
1946
Settlement in Full Sky Fighters Win 33 01
Sky Route to Hell Sky Fighters Spr 33 02

 

We’ve collected and published all 29 of The Sky Devil’s stories from Dare-Devil Aces into two volumes—Hell’s Skipperand Ace of Devils! In addition, we’ve posted many of the post-Popular stories on the site here (just click on the “Sky Devil” tag below). The books can be picked up through the usual sources—Adventure House, Mike Chomko Books and Amazon!

“The Sky Wolf’s Brood” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on February 9, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE celebrating the works of Canada’s very own Harold F. Cruickshank this month. Mr. Cruickshank launched his career writing stories based loosely on his war experiences. As tastes turned from straight out battle field stories to air war stories, Cruickshank shifted his setting from the trenches to the cockpit. With stories appearing in such titles as War Birds, War Aces, Sky Birds, Airplane Stories, Flying Aces, and Sky Fighters.

For Harry Steeger’s trio of Popular Publication’s titles—Battle Aces, Dare-Devil Aces and Battle Birds—Mr. Cruickshank developed continuing characters that ran generally in short novelettes each month. The first was Captain Bill Hennedy, a.k.a The Sky Wolf, in the pages of Battle Aces. Starting in the magazine’s fourth issue in January 1931, The Sky Wolf would appear just over a dozen times before flying through the pages of G-8 and his Battle Aces and Dare-Devil Aces for another dozen or so adventures.

Hennedy was ably assisted by his famous Yank Wolf Brood! “Red” Kelly was the Sky Wolf’s deputy leader; he along with Pat Maguire and Stan Glover formed a trio of pilots who had no equal in the whole of France. Filling out the Wolf Flight were wolf cubs Jim Evans and Hank Daly—able to hold their own with any German Ace that dared take them on. Together, The Sky Wolf and his Brood were the scourge of any and all German Aces who dared attack the Allied forces.

Here we present The Sky Wolf’s premier outing as he and his brood try to save a stranded garrison! From the January 1931 issue of Battle Aces, it’s “The Sky Wolf’s Brood!”

It was the “Sky Wolf’s” daring scheme—this plan to rescue that stranded garrison of wounded infantrymen. And now unmindful of his blood-drenched face, he was leading his brood straight down into the enemy stronghold—for here was a skipper and a brood that didn’t know when they were dead!

Here is a listing of Harold F. Cruickshank’s SKY WOLF stories.

title magazine date vol no
1931
The Sky Wolf’s Brood Battle Aces Jan 1 4
The Sky Wolf Returns Battle Aces Jul 3 2
Fangs of the Wolf Brood Battle Aces Nov 4 2
1932
The Wolf Brood Strikes Battle Aces Jan 4 4
The Wolf Brand Battle Aces Mar 5 2
Sky Wolf’s Cub Battle Aces Apr 5 3
The Brood at Bay Battle Aces May 5 4
The Wolf Terror Battle Aces Jun 6 1
Snarl of the Sky Wolf Battle Aces Jul 6 2
Wolf Brood Hell Battle Aces Aug 6 3
The Flying Torpedo Battle Aces Sep 6 4
Sky Wolf’s Trap Battle Aces Oct 7 1
Staffel of Hell Battle Aces Nov 7 2
1934
Return of the Sky Wolf G-8 and his Battle Aces Feb 2 1
The Silver Spad G-8 and his Battle Aces Apr 2 3
The Outlaw Patrol G-8 and his Battle Aces Jun 3 1
Drome of the Living Dead Dare-Devil Aces Nov 8 4
1935
Legion of Death Dare-Devil Aces Jan 9 2
The Torpedo Eagle Dare-Devil Aces May 10 2
The Iron Devils Dare-Devil Aces Aug 11 1
The Jackal Patrol Dare-Devil Aces Nov 11 4
1937
Hell Trap Dare-Devil Aces Mar 12 4
1938
The Sky Wolf Returns Dare-Devil Aces Jun 19 3
The Hell Raider Dare-Devil Aces Oct 20 3
1943
Fangs of the Sky Wolf Dare-Devil Aces May 31 2

 

“The Tunnel of Death” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on February 5, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE celebrating the works of Canada’s very own Harold F. Cruickshank this month. Mr. Cruickshank launched his career when he was asked to write about his war comrades in Belgium. He received a prize for the story and continued writing in his spare time.

In 1923 he sold his first major piece to Western Home Monthly, Chatelaine’s forerunner, and a demand quickly grew for his stories. When he first started off, the demand was for war stories so Cruickshank wrote stories inspired by his time in the 63rd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces and soon had stories running in all the big war themed pulps of the day—War Stories, Under Fire Magazine, Canadian War Stories, War Novels, Soldier Stories, and the magazine our featured story ran in—Battle Stories!

The company commander, Captain Coyne, had been found lying in a pool of his own blood—foully murdered. Coyne had been more than a good pal to Maguire. There was a bond between them which had been cemented during years of service on the Montreal Police Force and almost three years of action together in France. Now Coyne was gone. The skipper had been shot from behind and not by a German! It was an inside job. But who? Coyne was the most popular officer in the battalion, with a heart which was always with his men. But if Maguire wanted answers, he’d have to venture into the tunnels snaking under No-Man’s-Land!

Murder and mystery stalk hand in hand in this amazing story of a dread sector at the front!

From the July 1929 issue of Battle Stories, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “The Tunnel of Death!”

Cruickshank’s Adventures in Pulps

Link - Posted by David on February 1, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re spotlighting the work of Canada’s favorite son, Harold F. Cruickshank. The following article from 1974 acts as a fine introduction to this prolific pulp author!

Adventures with Pulps

The Leader Post, Regina, Canada • 6 September 1974, p14

EDMONTON (CP) — Harold Cruickshank says a “green hungry monster’’ has swallowed up the kind of adventure literature he once wrote and peddled to pulp magazines.

Cruickshank, 81, has spent most of his life creating action-adventure heroes but says his brand of story has been replaced with “sex, violence, and pornography, the very things which we tried to keep from the eyes of our younger folk.”

For 55 years Mr. Cruickshank, whose characters include the Sky Devil and Keko the wolf, wrote for pulp magazines, those publications printed on newsprint rather than fine paper.

During his peak he knocked off eight 6,000-word stories a month with titles like The Village of the Living Dead, Judgment of the War Gods and Where Death Lurks Deep.

Using pseudonyms, some magazines ran as many as three Cruickshank stories in a single issue.

“Certainly the pulps caried stories of violence, but it was a violence of a defensive nature.

“When we killed somebody it was because we knew damn well he was about to kill us, not out of any desire to kill.”

Mr. Cruickshank’s war adventure stories were based on his own combat experience during two world wars.

His best-known war hero, First World War flying ace Capt. Bill Dawe, The Sky Devil, had a real life model in Mr. Cruickshank’s own infantry commander.

He said young readers who patterned themselves after heroes like the Sky Devil and formed fan clubs to honor the fictional adventurers were doing a good thing.

The pulp magazines such as Battle Stories, Dare-Devil Aces and Sky Fighters, popular between the 1920s and the early 1950s, sold for a quarter or less.

“The critics thought the pulps should be hidden under rocks and only read on rainy days,” said Mr. Cruickshank.

“Some of the greatest writers in the world wrote for the pulps. People who also wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and Redbook.”

“A writer for the pulp magazines had to be continually alert to cope with the changing trends. And you had to compete with the cream of the pulp people.

“When I first started off the demand was for war stories. When they faded you had to switch to air war stories.”

When that fad passed a demand for wilderness adventure grew and Cruickshank met it with his profitable series about Keko the wolf.

The series jelled during the Depression when Mr. Cruickshank saw a German shepherd and a golden collie playing together in the snow.

“At that point I conceived in ray mind’s eye the product of a mating between a wolf and a collie.

“I developed this idea into a series of animal adventure stories running several years in one of the western magazines. I later compiled the stories into a book.**

Mr. Cruickshank launched his career when he was asked to write about his war comrades in Belgium in 1918.

He received a prize for a story and continued writing in his spare time in Alberta.

In 1923 he sold his first major piece to Western Home Monthly, Chatelaine’s forerunner, and a demand grew for his stories.

“For 55 years I wrote more magazine stories than most writers in the country, the U.S. and elsewhere and nobody cared.

“Now they come around giving me halos for what I’ve done. Not that I’m complaining, you understand, I always considered I was just doing a job, like a carpenter or anybody else.”

Mr. Cruickshank now writes technical guides for would-be writers and instructional articles on homesteading for government publications.

The article above Is a combination of two versions of the same article. The one in The Regina Leader Post is the most complete version. The one in the Advocate is more edited, but includes the final paragraph.

“Von Satan’s Lair” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on January 1, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

ALTHOUGH we just gave you twelve stories last month instead of just four or five, it’s Friday, so let’s make it a baker’s dozen. And who better to feature that our old pal Harold F. Cruickshank. We have three good reasons for this: First, Harold F. Cruickshank was not represented last month among our twelve tales of Christmas 1931; Second, this is kind of a teaser for next month when we’ll be featuring Canada’s favorite son and looking at his trio of Aces—The Sky Devil, The Red Eagle and The Sky Wolf, as well as his Pioneer Folk tales; and last, but by no means least, It’s just a darn good story to get the year going!

Jack Malone’s flight has been dwindling down at the hands of the evil Baron von Satan! When his former deputy leader returns badly injured, his face surgically altered, and fighting off some kind of mind control—Malone believes there’s still hope to find other members of his flight, and that he can save them before they too go under the sinister knife of von Satan!

From the pages of the April 1934 issue of Sky Fighters, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Von Satan’s Lair!”

Corporal Jack Malone Sails the Sky Lanes Grimly in this Gripping Drama of Sinister Secrets of Hun Hate!

The Aces of Christmas 1931

Link - Posted by David on November 30, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

WHILE browsing through eBay a couple months ago, I came upon these two snapshots from a family’s Christmas in Memphis 1931. What caught my eye was the little boy all dressed up as a WWI ace with leather jacket, aviator’s cap with goggles, and some sort of tall leather boots(?)! It got me thinking about what stories that boy could have been reading that rather mild, snowless December in Memphis.

So this month we’ll be featuring stories published in the December 1931 issues of Aces, Sky Birds, War Aces and War Birds, by some of our favorite authors—Arch Whitehouse, O.B. Myers, Frederick C. Painton, Frederick C. Davis, Donald E. Keyhoe, and George Bruce—as well as a couple new or seldom seen authors to our site—Elliot W. Chess, Edgar L. Cooper, and Robert Sidney Bowen.

Looking at that impressive list, you may be wondering where a few of our most often posted authors are. Authors like Ralph Oppenheim, Harold F. Cruickshank, Lester Dent and Joe Archibald. That’s a bit of good news/bad news. The good news, we’ve already posted the stories Ralph Oppenheim (“Lazy Wings”) and Lester Dent (“Bat Trap”) had in the December 1931 War Aces; the bad, I don’t have the December 1931 issues of Wings featuring George Bruce, F.E. Rechnitzer and Edwin C. Parsons or Flying Aces with Keyhoe, Archibald, George Fielding Eliot, Alexis Rossoff, and William E. Poindexter. And as for Cruickshank—he didn’t have a story in any of the air pulps that month.

With that in mind—and since it’s Monday, let’s get the ball rolling with the covers of Christmas 1931!


ACES by Redolph Belarski


BATTLE ACES by Frederick Blakeslee


FLYING ACES by Paul J. Bissell


SKY BIRDS by Colcord Heurlin


WAR ACES by Eugene Frandzen


WAR BIRDS by Redolph Belarski


WINGS by Redolph Belarski

Come back on Wednesdays and Fridays this month for some of the great fiction from these issues!

“Test Flight” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on June 12, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air.

After Captain Ted Strang, Yankee Flight Commander, is injured in a crash—he fights his way back to being able to fly again. Thinking it may be his best chance, he makes the most of a test flight in hopes of getting back in the game! From the August 1930 issue of War Aces, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Test Flight!”

They clipped his wings and sent him to the rear. When the black menace of the enemy reached out to spread it’s venom over London he knew that only the magic of his guns could prove his valor.

“Guns of Mystery” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on August 17, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air. From the premier issue of War Aces, Mr. Cruickshank gives us a story of the first installation of machine guns on planes—while not strictly factual, it’s a ripping good read! From the April 1930 issue of War Aces, it’s Harold F. Cruickshank’s “Guns of Mystery!”

It was the unpardonable sin to mount a gun on a plane, but when a blazing path of steel traced itself across his wings Kelly felt icy fingers on his heart and knew that a new horror was winging through the air.

“Torture Drome” by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on April 6, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air. Here we have a story of brothers—half-brothers both assigned to 17 Drome. The younger brother, Cal, is posted as A.W.O.L., but Lew, the older of the two fears Cal was attempting to assist his older brother in his assignment to get the dreaded Baron von Hertzog and some awful fate has befallen him. Leading Lew to absent himself from his drome without authority to try and find the kid and save his hide. From the June 1934 issue of Sky Fighters it’s “Torture Drome”—

Captain Lew Vance Braves Boche Horror As He Flies Hell-Bent into Hunland to Vindicate the Honor of His Half-Brother!

“Talons of the “Dove”" by Harold F. Cruickshank

Link - Posted by David on January 5, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by another of our favorite authors—Harold F. Cruickshank! Cruickshank is popular in these parts for the thrilling exploits of The Sky Devil from the pages of Dare-Devil Aces, as well as those of The Sky Wolf in Battle Aces and The Red Eagle in Battle Birds. He wrote innumerable stories of war both on the ground and in the air. Here we have a tale of Lt. Harcourt Bryson Dovely, recently sent up to “C” flight at 78th Pursuit Squadron where he has become Captain Dave Dillon’s problem For Lt. Dovely seems more interested in the plants on the ground than the Huns chasing him in the sky. But maybe he’ll surprise them all and sho him that this dove is really an eagle! From the October 1934 issue of Sky Fighters it’s “Talons of the “Dove”"—

Dovely was the queer egg of “C” Flight—But he sure knew his botany!

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