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“The Christmas Crate” by Raoul Whitfield

Link - Posted by David on December 30, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

AS A TREAT this week, we have a special holiday themed tale of Raoul Whitfield’s ‘Buck’ Kent from the pages of Air Trails magazine. Whitfield is primarily known for his hardboiled crime fiction published in the pages of Black Mask, but he was equally adept at lighter fair that might run in the pages of Breezy Stories. ‘Buck’ Kent, along with his pal Lou Parrish, is an adventurous pilot for hire. These stories, although more in the juvenile fiction vein, do occasionally feature some elements of his harder prose.

This time Buck and Lou are asked to fly a load of toys, candy and food through a vicious snow storm to a remote mining camp that the storm has cut off. It’s a harried flight against the accumulating elements and a test of Buck’s flying acumen that will hopefully result in a Merry Christmas for the kids and miners in the camp!

Into the teeth of the storm on a mission of mercy, “Buck” Kent staked his airman’s skill against the blizzard’s might!

“Trouble or Nothing” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on December 23, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE back with the last of the recently found Post War Pinkham stories that ran in the first few issues of Flying Models Magazine. It’s 2o years since the great guerre and Phineas is now running his own “Flying Carpet Airlines” whose motto is: “We Fly Anything, Anybody, Anywhere! The Sky Is The Limit!” He’s settled down in his old Boonetown, Iowa (not with Babbette) and has a son Elmer who is chief pilot at his airlines. His mechanic from the Ninth Pursuits, Casey, is chief grease monkey of the outfit.

“GROUND ALL FLIGHTS!” Phineas Pinkham has just purchased an army surplus L5 and is back in the air flying only to believe he has slipped back to the great guerre and a wayward army surplus barrage balloon now being used for advertising is a big WWI barrage balloon that needs bustin’! From the January 1948 issue of Flying Models, it’s Phineas Pinkham—older, but not necessarily any wiser—in Joe Archibald’s “Trouble or Nothing!”

With the CAA after his hide, the CAB out for his blood, and the FBI gunning for his practical joke business, Phineas Pinkham, the Bagdad, Ohio, wonder-man, could think of nothing better to do than violate every flight rule in the books by hunting rubber cows in the skies while dodging a flock of USAAF .50 caliber slugs!

Heroes of the Air: A. Jerrard by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on December 19, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

WHEN Flying, the new weekly paper of all things aviation, started up in England in 1938, amongst the articles and stories and photo features was an illustrative feature called “Heroes of the Air.” It was a full page illustration by S. Drigin of the events surrounding how the pictured Ace got their Victoria Cross along with a brief explanatory note.

Russian born Serge Drigin became a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s with his work regularly appearing in such British magazines as The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He is probably best known for his startling covers for Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others in the 30s.

From the 30 April 1938 issue of Flying:


LIEUTENANT Jerrard was, strangely enough, the only pilot to win a V.C. for an exploit in a Camel. It was on March 30, 1918, that Jerrard found himself a few hundred feet above an enemy aerodrome after just having shot down a German machine. What he saw on looking down would have sent another scurrying home to the British lines. No less than nineteen aeroplanes were preparing to take off. Jerrard acted quickly and decisively. Sweeping low over the aerodrome, he opened fire on the machines and as the first one took off he sent it hurtling back to crash on its own aerodrome. Other machines soon took off and attacked one of the pilots in Jerrard’s patrol. Jerrard at once went to his assistance and sent his third machine that day into the dust. By this time he had received several wounds, but he continued to fight until he was overcome by sheer weight of numbers and forced to land. In spite of his wounds and forced landing he escaped with his life. The award of the V.C. followed on May 1, and it was certainly deserved.

“Slap-Happy Landings” by Joe Archibald

Link - Posted by David on December 16, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

WE’RE back with another, of the recently found Post War Pinkham stories that ran in the first few issues of Flying Models Magazine. It’s 2o years since the great guerre and Phineas is now running his own “Flying Carpet Airlines” whose motto is: “We Fly Anything, Anybody, Anywhere! The Sky Is The Limit!” He’s settled down in his old Boonetown, Iowa (not with Babbette) and has a son Elmer who is chief pilot at his airlines. His mechanic from the Ninth Pursuits, Casey, is chief grease monkey of the outfit.

Speaking of monkeys—Flying Carpet Airline’s new pilot Boom Boom Brink shows up with a chimpanzee in tow and plenty of monkey business ensues when the newspapers and wire believe it was the chimp who piloted The Flying Carpet Airlines plane when it had to make an emergency landing. All this just as Phineas is trying to keep things in order to try to land a big hauling job. From the August 1947 issue of Flying Models, it’s Phineas Pinkham—older, but not necessarily any wiser—in Joe Archibald’s “Slap-Happy Landings!”

Phineas and Elmer Pinkham never let caution get in the way of a corking good time—not even when Boom Boom Brink’s chuckle-headed chimpanzee, responding apefully to the manpower shortage, took over as pilot of their big DC3!

Be sure to come back next Friday for the last of the Post War Pinkham stories!

How the War Crates Flew: Just How Fast?

Link - Posted by David on December 14, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

FROM the pages of the March 1933 number of Sky Fighters:

Editor’s Note: We feel that this magazine has been exceedingly fortunate in securing R. Sidney Bowen to conduct a technical department each month. It is Mr. Bowen’s idea to tell us the underlying principles and facts concerning expressions and ideas of air-war terminology. Each month he will enlarge upon some particular statement in the stories of this magazine. Mr. Bowen is qualified for this work, not only because he was a war pilot of the Royal Air Force, but also because he has been the editor of one of the foremost technical journals of aviation.

Just How Fast?

by Robert Sidney Bowen (Sky Fighters, March 1933)

WELL, my Fledglings—er, sorry, I should have said Buzzards! Well, anyway, the chin-fest this time is going to be one which I am afraid will shoot a pet belief of yours all to pieces. By the time I get through, you birds will be calling your Uncle Washout all sorts of nasty names, and the main one will be—“liar”! But I’ve been called that by dumber buzzards than you (yes, there are a few I think) so don’t build up any hopes of getting my goat. A Sopwith Camel got that, years ago! However, I’m warning you in advance. If you don’t believe me, then get up and walk out. It’s all the same with me. But, if you do stay, keep your traps zippered up until I’ve emphasized the final period and quotation marks.

I’ve been planning to chin this tune to you for some time, but I’ve delayed doing it until we got to know each other a little better. That is, rather, until I got to know you a little better! Well, I’ve found, according to your letters, that your bark is worse than your bite. And so figuring that though you may toss things my way, when I’m through, my one and only life won’t be hanging in the balance.

So, here it comes. Ever read anything like this?

“Slamming the stick over and stepping hard on left rudder, Jim Collins, keen-eyed eagle of Uncle Sam’s brood, spun around on wing-tip and went thundering straight for the Fokker at a speed well over 200 m.p.h. His twin Vickers yammered harshly, and—”

AND horse collar to you, Jim Collins! And also, horse collar to you, Mr. Author, who lets that sort of stuff drip off your typewriter keys!

You guessed it, Buzzards! I’m going to chin about the speed of all the war flying crates that I and 9,999,999 other dumb peelots made famous. Yeah, I can see that look slipping into your eyes, already. But go ahead—I’m going to chin the truth, the whole truth, so help me!

Jim Collins, or any other pilot during the late mix-up, never went even 200 m.p.h. in level flight. Now when I say, the late mix-up, I’m talking about the World War. Perhaps there’s been another since then, and no one has told me about it. But the World War I mean, is the one that took place between 1914-1918. And during those years no war crate, Yank, British, French, German or Ethiopian, came within 50 miles of a top speed of 200 m.p.h!

All right, all right, sit down! Let’s start right in with the year of 1914 and take a look at the records year by year.

The War, as you all know, and if you don’t, I’m telling you, started in August, 1914. Now up to that date the speed record for land planes was 105 m.p.h., made by Maurice Prevost when he won the Gordon Bennett Cup Race held in France, September 29, 1913. And the speed record for seaplanes was 86.8 m.p.h., made by C. Howard Pixton wrhen he won the Jacques Schneider Maritime Aviation Cup Race (original name of the present Schneider Trophy Contest) held on the Bay of Monaco in March 1913.

Therefore we enter the World War with a top speed of 105 m.p.h. But, don’t overlook the fact that that was the top speed of the fastest racing plane. Not a military ship loaded with guns, ammo, and a bomb or two here and there, but a racing ship stripped of everything possible that would hinder forward progress, and with an engine tuned up for that one race!

Okay, now we turn to the records.

The British sent to the front in the 1914 period, first, the well-known Avro, powered with a Gnome or Le Rhone with a top speed of 65-70 m.p.h. Then there was the B.E. (Bleriot and later the British Experimental) powered with a Renault, that knocked off about 50 m.p.h. Another was the Gnome powered Vickers that slid along at 60-65 m.p.h. And of course the Handley-Page Bomber that had two Rolls-Royce engines, and thundered forward at about 80 m.p.h. Those ships were all two-seaters, or over, and were the vanguard of British ships in France.

Now the French had their good old two-seater Breguet that bent your whiskers back at 55-60 m.p.h. They also had the Bleriot (same as the British) that clicked at around 55 m.p.h. The well-known Caudron that mushed onward at about the same speed. And ditto for the Maurice Farman, the Morane and the early Nieuport. All were two-seaters or bombers save the Bleriot, the Morane and the Nieuport.

AND the Germans? Well, they had the Albatross scout with a Mercedes and. 65-70 m.p.h. to its credit. Then there was the two-seater Aviatik that clicked at around 70-75 m.p.h. And the Taube single-seater monoplane with an Argus engine that could only hit 50 m.p.h. and not go boom!

So taking it all in all the Germans had a general edge of about 5 m.p.h. over the French and British save for the Handley-Page with its twin engine speed of 80 m.p.h. But taking the general top speed average we find it to be around 65 m.p.h. in the first year of the war, or, to be pretty near exact, some 40 m.p.h. below the then existing world’s speed record for all types of aircraft.

Now, in case you think I’m going to go on listing all the various planes year by year, you’re crazy. Such a thing would fill this whole mag. And the C.O. tells me that there are some swell yarns he wants to put in, and for me to go easy on the space. But, I’ve started this fight, and I’m going to finish it by tracing the increase of war plane top speed right through to 1919. I’ll do it by sighting performances of the various leading and famous crates.

Naturally, no World War power made a ship one year, and then tossed it in the ash can for an entirely different design the next. True, that was done in a few cases. But what I’m driving at is that not only were new designs brought out, but the old ones were improved upon. As an example we find the original British Bristol with a Gnome in the nose in 1914 doing around 70 m.p.h., and in 1917 with a Rolls-Royce and a few improvements it did 105 m.p.h.

BUT we’re getting ahead of our chinning. Let’s go back to 1915. That year was really the year that aerial warfare got under way. Prior to then, war flying consisted of reconnaissance and bombing work. But in 1915 the boys got their hands on aerial guns and the works started popping.

The British jacked up the speeds of their old ships a little bit and sent out the first DH single-seater (DH2 Pusher) that could hit 95 m.p.h. That same year the first Sopwith Scout came out with 90 m.p.h. Then there was the first Martinsyde single-seater that made 95 m.p.h. And the fastest of all, the. famous Bristol “Bullet” that did just about 100 m.p.h.

Meanwhile the French got 90 m.p.h. out of a new Nieuport. Some 70 m.p.h. out of a Bleriot scout. And about 5 m.p.h. more out of a new Caudron single-seater. The French seemed to be a bit conservative in their speed figures that year.

That year saw the introduction of the first Fokker. It was called the “Eindecker” and was a single-seater monoplane powered with an Oberursel engine, and had a top speed of 95 m.p.h. The Germans boosted their Albatross speed up to 80 m.p.h. And that was about all they did.

So we see that in the second year of the war England has most of the speed honors. But, believe it or not, the fastest speed is still 5 m.p.h. below the record set in 1913.

However, in 1916, the scrapping nations pulled up their socks and got to work on the idea of shoving their planes through the air at a real good clip.

The British pushed their Avro single-seater up to 100 m.p.h. They came out with a new Bristol that did 105 m.p.h. They made a redesigned Martinsyde do 110 m.p.h. And they sent out the first S.E. an S.E.4 (not S.E.5) that did close to 100 m.p.h. But their greatest achievement was the new DH4 that did around 125 m.p.h. That ship was the fastest of its time.

THE French did a little better by themselves as regards speed in 1916. The most important item was that they came out with the first of the famous Spad pursuit ships. This job, which was powered with a Hispano-Suiza engine, as were all Spads, knocked off 105 m.p.h. The new Caudron twin-engine bomber did 85 m.p.h. which was pretty good for a crate of its size. And the fixed-up Nieuport equaled the top speed of the Spad.

Of course, 1916 was a big year for the Germans. The first Fokker of the famous D series saw front line service that year. Naturally, it was the Dl, and powered with a Mercedes it was good for 105 m.p.h. The Aviatik, with a Benz in the nose had the same speed. And the New Benz-powered Albatross hit the same clip, also. But strange as it may seem, the honey of German ships that year, as far as speed was concerned, was the Benz powered Halberstadt single-seater. The first Halberstadt that year was powered with an Argus and could do 105 m.p.h. But when they stuck a Benz in the nose the ship went up and buzzed along at a nice clip of 120 m.p.h.

And so, at the end of that year we find the British and the Germans pretty much on a par for speed honors, with the French tagging along slightly behind. And not only that, we find that the existing speed record for all types of aircraft has received a good swift kick in the ailerons!

Now, before we step into 1917, let me put a word in for good luck. I have been chinning about the speed of war crates. I have not made any mention of the maneuverability of war crates. So just bear that in mind as we talk on. Speed was an asset, but not the whole thing. So don’t get the idea that just because the French had slower ships that they were doing the poorest job. Far from it, believe you me! In a dog-fight a highly maneuverable ship can trim the pants off a faster ship any day in the week, assuming, of course, that the pilots are equal in skill. So don’t let your grandmother tell you different.

AND so for 1917, the year when supremacy of the air was finally decided for once and for all in the World war.

Perhaps the greatest contribution to the art of smacking things out of the sky that year was made by the British when they sent out to France the Famous Bristol Fighter. The job of that year was powered with a 200 hp. Hissi or a 200 hp. Sunbeam, and it slid along, with full load at 120 m.p.h. Next in line was the well-known DH9 with a Napier-Lion engine. This ship, also a two-seater, could do 110 m.p.h. And then came two of the most famous airplanes ever built. First the S.E.5. at 125 m.p.h., and the Sopwith Camel at 120 m.p.h. Both ships were pursuit jobs, as you all know. And—but why chin more? You know all about their history.

To match the British contributions the French brought out a new Nieuport that could do about 120 under full steam with a Gnome in the nose, and about 115 with a Hisso. In addition to that they stuck a 200 hp. Hisso in a redesigned Spad and got a top speed of 125 m.p.h.

Of course the Germans weren’t asleep, either. The first was their new Mercedes-powered Albatross that clicked at 125 m.p.h. The next was the souped-up Aviatik that made the same speed. Then the Fokker D4 at 120 m.p.h. and later the D5 at 125 m.p.h. And last, but not least, the famous Pfalz with a speed of 120.

And so we find England and Germany hitting it off neck and neck, with the edge in favor of England, due to its higher topspeed average for all types. And particularly due to the introduction of two brand new pursuit ships, the S.E.5, and the Sopwith Camel.

All of which brings us up to 1918 and the final showdown.

As usual, England got the jump by bringing out two brand new types, and improving on all the others. The new types were first the Sopwith Dolphin, a high altitude ship that could do 130 m.p.h., and the Sopwith Snipe that could do a shade over 140 m.p.h. with luck. This ship was considered by many to be the fastest thing in France at the end of the war. It came out about three months before the Armistice was signed. The principle improvement on other British designs was that made on the S.E. series. The S.E.5a came out at 135 m.p.h. Then, too, there was the D.H.9a with an American Liberty engine (two-seater) that did 125 m.p.h. And the Bristol Fighter was put up to 130 m.p.h.

The French simply boosted up the speeds of old designs. They got the Spad up to 135. And they got the Nieuport up to around 130. Outside of that, they slammed into the enemy with what they already had.

The Germans worked on the Albatross scout and got 135 m.p.h. out of it. They also came out with the famous Fokker D7, a ship that was credited with 140 m.p.h. as a top speed. And they also came out with the Fokker Triplane with a speed of about 135 m.p.h. The only other ship improved upon was the Pfalz, which was boosted up to 130 m.p.h.

And there, Buzzards, you have the straight dope on the speed of war flying crates. Mark you! I’m speaking of speed at level flight, not diving speed! That was something different. But when you speak of airplane speed, you speak of speed from here to there, not from up there down to here.

AND so—eh, what’s that? I knew it, I knew it! Why didn’t I speak of Yank planes? Well, here’s why, Buzzard, and be surprised if you will. There was not a single American designed and manufactured ship in action in France during the War. True, there was the American Liberty D.H.9a, but that was fundamentally a British De Haviland design. If the war had lasted longer, the American Thomas-Morse might have seen service over Hunland.

One more thing. What was the fastest thing in the air in France? The Sopwith Snipe, you say? Wrong, Buzzard, wrong! It was the tip of a propeller blade. The tip of a nine foot prop at 1800 revs traveled a shade over the nine and one half miles per minute! Figure it out for yourself, or ask Dad, he knows! S’long.

Phineas Pinkham Flies Again!

Link - Posted by David on December 9, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

WITH the exception of that Bachelor of Artifice, Phineas Pinkham, Flying Aces stopped printing fiction with the September 1942 issue. Joe Archibald continued to chronicle the calamitous WWI exploit’s of Booneville’s favorite son for another year, when Flying Aces printed Pinkham’s last sojourn in the November 1943 issue. Joe Archibald had given Phineas Pinkham a good long run—surely the longest run of any of the WWI pulp pilots—running in the pages of Flying Aces from 1930 to 1943!

For a long time I thought that was it.

But then I started to see mentions here and there while reading articles about Joe Archibald of a post-war Pinkham. Now I didn’t know if there were actual stories or he just mentioned off hand what Phineas would be up to were he still going or even a flash forward in one of the later Flying Aces tales. That is, until I came upon the article below from the Port Chester, NY The Daily Item where it says categorically:

“. . . Joe recently resumed the character, only in the form of his son, “Elmer Pinkham, who is now ‘flying for wildcat airlines.’ ”

If this was true, where were these stories being printed? I checked all the sources at my disposal—the Robbins Pulp Magazine Index, the FictionMags Index website and any other reference book I could find, but none listed any further adventures past Flying Aces November 1943 tale “Sounds Vichy.” So the stories must have been published in a magazine not indexed by either of these two comprehensive sources.


What if they were in Flying Aces, just later, after people had stopped indexing them. The article in The Daily Item was from May 1947, four years after Flying Aces stopped printing them. So I looked into tis and Flying Aces had a convoluted publishing history after Pinkham left their pages. Flying Aces was Flying Aces until April 1945. It changed it’s name to Flying Age (including Flying Aces) with the May 1945 issue. This change lasted less than two years! The December 1946 issue (v54n1) took on the title Flying Age Traveler! That lasted one issue. And it seemed it had possibly died with that concept change. . . .

Six months later, in June 1947, the magazine was reborn as Flying Models with a number of the old staff on board. Some of the ideas they tried to bring back with the first issue was continuing the FAC (Flying Aces Club) and Phineas Pinkham!

Ah, there he was.

His red hair may have been greying at the temples and balding on top, and he may have added a spare tire to his physique, but it was still Pinkham. The new stories were set in the present day (post WWII) where Phineas, now married—not to Babbette, is now running a airline transport company called Flying Carpet Airlines—”We Fly Anything, Anybody, Anywhere! The Sky Is The Limit!”—with his son Elmer, a real chip off the old block (unfortunately), and with his old WWI mechanic, Terence Patrick Casey, keeping the repurposed DC3s in good shape. Phineas is also running a tricks and novelty company on the side making all the items he used to use to torment the Ninth Pursuits and many a German Von with during the Great War.

AN AGING PHINEAS PINKHAM gives his son a good what for.

History haunts the old man. There are mentions of his his wartime love Babbette, and his old C.O. at the Ninth Pursuits, Major Garrity—why his old hut mate Bump Gillis even puts in an appearance in one of the tales.

Sadly, it seems these new stories of Phineas Pinkham only ran in the first three issues of Flying Models. Brief as the run was, it was great to catch up with an old friend.

OVER the next few weeks, we’ll be posting the three post war Pinkham stories from Flying Models Magazine. In this first story, Flying Carpet Airlines is engaged to transport a pair of corpses to Cleveland. Phineas hopes to get double duty out of the flight and hop a ride to Cleveland where he’s been invited by his old hutmate Bump Gillis to entertain at his Rotarian meeting, but runs into a little trouble with some spies on the way! From the June 1947 premiere issue of Flying Models, “Phineas Pinkham Flies Again!”

Yielding to the demand of many thousands of flying model builders, Joe Archibald, personal historian of the famous Phineas Pinkham who singlehandedly almost lost the first World War for Uncle Sam, brings back Phineas in a new and hilarious series of adventures. Hail Phineas, Demon of the Blazing Skies, now chief of the Flying Carpet Airline, Inc., the biggest little trouble monopoly on wings in the USA!


As a bonus, here’s the article on author/artist Joe Archibald from the May 27th 1947 edition of Port Chester, NY’s The Daily Item that inspired the search for the post-war Pinkham stories:


6,000,000 Words Written And Sold By Joe Archibald, Town Resident

Leader In Civic Affairs Gives Facts About Varied And Interesting Career
by Alfred Feuer • The Daily Item, Port Chester, NY • 27 May 1947

AUTHOR-CARTOONIST-WHIRLWIND—Versatile Joseph S. Archibald of 48 Windsor Road, Town of Rye, takes time out from his literary pursuits to sketch himself at his labors. A plodding writer and one of the leading authors in the pulp market, Joe already has turned out in 18 years 6,000,000 words for magazines . . . and is still going strong. His sideline is cartooning, which he formerly did as a profession. Locally, Joe is renowned as an amusing master of ceremonies.

“Jake Carson, lolling in a luxurious parlor chair on the Southern Limited gazed abstractedly out of the window at the scenery rushing by.“

That line is the first fictional sentence in the writing career of Joseph S. Archibald of 48 Windsor Road, Town of Rye, who now has 6,000,000 words behind him, almost all printed in pulp publications. That opener comes from Mr. Archibald’s “The Black Tornado” and appeared in Complete Stories on Dec. 15, 1928.

Today, “Joe” Archibald, a man of featherweight physical proportions, stands among the foremost writers in the pulp class. (Typical pulp magazines are Argosy, Dime Westerns and Popular Detective).

This ranking reputation, which extends beyond American boundaries, pays off in substantial cash dividends. Mr. Archibald’s name is like a “blanche carte” in the writer’s world. The pulp editors snap up everything churned out in his typewriters. In fact, his supply is always insufficient. The editors are constantly pressing him for more and more stories.

Unlike many of his yarns, success stories in which the heroes struggle to triumph, Joe struck it rich in pretty quick time when he decided in 1929 to try his luck in the pulp market. He clicked easily. He was a natural tale-teller. Besides having the writer’s gift, Joe showed imagination. The fertility of his mind to conceive endless pieces for pulp readers’ consumption will probably never grow barren. He writes fluidly and productively.

Because he earns his livelihood by writing for pulps does not mean that Joe has molded his own character after any plotted by him on paper. As quickly as he pounds out his fables he tosses those characters completely from his thoughts.

Joe Archibald is his own rugged, vigorous self. He thinks and acts independently. He has already left an indelible mark on local history. There is no doubt that many people consider him a “character.” True, indeed, but he’s a character with good sides: he’s serious; he’s funny; he’s honest and he believes deeply in the practices of democracy. Those traits are seldom associated with guys know as “hacks” among writers.

His Ideals

His personal philosophy is gradually beginning to overrun on the pulp soil he has successfully nurtured during the past 18 years. He thinks books will relieve the flow. They will afford him a solid opportunity to break away from pat, dreamy formulas. In a book he can develop his own stored-up fundamental ideals.

Joe is already a book author. He completed his second (the first was a western tale) hard cover volume several months ago and expects to have it published in the Fall by the Westminister Press in Philadelphia. A story about football, he aimed it at youths from 12 to 20 years. Although it bears a prosaic title, “The Rebel Half Back,” its theme has enough meat and substance to push strongly its sales.

Mr. Archibald wrote the story after a study of boys’ books. He concluded that “boys’ books are not up to par and need a higher fictional standard.” He has been in touch with new writers also lapping these literary resources and learned that they are “starting a writing revolution of young people’s books.” These writers, Mr. Archibald revealed, are showing the proper respect for youngsters.

“Children today are getting more credit for their intelligence,” he asserted. “I feel that the field for writers who understand youth of today is wide open and untapped. There’s a ready market for those authors who understand and recognize the problems of youngsters.”

To Joe the problems are basic post-war ideals. He has, he said, expressed those views in “The Rebel Half Back.” He used the gridiron as a backdrop—a smart notion because football is loved by all boys—to talk about equality and liberty for all. In his opinion the boys are currently more thoughtful about relationships between all peoples. I’ve lashed out at intolerance and discrimination,” he said strongly. “Everyone should have a fair chance on every plane. There is absolutely no room in our country tor bigots and bigotry.”

“Our biggest fight today is against the evils that precipitated the last two wars. The symptoms are still here—two years after World War II—right in our very midst. I believe in judging a man by what he is, not who he is.”

These feelings guide Joe’s choice of friends. He enjoys companionship for their friendship value; quality of character is his measuring rod. He mingles with all sorts of men who meet his standards and finds that they make life thoroughly appetizing.

Not surprisingly, Joe’s fame rests on his talent of amusing people. In the pulp world he is reputedly rated as the standout humorist. He revels in writing stories with comical twists. He said he has composed “more popular humor for pulp than any other writer.”

Served Red Cross

His most famous character ever created was “a pre-war chap who turned out to be all funny-bone.” Joe tagged him “Phineas Pinkham.” The fictionalized comedian made such a hit among Joe’s thousands of young fans that Phineas grew into a national figure. Clubs were named for him, and radio stories were built around him. While Joe was in the European Theater in 1945 serving with the American Red Cross he was often questioned about Phineas Pinkham by many American Army officers. They told Joe that they could never forget Phineas who, as a World War I Army flier in the Archibald vein, was “an absolute scream.” Through these reminiscences of war-experienced veterans, Joe recently resumed the character, only in the form of his son, “Elmer Pinkham, who is now “flying for wildcat airlines.”

Joe’s in heavy demand as an entertainer in these parts. He has built up a following among local clubs anxious for diverting evenings. His fresh and funny patter please his audiences immensely. (For years in New York City he was a leading master of ceremonies at writers’ gatherings. He tired of the pace and routine of such functions).

Besides being able to make people laugh at his gags he also amuses them by his ability as a cartoonist. This versatile stroke is no new tack in his bag of tricks.

Joe’s first vocational love was cartooning. He worked in 1925 for the now-defunct Wheeler-Nicholson Syndicate in New York, drawing features that were circulated among 150 newspapers, then the firm was absorbed by the McClure Syndicate. For McClure Joe (whose early strips cover the walls in his second-floor corner-room work den) turned out sports and science panels; the latter strip he called “Outline of Science.”

In 1927 he quit the syndicate concern to join the ill-fated New York Evening Graphic. (He worked with Port Chester’s Ed Sullivan on the Bernarr MacFadden tabloid; also with Walter Winchell). He sketched the first gangster strip in America, “Story of Steve West.” His faith in cartooning disappeared when the Graphic collapsed and he turned permanently to pulp writing to earn his board and keep. Despite this switch he has not forgotten how to splash deft strokes on his easel board. Cartooning gives him an outlet to relaxation. Joe said he abandoned cartooning because few cartoonists attain independence. Pulp writing has given him that privilege and luxury.

Joe says he can’t find any hereditary link of his career. He is the only one in his family with a literary or drawing streak. He was born on his father’s dairy farm in Portsmouth, N.H., on Sept. 2, 1898. (His parents are still on the farm; his father has retired in favor of a brother of Joe).

Served In Navy

He attended for one year the University of New Hampshire (known then as New Hampshire State College). He left the school in 1917. He had begun to display skill with pen, brush and palette. He registered at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts to study art techniques and cartooning. Meanwhile, the first World War was rumbling in America. He dashed from the academy to Kelly Field, Texas, to try to become an air cartographer. But his parents, who objected to his military ambitions, scotched that plan. His mother and father ordered him home.

He didn’t stay long on the farm. Patriotism gnawed inside him and he enlisted in the Navy in August, 1918. Two years later he was discharged as a Chief Petty Officer. While in the Navy he had his first opportunity to try cartooning; he was on the staff of a Navy publication, “The Newport Recruit.” That experience sharpened his yearning for further training at the Chicago Academy in which he re-enrolled in 1921.

He stayed there long enough to get his art degree. But he didn’t get a chance to utilize his Fine Arts study in his first job. He was hired as a police reporter by the Boston Evening Telegram. Joe must have kept the editor in good spirits because he was allowed to conduct a humorous column, “Blaze Trails.” Twenty months later the Telegram folded. The Boston Post picked him up as a police reporter. He tired of this assignment after six months and repaired in 1924 to New York City where he tied in with the Wheeler-Nicholson outfit.

He hopped into fiction late in 1928 when he discovered that he could concoct and sell stories. He collected $200 for his initial product. a fight yarn. Since then he has knocked out 6.000.000 words. To get a comparative idea of that tremendous wordage output “Gone With The Wind.” regarded as one of the longest novels of all-time totals a skimpy 150,000 words.

At present he supplies stories to several monthly magazines, including American Eagle, Popular Detective and Western Trails.

Salaries for good “name” pulpers range from $7,000 to $20,000 a year. In this game, where magazine owners pay off by the word, volume and production count most, he said. However, from year to year an annual stipend is not guaranteed, of course. He had his best year in 1931. Occasionally he has illustrated some of his own yarns, but he does not care for this combination. He never reads his published stories; he says he hasn’t got the patience for this indulgence. Mr. Archibald has had several stories printed in Collier’s magazine, but has not yet passed the acceptance line of the Saturday Evening Post.

Has Many Avocations

He reports that during his span he has written for at least 300 publications, all fictional. His byline has always been “Joe Archibald.” He stopped saving his voluminous published products years ago, otherwise he “would have been forced to move out of the house.”

He does most of his writing in daylight hours, from 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. He holds pretty fast to this schedule. All writers must have a time system to enable them to develop the daily writing habit. A hobby, he advises novices should also be part of the daily diet. His avocations are painting, gardening, entertaining and civic affairs.

Tries Politics

He took a shot on May 6 at a semi-political office—trustee of the town’s Board of Education—and was licked. He has vowed never to attempt it again. Right now he is indirectly involved in national politics. He drew up the brochure for the Young Republican National Federation to be held in Milwaukee on June 6, 7 and 8. (Ralph Becker of Port Chester is chairman of the national group).

In 1928, Mr. Archibald and Miss Dorothy Fenton of Port Chester were married. He lived in the Village for years until he erected his own dwelling on Windsor Road, ten years ago. Although he resides in the Town of Rye, he still prefers Port Chester. “The advantages are there,” he said. “We use all the Village’s facilities.”

He dabbled as a radio writer but abandoned the networks because of the comparatively low remuneration and the disagreeable working conditions. “Radio writing will drive the average man out of his mind if he stays at it too long,” he believes.

One of the main fortes of a writer, he contends, is to be a good judge of character and to be able to study and diagnose people. Joe Archibald likened the writer to a newsman, in the sense that their respective minds are always absorbed in stories.

He urged men and women who are anxious to hit the pulp market but can’t produce 3,000 words of finished copy daily to find another groove. “You can’t make a living at it otherwise, he counseled.

He made an interesting contrast between writers for pulp magazines and for “slick” publications (examples are Colliers and the Post). Pulpers concentrate on plot and action, and slick writers rely on characters and mood, he says.

When reading fiction he tends to stories loaded with color and action; when he selects non-fiction he chooses philosophy and psychology. He detests crime tales. “I can’t read who-done-its. They’re all alike, and so farfetched. All of the who-done-its today are long-winded and contain junky dialogue; far too superfluous.”

His writing commitments prevent him from taking vacations of any length. “I have too many deadlines to meet and I have to keep close to the market,” he commented. “And don’t forget that ideas don’t often come in a hurry.”

Banging out 6,000,000 words has taken its toll of his typewriters. Mr. Archibald has already had to replace four machines. He always keeps two typewriters in his home. Another standby in his den is an easel on which he does his sketching and painting. He goes in for still life in water colors. He has had his canvasses on display at an exhibition conducted by the Port Chester Fine Arts Society. Many of them are mounted and adorn the walls in the Archibald residence.

In the town and the Village his friends consider him an inveterate cigar smoker. Cigar-smoking has not contributed to his writing technique, and he would not recommend cigars “to authors or anyone else.”

Be sure to come back next Friday for another Post War Pinkham story!

Heroes of the Air: Lieut W.A. Bishop

Link - Posted by David on December 8, 2022 @ 5:35 pm in

WHEN Flying, the new weekly paper of all things aviation, started up in England in 1938, amongst the articles and stories and photo features was an illustrative feature called “Heroes of the Air.” It was a full page illustration by S. Drigin of the events surrounding how the pictured Ace got their Victoria Cross along with a brief explanatory note.

Russian born Serge Drigin became a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s with his work regularly appearing in such British magazines as The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He is probably best known for his startling covers for Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others in the 30s.

From the 14 May 1938 issue of Flying:


THE PICTURE below depicts a spectacular incident in the career of Capt. William Avery Bishop, V.C., which took place the day before he was due to go home on leave. He was on patrol when he was suddenly attacked by five Pfaltz D.12, three-gun scouts. Fifteen guns against two! But Bishop was fearless. Within a few minutes he had sent four of the enemy planes hurtling to the ground in flames. On his way home he tried his hand at a little ground-straffing and later engaged and defeated a two-seater. The event for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross was equally thrilling, although carefully planned. It was June, 1917. Bishop, in the early morning, flew over to a German aerodrome and roused the pilots with the roar of his engine. As he had hoped, the German airmen dashed out to their machines to give combat. As the first took off. Bishop was on his tail and shot him down. The second received the same treatment. Several machines now took off together. Bishop waited to dispose of only one more and then set off for home and breakfast. Notification of his award appeared in the London Gazette of August 11th, 1917.

Heroes of the Air: W. Leefe Robinson by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on December 5, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

WHEN Flying, the new weekly paper of all things aviation, started up in England in 1938, amongst the articles and stories and photo features was an illustrative feature called “Heroes of the Air.” It was a full page illustration by S. Drigin of the events surrounding how the pictured Ace got their Victoria Cross along with a brief explanatory note.

Russian born Serge Drigin became a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s with his work regularly appearing in such British magazines as The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He is probably best known for his startling covers for Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others in the 30s.

From the 23 April 1938 issue of Flying:


AT ABOUT one o’clock on the morning of September 3, 1915, the searchlights picked out a Schutte-Lanz airship making its way over Woolwich. Anti-aircraft shells were bursting all round it with no effect. Lt. W. Leefe Robinson, who had already been in the air some two hours, saw it and gave chase. He was flying a B.E.2.C., and, despite the fact that he was in great danger from “Archies,” he eventually overtook the raider and attacked it. A thorough peppering along the underside of the airship did no apparent damage.

Robinson returned to the attack and concentrated one drum of ammunition under its rear. He had hardly finished the drum when he saw that the airship had taken fire. It crashed at Cuffley. On the fifth of that month, Lt. Robinson was awarded the V.C. for “most conspicuous bravery.” He later flew in France, where he was taken prisoner. The rigours of a German prison camp undermined his health, and on his return to England he fell a victim to influenza. Like many other heroes, he died an uneventful death.