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“Crumpled Buzzard” by Franklin M. Ritchie

Link - Posted by David on June 16, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story by Franklin M. Ritchie. Ritchie only wrote aviation yarns and his entire output—roughly three dozen stories—was between 1927 and 1930, but Ritchie was not your typical pulp author.

After reading “Crumpled Buzzards” I tried to find out a little about Ritchie to include in this post. I thought he had been covered in a biographical piece in Air Trails or Sky Birds, but couldn’t find anything. So I turned to the internet.

In putting in the name some great stuff comes up—letters from when he was a cadet to teachers back at Rutgers; a long letter to the folks back at Central New Jersey Home News where he was reporter before the war; he married fellow Erasmus High grad Elizabeth Farrish before enlisting; and this brief biographical piece from the Perth Amboy Evening News (September 23, 1922)—

All this good stuff was tied to this Lawyer fellow from New Brunswick. He seems to have an incredibly full life, when would he have time write pulp stories? But then I found a letter from Ritchie buried in the April 1929 issue of Sky Birds that explains it all:

Ritchie retired from all that in ‘58, moved out west and become a pastor at a Presbyterian church in Lakewood, California. He passed away at 84 in 1978.

With all that in mind, from the July 1929 number of Sky Birds, it’s Franklin M. Ritchie’s “Crumpled Buzzards!”

Lanky Jeff Dayton, a war bird, saw nothin’ to get het up about in this man’s war, but when he did, he saw red—red streaks of flame jetting from angry guns.

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