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“Above The Lines” by Raoul Whitfield

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

THIS week we have another of Raoul Whitfield’s ‘Buck’ Kent stories 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 feature some elements of his harder prose.

In the November 1928 issue of Air Trails, ‘Buck’ is flying down to the boarder to meet up with his buddy Lou, the two will then travel on to Mexicali. Unfortunately, the brother of a bank robber Buck had stopped earlier is out for revenge and his reward money. It all goes down “Above the Lines!”

Bullets meant little when his pal’s life was at stake! Another sure-fire story of Buck Kent, the free-lance airman!

“An Ace of Spads” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 18, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

THROUGH the dark night sky, streaking swiftly with their Hisso engines thundering, is the greatest trio of aces on the Western Front—the famous and inseparable “Three Mosquitoes,” the mightiest flying combination that had ever blazed its way through overwhelming odds and laughed to tell of it! Flying in a V formation—at point was Captain Kirby, impetuous young leader of the great trio; on his right was little Lieutenant “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito and lanky Lieutenant Travis, eldest and wisest of the Mosquitoes on his left!

We’re back with the third and final of three Ralph Oppenheim’s Three Mosquitoes stories we’re featuring this March for Mosquito Month! And this one’s a doozy! Kirby gets the unenviable job of test flying the new type Spad and putting it through its paces—including trying it in combat and shooting down a plane. But, under no circumstances should he take the new plane over the lines! Unfortunately that’s just what Kirby did! Read all about it in Ralph Oppenheim’s “An Ace of Spads” from the April 12th, 1928 issue of War Stories!

Kirby’s eyes glowed when he saw the new-type Spad, one of the most beautiful ships ever delivered to the Front. It was to be his job to try it out in action. But he was not to go over the lines—the Germans would lose no opportunity to get their hands on the new ship. Once in the air, however, with a Fokker in sight, Kirby—forgot. One of Oppenheim’s best flying yarns!

“An Ace in the Hole” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 11, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

“LET’S GO!” Once more, The Three Mosquitoes familiar battle cry rings out over the western front and the three khaki Spads take to the air, each sporting the famous Mosquito insignia. In the cockpits sat three warriors who were known wherever men flew as the greatest and most hell raising trio of aces ever to blaze their way through overwhelming odds—always in front was Kirby, their impetuous young leader. Flanking him on either side were the mild-eyed and corpulent Shorty Carn, and lanky Travis, the eldest and wisest Mosquito.

We’re back with the second of three tales of Ralph Oppenheim’s Three Mosquitoes we’re featuring this March for Mosquito Month! This week, the intrepid trio is tasked with getting valuable information from behind German lines—but it’s a job for only one man which unfortunately turns into one man at time as each of the Mosquitoes is sent off to garner the information when the previous one fails to return. From the March 29th, 1928 issue of War Stories, it’s The Three Mosquitoes in “An Ace in the Hole!”

Once more the famous “Three Mosquitoes” go out on a dangerous and thrilling special flight—but this time one of them led the way, alone, while the other two waited—waited until human nerves could stand it no longer.

And check back next Friday when the inseparable trio will be back with another exciting adventure!

Ralph Oppenheim—Eyewitness to History

Link - Posted by David on March 8, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

WHEN the first issue of War Birds hit the stands in February 1928, it not only contained an exciting tale of Ralph Oppenheim’s inseparable trio The Three Mosquitoes, but it also had a rare factual piece by Mr. Oppenheim. Ralph and his younger brother Garrett had taken a trip to Europe the previous year and just happened to be there at the right time to be able to get to Paris and be there at Le Bourget Field on the 21st of May when Charles Lindbergh successfully ended his trans-Atlantic flight!

The editor of WAR BIRDS considers it an outstanding honor to be able to give you this little sketch. Mr. Oppenheim, besides being the most brilliant flying story writer in America, had the priceless privilege of being an eyewitness of one of the most historic moments of modern times—when the great Lindbergh landed the “Spirit of St. Louis” on Le Bourget Field that memorable night in Paris.


Lindbergh uses the lights of Paris to guide him around the Eiffel Tower to Le Bourget Field. (image © lookandlearn.com)

Author’s Note—The following is taken, for the most part, from notes written at Le Bourget Field before and after Lindbergh’s arrival. We (“we” in this case meaning my brother and myself) had come early in the afternoon and had thus secured a wonderful position, on the flat roof of a cafe which was right at the edge of the big field. After a long windy, raining afternoon, during which the crowd grew to a size of about 100,000, the hour when the American should arrive began to draw closer.

 

 

When “Lindy” Dropped on Paris

MAY 21st, 1927. 9 to 9:20 P.M. What a mob of people! The roof here is packed behind us, and we are being pushed so hard against our concrete wall (which comes up to our necks) what we’re afraid that either the wall will give or we’ll be crushed into a “shapeless mass.” At our right, in the corner, are three newsreel men, getting movie cameras set. Somewhere in back a Frog newsboy is croaking shrilly: “L’Americain Volant! L’Americain Volant!” A former senator from Missouri says that means that Lindbergh is now over the English Channel. . . . Down below, along the edge of the field, is the real mob—the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen. They are kept from the field itself by a big, strong iron fence. Out on the field, in front of this fence, about two hundred gendarmes are forming a long string to check the crowd if it should attempt to get over that fence. There are no more planes landing or taking off on the field now. The big air-liners which have been coming and going regularly all afternoon, discharging slightly dismal looking passengers and taking on happy, eager ones, are no longer to be seen. They have cleared the field. They have floodlights to illuminate the ground, but they only turn them on every now and then. Economical, these French. Also there are parachute flares. These are shot up like sky-rockets, and the blazing phosphorous comes floating down on a little parachute. Only trouble is these frogs have rotten aim. Some of those damn flares are falling right into the crowd. Each time it happens there’s an excited, panicky shriek. And the idea that one of those flares might fall on our roof is enough to keep us in good suspense. But we don’t need anything to keep us in suspense now. As the moment when the brave American should arrive draws closer and closer, the excitement rises to the highest pitch. Everybody is yelling, shouting, and it seems that everybody has suddenly become a great authority on the subject of aviation. Gosh, these French certainly know how to get excited! There goes that newsboy again: “L’Americain Volant! L’Americain Volant!” And a school-ma’m from Iowa says that means the poor boy’s been lost at sea.

9:20 to 9:30—They are cheering! It seems they hear a plane overhead. We listen. Does sound like a drone up there. More flares—and more suspense. They have the floodlights on again. The cheers are increasing. The gendarmes on the field look worried as the iron fence begins to shake ominously under the pressure of the surging mob behind it.

9:30 to 10:15—Look! Look! Voila! Nom de nom! Everyone is screaming at the top of his or her lungs. We can all hear the drone now. Off to the left it is. We stare in an effort to pierce through the murk. Nothing yet, nothing yet. Then—

The earth shakes with a mighty reverberating cheer. In the darkness up there appears a floating, whitish shape. It is coming down, gliding for the field! It is Lindbergh! God Almighty!

Now we can clearly distinguish the graceful silver monoplane. The crowd is going crazy. The plane is landing. The great pilot, cool and collected, carefully keeps away from all signs of the crowd. He brings his ship down way across the field, just opposite our roof. It is a wonderful and an astonishingly quick landing—the best we’ve seen on this field. And there was something incongruous about the way that plane, having just come way from New York, simply dropped out of the sky and landed.

Before the Spirit of St. Louis rolls to a stop hell breaks loose at Le Bourget. With a mighty shove, the people surge right through that iron fence like a tremendous tidal wave. The gendarmes? Drowned, swallowed in that flood. It is a sight indeed, that mob rushing out towards the plane. It makes you feel insignificant to see all those people. All over flashlights are popping, cameras clicking, and men and women shouting like mad. The cameramen tackle the mob like football players in their efforts to get to the plane. The people on our roof are—well, they’re raising the roof. Some Frog is using my back as a step-ladder, and another is trying to make a foot-stool out of my neck. Tables collapse as people try to stand on them to get a look. One or two crazy fools actually jump off the roof, onto the shed below. A fifteen foot drop! The plane out there is surrounded now. And it seems almost that the mob is lifting that big monoplane on its shoulders and carrying it around. They’re bringing the great Lindbergh in. Cheers! “Vive l’Americain! Vive Londberje (as the Frogs pronounced it)!” Where is he? We think we catch a glimpse of him in the midst of a little circle, around which the crowd is thickest. How they bring him in is a mystery, but they get him to the building right next to ours, and hold the crowd out. The crowd storms outside, yelling in a mighty chorus: “Let us see! Let us see!” From our roof we can see the lighted, curtained window of the room where they have him. We see lots of people in there, and often we think we get glimpses of the American—but we will never know if we really did, though we saw him twice on future occasions (both in Paris and on the day of his arrival in New York).

Now the French windows are opened over in that building, and a man steps out on the balcony. It is the American ambassador. He makes a speech, which nobody hears. But nobody has to hear, because all realize that an epoch-making event has just occurred, and that Charles A. Lindbergh, later to be known as “Plucky Lindy” and “The Lone Eagle” and “Slim,” has succeeded in making the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris.

For a sense of the scene at the time you can check out some newsreels from the whole journey—AP (British Pathé)—or just the day—British Pathé and Periscope Film. And the USA Today actually has a decent article with some good photos from the 90th anniversary of the historic flight.

“Challenge of the Air” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 4, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

MARCH is Mosquito Month! We’re celebrating Ralph Oppenheim and his greatest creation—The Three Mosquitoes! We’ll be featuring three early tales of the Mosquitoes over the next few Fridays as well as looking at Mr. Oppenheim’s pre-pulp writings. So, let’s get things rolling, as the Mosquitoes like to say as they get into action—“Let’s Go!”

The greatest fighting war-birds on the Western Front are once again roaring into action. The three Spads flying in a V formation so precise that they seemed as one. On their trim khaki fuselages, were three identical insignias—each a huge, black-painted picture of a grim-looking mosquito. In the cockpits sat the reckless, inseparable trio known as the “Three Mosquitoes.” Captain Kirby, their impetuous young leader, always flying point. On his right, “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito, who loved his sleep. And on Kirby’s left, completing the V, the eldest and wisest of the trio—long-faced and taciturn Travis.

Let’s get things off the ground with an early Mosquitoes tale from the pages of the premiere issue of War Birds from March 1928! Kirby returns to action after having been shot down and spending 5 weeks in a hospital recuperating. That German had taken the starch out of him, had shattered his morale. In the past he had had planes shot from under him, had escaped perhaps even more certain deaths than this, but always he had come through the victor, had triumphed in the final showdown. Never before had he been beaten, battered to a pulp like this. The German had knocked him down, and he couldn’t get up. It had all given him the awful feeling that his reign as an unbeatable ace was over, that he must relinquish the crown. That was why he looked older now; he felt older, the old champion bowing to the new. It was indeed, almost a sense of going stale—and to an ace nothing could be worse. Can Kirby overcome his “Challenge of the Air!”

Nothing more terrible can happen to a great ace than to realize suddenly that he is suffering from shock—that the old nerve won’t answer the call. Kirby was in this condition when the Fokker came over, gained valuable information—and was flying back triumphantly. Like a man half mad, he cursed himself fought with himself. The next time they came over—

And check back next Friday when the inseparable trio will be back with another exciting adventure!

From the Scrapbooks: The Air Races

Link - Posted by David on November 29, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

THIS Holiday Season we’re delving into a pair of scrapbooks that were created in the late 20’s and early 30’s by an industrious youth, Robert A. O’Neil, with a keen interest in all things aviation. The books contain clippings, photos and articles from various aviation pulps as well as other magazines. What has been assembled is a treasure trove of information on planes and aces of WWI.

THIS week we have One of the areas that Robert was interested in were the new and exciting Air Races! The races included a variety of events, like landing contests, glider demonstrations, airship fights, parachute-jumping contests, and of course, the races themselves—both closed-course and cross-country. The cross-country races were usually from Portland or Los Angeles to Cleveland. Robert included information on five different air shows from 1928-1933, and his ticket stub for two of them.

1928 National Air Races & Aeronautical Exposition
Los Angeles

Robert would have been 17 when the 1928 National Air Races and Aeronautical Exposition took place at Mines Field in Los Angeles over nine days in September that year. Mines Field would eventually become LAX. Robert includes his ticket for the show. He went on “Boy Scouts Day” for 25¢. I couldn’t find out which day that would have been, but from the program, I see the L.A. Boy Scouts Band opened the night time programming the first two days.

Just the first two days alone had more planes than anyone would want. Saturday’s show started off with 300 airplanes in mass formation, to Dare-devil pilot Al Wilson to 7 US Marine Curtiss Falcons in formation to the Army’s version followed by the Navy’s and so on. There were parachuting demonstrations both during the day and with flares at night! There were all manner of air extravaganzas culminating in a spectacular fireworks display.

The Homestead Blog and Davis-Monthan Aviation Field Register have excellent articles about the races that year. There is even a home movie of some of the show on YouTube.

1929 Western Aircraft Show
Los Angeles

Robert also included his ticket and logo decal for the Western Aircraft Show of 1929. The Western Aircraft Show was held on a large undeveloped property at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. Today this is the home of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the La Brea Tar Pits on the northeastern corner and the Petersen Automotive Museum on the southeast corner.

The Homestead Blog comes through with an informative article on the Western Aircraft Show.

1931 National Air Races
Cleveland

There is no evidence that Robert traveled to Cleveland to see the National Air Races there in 1931. He does include a couple decals of the show’s Pilot’s head with trailing scarf logo as well as a promotional mini-poster.

1933 International Air Races and Gordon Bennett Race
Chicago

Like the Cleveland races, there is no evidence that Robert traveled to the International Air Races and Gordon Bennett Race held in Chicago the first four days of September 1933. He did write for information, and has put the letter he received along with a brochure into his scrapbooks.

1933 National Air Races
Los Angeles

Robert did not include a ticket for the 1933 Races, but he could easily have attended the show. In his scrap books he includes numerous decals from the show—both the large three headed one as well as the smaller medallion sized version, including one on the spine of the one scrapbook.

The Races returned to Mines Field for four days in July 1933. The programs shortened to four days and restricted to high speed free-for-all competition in the several commercial competitive motor groups with $50,000.00 cash prize money in addition to many coveted trophies. This international free-for-all competition included the trans-continental Vincent Bendix Trophy Race; the Aerol Trophy Race—a closed course free-for-all for women pilots; the Speed Dashes; Official World Record Attempts to establish three-kilometer strightaway speed in excess of 300 M.P.H.; and the Charles E. Thompson Trophy Race, closed course land plane classic, which has been increased to a distance of 200 miles. The Bendix Trophy Race attracted such big names as Roscoe Turner, Jimmy Wedell, Ruth Nichols, and Amelia Earhart, with Roscoe Turner taking first.

As always, there were demonstrations by the armed Military and Naval Air Forces of the United States of the latest Military and Naval Air maneuvers; as well as acrobatic demonstrations and spectacular night aerial demonstrations and pyrotechnic displays.

The Los Angeles Times covered the event publishing several spreads of pictures from the events.

“Plane Jane” by Frederick C. Davis

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

THIS week we have a short story by renowned pulp author Frederick C. Davis. Davis is probably best remembered for his work on Operator 5 where he penned the first 20 stories, as well as the Moon Man series for Ten Detective Aces and several other continuing series for various Popular Publications. He also wrote a number of aviation stories that appeared in Aces, Wings and Air Stories.

It all rested on winning the Air Derby for Ned Knight and Alton Airlines whose plane he was piloting. Alton hoped to dispel the bad rumors swirling around their planes and secure lucrative business deals at various airports; and Ned, he hoped to win the $5,000 purse so he could get a nice place and some furniture and ask his girl to marry him. Only problem is, their biggest competition, Stormbird, will do whatever it takes to win—whatever it takes. From the August 1928 issue of Air Stories it’s Frederick C. Davis’ “Plane Jane!”

“When you fly tomorrow—you fly to win!”—Ned Knight, pilot of the racing plane, climbed into the cockpit with those words ringing in his ears—but when the finish line neared, his hand faltered, and his ears shut out everything save the roar of another motor, beckoning him to destruction.

“Wrecks” by A. Kinney Griffith

Link - Posted by David on May 1, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of A. Kinney Griffith. Griffith penned a number of stories featuring Rex “Wrecks” Norcross that ran in the pages of War Birds and Sky Riders in the late ’20’s. He gained his nickname by crashing his first time back from patrol in a shot-up plane that was barely holding itself together, but as time went on he returned as less of a wreck, while wrecking the German planes!

In the first of Griffith’s Wrecks Norcross stories from the July 1928 War Birds, Wrecks leads a bombing mission on a German munitions plant!

It was when Lieutenant Rex Norcross, wounded and flying a bullet-riddled plane, crashed in landing that the C.O. called him “Wrecks.” The name stuck, but as time went on it meant more and more. Then came the big bombing mission—and Wrecks was there!

“Dreadnoughts of the Air” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 27, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

TO ROUND off Mosquito Month we have a non-Mosquitoes story from the pen of Ralph Oppenheim. Lt. Jim Edwards knew he was the worst flyer in the squadron. When the C.O. called him to his office he was sure he was going to be sent to Blois in disgrace—instead the C.O. offers him a mission that could mean spending the rest of the war in a German prisoner of war camp, but when push came to shove, it turns out Edwards could shove with the best of them! From the September 1928 issue of War Novels it’s “Dreadnoughts of the Air!”

Lieutenant Jim Edwards knew it was coming, though he did everything he could to stop it. Somehow, he just couldn’t catch on to this flying. He knew he was in disgrace, that from the C.O. down the men laughed at him. Jim Edwards faced Blois—and disgrace—dishonor. Then came the C.O.’s amazing suggestion, and Lieutenant Jim Edwards gritted his teeth—that would be worse than disgrace!

“Get That Gun!” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 20, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

THROUGH the dark night sky, streaking swiftly with their Hisso engines thundering, is the greatest trio of aces on the Western Front—the famous and inseparable “Three Mosquitoes,” the mightiest flying combination that had ever blazed its way through overwhelming odds and laughed to tell of it! Flying in a V formation—at point was Captain Kirby, impetuous young leader of the great trio; on his right was little Lieutenant “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito and lanky Lieutenant Travis, eldest and wisest of the Mosquitoes on his left!

We’re back with the third and final of three Ralph Oppenheim’s Three Mosquitoes stories we’re featuring this March for Mosquito Month! And this one’s a doozy! The Boche have some new super-gun that has been ranging the Allied munitions factory, getting closer every time. Kirby, Carn and Travis are tasked with finding the unfindable gun and putting it out of commission before it does indeed hit the munitions factory! It’s another rip-roaring nail-biter from the pages of the November 8th, 1928 issue of War Stories—The Three Mosquitoes must “Get That Gun!”

Intelligence was desperate. The huge Tarniers munition plant, 130 miles from the German lines, was being shelled. What mysterious gun could shoot that deadly H.E. so far? Then orders came for the famous “Three Mosquitoes” to tackle the job—clear the mystery, wreck that gun. A dramatic, thrilling yarn.

“Hot Air” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 13, 2020 @ 6:00 am in

“LET’S GO!” Once more, The Three Mosquitoes familiar battle cry rings out over the western front and the three khaki Spads take to the air, each sporting the famous Mosquito insignia. In the cockpits sat three warriors who were known wherever men flew as the greatest and most hell raising trio of aces ever to blaze their way through overwhelming odds—always in front was Kirby, their impetuous young leader. Flanking him on either side were the mild-eyed and corpulent Shorty Carn, and lanky Travis, the eldest and wisest Mosquito.

We’re back with the second of three tales of Ralph Oppenheim’s Three Mosquitoes we’re featuring this March for Mosquito Month! This week, Kirby experiences the pitfalls of pride when the Boche form an All-Ace squadron called the Avenging Yellow Jackets to take down the pesky Mosquitoes—while Shorty Carn and the lanky Travis urge caution, Kirby’s all guns ahead ready to rush in and take on all the Aces Germany can dish out. Problem is, believing his own press, he rushes into things foolishly and finds himself in “Hot Air!” From the February 2nd, 1928 issue of War Stories

The Boche was good and sore, tired of having his planes shot down one after another by the famous “Three Mosquitoes.” A special formation of Albatrosses, known as the “Avenging Yellow-Jackets,” was out to finish Kirby and his pals. Another of Oppenheim’s great flying yarns.

And check back next Friday when the inseparable trio will be back with another exciting adventure!

“In The Dark of The Sea” by Frederick C. Painton

Link - Posted by David on December 6, 2019 @ 6:00 am in

SINCE we’ve been featuring Frederick C. Painton’s letters he wrote home while serving with the American Expeditionary Forces in WWI, this week we feature a short tale Painton had in the pages of War Stories. It’s the tale of the Schmidt brothers—one had left home in 1912 and eventually found himself in the German Navy having risen the ranks to become their most feared submarine captain. The other brother remained at home and signed up when America entered the war, putting his talents to use for the US Navy listening for subs never thinking he would one day be hunting down his own beloved brother!

The German sub U-74 was out to ruin Mediterranean shipping, and its commander, the “Fox,” was famous for his cleverness. It was up to Carney to stop him—Carney and his listener at the hydrophones—and it meant close, quick work. Dolph Schmidt was that listener, and he knew things—but said nothing.

From the November 8th, 1928 issue of War Stories, it’s Frederick C. Painton’s “In The Dark of The Sea!”

The Three Mosquitoes in “Early Birds” by Ralph Oppenheim

Link - Posted by David on March 2, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THROUGH the dark night sky, streaking swiftly with their Hisso engines thundering, is the greatest trio of aces on the Western Front—the famous and inseparable “Three Mosquitoes,” the mightiest flying combination that had ever blazed its way through overwhelming odds and laughed to tell of it! Flying in a V formation—at point was Captain Kirby, impetuous young leader of the great trio; on his right was little Lieutenant “Shorty” Carn, the mild-eyed, corpulent little Mosquito and lanky Lieutenant Travis, eldest and wisest of the Mosquitoes on his left!

Yes! The Three Mosquitoes—the unseasonably warm weather has brought the Mosquitoes out of hibernation to help get through the cold winter months, at Age of Aces dot net it’s our fourth annualMosquito Month! We’ll be featuring that wiley trio in three early tales from the Western Front. To start things off we have a tale featuring Travis from 1928. There are no secrets between The Three Mosquitoes—if that’s the case, then what’s Travis been doing on his early morning test runs? That’s what the impetuous Kirby and his pal Shorty want to find out. And they get more than a proverbial worm when they’re up with the “Early Birds.” From War Novels, October 1928—

These three fearless flyers had sworn never to have any secrets, never to do anything alone. Yet here was one of them sneaking off on mysterious before-dawn flights. Why? Where? The best yet of the gripping “Three Mosquitoes” yarns.

If you enjoyed this tale of our intrepid trio, check out some of the other stories of The Three Mosquitoes we have posted by clicking the Three Mosquitoes tag or check out one of the three volumes we’ve published on our books page! And come back next Friday or another exciting tale.

“Sky Herdin’ Heinie” by Frederick C. Painton

Link - Posted by David on February 9, 2018 @ 6:00 am in

THIS week we have a story from the pen of a prolific pulp author and venerated newspaper man—Frederick C. Painton.
Painton gives us his take on the cowboy war bird. In it, the cowboy in question is the mesquite Midget, Billy Sanders, from Jim Sills’ Bar-Bee Ranch. An old hand at rounding up the Boche in the air, he finds Jim Sills’ boy Harv now in his squadron. The two come up against Boche air ace von Steffen who seems to have a charmed life and cannot be touched, but when he shoots down yung Harv, the Midget is left with no choice than to break his sky-jinx!

From the pages of the November 1928 issue of Triple X Magazine—so called because it featured air, western and war stories each month—it’s Frederick C. Painton’s “Sky Herdin’ Heinie!”

They called the German ace a Sky-Jinx and said his plane couldn’t be shot down. But Midget, the cowboy-flier, didn’t believe in jinxes and he swore to kill the man who had shot down his friend and old range buddy.

“The Sky Fool” by Frank Richardson Pierce

Link - Posted by David on February 17, 2017 @ 6:00 am in

Frank Richardson Pierce is probably best remembered for his prolific career in the Western Pulps. Writing under his own name as well as two pen names—Erle Stanly Pierce and Seth Ranger—Pierce’s career spanned fifty years and produced over 1,500 short stories, with over a thousand of these appearing in the pages of Argosy and the Saturday Evening Post.

Pierce was born in 1881 in Greenfield, Massachusetts but raised on the west coast. A graduate of the University of Washington, he served for a year and a half in the US Navy as a boatswain’s mate and worked for the city of Seattle as a clerk stenographer. He began writing travel articles about the northwest for various motorcycle trade journals and later progressed to short story writing.

Pierce draws upon his knowledge of the Pacific Northwest from his reported fourteen different motorcycle trips to and through the Alaska territory for his story of rival news-reels services covering the first woman to fly over the North Pole. The story features Rusty Wade, Pierce’s rough and tumble red-headed pilot for hire looking for his big financial break.

A story of daring pilots and news-reel men on the far sky trails of the Northland.

 

And as a bonus, here’s an article from Mr. Pierce’s former home town paper, The San Bernardino Daily Sun, about his successful career in the pulps!

 

Graduate of Redlands School 25 Years Ago Now Writes Scores of Stories Yearly for Magazines

Thousands of Readers Know Frank Richardson Pierce Under Two Names; Spends Week-End Visiting Foothill City Home
By MAURICE S. SULLIVAN
San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, CA • 10 May 1932

When Frank Richardson Pierce graduated from Redlands’ old Kingsbury school, about 25 years ago, he didn’t know that some day he should have two names.

Thousands of readers of the so-called pulps—magazines printed on rough paper—know a writer named Seth Ranger, and eagerly follow his stories of the frontier days, the logging country, Alaska and the Orient. Some of them also know a writer named Frank Richardson Pierce, but the latter has his own distinct following, who watch for his stories Just as do the devotees of Seth Ranger.

Frank Richardson Pierce and Seth Ranger are the same writer. He lives now in Seattle, but he spent his boyhood in Redlands. Whenever—in one of his stories—he needs a small city setting, or a town just over the mountains from the desert, his mind goes back to the Redlands of his youth and under another name Redlands goes into the story.

He spent the last week-end here, at the home of his father, Martin F. Pierce, 24 East Fern avenue. He was taking a brief vacation after having completed “Timber War.”

Frank Pierce is one of those talented persons who turn out stories for the pulps In a seemingly endless stream, while at the same time producing an occasional yarn for the slicks—smooth paper magazines. Howard Marsh, a Redlands resident; Fred McIsaac and H. Redford Jones are others who have the faculty.

To those persons who spend months trying to fashion a readable story, revising and rewriting, the skill of Mr. Pierce and his co-workers is amazing. In one year this writer sold 121 stories, at the rate of about 10 each month: short stories, novelettes and serials of novel length.

Conversing with Mr. Pierce one learns that this extraordinary success, as in the case of most writers, has a basis of hard work and study. He had to learn his trade by practice and by examining the technique of those who were publishing their output.

“The first nine or 10 stories I wrote didn’t click,” said Mr. Pierce. “Then I received a lucky break.

“I had been in the naval reserve during the war, so that I know a good deal of naval procedure and the language of the navy. One day I picked up a magazine In which there was a sea story with the navy as a setting.

“As I read it, I said to myself that here was something right down my alley, and if that was the kind of thing the editors of that particular magazine wanted, I could write it. I turned out a story and sent It to New York.

“It happened that as the editor of the magazine was reading my manuscript a naval officer, a friend of his, came into the office. The editor tossed the script to this officer and asked him his opinion.

“Men in certain trades and professions are very critical of stories dealing with their crafts, and the writer who tries to draw on his imagination for facts and atmosphere is likely to bring down on his head a storm of derisive letters. But when the naval officer read this story of mine he was pleased.

“It might not have been a particularly good story, but he was reading it with an eye for flaws in detail. When he found the language of the characters was authentic navy talk, and the method of abandoning ship, which I had described, was accurately detailed, he thought It was a great yarn. He told the editor so. The story sold, and I was able to turn out a series of them along the same lines.”

Seattle is a very advantageous place in which to live, for one who writes. To that city come the ships of the Orient, men from far places in the North, returning to civilization. There is a cattle country and a mountain country nearby. Fisheries, canneries, logging camps and timber locales all are available. The city is the home of persons who have lived through the Klondike days of Alaska.

When the writer is balked by some perilous piece of detail or atmosphere, he knows where he can get assistance, if he had made friends with the old-timers.

Mr. Pierce wrote a story in which a character was found frozen stiff squatting on his haunches in front of a fireplace, with his hands extended as if warming them at a blaze.

This scene brought a flood of letters, starting with one from a man who sarcastically averred that a freezing man would relax and fall over; that it was sheer impossibility that he should be frozen in the squatting position.

A loyal fan of Seth Ranger came to his rescue with an even more sarcastic letter. He enclosed a photograph of a man frozen while standing upright, and suggested to the writer that he “show this to that so-and-so who thinks he knows so much.” A Seattle friend of Mr. Pierce settled the matter for him. Jake the Musher, veteran of many trails, not only vouched for the accuracy of the frozen man detail, but also related similar instances out of his vast fund of experiences in the North.

The stumbling writer who fashions a line, then pauses to improve it, would be amazed to see Mr. Pierce at work. He usually makes but one draft of a story, turning it out at high speed, and shooting it, without revision, at the magazine for which it was “slanted.” There was a time, during an illness, when he talked his stories into a dictating machine, and depended upon a typist to transcribe them. It was difficult and discouraging, but because he had to do it, he kept at it until he could dictate as well as he could write.

Writing for the pulps is Mr. Pierce’s livelihood, but he is not content only to do that. He studies meanwhile, constantly striving for improvement; not trying to write literature, because the boundaries of literature are very vague and nobody living can say certainly what of the present day writing shall be called literature 100 years from now; but so long as folk are entertained by what he writes, striving to give them the best in the field.

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