Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rip Foster; Peter Rabe; Jan Grape

MORE nostalgia? You bet.

Geezers on two different blogs are recalling the Whitman books for juveniles published in the Forties and Fifties and Sixties.

As I remember a good number of them were media tie-ins. There seemed to be an interminable number of Bonanza books, a show I never took to because of smirky, creepy Michael Landon. I always thought he should have been cast as a Peeping Tom. I just got that kind of of sleazoid vibe from him.

The only one I kept for some reason is a western by Talmage Powell, one of the fine old pulpsters I grew up reading.

The best of the Whitmans, for me anyway, was a short-lived series built around a space adventurer called Rip Foster. Rip was one of those clean-cut All American teenagers who could right any wrong you threw his way and look cool doing it.

(Maybe this wasn't a Whitman; maybe this was a Grosset & Dunlap. Well, in some ways they were interchangable.)

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Just before he died, Peter Rabe mailed me two manuscripts that I shopped around for some years. Glowing letters but the usual resons for rejecting them--not sure how to slot these.

They're now in the hands of Greg Shepard at Strk house and hopes are high. They're excellent books.

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From Jan Grape about last night Roy-Gene post:

"As a huge tomboy (as they used to call us...are there any of those any more?)I loved all the cowboy movies. My favorite Saturday pass time. Don't remember Tim Holt in Treasure or Ambersons but as a Saturday cowboy, yep, you bettcha. Loved Roy and Dale, but my absolute favorite was Lash LaRue. Don't know who he was, but cracking that whip was the coolest thing ever. At least to my ten year old mind. I remember being 7 years old and asking Santa for double guns with holsters. Some where there is a photo of me wearing them. Then when I was 9 I wanted real caps for my guns. Got those, too. Guess they're considered too dangerous and violent-producing for kids nowadays...sad. I know I never had a thought about really shooting someone. Only bad guys in cowboy movies shot people, and the good guys caught them and put them in jail. I think maybe the Tim Holts of the world taught good and evil and maybe we need more of that today. Just my thoughts."

6 comments:

Bill Crider said...

Harry Whittington wrote a Whitman book based on Bonanza.

Duane Swierczynski said...

Ed, I hope those unpublished Peter Rabe novels see the light of day. I found myself reading THE BOX a few days ago. I've never read anything like it.

And since it is, as you say, nostalgia week, I dug up a Charles Williams I've never read, and found myself also re-reading your excellent "Fifteen Impressions of..." piece from THE BIG BOOK O' NOIR. Man, what a kick to the head.

Ed Gorman said...

I'm hoping that Stark House will publish them. Just an hour ago Greg Shepard the publisher wrote to say that he was really taken with the first of them.

In addition to being a fine stoyteller, Rabe was an incisive psychologist (which he taught). He took risks with his characters. Daniel Port is one of the most completely realized characters in noir for me--and yet he's enigmatic. You get him in bits and pieces. And think of Kill The Boss Goodbye--the mob leader, and focal point of the novel, who is having electro-shock treatment to abate his depression.

And all this aside, Peter was one of the most interesting, intelligent, moral peopple I've ever known.

And you're right... THE BOX is sensational.

Todd Mason said...

ASSIGNMENT IN SPACE WITH R.I.P. FOSTER, as the 1960s edition I had was called, was indeed a Whitman, that a lot of people seem to remember fondly. I never could get too far along with the story, but loved the cover illo on that edition.

My father, as I think I've mentioned on Bill's blog, was a huge Lash LaRue fan as a kid, THE CRIMSON GHOST being a particularly vivid memory. Wonder if Joe Lansdale could be a gateway writer to getting him to read Gorman and Crider and Reasoner westerns...

I was suprised to learn how many good pulp and paperback writers also took on Whitman and similar work, but I realized quickly there was no reason at all to be surprised...nor that I'd liked 'em when I read 'em back when, sometimes nearly as much as I did their more personal or at least less signed-away work.

Juri said...

I don't know whether any of them were transported to the US, but Whitman hired German writers to do more of Bonanza and Flipper and other tie-in novels. Most of them appeared under the byline of Teddy Parker who was of course many German writers (some of whom also did Jerry Cottons and similar crime paperbacks and digests which German Krimi books really were). Whittington's Bonanza book is actually readable still, but it's pretty far from his normal stuff: no one gets killed!

Richard Hardwick anyone? He wrote a Flipper book the translation of which I have, but haven't gotten around it. Don't even know if I should.

Todd Mason said...

"There seemed to be an interminable number of Bonanza books, a show I never took to because of smirky, creepy Michael Landon. I always thought he should have been cast as a Peeping Tom. I just got that kind of of sleazoid vibe from him."

In one of the increasingly-frequent solipsism-encouraging coincidences that have been popping up, on Friday I happened to learn that the town I currenly reside in, Collingswood NJ, is the boyhood home of Michael Landon. The other most famous resident was a radio evangelist busted in the early '70s after decades of influence, by the FCC or IRS or both.