Re: RARA-AVIS: Brett Halliday pseudonyms

From: James Reasoner (
Date: 02 Oct 2000

----- Original Message ----- From: "William Denton" <> To: "RARA-AVIS" <> Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2000 8:27 PM Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Brett Halliday pseudonyms

> On 30 September 2000, GN wrote:
> : TITLE: Dividend on death
> : NUMBER: 1
> : COPYRIGHT: 1939
> So Davis Dresser started writing them in 1939, and he churned out one
> score and ten of them, then sold out to someone who kept it up as a house
> name? Why did he use the pseudonym? Did he intend to just do a regular
> series, but when it got so popular others saw the potential for, as they
> call it now, "branding," and started the magazine and expanded the line?
> How popular were the books and the magazine?
> Bill
> --
> William Denton : Toronto, Canada : : Caveat

Sorry it's taken me a few days to reply to this. Can't say as to why Dresser decided to use a pseudonym on the Shayne books, but all through his career he used various pseudonyms (Hal Debrett, Asa Baker, Matthew Blood, Don Davis, etc.). I can think of only one of his novels that was published with his real name on it, and that was a Western.

Clearly the books were popular, or there wouldn't have been the movies, radio shows, and TV series. I've never seen any sales figures on them, though. The magazine got started because Dresser and Leo Margulies were friends from pulp days, or at least so I've heard. It ran exactly 29 years, from September '56 to August '85, for a total of 337 regular issues plus 3 annuals. (Yeah, I found the checklist!) I think it was still fairly healthy when it was cancelled. The last circulation statement printed in the magazine showed a paid circulation of 36,000 (23000 newsstand sales, 13000 subscriptions), with a newsstand sell-through rate of almost 50%. Those are pretty good numbers. I think the magazine could have continued for at least several more years if the owner had not started a video company and siphoned off all the profits from the magazine.

Best, James

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 02 Oct 2000 EDT