RARA-AVIS: Yet more digests

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 24 Oct 2002

Assuming my earlier second post on mystery digests (with a focus on Ed McBain's two mags) made it through, here are a few more thoughts. My concern of posts making it through reflect my recent bad record, plus I am typing with one hand while on narcotics (due to my busted shoulder) so I have plenty of excuses.

Among the odds and ends of my accumulation of mystery digests is a copy of
"Conflict" published by Ziff-Davis in Fall 1953 and edited by Howard Browne, the great author of the Paul Pine mysteries. The cover is striking--a blonde by Henry Von Dongen--and the contents features stories by Browne buddies Roy Huggins and Wlilliam P. McGivern as well as one by the underrated Charlotte Armstrong.

Yet this was the one and only issue of "Conflict" to reach publication. At the end of the pulp period, Howard Browne tried to lead Ziff-Davis mags to quality digests. The classic example is his creation of Fantastic, which had expensive wraparound covers and high paid contributions from top authors including Raymond Chandler. Alas, Ziff-Davis pulled the plug on this quality experiment--of which the Science Fiction (Amazing Stories) and Fantasy
(Fantastic) are the best known. The one issue of "Conflict" shows where Browne might have gone with the magazine. Browne was often reviled by SF fans because he made no attempt to hide his preference for mystery fiction over SF.

The biggest drawback to that one issue was the banner display given
"Hollywood Confidential" by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer. This duo had a bestseller that they turned it into a "brand." If my memory serves me, they sold Browne on this "Confidential" brand for "Amazing Stories" as well with a piece entitled "Mars Confidential."

Richard Moore

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
# majordomo@icomm.ca.  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at http://www.miskatonic.org/rara-avis/ .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 24 Oct 2002 EDT