RARA-AVIS: Rogue & Bouchercon

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 14 Oct 2003

I almost headlined this "A Rogue at Bouchercon" as I am packing tonight for the trip to Las Vegas. My first panel is on Thursday afternoon and I gather has something to do with Las Vegas and gambling in mystery fiction. It's understandable how Carole Nelson Douglas is on the panel with her Midnight Louie series based in Vegas. My selection seems random but I am prepared to talk about earlier novels based in Reno and how the Black Mask crowd led the way into Vegas as a setting. I also just finished John D. MacDonald's THE ONLY GIRL IN THE GAME and have one or two others to review on the plane. My second panel is on Sunday, probably after most folks have left. Pulp fiction is the topic and that's the one I really look forward to having spent a fortune on the pulps bidding on eBay auctions in the last couple of months.

I'm taking a computer with me, so I may get off an on-the-scene report or two.

One non-pulp magazine has my interest lately, the Playboy knockoff Rogue that William Hamling published in the late 1950s and 1960s. Hamling was an editor at Ziff-Davis with Ray Palmer and Howard Browne (and Frank M. Robinson as the office boy). He went on his own in the 1950s with Imagination and Imaginative Tales. Heffner sought out the experienced publisher and offered him half interest in this new idea he had for a magazine for men. Hamling passed but when Playboy hit big, he entered the market with Rogue.

I began bidding on issues trying to find those with articles by my friend Ted White, who back then was a jazz critic. The issues are not expensive, and not knowing which issues had White's articles, had me picking up a fair number. At last, today's mail brought the January 1961 issue with Ted's first hand account of "Riot at Newport." But (and this is the joy of the issues!) there are columns by Lenny Bruce and Alfred Bester and another jazz article by Nat Hentoff.

Better yet for this list is the December 1959 issue. Fiction by Harlan Ellison and Richard Matheson, another column by Lenny Bruce and an article by Howard Browne on the creation of the television series "77 Sunset Strip." The
"Rogue Notes" in the front say Browne's novel SEVEN AGAINST THE WALL is "down on Simon & Schuster's Spring list as 'the big one' ...you saw it on Playhouse 90 last season..." I don't believe any such novel ever appeared but I am curious if anyone knows anything about the Playhouse 90 show.

Finally, there is the December 1961 issue (by this time Frank Robinson is listed as Editor) with columns by Alfred Bester and Robert Bloch, an article on the Roger Corman movie "The Intruder" based on a Charles Beaumont novel, and a short story by Hunter S. Thompson.

I'll sign off now with one last William Hamling story. Hamling was often in court fighting pornography charges. Long ago at a Bouchercon pulp writer Dwight V. Swain who became a professor at a university in Oklahoma recalled testifying as an expert witness on his behalf. Hamling was eventually convicted for publishing the official U.S. government report issued by a presidential commission on pornography. Hamling's was, of course, an illustrated edition.

Richard A. Moore

# Plain ASCII text only, please.  Anything else won't show up.
# 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 : 14 Oct 2003 EDT