P.S. [v1 #1, April 1966] ed. Edward L. Ferman (Mercury Press, 60¢, 64pp, 8" x 11") Gahan Wilson, associate editor; Ron Salzberg, assistant editor
- Details supplied by Cuyler Brooks (and augmented by me).
- 3 · Don Sturdy and the 30,000 Series Books · Avram Davidson · ar
- 12 · Would You Want Your Product to Marry a Negro · Alfred Bester · ar
- 16 · The Gentle Art of Brick Throwing · Ron Goulart · ar
- 24 · Freaks · Gahan Wilson · ar
- 32 · Child Things · Russell Baker · ar (The New York Times 1965)
- 34 · The Lost Lovely Landscapes of Luna · Isaac Asimov · ar
- 39 · Lugosi: The Compleat Bogeyman · Charles Beaumont · ar (F&SF 1956)
- 42 · When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloomed · Ray Bradbury · pm
- 44 · Joe Louis in Atlantic City · Jerry Tallmer · ar
- 49 · The Thirties Quiz · Robert Thomsen · qz
- 50 · Sweet and Lowdown: The Lost Jazz Years · Nat Hentoff · ar
- 58 · Captain Ahab Is Dead; Long Live Bob Dylan, Or, Are the Beatles Really the Andrews Sisters, In Drag? · Jean Shepherd · ar
- 62 · Now You See Them · Ron Salzberg · ar
Bester's essay is telling about the delights of commercial (in at least two senses) practical censorship in the period when American apartheid, at least in certain areas, was still just beginning to come undone, and the pressures newly applied by the likes of the Congress of Racial Equality from their direction to further make things Interesting for those in the advertising and commercial radio/television industries in what we can now think of as the Mad Men era. (Bester also notes that the best actor who'd auditioned to play Charlie Chan in the radio series Bester was writing in the late '40s was spiked because the actor was black, and who'd dare have a black man play a Chinese-American detective...far safer to settle on eventual star Ed Begley, Sr.). And while there is a bit of mockery of what was already being tagged Political Correctness in certain quarters in both the Davidson and particularly the Bester essays, the Shepherd is an unsurprisingly unsubtle bleat about the then-new androgyny as seen by the radio and print satirist, with particular contumely expended toward Tom Wolfe and to a lesser extent Andy Warhol; mocking the claims to the brawling life by Bob Dylan seems a bit more grounded.
Gahan Wilson's thoughtful essay about the history of the freak show (with special attention to the activities of P. T. Barnum and his associates), Isaac Asimov's survey of the end of Romantic Mars with new Mariner probe imagery and data, and particularly Charles Beaumont's memoir of his meeting with Bela Lugosi very near the end of the actor's life (and by the time of this reprint, presumably from Beaumont's film column in F&SF, Beaumont was already far gone in his fatal premature Alzheimer's), Ron Goulart's run through the history of George Harriman and Krazy Kat, and Nat Hentoff on the jazz legends of his youth are all fine, and some at least among the pioneering writing of the time about these matters. The magazine as a whole, in its first of only three issues, is more about nostalgic reflection than I expected, with the Shepherd blast (and to some extent the Bester) being the prime example(s) of the kind of pop-sociological consideration I expected to comprise more of the content, but it really is a pity on several counts that this magazine didn't flourish. It was a good start.
For more actual books this week, please see Patti Abbott's blog. I'll be (rather more promptly) hosting the links over the next two Fridays at this one.