Thursday, June 25, 2015


The big screen adaptation of Kay's bestselling novel Red Headed Woman was released 83 years ago today, on June 25, 1932.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 10 marks the 62nd Anniversary of Katharine Brush's death. 

Kay's ashes are buried next to her parents, and her brother Travis in Riverside Cemetery in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Painting the Town

The identity of the Young Man of Manhattan book jacket artist has always been something of a mystery to me; the signature in the lower right hand corner of the picture is not large or clear enough to be legible. I've seen the artist credited as Emar Williamson by an online antiquarian bookseller; but an internet search on that name doesn't return any meaningful results. Besides, Emar doesn't even sound like a real name. For a person, anyway.

Well, with the help of the good folks at the Society of Illustrators, I think we have found our man: he is none other than Edgar Franklin Wittmack. It's easy enough to see how that name could have been misread as Emar Williamson. I guess.

Wittmack did covers for The Saturday Evening Post and the adventure story pulps, but is best remembered today for the futurstic illustrations he did for magazines such as Popular Science.

This looks like an absolutely TERRIBLE idea!

The Society of Illustrators, located on East 68th Street here in Manhattan, has a wonderful museum space and is well worth a visit if you're in New York.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Greetings From Governors Island!

Today we took our bikes on the ferry over to Governors Island. Besides it being a perfectly gorgeous day for a bike ride, I wanted to get a shot of this view of lower Manhattan.

It's obvious that the artist worked from this vantage point while painting the dust jacket picture for Young Man of Manhattan

The view was easily identifiable by the presence of two New York City landmarks: the Whitehall Building (the building on the left, indicated by the pointing finger), and the Standard Oil Building (the right indicated building, partially obstructed). The tall building still under construction to the left of the Whitehall is, of course, One World Trade Center, previously referred to as The Freedom Tower. And the green-topped tower at the far right is the Bank of the Manhattan Company Building, now known as the Trump Building. It was built the year after Young Man of Manhattan was published, which explains its absence in the dust jacket painting.

I believe the gold-topped building just below Toby's right knee is the Woolworth Building, which is now obstructed.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pulp Fiction V: Show Me The Money!

Misled. No male characters actually appear in the story Night Club. And just what conclusions, exactly, are we expected to draw regarding the wad of bills being tucked down the front of the girl-in-pink's dress? (Do I even need to ask?) Readers will search in vain for anything even remotely akin to what the cover illustration suggests.

And while "Intimate Confessions" might be accurate, the alleged behind-the-scenes "goings-on" happen outside of the club: the story's impact lies in its sheer vagueness, the incompleteness of its narrative. 

Oddly enough, Night Club does actually contain one genuinely controversial  story: The Mother Has the Custody was rejected by numerous magazine publishers because it dealt with the subject of abortion, which of course was absolutely taboo in 1928. The story appeared in print for the first time anywhere when the hardcover edition of Night Club was published in 1929. 

The Little Sins cover is certainly the tackiest and tawdriest of all the pulp covers. Look closely: I am quite certain that the décolletage was drawn in. And that icky guy squishing his greasy face against the girl? 'Nuff said.