T.T. Flynn, 1902-1979

T.Theodore Thomas Flynn was born on this day in 1902.

T.T. Flynn’s The Man from Laramie

He’s one of the many pulp writers profiled in the Beginner’s Guide to Pulp Fiction, Vol. 2.

Flynn wrote across many pulp genres and later had a successful career as a western novelist.

Born in Indiana in 1902, he left home at the age of 14 and joined the merchant navy. He married and returned to the United States in the early 1920s, working as a railroad brakeman and starting his writing career.

His first professional sale appears to be “Pa Winn Tries Bunk” in the December 29, 1923, Detective Story Magazine. That was the first of several Pa Winn stories he would write, mostly for Flynn’s and its successors.

He was fired from his railroad job in 1925 and turned to writing full-time. Besides Flynn’s much of his early work appeared in Adventure, Clues and Short Stories.

Flynn was also the most prolific writer in Dime Detective, with his 80 appearances more than any other scribe.

With the aviation pulp boom after Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic, Flynn took flight lessons, and wrote for those outlets.

In the 1930s, he began writing for many of the western pulps including Dime Western, Star Western and Western Trails.

Following World War II, he wrote heavily for the burgeoning western paperback market. His 1954 Saturday Evening Post serial “The Man From Laramie,” was made into a 1955 film starring James Stewart.

He died in Baton Rouge in 1979.

Pulp, Reviews

Review: The Mysterious Wu Fang #1

wu fang sixThe Mysterious Wu Fang #1: The Case of the Six Coffins

I’ve been aware of the Mysterious Wu Fang for years but resisted reading the series. To put it bluntly, I wasn’t in the mood to read to what I expected to be an at least slightly offensive “Yellow Peril” pulp.

A little background:

Wu Fang was clearly inspired by Fu Manchu, a popular fictional villain created by Sax Rohmer in 1913.  Fu Manchu was an evil genius and scientist bent on world domination. He’s appeared in film, radio, television, comics and more.

Clearly looking to capitalize on this popularity, Popular Publications introduced The Mysterious Wu Fang in September 1935. The series was written by Robert J. Hogan of G-8 fame. Wu Fang was another Asian scientist looking to take over the world. Like Fu Manchu, he was opposed by a constant foil (former Secret Service agent Val Kildare instead of former police officer Naylan Smith). Popular even hired Fu Manchu illustrator John Richard Flanagan to illustrate the pulps.

Unlike the long-lived Fu Manchu , Wu Fang was gone in less than a year. After seven stories, the March 1936 issue ended his adventures. A cease-and-desist letter from Rohmer’s attorneys certainly didn’t help matters.

Just two months later, Popular made another attempt with Dr. Yen Sin. The doctor was a Chinese crime lord who (surprise!) had his eyes set on taking over the planet. Jerome Rozen, who had provided the cover art for Wu Fang did the same for the new title. Flanagan again illustrated the stories. These adventures were written by veteran pulp writer Donald Keyhoe. Yen Sin was opposed by Michael Traile, left unable to sleep by a botched brain operation. This attempt lasted only three issues, folding after the September/October 1936 issue, with threatened legal action again on the horizon.

Now, back to this adventure: I was pleasantly surprised by the first story. While Wu Fang may get the headline, he’s in the background for the vast majority of the story. Instead, we’re following Secret Service Agent Val Kildare and his partner, newspaper reporter Jerry Hazard. That set-up works great, as it makes Wu Fang more mysterious and sinister than it would if we spent a lot of time with the master villain.

It’s a fast-moving adventure, a quick read and an enjoyable trip by Robert J. Hogan. There were few, if any, of those cringe-worthy moments we tend to see when there is an Asian foil in the pulps. (I’ll freely admit I’m saying this as a white male, so perhaps others may be more offended.)

On to the presentation: The story is published by Altus Press/Steeger Books, which has reprinted all of Wu Fang’s adventures. It is very clean, with easy-to-read type, nice covers and only a handful of typos. It also includes original illustrations. Pulp purists may be unhappy as it doesn’t exactly replicate the pulp size and experience, but this is how I like to read my pulp stories. I look forward to reading the rest of Wu Fang’s adventures from Altus.


Now available: Thrilling Detective Pulp Tales Volume 3

Thrilling Detective Vol. 3 Our latest pulp collection, Thrilling Detective Pulp Tales Vol. 3, is now available in both print and ebook format.

For more than 20 years, detectives and criminals found a home in the pages of Thrilling Detective. This edition collects six vintage pulp novels and stories from the tattered pages of the classic detective pulp: “Hijack Haul” by Lee Fredericks, “A Fourth Must Die” by Benton Braden, “Poor Economy” by Ray Cummings, “Hibiscus and Homicide” by William Campbell Gault, “Night Without End” by Wyatt Blassingame and “Death of a Dead Man” by Wayland Rice.