Downtown Wichita Falls, Texas, in the mid 1940’s was a bustling metropolis for a boy of 7 just away from the farm and ranch community where he was born. My father, a cook and cowboy by trade, had just started as one of the first cooks for the Casa Manana restaurant in 1947. He moved us to an apartment on Ohio Street, right across from the Gem Theater, between 7th and 8th Streets. It’s here that we would stay for the next three years. The Gem Theater became a magic palace for a young mind. But it had to share that distinction with the rest of the magic that was Wichita Falls. I attended San Jacinto and Carrigan elementary schools, as well as Reagan Junior High, and belonged to the Boys Club on 6th Street. Please join, and share your stories and pictures through a Guest Blog, of early Wichita Falls - or your home town. Contact me at or leave a comment. We could use old pictures of movie houses, drive-in theaters, and other nostalgic pictures related to our youths.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

More Pulp Heroes

More Pulp Hero

The Black Bat was a later pulp hero, beginning in July 1939 from the STANDARD pulp house, about the same time as Batman in the comic books. Very similar in appearance, there might have been a lawsuit to stop The Black Bat, but the pulp character was pretty well covered; they published a very similar version back in 1934, so DC couldn’t press them to cease, as they were first. Tony Quinn, blinded in the courtroom by criminals he was prosecuting, is forced to retire from law. Until a young girl brings him secretly to the Midwest, where her dying father has left his eyes to the New York attorney. Unknown to the world, the new eyes bring sight back to Tony Quinn, but he remains blind to the public, and battles crime now as The Black Bat. Very popular, the series lasted for 62 issues, ending with the death of the hero pulps in 1953.

Don Diavolo was a stage magician who also solved mysterious crimes that baffled the police, such as locked door mysteries or paranormal crimes. He only appeared in four issues during the 1940 & ’41 period from RED STAR MYSTERIES, and was a casualty of the war in Europe. Called The Scarlet Wizard, the stories were written by mystery author Clayton Rawson under the pseudonym Stuart Towne, who also wrote The Great Marlini novels.

Operator #5 was a fascinating series in its short run of 48 novels, from 1934 through 1939 at POPULAR PUBLICATIONS, under the byline Curtis Steele. Three authors wrote the series: Fred Davis, E. C. Tepperman, and Wayne Rogers. Jimmy Christopher was a Secret Service agent, code name Operator #5. He originally fought American criminals and foreign agents Under Fred Davis; then, with E. C. Tepperman begins the invasion of America. Known as The Purple Invasion, the Purple Army from Europe conquers America in 13 books; the 14th novel tells of our reconstruction after driving the enemy from our shores. No sooner have we beaten the Purple Invasion from Europe, Wayne Rogers brings Asian soldiers to our shores in the remaining novels, and in the last published novel, November 1939, drop an atomic bomb on America, almost six years before America drops the atomic bomb on Japan.  The series then ends, though an unpublished story remains untold.

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