The man from Redwood City was the king of pasta
Many people think of a movie when they hear the term “pulp fiction”, but there was a time when those words referred to fictional magazines printed on cheap pulp paper, a gone publishing world in which a Redwood City man was a key player.
The 1994 Quentin Tarantino film of this name starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson takes its title from magazines, many of which feature violent crimes and grim, shabby characters and lots of sex. But there was more to it. The so-called “rags” were also loaded with adventure, old west and science fiction stories.
Edgar Hoffman Price, who died in Redwood City in 1988, has sold over 500 pasta stories. His signature has appeared in a wide range of very popular fiction with a strong appeal to male readers, including Argosy, Black Mask, Dime Detective, Terror Tales, Speed Detective, and Spicy Mystery Stories. He was, however, most easily identified as a writer for Weird Tales. Price’s stories have even been translated in Scandinavia and have been hacked in Latin America. His work is still available for sale on the internet, including mega packs of 14 stories.
Price was in good company among the ranks of other pulp writers, including Agatha Christie, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Dashiell Hammett. According to the Pulp Magazine Project study group, pasta was “one of the most influential forms of print culture of the 20th century,” a period of almost 100 years from the 1880s to the mid-1970s. example is Blue Book, which lasted from 1905 to 1975 and is said to have reached a readership of over 200,000 readers. The 1947 film comedy “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” captured the colorful world of pulp magazine publishing with tongue-in-cheek lines similar to “You killed him on page 30 and he returns on page 50.” (A personal aside: this writer remembers, as an eighth grader, sitting in the living room reading Blue Book’s Tales from the Foreign Legion, while my father and uncles avidly consumed pulp fiction westerns. .)
Price’s life reads like pulp fiction. Born in Fowler, California, in 1898, he became a professional soldier, graduating from West Point and then serving in Mexico, the Philippines, and in World War I. Science fiction author Jack Williamson called Price “a true soldier of fortune.” He was a fencer, a boxer, a student of the Orient as well as a student of the Arabic language. Price’s memoir includes ‘Trooper of the 15th Horse’ and ‘The Book of the Dead’.
According to blogger Joshua Buhs, in the 1950s Price saw the writing on the wall (sounds like a line from a pulp fiction story) and knew his market was ending. He accepted a job in San Mateo County as a microfilm technician, a position he held long enough to receive a pension. He still wrote occasionally and died sitting in front of his typewriter, Buhs told Climate.
Interviewed by the Redwood City Tribune in the 1960s, Price accused compliance and regulation of being responsible for the death of pasta. “Previously, each magazine had a distinctive style and flavor – a personality of its own,” he told journalist Gail Granzow. “Then one publisher started taking over five or six magazines, and they all looked the same pretty soon. It was like a Ford assembly line. Then, too, reading habits changed. People started to buy more and more inexpensive paperbacks. “
Price, who began writing for pulp magazines in 1932, estimated that about 95% of his writing was fiction, but he also “wrote historical novels.” When I say novels, I mean six-part series for the pulps. During his 20-year career as a full-time writer, he has written science fiction, thrillers and adventure. Stories, to recharge your batteries simply by reading the daily newspaper.
“I had read the world events – about a spy or some other story of international intrigue,” he explained before saying something he would probably regret today: “Then I would create a hero, still Anglo-Saxon Protestant.