Saturday, January 4, 2014

Have you seen me? P. S. magazine, the nostalgia/pop culture/humor magazine from 1966...

I've been looking for reasonably priced copies for years...indices courtesy the FictionMags Index. If ever a magazine called out for a facsimile re-issue...

 [v1 #1, April 1966] ed. Edward L. Ferman (Mercury Press, 60¢, 64pp, 8" x 11")
    Details supplied by Cuyler Brooks.

  • 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
  • 34 · The Lost Lovely Landscapes of Luna · Isaac Asimov · ar
  • 39 · Lugosi: The Compleat Bogeyman · Charles Beaumont · ar
  • 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

P.S. [v1 #2, June 1966] ed. Edward L. Ferman (Mercury Press, 60¢, 64pp, 8" x 11")
    Details supplied by Michael Ward.

  • 5 · The Student Rebel: Then and Now · William Tenn · ar; 1930’s vs 1960’s.
  • 8 · It Only Hurts When They Laugh · Gahan Wilson & Evan Phillips · ar; college pranksters.
  • 12 · The Fabulous Freebie Fire Fighters · John Major Hurdy · ar; volunteer firefighter anecdotes.
  • 20 · The Audience Is Dead · William Redfield · ar; wretched current state of drama and its audiences.
  • 26 · The Guys in the Trick Suits · William F. Nolan · ar; superheroes.
  • 34 · Tear Off a Box Top · Ron Goulart · ar; cereal premiums.
  • 39 · Department of Yellowed Journalism · S. Harris · ar; old engravings with new “funny” captions.
  • 42 · The Lion · Nicholas Breckenridge (Knox Burger) · ar; memoir of his father, Carl Burger, the commercial artist.
  • 48 · The Papers — They Publish Her Face · Gerald Carson · ar; history of the society pages in newspapers, from The Polite Americans, Morrow 1966.
  • 66 · The Forties Quiz · Robert Thomsen · qz; from Questions, Anyone?, Doubleday 1965.

P.S. [v1 #3, August 1966] ed. Edward L. Ferman (Mercury Press, 60¢, 66pp, 8" x 11")
    Last issue. Details supplied by Cuyler Brooks.


Jim C. said...

I bought all three issues when they first came out. Unfortunately, they're long gone -- probably tossed by my mother.

Kelly Robinson said...

Never heard of it, but wow--there are some great names there.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

I think I'm sitting on short stories by Alfred Bester, Ron Goulart, and Russell Baker among others, in some of the vintage sf and fantasy magazines I downloaded. I've also been meaning to read Ed Lacy's pulp fiction. Some unusual titles of stories and articles in the lists.

Jerry House said...

Like Jim I bought all three issues and they eventually went walkabout. I read each several times over. A great magazine, sadly missed.

Todd Mason said...

Jim--alas all paper! There are certain advantages of descending from fellow packrats, as I have done...glad to see you post again!

Kelly--to say the least. I'm finally realizing P.S.'s kinship to the likes ofMonocle and Help! in the 1960s. At least one of the Tenn articles was cited in the '60s equivalent of Best American Essays, and the magazine is clearly fondly remembered by the few lucky enough to have read its three issues...Edward Ferman noted in his Dream Makers interview with Charles Platt that "P.S." was a bad title, but simply calling the magazine "Nostalgia" somehow seemed too on the nose (as well as more limited than the actual scope of the magazine). (And, of course, it didn't help matters for collectors now that there was a US military magazine, heavily illustrated by comics great Will Eisner, called P.S. which ran for years).

Prashant--Bester and Goulart are among the best writers in the sf/fantasy fields, and Goulart particularly also has done notable work in crime fiction, while Bester spent the happiest part of his career doing interviews and travel pieces for Holiday magazine. Baker, who occasionally had a piece in the likes of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Ferman's primary magazine when he edited P.S.), was mostly writing a humor/commentary column for The New York Times; Lacy was too shabby at crime fiction, either. Yes, as Kelly notes, P.S. had some very impressive contributors, indeed.

Jerry, have you come across anything that quite had the same spirit as P.S.?

Todd Mason said...

Further amplifying on Kelly's comment--there's hardly a contributor to the magazine who didn't do significant work elsewhere as well...Aronson, for example, was a NEWSDAY reporter and novelist, one of the contributors to NAKED CAME THE STRANGER by "Penelope Ashe", while Higby was an actress (played the third lead in THE HONEYMOON KILLERS--billed just ahead of Doris Roberts) and scriptwriter (repeatedly for THE CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER).

Todd Mason said...

Ha. Prashant, I meant to write that Lacy wasn't too shabby at crime fiction...

Todd Mason said...

Goodness. I've just learned that "Nicholas Breckinridge" was Knox (Breckinridge) Burger, the notable book editor (after a stint as fiction editor at COLLIER'S and as such, a long-term patron of the young Kurt Vonnegut among others) at Fawcett (during the heroic Gold Medal years) and Dell (which is how Dell ended up with so much Vonnegut).

Todd Mason said...

From Burger's NYT obit:

At least half a dozen authors, including Mr. [Martin Cruz] Smith [Burger worked as his literary agent] and Mr. [John D.] MacDonald, honored Mr. Burger by dedicating books to him. Vonnegut, who died in 2007, did, too. His dedication of “Welcome to the Monkey House,” a 1968 collection of short stories that included “Report on the Barnhouse Effect,” read:

“To Knox Burger. Ten days older than I am. He has been a very good father to me.”

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Todd, thanks for your email and the fascinating inputs on Knox Burger (aka Nicholas Breckinridge) and the role he played in publishing such original authors as Cruz Smith and Vonnegut among others. By original I mean inventive. I'd rate GORKY PARK among the top crime novels of the second half of the last century. I need to re-read Vonnegut whose rather staccato writing style has long impressed me. Subjective as it may seem, Vonnegut along with Hemingway and Rushdie cut a new path to writing fiction, as did Joseph Heller and Malcolm Bradbury. Stray thoughts, Todd.

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

These look great Todd - all new to me I'm afraid so can;t comment but I can enjoy imagining what they might have been like - thanks for that! Oh, and belatedly, happy new year chum.

Anonymous said...

Good news! With a little luck, all three issues of PS will be scanned and available in cbz format from pulpscans by February. These deserve to be available once again!

Todd Mason said...

Gordon Van Gelder, having read the note above, suggests that at least a courtesy query to Edward Ferman, his predecessor as publisher and editor of F&SF , and as editor of P.S. (and legatee of the publisher of it, his father Joseph Ferman) might be useful...the copyright might well be in effect on the magazine as a whole, as well as on certain of or all its contents. Of course, selfishly, I'd love to be able to see good scans, but not if it goes against the wishes of copyright holders...

Sergio...thanks! HNY to you as well...though I think we exchanged such sentiments in the past week sometime.

Prashant--random thoughts always welcome. Burger helped no few other innovators into print, as editor or agent...Hemingway and the others didn't do so by themselves, of course (Hammett was publishing at the same time as Hemingway with a similar approach and in some of the same places), but there are so many contributors to the art...for whom we all try to keep the memories alive, when they seem endangered...