Walter Martin Baumhofer (November 1, 1904 – September 23, 1987) was an American illustrator notable for his cover paintings seen on the pulp magazines of Street & Smith and other publishers.
Baumhofer's parents immigrated from Germany. His father Henry (Heinrich) came from Oldenburg, his mother Marie from Hanover. He was born and grew up in Brooklyn where his father had become a clerk at a local coffee company and then, in 1918, janitor at an apartment building, a situation which enabled the family to live rent free. Graduating from high school in 1922, Baumhofer went on a scholarship to Pratt Institute, where he studied under Dean Cornwell and H. Winfield Scott.
Walter M. Baumhofer
Walter Martin Baumhofer
November 1, 1904
|Died||September 23, 1987|
|Known for||Illustration, painting|
In 1925, he began drawing interior illustrations for Adventure magazine. Scott suggested he submit cover paintings to pulps, and the following year his first pulp cover appeared on Danger Trail. He moved on to do covers for Doc Savage, Pete Rice, Dime Mystery, Dime Detective and The Spider. Joining the American Artists agency in 1937, he sold to slick magazines, including The American Magazine, The American Weekly, Collier's, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, McCalls, Redbook and Woman's Day.
In 1945, Baumhofer and his wife Alureda moved to Long Island. During the 1950s, he illustrated for men's adventure magazines, including Argosy, Sports Afield and True. Retiring from freelance magazine illustration, he created portraits, landscapes and Western scenes for fine art galleries.. With the decline of pulps and reader's magazines in the late 1950s and early 1960s, due to the rise of the TV as evening entertainment, Baumhofer's illustrations lost its markets. Very few illustration work is known for the 1960s and 1970s. At the end of his life in the 1980s, he was rediscovered as a celebrated master of pulp and illustration art.
Doc Savage stories, 181 in total, first appeared in Conde Nast's Doc Savage Magazine pulps. The original series has sold over 20 million copies in paperback form. The first entry was The Man of Bronze, in March, 1933 from the house name "Kenneth Robeson". John L. Nanovic was editor for 10 years, and planned and approved all story outlines. The early stories were pure pulp "supersagas", as dubbed by Philip Jose Farmer, with rampaging dinosaurs and lost races, secret societies led by dastardly villains, fantastic gadgets and weapons, autogyros and zeppelins, death-dealing traps and hair-raising escapes, and plots to rule the earth. In the first few stories, Doc and his aides killed enemies without compunction. An editorial decision made them kill only when necessary for a more adventurous kid-friendly magazine, unlike the bloodthirsty competitor The Shadow.
Doc Savage was the lead story, often illustrated with line drawings. Exciting covers were painted in bold colors by Walter M. Baumhofer. Other adventure stories filled up the back, and there was a letters column. Kids could join the Doc Savage Club complete with badge, or follow "The Doc Savage Method Of Self-development" to build muscle and memory. In Depression America, 10-cent pulps with hundred of pages were handed around barracks or bunkhouses or schoolyards, a popular form of entertainment when people were unemployed and poor, and fantastic stories were a pleasant diversion from real life. Lester Dent wrote most of the stories, with fill-ins by Harold A. Davis, Alan Hathway, and William Bogart that were overseen or rewritten by Dent.By 1938, as the economy improved, pulps were on the wane and faced competition from comic books. During World War II, ordinary men and women performed fantastic deeds daily in exotic corners of the world, and fantastic pulp adventures seemed childish. Charles Moran became editor in 1943 and changed the format to suspense and realism. Doc used fewer gadgets and standard detective tropes. By 1946, in Measures for a Coffin, Doc is busting crooked investment bankers. Doc pared down his team, working mainly with Monk and Ham, and sometimes alone. Successive editors carried this format, and Babette Rosmond retitled the magazine Doc Savage, Science Detective in 1947.
By this time, the Doc stories were shorter than other stories in the magazine. Covers rarely showed Doc anymore, becoming detective-generic, abstract or illustrating non-Doc stories. Dent may have recycled some generic detective stories as Doc tales; King Joe Cay features Doc working alone, in disguise, with no aides, gadgets, or headquarters, and an interest in the ladies. Alan Hathway's grisly The Mindless Monsters reads like a rejected Spider story. Experimenting with new formats, during 1947 Dent wrote five stories with a first-person narrator, an innocent person caught up in a Doc Savage adventure, with one story narrated by Pat Savage, I Died Yesterday. Still, sales fell.
The magazine went bi-monthly in 1947, then quarterly in 1949. Editor William de Grouchy was brought back to revive the magazine, and asked Dent to return to larger-than-life stories. Dent took a new direction, with Doc infiltrating Russia and outwitting "the Ivans". This story, eventually titled The Red Spider in the Bantam run, was killed and shelved by editor Daisy Bacon. She oversaw three pulp-style adventures for the last three issues, but the magazine was cancelled in 1949. In the last story, Up from Earth's Center, Doc delves into a cave in Maine and meets what may be actual demons, and runs screaming in terror. The saga had ended.Until 1964, when Bantam Books revived the pulps as paperbacks. A huge selling point were the striking photo-realistic covers of a vibrant, widow-peaked, shredded-shirted Doc painted by James Bama and later Bob Larkin, Boris Vallejo, and others. Bantam reprinted all the stories, concluding in 1990, but not in the original publication order, and a few stories were retitled. They started as single volumes with numbers. As the stories got shorter, Bantam combined double novels with numbers, and finally Doc Savage Omnibuses with four or five stories without numbers. The rejected The Red Spider manuscript was discovered in 1975 by Will Murray and published during the Bantam Books print run as #95.
In recent years, Anthony Tollin's Sanctum Books, initially in association with Nostalgia Ventures for the first 16 releases, has reprinted all 182 (including the initially unpublished The Red Spider) of the Doc Savage stories from the thirties and forties, usually at least two to a volume, using Baumhofer covers, and some Bama covers for variant editions. The reprint project, 87 volumes in total, was completed in 2016.Street
A street is a public thoroughfare (usually paved) in a built environment. It is a public parcel of land adjoining buildings in an urban context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as a level patch of dirt, but is more often paved with a hard, durable surface such as concrete, cobblestone or brick. Portions may also be smoothed with asphalt, embedded with rails, or otherwise prepared to accommodate non-pedestrian traffic.
Originally, the word street simply meant a paved road (Latin: via strata). The word street is still sometimes used colloquially as a synonym for road, for example in connection with the ancient Watling Street, but city residents and urban planners draw a crucial modern distinction: a road's main function is transportation, while streets facilitate public interaction. Examples of streets include pedestrian streets, alleys, and city-centre streets too crowded for road vehicles to pass. Conversely, highways and motorways are types of roads, but few would refer to them as streets.Western Story Magazine
Western Story Magazine was a pulp magazine published by Street & Smith, which ran from 1919 to 1949. It was the first of numerous pulp magazines devoted to Western fiction. In its heyday, Western Story Magazine was one of the most successful pulp magazines; in 1921 the magazine was selling over half a million copies each issue. The headquarters was in New York City.