Written by Fred Patten, and published on the LASFS Rex Rotary, February 16, 1966. Intended for Apa L, Seventieth Distribution, LASFS Meeting no. 1488, February 17, 1966. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: GRanite 3-6321.
|San Diego in 1966!||Thomas Schlück for TAFF now!||Salamander Press #155.|
The exhibit on Jules Verne at the USC Library was taken down last week, to make way for one in connection with Negro History Week, or something to that effect. However, before the last of the Verniana is once again filed away to pass into semi-oblivion, I'd like to catalog it here, for the benefit of any future exhibits on Verne any of us might want to compile. Who knows, maybe the club will actually get around to preparing that exhibit on science-fiction to be offered to various libraries, someday?
I won't bother with a floor plan of the Library, but the exhibit was housed in a total of eleven glass showcases, seven of which are wall cases attached to one of the walls on the main floor of the Library (leading from the rotunda to the opposite sides of the building), and the remaining four of which are large floor cases, situated in front of the wall cases or directly across the hall from them. Also, at the head of the broad staircase leading onto the main floor is a notice board, which was carrying a large printed card reading JULES VERNE, and a smaller typed card reading : "The Photographic Display Sheets are on loan to us through the courtesy of THE SOCIETY FOR FRENCH AMERICAN CULTURAL SERVICES AND EDUCATIONAL AID. We also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Forrest J. Ackerman, for the loan of some of the items in this exhibit. (signed) Marilyn Thomas, Admin. Asst." (I got my credit in the Library staff newsletter.)
The bulk of the exhibit consisted of the set of 16 large, laminated plastic display sheets titled "JULES VERNE; prophčte de notre temps", which I described more fully in RR #66. These completely filled all seven of the wall showcases, with two sheets left over for one of the floor cases. The rest of the exhibit was really just a filler to add to this, and to keep us from having 3 ˝ glaringly empty floor showcases. For the sake of convenience, I'll arbitrarily call the floor cases A through D, quote the explanatory card that went with each item in the case, and add any additional information that may prove handy.
Case A. "AMAZING STORIES, April 1926: the first issue of the first magazine devoted entirely to science-fiction. Editor Gernsback filled early issues with the reprinted works of Verne, H. G. Wells, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, while developing a new stable of authors specializing in pulp-magazine science-fiction. The cover, by Frank R. Paul, illustrates a scene from Verne's Off on a Comet (alternately titled Hector Servadac)." This was followed, of course, by the magazine. Actually, when I went into Forry's collection to pick out a magazine for the display, I was a little leery of taking no. 1, since it's the most valuable of the lot and I was going to be responsible for it. As it turned out, though, it was about the only issue with a cover illustration picturing a scene from the Verne reprint; Gernsback apparently preferred to show a scene from one of his new stories whenever possible.
"Two 1941 issues of JULES VERNE - MAGASINET, a Swedish boys' magazine containing crossword puzzles, reprinted American comic strips and science-fiction stories, articles on sports, joke pages, and the like. Material by Verne was usually, though not necessarily, reprinted in each issue." These were Arg.2, nr. 30 and 34, undated but carrying a 1941 printer's mark. This was apparently not as much a dated periodical as a series of numbered booklets (rather like our CLASSIC COMICS, if you're familiar with them), since both issues carried lists of the earlier numbers in the series, described by the lead story in each issue, which was (judging from these two) a reprint from ASTOUNDING STORIES or one of the Z-D zines, complete with illustrations by Wesso or Fuqua or whoever. The comic strips included a reprint of SUPERMAN titled TITAN AV KRYPTON, and Supe's pants below his trunks were uncolored. (Cultural note)
"In 1955, on the 50th anniversary of his death, Monaco issued this set of postage stamps, illustrating scenes from his various works." Ten stamps, which I bought for $4.50 (mint) for the exhibit. 1 Franc, 5 Weeks in a Balloon; 2F, A Floating City; 3F, The Steam Elephant (La Maison a Vapeur); 5F, Michael Strogoff; 6F, The 500 Millions of the Begum; 8F, "Le Superbe Orenoque" (I don't know this one myself); 10F, Journey to the Center of the Earth; 15F, Around the World in 80 Days; 25F, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; and 30F, the U.S.S. Nautilus. There's also a Jules Verne airmail stamp, but that cost $7.50, which was a bit more than I cared to spend on the exhibit. France itself only released one stamp in commemoration of Verne's death, but then France has other sources of revenue besides printing postage stamps for collectors.
Case B. "This cheap edition of The Mysterious Island, containing stills from an early motion picture, is Verne's novel, though neither the movie nor the description of it on this book's endpaper bear any resemblance whatever to the original. The story is actually an account of Union prisoners-of-war who escape from a Confederate prison camp in the last days of our Civil War, in an observation balloon. They are blown out to sea and crash on a deserted volcanic island, where they experience many Crusoe-like adventures before being rescued by Captain Nemo, just before the isle is obliterated in a vast volcanic eruption." Yes, I know that last isn't quite accurate either; Captain Nemo died two years before the volcano blew apart, and the protagonists were still trying to complete their boat when it happened. (I'm not going to go into a complete plot synopsis; read the book.) However, compare it to the endpaper blurb in this particular edition: "In the year 1845 the land or [sic.] Hetvia writhed under a foreign oppressor. Count Andre Dakkar, patriot and scientist, had a secret base on Mysterious Island, some distance off the coast, where he perfected a submarine with the help of his sister, Sonia and her sweetheart Nikolai.
This is the story of those patriots' struggles against the hussars of the oppressor who learn of the wonderful ship and attack the island. There are marvelous adventures and rescues on the floor of the sea; desperate battles inside the ship; strange encounters with a weird bloodthirsty little people who inhabit the bottom of the ocean. Count Dakkar and his enemy, Falon, leader of the hussars, fight a duel under the water in their diving suits.
These and many other fantastic adventures make this story one of Jules Verne's greatest and most thrilling tales. Moreover, here are some of the author's marvelous prophecies concerning submarine warfare, radio, and other modern machines."
Sounds like a great movie, even if it doesn't have anything to do with Verne's novel. This was part of a series of books, unfortunately undated, that Grosset & Dunlap produced between World War I and the early days of the talkies, "illustrated with scenes from the photoplay." This one was a Metro-Goldwin-Mayer release, and the book's jacket notes "Screen play by Lucien Hubbard" -- that's all I know about it. A similar edition exists of A. Merritt's Seven Footprints to Satan, with stills from the famous movie that caused Merritt to burst into tears when he saw how Hollywood had ruined his beautiful novel. (I almost went mad when I first read it, trying to find any conceivable relation between the pictures and the text.) Incidentally, the jacket on this edition of The Mysterious Island was taken off the book and exhibited as a separate item; the book was opened to one of the stills, of course.
"Many of Verne's works were originally written as short novels for magazine serialization, to be followed immediately by sequels, as they proved popular. Most of these would be subsequently published together in hard covers as one novel. In these two examples of British juvenile literary Series, the original divisions have been maintained, presumably to add extra volumes to the Series, since Verne has always been a popular seller. Above is a gaudy edition of The Ice Desert, actually the second part of Captain Hatteras. Below is The Secret of the Island, the third and concluding part of The Mysterious Island." The Ice Desert, a volume in the "Jules Verne Series", Ward, Lock & Co., Ltd. (London, New York, Melbourne offices; Perth printer's mark), no date but a penciled gift inscription dated June 1902. The Secret of the Island (with The Mysterious Island as a series note), Translated from the French by W. H. G. Kingston, Illustrated by J. Férat, London, Sampson Low, Marston & Co. 6th edition, 1900?
"Godfrey Morgan, a little-known Verne novel, is mostly set on an imaginary island off San Francisco Bay, replete with lions, tigers, crocodiles, African cannibals, and all the other paraphernalia to make the life of a Crusoe truly exciting. Verne has an ingenious explanation as to how they all came to be there." Godfrey Morgan: a Californian Mystery, Translated by W. J. Gordon, Illustrated by Leon Benett, New York, Scribner's, 1884. A jolly satire, showing that the back-to-nature life of a Crusoe on the standard idyllic desert isle isn't all it's cracked up to be.
"... a cheap printing ... and a deluxe edition" The cheap printing was a 1917 Grosset & Dunlap edition of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, on extremely yellowed and brittle pulp paper; I would suspect it was a 50¢ dimestore edition. The de luxe edition was the 1959 Heritage Club edition of The Mysterious Island, with Introduction by Ray Bradbury and Illustrations by Edward A. Wilson, probably selling for $8-$10 retail.
Case C. "A Verne novel adopted as a French language textbook." Les Enfants du Captain Grant, by Jules Verne, arranged for school use with notes, exercises and vocabulary, by Edith Healy. New York, American Book Co., 1906.
"An edition of Michael Strogoff, the Courier of the Czar, containing a folding map tracking the scene of action." Translated by W. H. G. Kingston, Illustrations by J. Férat, containing "The Mutineers; a romance of Mexico" bound in back, "Uniform Edition" (red & gilt binding), new York, Scribner's, 1886.
This case also contained the last two display sheets from the main part of the exhibit.
Case D. "Motion-picture audiences have long been familiar with the works of Jules Verne; the first science-fiction movie ever filmed, by George Melies in 1902, was an adaptation of Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. Notable adaptations to the screen of Verne's works in recent years have been Mike Todd's famous "Around the World in 80 Days", and Walt Disney's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". Disney's 1954 release began a trend in screen faithfulness to the original works; something that had been conspicuously lacking in earlier movies. American-International's "Master of the World", though low-budget, followed this example of authenticity as closely as it could. Columbia's 1961 "Mysterious Island", on the other hand, reverted to the days of very liberal adaptations, adding a romantic interest and as many monsters as could be plausibly stuffed in." Two posters (what they call "ad mats", I think) from "Mysterious Island", three stills from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and six stills from "Master of the World".
And that concludes the exhibit. In setting it up, I tried to get a variety of items. With a large selection of books to work from, I tried to pick a varied group, each of which had a special feature I could focus attention upon -- a foldout map, regional interest in California, etc. Something to keep it from looking like a general collection of books that had just been tossed into the cases at random because they all happened to be by Verne, at any rate. Mike Klassen, you asked a few weeks ago whether we could use this exhibit elsewhere, minus the French display sheets. No, because the sheets were really the nucleus of the exhibit; the remainder is a collection of interesting items, but not enough to stand on its own. You'd need to reassemble the basic information about Verne. Actually, for a really good exhibit, you should have some original material -- a Verne manuscript, or a copy of the magazine with the first serial appearance of one of his stories, or the like. But you're going to have to restore that nucleus in some way or other; otherwise, all you have is a collection of material that happens to be about Verne, but not a Jules Verne exhibit -- just as I could go through my library and pull out all the books and paperbacks and magazines with material by Robert Heinlein, but all I'd have would be a selection of some of the works of Robert Heinlein, and not an exhibit on Robert Heinlein. If you're really interested in getting together an exhibit on one prominent author that libraries would accept for display, I'd say that Ray Bradbury would be your best subject. Ray's career is closely enough connected with Fandom that we'd have no trouble getting a good collection of his manuscripts, first editions, old photographs and other biographical material, and the like (plus probably help from Ray himself), and he's well-enough accepted in the world of Literature today that most libraries wouldn't hesitate to display such an exhibit. This is something we might discuss more closely, if you're really interested in working to put together an exhibit on some aspect of science-fiction; something that's been discussed around the club for years, but which has never gotten past the talking stage.
--BEING COMMENTS ON LAST WEEK'S DISTRIBUTION
Bruce Pelz -- I don't really expect my new car to last me the next ten years (though I can always hope); what I mostly meant was that I'm planning on using it for transportation until it wears out, rather than trading it in in another couple of years just to get the latest-style model. The old Chevrolet I just got rid of did last over ten years -- it was a '55 model that my parents got new at the end of 1854 -- but I was only driving it for the last couple of years of this period, and my parents used it much less than I did. I've already got over 800 miles on my new car, and I've only had it a couple of weeks. As to not establishing a credit rating by paying cash, this is true; but I had the necessary cash that I'd saved for my trip to Europe that fell through last Summer, and I just didn't feel like going through all the red tape and additional interest charges for the sake of getting a credit reference. I made a point of paying for my new refrigerator from Sears' by credit, simply to help establish a good credit rating for myself, and I'm seriously considering going into the store and paying the balance all at once, in preference to remembering to write a check every month. (I've paid a couple of installments so far, so I suppose I should be able to count on a good reference from them already if I ever have to give them as a reference in applying for credit elsewhere.) I've also got a couple of gasoline credit cards and a good bank account (both savings and checking), so I hope all this will be enough to get me credit if I ever really need it, without having to go through the trouble and extra expense of opening up more new accounts simply for the sake of having them as references for still more accounts, ad infinitum. I take a dim view toward some of the more E-Z aspects of our credit-based economy, as it is; that's one bandwagon upon which I do not intend to jump if I can possibly avoid it. ## A good Holmesian parody; you might send a copy of this to Ellery Queen, who collects parody-variations on Holmes' name. (Whether "Queen" in this case is Dannay or Lee, I don't know.) Considering some of the other entries in his collection, such as "Herlock Domes" in SUPERSNIPE COMICS, and "Hawgshaw" in the POGO comic strip, he'll probably be glad to add this mimeographed story to the rest.
Ted White -- Two more points on the meaning of "camp": An ad from the USC Daily Trojan reading "HOW TO MAKE A HIT ON THE FIRST DATE Kit. $1.50 complete. It's Camp!" Also an overheard comment from the audience while watching the 1943 "Batman" serial-move, "Hell, this isn't camp; I like it!" From the context in which the word was used in these two cases, I'll still argue that "camp", as a slang term, means something that's so bad or far out that it's funny, rather than being a more-or-less straight synonym for "nostalgia". I don't know, of course, maybe we're both right; it wouldn't be the first time that slang terminology has altered in meaning while crossing the country. ## I saw the old "Batman" movie last weekend, by the way, and I enjoyed it considerably. I did not consider it "camp" (my definition), though, and neither, apparently, did the rest of the audience, with one exception. This is in striking contrast to the first showing of the movie out here, or so I understand from one of the other librarians in my department, who saw it as soon as it was released. According to him, the theatre was jam-packed with the In-crowd, and everybody considered it campier than hell; by the last half of the picture, everybody was reading all sorts of double-meanings into everything on the screen, and howling continuously with laughter to the extent that the sound track was generally inaudible. By the time Len Bailes and I got around to it last Sunday, though, the crowds had gone; there couldn't've been more than 20 people in the theatre at one time for the whole 4 hours we were there, and except for guffaws at the more blatant pieces of anti-Japanese war propaganda, the audience sat quietly watching the picture as an adventure serial, rather than as something chock-full of hidden hilarity. The one exception was a young couple who got tired and left about halfway through the movie, but while they were there, they were laughing their heads off at everything the actors did. When Bruce Wayne drove down the street in his limousine, the girl screamed, "Oh, look at the funny old car!", and collapsed in giggles. Nobody else saw anything particularly amusing in this; my reaction was, well of course they're going to have a 20-year-old car in a movie made in 1943; what did you expect? If this is a typical example of "camp" humor, it seems like phony intellectualism to me. I'll continue to go to such movies because I like the old adventure serials, not because they're In. My fellow-librarian reports that a theatre in Long Beach is splicing the old Captain Marvel serial into a continuous movie, and I'm looking forward to seeing it. incidentally, if anyone has been planning to see the "Batman" movie but hasn't got around to it, I'd suggest they go soon, because judging from the almost nonexistent attendance of last Sunday evening, it's not going to be playing much longer.
Bĵo Trimble -- Thank you very much for the logo heading for ˇRÁBANOS RADIACTIVOS!, so I can stop lettering it in each week. Believe me, I'm not going to throw this out after only one use! For the benefit of anybody who may be wondering bout the characters, they are, from left to right; Professor Mental, Supercharro, and Criollo, el Caballo Invencible, from the comic book called after the last-named. It's Prof. Mental, the 98-year-old Don Juan (or so he'd like to believe) and best supervillain since Doc Sivana, who's always shouting ˇRábanos radiactivos!, ˇZanahorias electrónicas!, and similar vegetative absurdities.
Mike Lassen -- Well, maybe Len can do a couple of entrechats-dix on his way down from Sleeping Beauty's castle, before he lands head-first in the moat. ## Dave Fox's presentation of Khorlia in Apa L, and the creation of the ITR, together make a rather striking parallel to what the Coventry problem was all about. If you can imagine Mitch, Barry, Owen, and the other members of that clone all taking over Khorlia, proclaiming themselves Grand Dukes, Generals, and Prime Ministers of Khorlia, issuing secret Khorlian government documents, scrawling Khorlian symbols on the sidewalks in front of fans' houses, writing stories set in Khorlia with themselves as the great heroes, all of course contrary to Dave's wishes, and with Dave finally abandoning Khorlia in disgust with what it had been turned into, you'll have a pretty good picture of how the Coventranian business ran. That's why I think it'd still be worthwhile to reprint the original Coventry notes by Paul Stanbery, because it was all very well worked out while it was his own fantasy world. The ITR sounds as though it's going the same way the Coventranian mess did, though if the group tries being cute in hotel lobbies, art museums, and other places under museum authority, it may find its activities curtailed even more rapidly than were the Coventranian activities.
Helen Smith -- Saffron is also the name of a specific shade of orange; in fact, it's the official color of the topmost stripe of the flag of India.
Everybody interested in Money: there's a Coin Show at the Statler-Hilton Hotel downtown from tonight until Sunday. No theatre parties planned, but I'm certainly going to drop in sometime. Recommended to all.