Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Got the Music in Me

My grandfather was the Music Director for Miami radio station WIOD from 1929 until 1952. He attended Yale's music conservatory and claimed to have graduated in 1924 although Yale seems to have forgotten about all but his first two years. He was a concert pianist, composer and crooner and evidently relatively famous as newspapers from his hometown of New Haven to Miami carried the locations of his daily whereabouts from where he played, to what he ate for dinner.
Earle Barr Hanson was a Star.

I met Earle about 3 years ago through Google's digital newspaper archives. It's a shame that they've cancelled the project because I still have so many questions. What happened to Earl's manuscripts? Did he publish? Did he record? According to the Miami Daily News, his career began with an Italian orchestra which somehow translated into spaghetti cravings, yet the photo from this article would lead me to believe that he'd still not mastered the fork. Maybe he was really hungry. Maybe he was a ham. That would follow as radio was live until the mid to late 1950s and to keep an unseen audience entertained day after day, you had to be funny. Funny Earle the Star. I like this guy.

Google also revealed that Earle was an early adopter. Before Gene Roddenberry, there was the Dixie Fantasy Federation. Earle was President and reportedly the largest collector of antique dime novels of his day.

Science fiction fandom made its appearance in the United States in the late 1920s in the discussions column of Amazing Stories, a science fiction magazine launched by Experimenter Publishing in 1926, and Weird Tales which began publishing pulp fiction in 1923.  Fans stayed in contact with one another through newsletters and professional magazines known as "promags" and "prozines." These early chat boards turned into local science fiction clubs who published amateur magazines and newsletters called "fanmags" or "fanzines." Some clubs held conventions. The Dixie Fantasy Federation's fanzine was called "Les Zombie" or LeZ for short. LeZ was published about once a month for five cents a copy or fifty cents for a year's subscription. You can find digitized issues here: http://www.midamericon.org/tucker/currentlez.htm.

My birthday was 3 weeks ago, but Tuesday a box came in the mail from my youngest daughter. Inside was a Luke Skywalker action figure. A replacement Luke as the original had been secured to a Estes model rocket engine and launched down the driveway in a father-daughter science experiment long ago. He's found a place next to my monitor where he guards Tron...in case Walt gets any more ideas.

Thank you to Bob Tucker from Bloomington, Illinois for digitizing and publishing Le Zombie on the web and to The National Fantasy Fan Federation for publishing "The History of N3F" which can be found here: http://www.n3f.org/N3Fhistory.shtml.

From "Le Zombie" Number 47, May-June 1942

Zombie (Al Ashley)

Out of the earth that covered me,
Streaked and pitted from heel to poll,
I burst, to shuffle eagerly
In pursuit of my errant soul.

But halted now my questing dance,
I cannot moan or cry aloud;
echoing thru my voodoo trance
the master calls. My head is bowed.

Past row on row of empty biers,
All staring-eyed and mould-arrayed,
I hast to toil thru voidfull years
With other slaves that he has made.

Nor can the cons liberate
Full charged with punishment my scroll;
No longer captain of my fate,
I am a Thing without a soul.


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