Western Pulp Fiction Featured in FSL November Lecture

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

On Thursday, Nov. 10, at 4 p.m. in the DesertView Theater, Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries (FSL) will host the third in its 2022-23 lecture series. Steve Renzi will present “Western Pulp Fiction.” Pulp fiction magazines sold for a dime, and in the 1920s to 1950s they filled American newsstands. Nobody admitted that they liked them, but everybody read them. They were American pop culture at its best and worst. Western magazines were the most popular. Western pulp fiction, along with movies, helped to create the myths of the American West.

Pulp writing was usually formulaic and cliched, but not always, and writers like Elmore Leonard, Jack London, and Louise L’Amour wrote for pulp magazines. Also, several classic Western films like The Searchers, Red River, and 3:10 to Yuma first appeared as pulp stories. The cover art was fantastic. It was American illustration at its best—bright, bold, and energized—made to attract magazine readers like bees to a field of wildflowers. Unappreciated, even by the artists themselves, the original cover art was nearly all lost or destroyed. Pulp fiction magazines disappeared from newsstands in the 1950s. Hardly anyone lamented their loss or noticed when they were gone.

Steve Renzi, a University of Arizona graduate with a degree in history, believes that every generation must learn about who and what came before them, or else the lessons learned are lost. As a writer and photographer with a teacher’s certificate in secondary education, Renzi is always searching for new ways of exploring our history. He has been published in more than 200 magazine and newspaper articles and is currently a writing and photography teacher, as well as a basketball coach.

This lecture is free for FSL members and $5 for nonmembers.