Pocket Detective Magazine #2 Nov. 1950
Published by Trojan Magazines by publisher Frank Armor, and edited by Adolphe Barreaux, Pocket Detective Magazine was the size of a paperback with the editorial content of a digest, displayed on newsstands rather than book shelves. It measured 4.75” x 6.75,” ran 100 pages (actually 98) and featured seven short stories per issue.
Published quarterly (per indicia in issue #2), the magazine debuted in Sept. 1950 and ended in Nov. 1950 after only two editions.
“Murder in Red” by Tedd Thomey
“Dressed to Kill” by Ed Barcelo
“Portrait of Crime” by Ladson E. Church
“Deadly Secret” by Calvin L. Boswell
“Voice from the Grave” by C. William Harrison
“Winged Terror” by Tom Lee
“Scarabs of Doom” by Clive Criswell
The final three pages are devoted to “The Mail Pouch” with readers’ comments and editorial response from George Delbow. The feature begins with a short commentary about the upsurge in crime and shared responsibility being our best defense. “Every decent citizen can be a sort of private eye in helping authorities round up crooks by reporting anything that looks in any way suspicious. If every one of us is alert, crime and criminals can be curbed considerably.” Basically the same advice we hear today regarding terrorists, repeated in airport and subway on public announcement systems.
Regarding feedback, Delbow expresses thanks to a letter-writer complimenting Trojan’s pocket-size magazines: “Yep—we plan to bring out more titles. Several more are already on the stands. Ask your newsdealer for Hollywood Detective, Six-Gun Western and Pocket Western.”
This issue of Pocket Detective also announced plans for Crime Fiction Stories, on sale Sept. 21, 1950. Another reader suggested a science fiction title. Delbow’s response: “That’s a pretty interesting proposition, and we’ll give it a lot of thought. Maybe there are a lot more fellows like you who are interested in science fiction.”
The cover of Pocket Detective #2 was painted by Robert Maguire, and each story inside began with a half-page illustration.
The pocket-size Hollywood Detective began in 1942 as Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective as a pulp magazine, changing its title to simply Hollywood Detective in Sept. 1943 and continued for seven more years until its final, pocket-size edition in Oct. 1950.
Trojan Magazines also published a series of crime and western comic books in the early 1950s including Attack! and Beware (acquired from Youthful in 1952), Western Crime Busters, Crime Mysteries, Youthful Romances and Crime Smashers. The later was their longest running title (15 issues) and included series characters Dan Turner “Hollywood Detective” created by Robert Leslie Bellem; Sally the Sleuth created by Adolphe Barreaux, and who first appeared in Spicy Detective Stories; Gail Ford “Girl Friday;” and Ray Hale “News Ace.”
Pocket Detective Magazine was also the title of an earlier effort published by Street & Smith from Dec. 1936 to Oct. 1937, under the editorial guidance of Robert Arthur. Michael L. Cook describes it in his reference book Mystery, Detective, and Espionage Magazines: “It was hoped that the small size and ease with which it could be carried would attract possible readers and persuade them to part with fifteen cents. Too, this size magazine could be printed more economically than the larger, bulkier, pulp-size magazines. But sales did not result in the anticipated success, and Pocket Detective Magazine was discontinued after eleven issues.”
Unfortunately, the concept didn’t fare any better in 1950, but Trojan’s version remains a rare and highly collectable part of digest magazine history.