You may not know who Robert Madle is. Even so, on June 2nd, 2020, ‘Bob’ will turn 100 years old.
You also may not know that Bob Madle is nearly as responsible for this resurrection of Amazing Stories as Hugo Gernsback is.
You see, Bob was the first First Fan that this refugee from Star Trek conventions encountered at his very first real convention, a Philcon in 1974.
Bob was manning a table in the Huckster’s Room (that’s what it was called back then and there’s no need to shade it) where he was displaying and selling a massive number of pulp magazines.
Obviously I had already been reading science fiction for more than a decade at that point, but the guy across the table from me had been reading, collecting and actifanning since 1935.
I quickly learned that Bob WAS the emodiment of Fandom.
I mean that quite literally. He was an attendee at the first US convention in 1936, attended the First Worldcon in 1939, FOUNDED First Fandom, helped found the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, was Fan GoH at SunCon (where I managed the Hugo Awards Banquet), nominated for a Hugo award, founded the Carolina SF Society and has been collecting and making pulp magazine available to fellow fans for decades.
To my mind, all of that pales in comparison to what he did for me. He spent an entire day at his table (interrupted only by sales), filling me in on the history of Fandom – First Hand History – and introducing me to the pulps, the first place that our Wonderful, Fantastic, Strange, Astounding, Startling, Amazing, Weird, Astonishing, Super, Dynamic, Marvelous genre appeared.
And then, a few years later, he sold me my copy of Amazing Stories, Volume 1, Number 1.
Curt Phillips, another scion of the pulp collecting world, has taken it upon himself to honor Bob’s Centenary with an appeal to send Bob Birthday Cards as a somewhat replacement for the live, in-person party that had been long planned.
I wanted to let you all know about this personal connection before turning you over to Curt; Amazing Stories will be sending a card to Bob on behalf of its staff and contributors. I hope you all decide to send one too.
Bob Madle will celebrate his 100th birthday on June 2, 2020. Originally there was to be a fairly lavish birthday party at Bob’s home in Rockville, MD, but now for obvious reasons that can’t happen. So I have a favor to ask of every Fan reading this message, no matter where you are. Would you please join me in sending Bob Madle a birthday card?
Bob was one of the original members of the fandom we’re all part of today, and is almost the last living link we have with our earliest history. He was an original member of the Philadelphia SF Society and the Science Fiction League. He was at the 1936 Philadelphia SF Conference, and was at the first Worldcon in 1939. He served in WWII, came home and became a specialty SF book dealer and still operates that business. He wrote the column INSIDE SCIENCE FICTION for the Columbia pulps in the 50’s, was the TAFF delegate in 1960, and was for many years a fixture in convention dealer’s rooms everywhere. He’s a very knowledgeable and passionate science fiction fan and nearly all of his contemporaries are gone now. Please join me in sending Bob a birthday card for his 100th birthday, just to let him know that Fandom remembers and appreciates his lifetime of devotion to science fiction. Bob is a good friend whom I last saw about a year ago when I visited him in Rockville, and I deeply wish that I could be there in person to wish him a happy birthday this year. I would love it if the Post Office delivers a sack full of birthday cards to his home this year, and that’s why I’m asking your help. Please take a moment to find a birthday card, or write a note, and drop it in the mail to:
Robert A. Madle
4406 Bestor Drive
Rockville, MD 20853-2137
Tel: (301) 460-4712
Bob doesn’t have an email address, and doesn’t use a computer so an old fashioned birthday card is the way to go. It will be very easy for each of you to let this request slip by, but I’m asking you to help make Bob’s 100th birthday a little happier by sending that card or note.
And please help spread the word to every fan and fannish group you know. No matter what your fannish interests are, no matter what area of fandom you might inhabit, comics fan, Star Trek fan, gamer, filker, cosplayer, fanzine fan, convention fan, or a book & magazine collector; it all traces back to the fandom of the 1930’s and Bob Madle is right at the heart of it. He was there in the beginning and he’s still here with us. This may be your only chance to ever tell him “thanks” for helping to get Fandom going and for helping to keep it alive for all of us today.
Please copy this request to any fans or fannish groups you can think of. Convention mailing lists, clubs, what have you. This is a once in a lifetime event that we all can share in.
My personal thanks to all who help celebrate the 100th birthday of our friend, Bob Madle.