Side note: I was queried by several folks on Facebook about the exclusion of electronic publications from the collection. I explained that the original intent of this was the collecting and display of the physical magazines (if only for my personal enjoyment) and that making a print of an E-mag cover wasn’t quite the same for me. However, I was persuaded to add a section for electronic-only publications and have been adding images to that purpose.
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Space Stories magazine being added to the collection is very personal for me. The cover depicts a scene that figures in my early childhood, one of my earliest exposures to SF’s iconography and scenes that featured in my early “science fiction play”.
I had a good childhood friend – “Chucky” (short for Charles) and we modified our play environment to reflect whatever fantasies caught our fancy – firemen, telephone linesman, garbage collectors and – space men.
You see, we were also both very fond of ice cream and in particular, soft-serve ice cream as delivered by the Mr. Softee ice cream truck, which anyone from the Philadelphia area ought to be familiar with. (Click this link to hear their unique jingle.)
In the long-distant past of the summer of 1962, Mr. Softee was giving away premiums in the form of collector cards. One such ten card set was titled Adventures of Captain Chapel, and it was all about a trip to the Moon.
Here’s the tie-in: the card I was given was No. 2 of the set and had the image shown on the right, described on the back of the card as “…the SC32 space craft that Captain Chapel will use to visit the space station. It is a new type nuclear-powered aircraft…”.
And that image is important because if you look closely, you will see that in order to gain access to the interior of the space craft, you need to descend underground. Our house had a basement and it had an exterior entrance with sidewalls that looked almost exactly like that being used by Captain Chapel! (Well, not “exactly”, but close enough that my newly-developed though as-yet unnamed willing suspension of disbelief filled in the gaps and smoothed out the edges.)
You would all be correct if you were to assume that I regularly gained access to my SC32 space craft by going down the basement steps of my childhood home.
Which returns us to Space Stories –
While it is true that the astronauts depicted (Chucky and myself, naturally) on the Space Stories cover are running UP steps to gain access to their ship and Charles and I had spent a summer running DOWN steps to do the same. But regardless, the combination of steps and spaceships evokes in me some very fond childhood memories.
Naturally, when I saw this cover, I had to have it.
Note that it states ” A Thrilling Publication” on the cover. Space Stories was created as a companion for Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories. It featured a full-length novel in every issue, its contents generally of the late 30s and 40s adventure style Science Fiction story. Unsurprisingly, there has been some 26 SF magazines carrying “Space” in their title, from “Space Adventures” to “Space Wise”.
The magazine only lasted for five bi-monthly issues and did not publish any stories of great note or influence – but its first cover – by Emsh – sure did bring back childhood memories!