If you've never met Dan Turner, you must do so immediately. For outrageous slang and headlong enthusiasm, there's no one like him. Click here for a story you can read online. Robert Leslie Bellem's Dan Turner stories appeared in every issue of the legendary Spicy Detective, which ran from 1934 to 1942. The stories were only mildly spicy (a little nudity, some semi-heavy petting, some fade-outs left to the imagination). As "Hollywood Detective" implies, Dan had the studio beat, and the amazing habit of discovering the corpses of scantily-clad starlets. In 1942, the Spicy line (including Spicy Mystery, Adventure & Western) changed their names from Spicy to Speed, lowered their prices from 25 cents to 15 and went from under-the-counter to the regular newsstands.
That's when Dan got his own magazine. Each of the first ten or so issues was billed as "A Bookful of Dan Turner Stories," and consisted of reprints from Spicy Detective. Eventually Dan's name was dropped from the masthead, and Hollywood Detective marched on with new stories until 1950, with Dan sharing space with other sleuths. In all, it's estimated Dan racked up more than 300 adventures.
In the years since, Dan Turner has developed a cult following, and I admit to being a card-carrying member. Numerous amateur and small-press reprint collections have appeared, some now collectible in themselves. There have been movies and comic books. Currently, at least two Lulu-type publishers have multi-volume projects going. Search Lulu or Amazon for Robert Leslie Bellem and you'll see. And come on back to the Almanack to see more great Hollywood Detective covers.