Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Howdy, Pa. Pa Howdy was created by Laurence Donovan (Joe Bunt, Wildcat Martin, Boxcar Reilly) and appeared in twelve stories in Detective Fiction Weekly and G-Men Detective from 1934 to 1945, beginning with “Pa Howdy, Gunner” (Detective Fiction Weekly, Dec 8, 1934).
John “Pa” Howdy is a “lanky, restless retired cattle sheriff” from Thunder Gap, Montana. He is long and lanky, with a pair of “range hardened knuckles about as destructive as any pair of pawn shop brass.” He and his plump, “guinea-hen bodied” wife Ma Howdy venture into the big city and discover that crime is much worse there than back home. However, the big city criminals are shocked to discover that Pa Howdy is more than capable of delivering range justice in the big city. Nor is Pa Howdy alone in this; Ma Howdy tends to appear behind thugs and knock them out with her reticule, which contains a hand siren and Pa’s .45, among other things. on. Pa says things like, “Yuh lowdown, yeller bellied kyoot.”
* I'm including the Pa Howdy stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because they're enjoyable to read. It takes talent to write a comedy-Western-detective series; it takes more talent to write one of those that will age well. Laurence Donovan, a professional writer for the pulps, had that kind of talent. Admittedly I'm a sucker for older-people-as-badass-heroes stories--I'm 55, I'm a lot closer to Pa Howdy's age than I am to, say, The Shadow (I)'s age, so it's perhaps natural that I'd identify with Pa Howdy more than with Lamont Cranston--but Donovan carries off the stories well. He characterizes in broad strokes, of course, and the style is pure pulp rather than something more elevated, but within those limitations Donovan finds his groove and plays it for as long as he can. The Pa Howdy stories are good fun.
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