TIP TOP SEMI-MONTHLY – March 25, 1915 Second issue sold for just $36.00 and the April 10, 1915 Third issue sold for the same.
March 25, 1915 “VERY NICE. Except 2″ SPLIT AT BOTTOM… easy to re-glue. NICE BACK COVER AND GREAT PAGES !”;
April 10, 1915 “NICE. Except 3″ SPLIT AT BOTTOM… easy to re-glue. NICE BACK COVER AND GREAT PAGES !”
As a Pulp title it only had 18 issues. It began it’s
long history as the “Dime Novel” TIP TOP WEEKLY with the very first “Frank Merriwell” appearance, “Frank Merriwell or, First Days at Fardale” on April 18, 1896 and continuing until 1912 before transmorphing into NEW TIP TOP WEEKLY (August 3, 1912) with Frank Jr. taking over with “Frank Merriwell, Jr. or The Camp on Wind River”.
Frank Merriwell (and Frank, Jr,) made it into TIP TOP SEMI-MONTHY (also brother Dick) but just seemed not able to translate into the Pulp magazines after such a long history. Frank did make 7 serials in SPORT STORY MAGAZINE in 1927-1928, 2 stories in FAME AND FORTUNE (ghosted by Warren Elliot Carleton), and 12 in TOP-NOTCH MAGAZINE 1929-1930 (the last 4 as serials) before finally heading into written retirement. He had a rare 27 1/2 minute 1915 Anti-Drinking Silent Movie, “Frank Merriwell in Arizona”. He made it into the newspaper funny pages from 1928 to 1936, and a very brief (don’t blink) 15 minute radio series in 1934 (and again from 1946 to 1949).
(An aside: in March 1973 he became President of the U.S, in a way. Let’s just say it’s a terrible story, best left forgotten, and leave it at that.)
Bookery states “Uncommon to Scarce” $10.00 – $25.00 – $50.00 (the March 10, 1915 First issue is listed as $20.00 – $50.00 – $100.00)
For a Pulp from 1915, “Scarce” (“…tough to find … a handful of couples may surface (yea, I’d like to see that – DLS), while…none may come up for sale at all. Most collectors will accept what condition they can find…” – Bookery), and a major character in the Pulp industry (although on his athletic last legs; he’s catch a brief second wind from 1928 to 1930), those prices seem a tad low, especially if you do find one in top condition (remember, 1915 here). It’s a title I watch for and have only seem about 6-7 copies surface in 8 years.
I knew him as Burt L. Standish. A million boys in the United States between the ages of ten and fifteen, who assiduously followed Frank Merriwell as he went through Fardale, into Yale and then put into the world again, knew him by that name. Every week we trudged to the neighborhood bookstore and deposited our coins for the latest copy of“Frank Merriwell“.
The lad who had not heard of Burt L. Standish had not yet tasted of the joys of life.
The spirit of adventure was in him at the age of sixteen.Then he suddenly became fully aware that his mother wanted him to be a preacher and that his father was passionately set on making him a carpenter, a good trade by which one could make an honest living. But Willy remained awake nights visioning overwhelming successes as a writer.
“For one thing I rarely had much trouble in finding plots for the young man. I usually entangled him in some way or other and then let him out after he had shown his character. Need I tell you that Frank was always honest, courageous, resourceful, generous and was never one to take advantage even of an enemy ? However, Frank really wasn’t the brave fellow everybody imagined him to be. Frank was often scared, but me repeat that he was resourceful and he always managed to get out of every scrape I put him into.
“I think, though, that I rank’s greatest trait was his loyalty. That is what boys like, and undoubtedly this did much to popularize him with his young readers. Frank always stood by his friends, although he could have made a million dollars if he had turned against them. Merriwell had a sense of Justice and a sense of humor. These helped him.
“There were some bad aspects to Frank, but these were all natural ones. He loved to gamble and his desperate struggles to overcome this weakness filled many pages of my stories. He also had an eye pretty girl, but his was the wholesome respect one accords to anything beautiful. He was a clean-minded fellow.
“Frank Merriwell was what every boy would like to be. And his friends were of the sort we’d like to have. All of them were stanch and true and willing to lay down their lives for Frank Merriwell, and he would have done the same for them.
“The adventures of Frank when he traveled around the world must have delighted his followers. Frank went through England, France and other countries in Europe. In France Merriwell, always on the side of justice, leaped to the defense of Captain Dreyfus, who had been railroaded to Devil’s Island on a trumped-up charge.”
As Patten talked I examined him carefully. His hair is white, but his eyes reflect a daredevilish gleam. The spirit of youth is far from dead in him. He is tall and graceful, a genial fellow and addicted to pipe smoking.
I have no doubt that, just like Merriwell, Patten would not be averse to playing a prank on anybody. If I can remember correctly the former was responsible for putting a centipede in the bed of one of the students at Fardale. He engineered many more tricks on his friends. I would not be at all surprised if those close to Patten have been the victims of some of his mischievous pranks.
Patten still writes about Frank Merriwell. The stories appear in the Top-Notch Magazine. Patten was one of the founders of the magazine and he edited it through the early years of its existence. But he discovered that writing and editing were too much for him. He preferred to write, so he sent the editorship down the line.
Few people know that Patten uncovered the playing value of Bill Carrigan, famous Boston Red Sox catcher of a decade ago. Patten ran a semi-pro baseball team in Camden and Carrigan played on his team. Patten explained laughingly that he had used Carrigan in every position but that of catcher. When he heard that Carrigan was regarded as one of the most valuable catchers in the American League he was astounded.
Patten reads the sporting pages, but he is not very enthusiastic about the sports themselves. The love of the game is gone, he thinks. In his opinion, Albie Booth is one of the great football players of the generation. Patten had seen Booth in action once, against Dartmouth, and he says Booth’s playing prowess to his swiftness of foot and to the Yale star’s trick of relaxing and allowing himself to fall limp when tackled.
Frank Merriwell himself was something of a athlete. He was Yale’s greatest figure. Who can forget Merriwell’s thrilling home runs, which usually came in the ninth inning when two men were out, and Yale needed four runs to win.
But Gilbert Patten’s fondest treasures are letters he has received from parents and boys all over the country. He has rarely met a person who did not grow up on Frank Meriwell. Some of them know more about Merriwell than he himself. They have not forgotten their boyhood idol.
A paragraph from one letter sent to Patten by a heartbroken mother read: “My child was a wild boy until he commenced reading about Frank Merriwell. I loved my boy. He died in the Argonne (and), fighting for his country. If he his gone to heaven he owes it to Frank Merriwell. Thank you.”