Enter Shavertron

Some of you know I like to lose myself in arcane archives, looking for unexplained mysteries and secret histories. Enter Shavertron, a website created by Richard Toronto, and a major influence on my novel-in-progress, Tamper.

The following is a direct quote from one of Mr. Toronto’s many editorials:

The original Shavertron was a fanzine devoted to the Shaver Mystery and the life and times of Richard Sharpe Shaver and his editor, Ray Palmer. This leaves the playing field wide open since the Shaver Mystery is rife with UFOs,  a race of evil weirdos living inside the earth,   mind control, a high-tech Elder Race pre-dating our history, abductions, conspiracies and, of course, the sci-fi pulp zine scene of the late 1940s.

“The ‘mystery” began in a 1945 issue of AMAZING STORIES magazine with an article titled “A Warning to Future Man.” Editor Ray Palmer and writer Richard Shaver collaborated from there to bring Shaver’s unusual cosmology into the world of sci-fi pulp zine literature.

The Shaver Mystery gasped its last breath when Shaver and Palmer died within two years of each other in the mid-1970s. We stopped publishing Shavertron in 1992 since most Shaver Mystery readers were gone (mostly dead) with few leftovers to take their place.

Writers like Jim Pobst, Brian Tucker, Doug Skinner, Tal, Timothy Greene (Mr. UFO) Beckley , Mary Martin (The Hollow Hassle), Branton, Bill Bliss and Gene Steinberg did what they could to keep the Mystery going.

The scene eventually merged with water cooler chit-chat about UFOs, abductions and government conspiracies, all of which were a big part of the Shaver Mystery. Back in 1947, the Shaver Mystery was a bizarre topic of household conversation (probably at cocktail time). Today it’s obscure sci-fi history…though it is now being rediscovered by a new circle of oddity seekers and outsider art buffs (Here and Here – Bill). 

Lugosi Shines Again

From Cult Movie Press, here is the introduction to Vampire Over London by Frank Dello Stritto and Andi Brooks:

In 1931, Bela Lugosi became world famous playing Count Dracula in the now classic film.  He became forever linked to his great portrayal, and stereotyped as a movie monster and mad doctor.  He would never escape the shadow of Dracula.

“In 1951, with horror films out of fashion and 68 year-old Lugosi all but out of work, he and his wife Lillian went to England to star in a stage production of Dracula.  Their hope was to bring Dracula to London’s West End, in a revival that would propel Lugosi back to stardom.

“The story that grew around Lugosi’s 1951 Dracula told only of failure.  The production was allegedly under-funded, and run by amateurs who hoped Lugosi’s name alone would bring success.  After some clumsy delays, Dracula opened, flopped and closed.  Lugosi was never paid; and he and Lillian were stranded in England until the Mother Riley film gave him the cash to return home . . . 

“Not quite – for the myth did not match the few facts available.  Clippings files in libraries and private collections showed that the 1951 Dracula had played in various cities in Britain over many weeks.  Playbills turn up at memorabilia fairs, as do the postcard-size photo portraits, autographed in blood-red ink, that Bela handed out to his British fans.  Memoirs and histories of post-war British theatre mention the 1951 tour.”

Click her to read more of this joyfully well-researched journey into the archives…