CHANCE OF A GHOST
George Chance’s (aka the Green Ghost) friend Ned Standish, of the Kingsport Standishes, a summa cum laude graduate of Miskatonic University, has been accused of murder. Although Chance calls Standish “Commissioner,” he is actually an Assistant Police Commissioner for one of New York City’s boroughs, as are Weston, Kirkpatrick, Woods, Foster, Quistrom, Gordon, Warner, Hombert, and others. Chance refers to other vigilantes active at the time he began his career, such as the Black Bat, Captain Midnight, the Phantom Detective, the Domino Lady, and Ki-Gor. Chance’s wartime missions began with liberating Professor Horatio Smith, who was something of a modern-day Scarlet Pimpernel, from a supposedly unescapable German prison camp. Subsequent missions for the OSS included a strange encounter with a hideously wriggling whitish worm at an abandoned chateau in Northern France and one with a revolting frog-mouthed, tentacle-lipped creature that accosted him in the sewers of Paris. Standish went over the file on flapper girl Toby Basinger’s case with D.A. Skinner. A lookalike for Standish murdered Basinger, who killed an ex-girlfriend of Chance’s, nightclub singer Angel de la Ruse. Chance’s aide Joe Harper smokes Red Apple Cigarettes.
Short story by George Chance, edited by Win Scott Eckert in Legends of New Pulp Fiction, Ron Fortier, ed., Airship 27 Productions, 2015. The Green Ghost (aka the Ghost) appeared in the pulp magazine The Ghost, Super-Detective (later retitled The Ghost Detective, and then The Green Ghost Detective). Kingsport, Massachusetts and Miskatonic University are from H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos tales. Commissioner Weston appears in the tales of a vigilante who can cloud men’s minds. Commissioner Stanley Kirkpatrick is from the Spider stories. Commissioner Woods is from the Green Lama’s pulp exploits. Commissioner Charlie Foster is from the Secret Agent X tales. Commissioner Arthur J. Quistrom is from Leslie Charteris’ novel The Saint in New York. Commissioner Gordon operated as a whispering vigilante in pulp novels by Laurence Donovan. Commissioner Jerome Warner is from the Black Bat stories. Commissioner Hombert and D.A. Skinner are from Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe novels. Captain Midnight is from the radio series of the same name. The Phantom Detective appeared in pulp stories by Robert Wallace. The Domino Lady is a pulp heroine created by Lars Anderson. Ki-Gor is a jungle hero who appeared in pulp tales by John Peter Drummond. Professor Horatio Smith is from the movie Pimpernel Smith. The Scarlet Pimpernel is from Baroness Orczy’s novels, of course. The seemingly unescapable prison camp is Loki from Farmer’s authorized Doc Savage novel Escape from Loki, which is also the source of the whitish worm, which Doc encountered in Baron de Musard’s chateau during World War I. The frog-mouthed, tentacle-lipped creature is Dewer, who encountered occult detective Jules de Grandin in Seabury Quinn’s story “The Bride of Dewer.” Toby Basinger and Angel de la Ruse are from Howard Hopkins’ Green Ghost story “Ghost of a Chance,” although Basinger’s name is Eckert’s invention. Red Apple Cigarettes appear in a number of films, including Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, as well as a number of other works by Eckert.
The various deputy Commissioners explains why various Pulp heroes in New York. People have speculated that The Whisperer is the same person as Commissioner Gordon from Batman. This could mean that Gotham was a fictionalized version of New York. Or maybe Gordon left New York to become Commissioner of Gotham City.ReplyDelete
FWIW, Win asked the members of the Facebook group Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe (on which both he and I are moderators) to name some New York Police Commissioners from the pulps for a story, though he didn't specify which one. I was the one who suggested Warner, Foster, and Quistrom. I'm honored that Win used my suggestions. He's the man. :)Delete