Monday, April 1, 2019

JDM in the SEP

Back in March of 2016 I wrote a piece on John D MacDonald’s 1961 Saturday Evening Post short story “Kitten on a Trampoline.” This work of fiction was MacDonald’s first to appear in the Post, and it’s interesting to ponder why it took so long for this most popular of general interest magazines to publish the author. Perhaps it was because JDM had such a good relationship with another popular periodical of the time, Cosmopolitan (in its pre-Helen Gurley Brown era), which had a long tradition of focusing on fiction. His work appeared in Cosmopolitan 36 times, the most of any other non-pulp publication. Beginning with “Kitten on a Trampoline,” MacDonald would go on to write a total of five stories for the SEP, including “Funny Man,” which would be included in JDM’s 1966 anthology End of the Tiger and Other Stories under the author’s original title, “Afternoon of the Hero,” and 1961’s “Sing a Song of Terror,” which was later reworked as the opening chapter of the 1970 Travis McGee novel The Long Lavender Look.

When I wrote the piece on “Kitten” I neglected to look through the entire magazine, which I did recently, only to discover a brief entry on MacDonald in the SEP’s “Keeping Posted” section. It contains a photo of MacDonald I have never seen before, the author without his signature glasses. He looks kind of like a deer in the headlights.

I went through the rest of my Saturday Evening Post collection and found one other photo of MacDonald, included in the same magazine that featured his short story “The Obvious Woman” (which I haven’t written about yet). It has another glasses-less photo of JDM, this time looking much more at ease. I include them here for your enjoyment.

The entire run of The Saturday Evening Post has been digitized and archived, and is available for viewing for $15 a year, for those of you interested in reading the JDM stories listed below. You can sign up for the archive (including a current subscription) by clicking here. (I'm not a subscriber -- I include this only for readers who might want access to the stories.)

John D MacDonald stories published in The Saturday Evening Post:

April 8, 1961 “Kitten on a Trampoline”
September 9, 1961 “Sing a Song of Terror”
September 16, 1961 “Hit and Run” (one of two JDM stories bearing this title)
March 30, 1963 “The Obvious Woman”
May 21, 1966 “Funny Man”

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