During the late 1950s and into the 1960s I grew up reading Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and ‘Uncle Forry’ (editor, Forrest J Ackerman) made all those monsters seem like family; I too am a monster kid. From time to time Forry mentioned in the pages of FM the “legendary pulp, Weird Tales” and many of the authors published in that pulp magazine, chief amongst was H.P. Lovecraft. During the 1960s I lived in Sacramento, CA and downtown was one of my favorite hang out spots, Beer’s Bookstore. This was a used bookstore (long since gone) and I can still smell the musty and moldy air after you entered the store. The shelves in that bookstore sagged and groaned from all the books. One entire back section was devoted to pulps and as soon as I discovered these I was hooked. Back in those days you could get issues of Weird Tales for 10¢ up to a whopping 25¢ each! In this way, I was able to complete about 80% of the run’s initial 283 issues.
My fraternal grandmother, whom we all affectionately called, Grandma Glassy, immigrated to the US from France in 1918. At the time she spoke very little English. She soon settled in Tacoma, WA, married, and began her family (my dad was first born). To enhance her English skills she took to avid reading and her house was filled with all sorts of reading material. While visiting her house as an adolescent I too marveled at all her books and magazines, some of which, believe it or not, consisted of issues of Weird Tales. During my junior and senior years of high school, when I was actively buying WT at Beer’s bookstore, I was able to convince Grandma Glassy to let me have all of her copies of WT, some of which were the ultra rare early issues.
Fast forward a few years, after much diligent searching, I finally found someone (Robert A. Madle; thank you Bob!) who sold me his early ‘bed sheet’ issues, the impossible to find 1923 and 1924 issues (good luck to those of you out there searching). And with those I now have a complete run of the Weird Tales pulp magazine. It is estimated that only 8 or 9 complete sets of WT exists so very rare indeed!