Sherlock Holmes on the Screen,my first book, was published simultaneously in hardcover in the U.S. and U.K. in 1977 by A.S. Barnes/Thomas Yoseloff, co-authored with cinematographer Douglas C. Hart. Doug and I have been best of friends since our teens and are now looking at our sixties and still friends, and our book still (just as astonishingly, perhaps) seems to be generally regarded as the best Sherlockian filmography for the 300 or so films made from 1900 up to its date of publication... and we certainly wouldn't say no to any enterprising publisher who'd like us to update it with the numerous films and TV shows which have been added in the 36 years since!
We worked on this book as a labor of love from 1971 to 1975, when we presented it to the publisher... who then proceeded to sit on it for the remaining two years of the Great Holmes Boom, while we could do little but make minor additions to the proofs (this was all back in pre-techno days, you must remember, when the only computers the likes of us knew were 2001's HAL.)
I did a lot of the research in London in '71-'72, in wonderful places like the old British Museum Reading Room and the British Film Institute. I had read that my hero Bernard Shaw (a Reading Room predecessor of the previous century) had recommended that beginning writers aim for at least five pages a day, so on holidays when these institutions were closed, I'd write a short story... and I later got to use one of these in one of my Westerns (see below.)
Sherlock Holmes on the screen: The motion picture adventures of the world's most popular detective
The Films of Christopher Lee (1983: Scarecrow Press, U.S./U.K.) co-authored in hardcover by Pohle and Hart again, with the participation of Sir Christopher himself and a Foreword by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
Sir Christopher's own comments on the films give this a special appeal, but the comments we COULDN'T include were even more priceless. Fairbanks also gave us access to a huge collection of material dealing with Sir Christopher's participation in Fairbanks' TV series, which the publisher cut, and which we have long wanted to restore to an updated edition...
Speaking of which... an updated edition is finally going to come out in 2015, not only updated, but fully revised and reincarnated as A Christopher Lee Film Encyclopedia! Watch this site for more news!
The Fledgling Outlaw (1978: Manor Books, paperback) was the only one of my five Westerns which appeared with my own name, "Robert Pohle," as the author-- which was especially ironic as this one was actually co-authored with my dearest, late mother, Mae Pohle McKinley, and I was very sad not to see her name on the cover as well. This one is probably of special interest to Sherlockians since a suspiciously Holmesian Pinkerton detective shows up midway through the book to apply not only some of The Master's methods but even some of his turns of phrase! The late, incomparable Sherlockian John Bennett Shaw BSI once wrote to me that he actually liked this book, but that "you do have everything in it except Bing Crosby as a drunken Irish priest!"
The title and basic plot premise were handed to us, which was the way things were often done at Manor in those days, as you'll see below.
The Lash of Vengeance was the first of the four pseudonymous "James Farnsworth" titles with which I am associated (mostly to my embarrassment-- although this was at least the one in which I was able to recycle the London short story I mentioned above). Still, I must warn prospective readers that these are mostly dreadful (or at least they seem so to me now) and my only excuse is that they were written VERY quickly: one of them in 48 hours, with the typesetter (situated about an hour's drive away, at the Davenport-Barnum News Building) periodically phoning me with frantic demands like "I've gotta have a dozen more pages in 45 minutes!"
As you might imagine, the proofreading under such circumstances ranges from nonexistent to execrable, and it is a special humiliation to me that I (a middling Spanish speaker) should seem to have a cowboy stealthily circling a gigantic "ranchero" [the rancher himself, of course] rather than the intended "rancho" [ranch] and "rancheria" [workers' buildings on the latter] --although it certainly conjures up an image!
This one was originally published by Manor in '78, then showed up again in '86 from "Woodhill Press" along with all my other Manor "Farnsworths"-- nobody bothering to tell me anything about it, since I had jackassedly signed away all rights for a gratefully received pittance at the time they were first published. Two things are especially curious about these '86 Woodhill re-issues: firstly, they were listed (at least some of them) in Books in Print as by "Robert Pohle" rather than as by "Farnsworth;" and secondly (so far as I can tell) they were not actual reprints, but just the same old Manor editions being re-sold... and yet you will still find them listed on the Internet to this day, as by "Pohle," from "Woodhill"!
...However, in 1989, Lash of Vengeance really WAS reprinted, and in hardcover this time, by a British publisher. This British hardback edition shows up on the Internet in various guises: because where the publisher is traditionally listed on the title page the book says "Gunsmoke Westerns," while on the back cover it reads ""A Gunsmoke Western published by Firecrest Publishing..." and on the inside page with the copyright info we see "This hardback edition 1989 by Chivers Press" (!) ...meanwhile, the exact same volumes were sold in the U.S. by Prescott Press... and you are likely to see any of these four entities [Gunsmoke, Chivers, Firecrest or Prescott] listed on the Net as if they were separate editions: I am just learning this myself as I order them! (Remember, I was completely out of the loop while all this was going on!)
Last Rider from Lonesome Canyon (1978: Manor; 1986: Woodhill) Another "Farnsworth," and at least this is one where I got to completely devise the title, plot and characters myself... which ran me into some trouble because I'd come up with the title first, and was about two-thirds through the book before I realized that I had durn well better make some hombre be the last rider out of that danged canyon, and have that turn out to be an important plot device!
Unfortunately, this was the one which I banged out in 48 hours, and it shows: this is only for Ed Wood fans... I actually woke up in the wee hours of the morning, while concocting this, and found I'd written an entire page of pure gibberish while sound asleep: too bad that's the only page I threw in the circular file-- it might have been the most entertaining! W.H. Hudson fans will recognize a touch or two in tribute to him, though.
Quicksilver (another one which came out as '78 Manor and '86 Woodhill paperbacks and '88 Gunsmoke/Prescott U.S./U.K. hardback incarnations; again as by "Farnsworth" on all the covers-- although there are still the vagrant "Pohle" listings.) This was also another one where I got to originate the title, characters and plotline myself-- but by this time I was in way over my head with too many commitments for books not only to Manor but also to Kim/MacFadden (as you'll see later in this site) and for once I was unable to turn to a family member for help in finishing it, but had to rely on one of the other nameless stable of Manor... well, let's call us hackamores, to use a more gentle and horsey term... and he or she did both of us proud, and if any reader can supply that person's name, I'd be delighted to render credit here. My daughter says she likes this one, and that's the only praise I care about.
Six Gun Showdown (another '78 Manor, '86 Woodhill with "Farnsworth" on the cover but sometimes listed as by "Pohle.") This one is a true oddity, which hardly belongs in my own Bibliography at all except by the merest fluke.
At the time I came up with the title, I thought (in my innocence) that such a blatantly obvious one had somehow never occurred to any Western writer before. My publisher, the redoubtable Johnny M. Jones III, apparently agreed with me... and on what research did we base this notion? I suspect that he, like I, had merely looked through the last few years' worth of Books in Print and American Book Prices Current!
Anyway, both of us missed the classic Tom West novel of 1947 with the admittedly SLIGHTLY different title of Six-Gun Showdown (notice that Tom uses a hyphen! See? It isn't the same after all!)
All I can plead is that we were in pre-computer research days, you must remember that.
Curiously enough, as recently as 1994, Art Flynn (who I don't think can make quite the same claim) has produced a novel called Sixgun Showdown ...but, once again, you'll notice that he's made Sixgun into ONE WORD, so it's still not EXACTLY the same, is it?
But getting back to my own story, for MY Six Gun Showdown, I once again came up with title, characters and plotline, and once again failed to complete the book on time... and the curious thing, in this case, is that the desperate publisher appears to have latched onto a previously-published Public Domain Western and inserted it between the (already-printed) covers which plainly reference MY rather complex plotline dealing with former gunslinger Jim Rance's attempt to settle down on a piece of his own property in a quiet town, only to have a bad egg name of Johnny Gato begin harassing Jim's lady friend and... well, you get the picture.
Not the most original of plots, I'll plead guilty, your Honor... but it's described for 90 of my own words on the front and back covers of the paperback... after which the deceived reader finds a story inside in which an entirely different set of characters and events hold sway... but, then again, it was only $1.25 (although that went a tad further in those days). Again, if any reader can tell me where the source hails from, I'll gratefully credit it.
Four covers from Book-Mart, which my family published from 1980 until our last issue (Number 81) in 1984... I was the Editor and usually had at least one bylined article in each issue (frequently more: we couldn't afford to pay too many other authors!) but it was a true family project... our mother, though, was the bedrock, and when she became too ill to go on, we quietly folded up the publication.
Shown here are:
Our special Sherlockian Issue of '81 (which has apparently become quite collectible despite a dreadful job of page trimming by our printer) ...note especially the early Western/Sherlockian "crossover" specialists Harte and Twain!
Note also that the great Sherlockian (and Doylean) authority Jon L. Lellenberg allowed me to reprint one of his pieces from Baker Street Miscellanea (a publication where I'd occasionally written for him: see below). [He surpassed that kindness 28 years later, when he accepted my storyThe Flowers of Utah for his Sherlock Holmes in America!]
Ron DeWaal, the award-winning Sherlockian bibliographer favored us in this issue by choosing us to debut his first-ever Ronald Reagan bibliography! (Also '81... and hard to believe nobody had thought of it before! --certainly nobody could have done it as well.) This became yet another notable ongoing project for Ron.
One of the many Western history articles I wrote for the magazine: a cover story in '83 about Deputy Teddy (Roosevelt, of course) and his books. We also had a piece on Edward Curtis's North American Indian books in the issue. [I apologize to Gandhi fans, for the cover misspelling: I spelled his name correctly in the article inside-- another of the ones I wrote myself, of course, so you'd think I'd have caught the typo on the cover!]
The beautiful young lady in the 1917 photo on the cover of this issue of Book-Mart is the grandmother I haven't mentioned yet: Ruth Anna Cleveland Bonsall Moore, and this issue appropriately enough featured (among much other antiquarian book-trade news) the 1983 "Dallas Book, Photographic and Paper Collectibles Show."
Two recent issues of Roundup, the magazine of the Western Writers of America, for which I wrote quite a few book reviews during the last several years-- to my great honor and pleasure. There was also a nice entry in one issue'sTrail Notes about my story in Sherlock Holmes in America, in which then-Roundup Editor Candy Moulton passed along my feeling that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to submit a story to this anthology at all, had it not been for the kindness of former WWA President Loren D. Estleman at the 2008 WWA Convention in Arizona. (There's a great story by Loren in that Holmes book, as well!)
LITERATURE OF THE WEST FOR THE WORLD
The above are the 2009-10 and 2010-11 issues of this WWA publication, both of which include many of my reviews from the above Roundup issues (along with the work of many other Roundup reviewers, of course!)
Recently I was surprised to find that I had made my first bow (to my knowledge) in a new medium, when Dr. Donald K. Pollock, Jr., brought out a CD containing all 76 issues of the late lamented Holmesian journal Baker Street Miscellanea on a CD, because (as I've mentioned above) I wrote a few pieces for Jon L. Lellenberg in this wonderful publication back in the '70s and '80s-- most notably my In Quest of the Filmic Holmes and Prolegomena to the Study of a Watsonian Filmography, which latter was a sort of mini-companion piece to Sherlock Holmes on the Screen. I also did a couple of reviews.
There are, of course, tons of contributions by countless other Sherlockians, as well. This fantastic CD, The Complete Baker Street Miscellanea, is available from Don Pollock for $40.00 at 521 College Ave., Niagara Falls, NY 14305, or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for PayPal instructions.
Meanwhile, there are still a small number of old individual issues of the magazine (like the one depicted) available from amazon.com, which you can find from the link below.