My sister’s husband is in the hospital with a collapsed lung, and while he’s on the mend, she’s concerned about his low spirits because this is the second big health thing he’s had to deal with lately. Me, I’m stressed over money. So I’m trying to distract myself with Doc Savage books in the evening. I have a complete set of all the pulp novels from my brother.
I like them because they’re easy reading and the hero is unusual — very pro-gun-control, takes every effort to preserve human life, and is extremely well-educated. And I find out all sorts of things about the 1930s, like when helicopters were developed, and fluorescent lights, etc. The author wrote in a lot of gadgets and inventions for Doc. He made his own answering machine and night-vision goggles, had a car with solid sponge-rubber tires (so villains couldn’t shoot at the tires and deflate them), had a fleet of vehicles he’d designed, including a submarine, a dirigible, and all sorts of planes and cars.
Most of these books were written before WWII, so the characters are always referring to the Great War. Hitler actually is a character in one of the later books, and Doc uncharacteristically is in an emotional rage throughout the story because he hates Hitler so much. Normally, he’s serene, ultra-cool, controlled, polite. Not here. Also losing her cool in that story was his female cousin, Pat Savage, and at the end of the book she gets the opportunity to kick Hitler in the groin.
One I just finished reading takes place all in NYC, where Doc lives. (His headquarters are understood to be on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building — but the building is never actually named. That floor would actually be the observation deck.)
Apparently, it was difficult to get a license for a handgun in NYC in the early 30s. Doc speaks about this, when he discovers that a man he’s negotiating with has gone and purchased an illegal weapon. What does Doc do? He turns him in to the police.
I read that a new movie is being made, with Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” as Doc Savage. I hope he’s a good one. Ron Ely (Tarzan) played the role in an old version.