John K. Butler

(1908--64)

Author JOHN K. BUTLER is best-known, at least in our little neck of the woods, for the numerous stories he pounded out for such pulps as Black Mask, Detective Fiction Weekly, Double Detective and especially Dime Detective.

His best known series character, of course, was Steve Midnight, the trouble-prone hack for the Red Owl Cab Company of Los Angeles, who appeared in nine stories in Dime Detective, but he was also responsible for the adventures of police detective Rex Lonergan and undercover cop Tricky Enright. but his forté seemed to be tough, competent sleuths with unlikely professions, such as Midnight, or hard-boiled phone company inspector Rod Case. Butler even penned at least one story about Sandy Taylor of the Harbor Police.

Butler was also one of the most prolific writers of B-pictures, eventually cranking out over fifty screenplays, mostly for Republic Pictures, more than half of them westerns, and many of them featuring Roy Rogers. Okay, so they were mostly B-flicks, but among his screen credits are such classic -- and occasionally alternative classics -- as Ambush at Cimarron Pass, Drums Along the River, My Pal Trigger, The Vampire's Ghost and-- get this -- Post Office Investigator, about a hard-boiled, um, post office inspector. A nitrate print of it survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archives but is not listed for preservation.

In the fifties, Butler moved on to television, again favouring westerns, although he also wrote for shows like The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu and 77 Sunset Strip.

Butler was also a bit of a wingnut, dressing up in cowboy drag and galloping through Griffith Park on his horse Prince. You might even say he died in the saddle -- he broke his back during a ride in 1964.

SHORT STORIES

  • "Murder Alley" (April 1, 1935, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "The Corpse Parade" (June 1, 1935, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "Fog Over Frisco" (July 1, 1935, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "The Stairway to Hell" (November 1, 1935, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "'G' Heat" (November 1935, Black Mask)
  • "Guns for a Lady" (March 1936, Black Mask)
  • "Seven Years Dead" (January 1936, Dime Detective; Tricky Enright)
  • "Dark Return" (May 1936, Black Mask; Mark Dana)
  • "Blood on the Buddha" (May 1936, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "Parole for the Dead" (August 1936, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "You Can't Bribe Bullets" (August 1936, Black Mask)
  • "The Mad Dogs of Frisco" (October 1936, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "No Rest for Soldiers" (October 1936, Black Mask)
  • "The Lady in the Grave" (October 31, 1936, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Federal Bullets" (November 1936, The Feds)
  • "Celluloid Doom" (December 1936, Ten Detective Aces)
  • "The Mirror Maze" (February 1937, Ten Detective Aces)
  • "The Walking Dead" (February 1937, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "Reunion on River Street" (March 6, 1937, Argosy)
  • "The Blood Barrier" (March 1937, Ten Detective Aces)
  • "Death on the Hook" (March 1937, Headquarters Detective; Sandy Taylor)
  • "Gallows Ghost" (April 1937, Dime Detective; Tricky Enright)
  • "I Killed a Guy" (April 1937, Black Mask)
  • "The Parole Pawn" (May 1937, Ten Detective Aces)
  • "A Coffin for Two" (July 1937, Dime Detective; Rex Lonergan)
  • "Death in the Dust" (September 4, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "A Ticket to Tokyo" (September 18, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "A Street in Singapore" (September 25, 1937, Argosy)
  • "The Secret of the Wax Lady" (September 1937, ; Tricky Enright)Dime Detective
  • "Sierra Gold" (November 20, 1937, Argosy)
  • "Death Rides the Wires" (November 20, 1937, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "The Pied Piper of Frisco" (November 1937, Dime Detective Magazine; Rex Lonergan)
  • "Legend of Boulder Gap (1937)
  • "The Black Widow" (January 1938, Double Detective)
  • "Defender of the Doomed" (May 7, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Why Shoot a Corpse?" (May 1938, Dime Detective; Tricky Enright)
  • "Over the Wall" (August 1938, Double Detective)
  • "Hard to Kill" (November 1938, Double Detective)
  • "Big Mike's Christmas Carol" (December 24, 1938, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "The Last Hideout" (January 1939, Double Detective)
  • "County Cleanup" (February 1939, Dime Detective; Tricky Enright)
  • "Murder in Mexico" (April 1939, Double Detective)
  • "The Headless Man in Hangar 3" (July 1939, Double Detective)
  • "The Man from San Quentin" (August 1939, Double Detective)
  • "The Man Who Liked Ice" (October 1939, Double Detective)
  • "Country Cop" (November 4, 1939, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "The Policeman Writes a Ticket" (December 1939, Double Detective)
  • "The Doctor Buries His Dead" (December 1939, ; Stan Denhart, M.D.)
  • "I Died Last April" (January 1940, Double Detective)
  • "The Lady and the Snakes" (March 1940, Double Detective)
  • "The Autumn Kill" (May 25 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "The Dead Ride Free" (May 1940, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
  • "The Man from Alcatraz" (July 1940, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
  • "Cop from Yesterday" (September 28, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "Hacker's Holiday" (October 1940, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
  • "Brass Knuckles" (October 19, 1940, Detective Fiction Weekly)
  • "The Saint in Silver" (January 1941, Dime Detective; also The Hardboiled Dicks; Steve Midnight)
  • "Don't Make It Murder" (February 1941, Black Mask)
  • "The Killer was a Gentleman" (March 1941, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
  • "We Sell Murder" (Summer 1941, Exciting Murder)
  • "Dead Man's Alibi" "July 1941, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
  • "Death Has My Number" (August 1941, Black Mask; Rod Case)
  • "Blitz Kill" (September 1941, G-Men Detective)
  • "The Hearse from Red Owl" (September 1941, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
  • "Murder for Nickels" (December 1941, Black Mask; Rod Case)
  • "Death and Taxis" (January 1942, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
  • "Cops Have Nine Lives" (February 1942, Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine)
  • "Funeral -- C.O.D." (February 1942, Detective Tales)
  • "The Mark of the Monterey Kid" (February 1942, Western Tales)
  • "The Corpse That Couldn't Keep Cool" (March 1942, Dime Detective; Steve Midnight)
  • "Never Work at Night" (March 1942, Black Mask; Rod Case)
  • "Death Goes Dancing" (May 1942, Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine)
  • "The Pen is Not for Punks" (Fall 1942, The Masked Detective)
  • "Dead Letter" (September 1942, Black Mask; Rod Case)
  • "The Last Man to Hang" (October 1942, Detective Tales)
  • "Legend of Boulder Gap" (February 1950, Max Brand's Western Magazine)
  • "The Man Who Knew Cochise" (December 1952, Western Story Magazine)
  • "So-Long, Tombstone!" (June 1953, Western Story Magazine)
  • "A Man with a Gun" (June 1955, Best Western)

COLLECTIONS

RELATED LINKS

John K. Butler captured on film, along with a few of his partners in crime!

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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