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About meNorvell Page was born in Richmond, VA and attended both the University of Richmond and the College of William and Mary in nearby Williamsburg. He had a privleged upbringing sprinkeld with dramatic events. When he was 3, his mother fell down a manhole while they were walking down a Chicago sidewalk. Norvell, terrified, thought she had dissappeared and never quite got over the experience.
When he was a little older, according to some family members, his parents had tickets for the Titanic and escaped disaster when Norvell begged them to cancel the trip for reasons unknown. Norvell again played a hand in the family's escaping disaster when, one Christmas the family home caught on fire. Candles on the tree had been left burning.
He quite arguably saved everyone's life. Waking first, he threw his mattress out of his window, grabbed his infant brother and sister and ran screaming through the hall as he went back to jump to safety. His screams woke his parents who then jumped to the mattress themselves.
Not long after the Christmas Eve incident, Norvell was sent to William and Mary for college. He did well there but couldn't bear to be away from his high school sweetheart, whom his family didn't approve of. In an early display of strong fiction writing, he cleverly left a semester's worth of letters to his parents with his room-mate and eloped with her in his first year there. His room-mate mailed one for him each week so the post-mark was accurate.
Norvell lied about his age and experience to the Norfolk "Observer", claiming to have been writing for Richmond's "Times Dispatch" and was hired there. When Audrey became pregnant with their son, Norvell MacAllister Page, (Mac), the couple moved to Cinncinnati, where his father, managed Thomas Edison & Hugo Wurlitzer's ad accounts. Norvell wrote for the "Cinncinnati Post". The family ultimately moved back to Richmond, where he attended U of R, wrote for the "Times Dispatch", and began dabbling in Pulp Fiction.
His father had always encouraged him to write, envisioning him as another Poe, whom his Great-Uncle had worked with as an editor at the "Southern Literary Messenger". He was so much of a bibliophile, in fact, that his own and Norvell's middle name was Wordsworth, (he'd not been given it at birth but had it changed to it as an adult) and his daughter's Montague. He did not, however, approve of Pulp Fiction.
Norvell was to become it's king. He started off writing Westerns, then tried a number of other genres, using the pseudonym N. Wooten Poge. Ultimately, he began doing well enough as a writer that he decided to move to NYC. He first continued working as a reporter and editor for the "New York Times", "World Telegram" and "New York Herald." It is rumored that, while at the "World Telegram", he became involved in fellow editor Varion Fry's effort to resuce artists and scientists from occupied Europe.
Whatever else may or may not be the case, by 1933, he was a millionaire living on Riverside Drive, just like his top character, Richard Wentworth. He was the most prolific, and very arguably the most influential pulp writer there was. President of the American Fiction Guild, he edited their newsletter for some time. Among his closest friends were fellow writers Ted Tinsley and L. Ron Hubbard and Surrealist painter Max Ernst.
He continued writing not only the "Spider" but "Phantom Detective", "Shadow", lesser known Ken Carter, "Scorpion", "Skull" and "Octopus" stories and many, many more, including what is considered one of the best "Superman" stories ever. He also wrote radio scripts and a "Spider" movie serial.
His writing was both the bloodiest and the most philosophical, the most action-packed yet most prosaic, writing in the Pulps. He was also very ahead of his time. In fact, he quite arguably was ahead of our time. The "Spider" was the first character to undergo a full transformation, his "Dance of the Skeletons" was the first pulp to combine mystery and horror, his heroines were often as formidable as his heroes and his dark knights had a darkness about them no one has yet quite touched.
He wrote until 1943, when he abruptly stopped without warning. He dissappeared, for all intents and purposes, from both New York, the arts world and the Pulp world for good. It wasn't unlike what one would expect from one of his characters.
Why? Audrey had died and this, along with the U.S. involvment in WWII, led to his returning to VA where he was an intelligence worker in the Truman, Kennedy and Eisenhower Administrations. He died suddenly in August of 1961. He was survived by his son, who became a noted city planner and architect, several grandchildren and his second wife, Jean, who was also a novelist and political speechwriter. Surviving family members do not know where he is buried.
According to a 1939 editorial, Norvell lost all of his pulp records up to that point in a cabin fire but his family, who visited him frequently at the time, recalled neither cabin nor fire. The radio station that broadcast the "spider" radio show burned down and Norvell's scripts, sadly, along with it.
About my libraryBooks by the most prolific Pulp writer ever!
GroupsAdventure Classics, Alternative Fiction, Books on the Paranormal, Bookshelf of the Damned, Comics are also literature, Early Science Fiction, Fantasy Forum, Hardboiled / Noir Crime Fiction, Help! I'm in love with a fictional character!, Lovers of the Paranormal —show all groups, Paranormal and other eerie stuff., Science Fiction Fans, The Phantom, The Weird Tradition, Weird Fiction, Written in Stone - The Literary Cemetery
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Member sinceSep 5, 2010