from 20 Best Short Stories in Ray Long's 20 Years as an Editor
Some Amazing Figures
If statistics about short stories interest you, here is an opportunity to study some that are perfectly amazing. They refer to a series of stories which were written by Ellis Parker Butler, who became one of the famous humorists of the country when he published "Pigs is Pigs."
There came to The Red Book from Mr. Butler one day a manuscript entitled "The Hardboiled Egg." It was a burlesque of the ordinary form of detective story. It was built around a character called Philo Gubb, who had taken a correspondence school course in detecting. I hadn't got as many laughs from any story in ages, so I purchased it, had the inimitable Rea Irvin do a set of humorous illustrations for it, changed the title to "Philo Gubb, The Correspondence School Detective," and asked Mr. Butler for more.
- That story appeared in the May issue of 1913. Between then and the January issue of 1917 Red Book published 35 Philo Gubb stories.
- Blue Book published 17 Jabez Bunker stories, which were built around an amateur bunco steerer named Jabez Bunker, who had appeared in the first Philo Gubb story.
- The second serial rights in the Jabez Bunker stories were sold to the New York World Sunday Magazine (8 stories).
- The syndicate rights in 10 Jabez Bunker stories were handled by the McClure Syndicate.
- The second serial rights in Philo Gubb (14 stories) were sold to the New York World Sunday Magazine.
- The third (or syndicate) serial rights in all the Philo Gubb stories were handled by the McClure Syndicate.
- The fourth (or plate) serial rights (15 stories) were sold to the American Press Association.
- The motion picture rights were sold to William Steiner.
- The book rights were sold on royalty to Houghton, Mifflin Co.
- The radio and television rights have been sold to Chic (Charles) Sale.
- The talking picture rights are now being negotiated.
"These secondary rights," said Mr. Butler recently, "brought me many times what I was paid for the original stories by the magazines, and show how a successful story or series is a continuing source of income for the writer. My income from Philo Gubb for the year 1931 was greater than I received from Philo Gubb in any one year when the stories were first published. And that's almost eighteen years ago."