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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Walther Canning

Anders N. Nilsson discusses a series of Western stories published in Scandinavia under the byline Walther Canning.

Covers from the two 1958 issues of the Swedish weekly magazine Lektyr in which the two serialized novels of Walther Canning started: Revolvrarna talar (= Talking Guns, left), and Hatets dal (= Silvertip, right).
In Sweden, between 1957 to 1959, three Western novels and six short stories in the same genre, appeared under the name Walther Canning in the weekly magazine Lektyr and as two paperbacks.

One of the novels serialized in Lektyr is, in fact, a translation of the Max Brand novel Silvertip, first published in 1941 in the US. The Swedish title used, Hatets dal, translates to Valley of Hate. Whether the two paperback novels were also written by Brand (the pen-name of Frederick Schiller Faust) is currently unknown; however, neither of the two English titles given in the novels have be found in any Max Brand bibliographies.

It remains a mystery why the name Walther Canning was used on such a well-known Max Brand novel. It seems that all the Walther Canning texts were delivered in English and were translated for publication in Scandinavia. One should note the Scandinavian coordination resulting in both Canning paperback novels being published in the same four Nordic countries within a short number of years. The same drawings were seen on the covers of the Danish and Swedish books, whereas the Finnish and Norwegian books had their own drawings. However, the back covers of the Finnish books have the same layout as the Danish and Swedish ones. Most likely, the Danish publisher Winther was behind the coordination and made their fellow publishers in the three other countries include the two Canning titles in their mixed western paperback series.

The Danish national library catalogue has nine entries with magazine articles on various subjects from 1957 and 1958, written by a Walther Canning and with titles in Danish. I have also seen a short article on European roads with mysterious accidents in Dansk Veitidskrift 1957. In the issue of Lektyr just before the serial Revolvrarna talar starts, it is stated in an announcement that the author Walther Canning has lived and worked in The West.

It seems likely that Canning or some agent sold the two paperpack stories directly to Winther, whereas his magazine texts were offered directly to each magazine. It is here important to note that the translation of Talking Guns published in Lektyr differs from the paperback version. The observation that Lektyr seemingly bought a Max Brand novel from Walther Canning or some agent, offered as one of his own works, opens the possibility that he was a fraud. One may suspect that he tried to make a living selling other authors’ texts to various publishers as if they were his own. It remains to establish the names of the true authors behind the texts published under the name Walther Canning. One could also wonder why Rune S. Mantling, the Swedish western expert associated with Lektyr and writing for it as Steward Rogers and Wyatt C. Bannister, did not recognize Max Brand’s well-known novel. Or maybe he did, and that’s why Canning’s name quickly disappeared from western stories.

It is my hope that the information presented below will result in that the original publications of more of the stories assigned to Walter Canning will be revealed.


Book covers from the four Scandinavian issues of the novel Bring the Man Alive with the author name Walther Canning: Denmark and Sweden (upper pair); Finland and Norway (lower pair).
Bring the Man Alive (original publication in English unknown)
(Denmark) Den lovløse sheriff, 1959, Dansk Pocket Bog #58.
(Sweden) Hotet från bergen, transl. Ragnar Ahlstedt, 1959, Pyramidbok #90; reissued as Dubbelvästern #23, bound together with Striden vid fortet/ Fort Vengeance by Gordon D. Shirreffs.
(Finland) Ratkaisun hetki, transl. Matti Hossa, 1962, Montana #12.
(Norway) Den lovløse sheriff, transl. Ulf Gleditsch, 1960, Seksløper-bøkene #22.

Locations: Texas, Calaveras Valley, Bondrio Mts, Deep River, Longhorn (town)
Ranches: Box B (Tillman Burdock), Circle L (Bob Lee), Diamond B (Jim Bradford), J Bar D (Joe Dunstan).

Jim Bradford, rancher from Brazos
Crag Sutton, Bradford’s foreman
Tom Bradford, JB’s dad, killed by bandits
Bob Lee, rancher Circle L
Rosemary Lee, BL’s daughter
Dave Fuller, cowboy Circle L
Creighton Blaine, railway man & involved in Circle L; rancher in Austin
Sandra Blaine, CB’s daughter
Olaf Thorsen, CB’s dynamite expert
Tim Clancy, foreman railway men
Joe Dunstan, rancher J Bar D
Dan Dunstan, JD’s son
Charley Bowie, cowboy J Bar D
Eddie Frane, cowboy J Bar D
Ned Randall, dead rancher
Banners, sheriff of Longhorn
Tom Sherwood, deputy Longhorn
White, doctor
John Cummings, sheriff of Hondo
Tillman Burdock, rancher Box B & traitor
Burleigh Carter, works for the Syndicate
Jediah Thompson, advocate
Brace Jordan, bandit boss that killed TB
Gang members: Joe Turner, Pablo Rodriquez, Sam Patch, Tom Caine, Twine Creed.

Summary: Jim Bradford and Crag Sutton ride after Brace Jordan that stole their cattle and killed Jim’s dad and his crew. Jim and Crag arrives in Calaveras and get hired by Bob Lee. The local cattle company constructs a railway for cattle transport but are hindered by a syndicate in Chicago. Brace Jordan’s gang is hired by the syndicate to sabotage the new railway.

Jim and Crag save Olaf Thorsen and Sandra Blaine from getting killed when adapting dynamite for the railway. Jordan’s gang are stopped from damaging a strategical dam up in the mountains. Twine Creed gets prisoned but freed by Carter, and later shot by Jim. Jordan wants ransom for Blaine that is prisoned in a cave.

An infested herd is on Jordan’s order driven towards Calaveras but is stopped before it gets in contact with the cattle of the valley. Jim beats up Carter in Longhorn and then escapes to the mountains in order to avoid being put in jail. Jim hides in Jordan’s cave where he gets to whitness how Blaine is released after that Sandra and Fuller have delivered the ransom money. Jim knocks down Jordan and takes the money before Carter turns up. Jordan suspects Carter for the theft and kills him.

The cattle company drives their herd to Longhorn in order to sell it and bring in some money for the railway construction. Jordan’s gang are being stopped from blowing up a bridge in order to stop the herd. Dan Dunstan gets killed. Rosemary Lee is being kidnapped by Sam Patch but freed by Jim and Cragg.

Jim sees that the document that lets Lee build the railway over Randall’s land comes into the right hands. Burdock and the advocate are being forced to leave the valley after that their foul play is revealed. Jim buys Burdock’s ranch. He sells his Diamond B and gets assured that the charges against him will be dropped. Jim wounds Jordan in an honest duel and brings him in to the law. Jim is getting prepated to marry Rosemary Lee.

Silvertip (Max Brand: Dodd Mead, 1941)
(Sweden) Hatets dal, 1958, Lektyr #40–49, 10 parts, illustrated by Helge Forsslund [published earlier in a different Swedish translation as by Max Brand, Jim Silver, hjälten från Arizona, 1949, Lindqvists Pocket Books #1].

Book covers from the four Scandinavian issues of the novel Talking Guns with the author name Walther Canning: Denmark and Sweden (upper pair); Finland and Norway (lower pair).
Talking Guns (original publication in English unknown)
(Denmark) Vestens hårde lov, 1958, Dansk Pocket Bog #38.
(Sweden) Rykande pistoler, transl. Ragnar Ahlstedt, 1957, Pyramidbok #53; also as serial Revolvrarna talar, transl. unknown, 1958, Lektyr #32–40, 9 parts, illustrated by Helge Forsslund.
(Finland) Savuavat revolverit, transl. Matti Hossa, 1961, Montana #10.
(Norway) Revolver-rivaler, transl. Ulf Gleditsch, 1957, Zenith-bok #25.

Locations: California, Sierra Nevada, Black Bear Valley, Bear Meadows (nearest town), Angels Camp (next town), Placerville (other town), Coliseum (town in Nevada), Reno, Sacramento, Sliding S (Jack Staples’ ranch), Metal Queen (local mine)

Jack Staple, owner of Sliding S
Wayne Staple, JS’s son
Jud, cowboy
Chuck, cowboy
George Candy, young cowboy
Goodhew, unreliable cowboy
Lennie Brody, cook Sliding S
Everett ‘Ev’ Winkler, foreman Sliding S
Pietá San Juan, young Mexican actress
Rodriguez, relative of PSJ
Chet Orrindorf, owner of CO-ranch
Clarende ‘Dutch’ Orrindorf, Chet’s youngest son
Floyd Orrindorf, CO’s son
Earl Orrindorf, CO’s son
Troy Utley, old wagon-driver
Fern Utley, TU’s daughter
Joey Rose, saloon-owner in Bear Meadows
Johnny Cuesta, old gunman
Ernie Sabo, owner of stable in Bear Meadows
Harry Neff, dishonest man who mistreated Wayne’s mother

Summary: The story takes places in the Sierra Nevadas not far from Sacramento close to the Nevada border at high altitude where the passes are filled with lots of snow in winter. Wayne Staple returns from Turnpike Soldiers College in Tidewater to find his father's Sliding S ranch in bad condition and his father Jack being desperately in love with a young Mexican actress. There is also a feud with the adjacent farm owned by the Orrindorf clan. Wayne has earlier lived with his mothers relatives, the MacAndrews, in Santa Barbara. Some of the Sliding S cattle are in the winter moved to some high plateaus near Sacramento, while others are placed in canyons together with the hay they’ll need. Wayne falls in love with a girl in the village, Fern Utley, who happens to be Dutch Orrindord’s girl from the start. Wayne shoots Johnny Cuesta who draws at him. Chet and Jack fights about Pietá and both are fooled by Floyd that they have killed each other. Jack runs away to his ranch in Los Angeles but is returned by Wayne who tells him that Chet is alive. Floyd draws at Jack but is killed by George Candy. Wayne leaves for the east with Pietá and intends to study medicine, and tells Jack to adopt George as his new son. All three women in the story have the problem that they could never overcome their first love.

SHORT STORIES from Swedish weekly magazine Lektyr without English titles

Boskapsmärkning i Vilda Västern, 1957 #50, pp. 20-21, 28-29 [Cattle branding in the Wild West, retranslated]
A documentary on the history of cattle branding with a review of different brands.

Cowboys utan revolvrar, 3 parts, 1958 #29, pp. 20, 21, 34; #30 pp. 20, 21; #31, pp. 20, 21; illustrated by Gösta Öhman [Cowboys without guns, retranslated]
A short story published in 3 parts. Under influence from the bankman and newcomer Lem Youngblood, the owner of the R-D-Ranch, Jane Murdoch, has banned guns from her ranch. One 4th of July her foreman Tom Chrone is alone at the ranch while Jane is waiting for Lem to take her to the rodeo. Two bandits named Pedro and Squeaky arrive and forces Tom, Jane and Lem to follow them to the bank in Nogales. On their way they meet the old indianfighter Pop Logan, and Tom is allowed to chat with him. Inside the bank Youngblood is forced to open the safe when Pedro gets shot through the window by Pop, who has followed them after getting suspicious from what Tom’s talking indicated. Tom and Pop now shoot Squeaky. Now Jane understands that weapons are still needed in the west and her interest in the bankman is gone. She thanks Pop and invites him for dinner and gives Tom a kiss before leaving.

Ett epos om uthållighet, 1958 #22, pp. 12, 13, 25, 28 [An epic about endurance, retranslated]
A documentary dealing with the tragedy of the Donner caravan travelling from Wyoming to California in 1846, illustrated by photos and early paintings.

Gruvschaktet, 1957 #21, pp. 10, 28  [The mine shaft, retranslated]
A story of a murder in a South Rhodesia gold mine in Belingwe told by a policeman.

Landet utan bostadsbrist, 1957 #51, pp. 28-29 [The land without housing shortage, retranslated]
Based on a personal winter travel between Fort Chimo and Ivugivik, the author gives a description of how igloos are being constructed by the inuits.

Revolvermännen från Texas, 1958 #27, pp. 10, 11, 34, 36, illustrated by Gösta Öhman [Gunmen from Texas, retranslated]
A short story about Dan Tolvey, the sheriff of Coverville, where cattle men from Texas cause disorder. First a cowboy named Laredo draws at Tolvey, who shots him. Judge Miller, doc Candless and the other leading town men think Tolvey uses more violence than needed. After that Tolvey kills another cowboy who searches revenge for Laredo, the town leaders remove his badge. When Tolvey is preparing to leave the town, the judge’s daughter Lucy asks him to stay as the two gunmen Ben and Jess Ream have came to take revenge on her father. Doc and the judge gives him back his batch, and he kills the two gunmen in a fight. Tolvey once again starts to leave but is made to stay, with Lucy on his mind.

Revolvern talar på Tomahawk Mountain, 1958 #25, pp. 10, 11, 33–35, illustrated by Gösta Öhman [The gun talks on Tomahawk Mountain, retranslated]
A short story about the outlaw Sage Fox from New Mexico, now living as the trapper Timberline Thorne on Tomahawk Mountain in Oregon. Thorne is a friend of the sheriff Bent Grey and uses a special bad-smelling liquid to attract coyotes to his traps. Twelve years ago, Thorne had killed a prominent man in New Mexico, and after that been hiding. The east side of Tomahawk Mountain belongs to the UB Ranch, owned by Krag Ullen and Alphonse Bush. The west side is the home of several small ranchers lead by Gene Salt. Joe Mukjar, one of the small ranchers, is paid by Ullen to kill Thorne, but gets killed himself after revealing Ullens plan to attack the ranchers and kill the sheriff. He also tells Thorne that the west side is rich in chrome, that Ullen wants to get his hands on. Thorne then warns the small ranchers and kills Ullen. He has also managed to warn the sheriff from the waiting ambush by using his coyote liquid. It turns out that the sheriff knows his true identity, but without any plans to take action.

Sheriffen i Apache Falls, 1958 #33, pp. 10, 11, 31–33, illustrated by Gösta Öhman [The sheriff of Apache Falls, retranslated]
A short story about Matt Strobel who becomes sheriff of Apache Falls until the next election. His friends Dave Waterhouse and Bill Higgins have talked him into accepting the badge. It seems to be an easy job and he starts courting the widow Carrie Jamison. One evening the wanted outlaw Andy Pressler walks into the saloon and Strobel recognizes him from the reports he has received. Strobel hits Pressler in the head with his gun and puts him in jail. Strobel has some doubts if he wants to continue as sheriff and Carrie talks him into running a mountain ranch instead. Presslers friends take him out of jail one night and Matt organizes a posse up into the Tuluca mountains. When Matt visits his ranch after the posse has returned he founds the four bandits there. In the following shoot-out Matt gets wounded but kills all but one of the bandits. The posse finds Matt and sends for a doctor, and captures the surviving bandit. When Carrie starts for the ranch she says that real courage is trying to make a living at a small mountain ranch.


John Kerry said...

If the works (save of he Max Brand novel) were originally published in English is quite possible they originated in one of the fiction magazines specializing in Westerns. There should still have been some of them in existence in the fifties, and ones from the forties might still have been available. That might explain why other authors were unfamiliar with them.

Anders Nilsson said...

The Walther Canning novel 'Bring the man alive' has now been found in another Swedish translation as a serial in the weekly magazine Lektyr in the first 8 issues from 1960. The author name is here Ray Forbes and the story title is 'En man från Texas' (A man from Texas). Problem is that the name Ray Forbes seems to be as obscure as Walther Canning. Anyone heard of an author named Ray Forbes?