Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Arthur, Robert

(1909-1969) US prose author and writer for tv and radio, not to be confused with the US movie producer Robert Arthur Feder (1909-1986), who worked under his given names. RA was a prolific contributor to the pulp Magazines from 1931, most of his output being crime and mystery fiction, although by the late 1930s he had shifted more to fantasy; he joined MGM as a staff writer in 1937. Much of his work was Slick Fantasy, often derivative from Lord Dunsany and Stephen Vincent Benét; most of it was routine, but he scored high on creating an atmosphere of Wrongness. His Murchison Morks stories (Argosy 1940-1941) are Club Stories; two appear in Ghosts and More Ghosts (coll 1963). His best work – e.g., "Satan and Sam Shay" (1942 Elk's Magazine), a Pact with the Devil story – remains uncollected.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s RA worked more for radio, scripting and directing a number of series, most importantly The Mysterious Traveler (1943-1952), which was notable for its surprise endings and included many Ghost Stories. He also edited The Mysterious Traveler Magazine (5 issues, November 51-Fall 52), which published several of his own stories, some under the pseudonyms Andrew Fell, Anthony Morton, Jay Norman, John West and Mark Williams. RA later worked closely with Alfred Hitchcock, ghost-editing several of Hitchcock's anthologies – titles include: Stories for Late at Night (anth 1961; vt in 2 vols 12 Stories for Late at Night 1962 US and More Stories for Late at Night 1962 US; vt in 2 vols Stories for Late at Night, Part One 1964 UK and Part Two 1965 UK); Alfred Hitchcock's Haunted Houseful (anth 1961); Alfred Hitchcock's Ghostly Gallery (anth 1962); Stories My Mother Never Told Me (anth 1963; vt in 2 vols as Stories My Mother Never Told Me 1965 US and More Stories My Mother Never Told Me 1965 US; vt in 2 vols Stories My Mother Never Told Me, Part I 1966 UK and Part II 1967 UK); Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum (anth 1965; cut 1973 UK; rev 1982); Alfred Hitchcock's Witches' Brew (anth 1965; vt Alfred Hitchcock's Witch's Brew 1977); Stories Not for the Nervous (anth 1965; vt in 2 vols Stories Not for the Nervous 1966 US and More Stories Not for the Nervous 1966 US; vt in 2 vols Stories Not for the Nervous, Book One 1968 UK and Book Two 1969 UK); Stories that Scared Even Me (anth 1967; vt in 2 vols Scream Along With Me 1970 US and Slay Ride 1971 US; vt in 2 vols Stories That Scared Even Me, Part One 1970 UK and Part Two 1970 UK); Spellbinders in Suspense (anth 1967; rev 1982); A Month of Mystery (anth 1969; vt in 2 vols Dates With Death 1972 US and Terror Time 1972 US; vt in 2 vols A Month of Mystery, Book One 1972 UK and Book Two 1972 UK); probably others. RA also edited his own juvenile anthologies of ghost and supernatural stories: Davy Jones' Haunted Locker (anth 1965), Monster Mix (anth 1968) and Thrillers and More Thrillers (anth 1968). [MA]

Robert Andrew Arthur


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.