Calvin Thomas Beck  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Castle of Frankenstein

Calvin Thomas Beck (1929–1989) was an American publisher who operated Gothic Castle Publishing Company. His main product was the magazine Castle of Frankenstein, at the time, was the only nationally distributed magazine devoted to a legitimate and serious coverage of B-movies.

Following employment as an editor for publisher Joe Weider, Calvin Beck entered the monster magazine arena in 1959 with his one-shot Journal of Frankenstein, which had only a small circulation. As an experiment, Beck printed part of the run on slick paper. After a hiatus and a title change, Beck returned with the debut issue of Castle of Frankenstein in 1962.

Beck's paperback anthology, The Frankenstein Reader (Ballantine Books, 1962), was assembled with an editorial assist by fantasy fiction scholar Haywood P. Norton. The two brought together a roster of vintage horror-fantasy tales by E.F. Benson, Ambrose Bierce, Robert W. Chambers, Ralph Adams Cram, Charles Dickens, Amelia B. Edwards, Katharine Fullerton Gerould, Richard Middleton, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, Robert Louis Stevenson and H.G. Wells.

In 1975, Beck wrote Heroes of the Horrors (Macmillan), illustrated biographies of the six leading horror film stars (Lon Chaney, Sr., Lon Chaney, Jr., Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price). The book reworked much information previously unearthed for Castle of Frankenstein articles. Bhob Stewart and Beck then collaborated on a companion volume, Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors (Macmillan, 1978), illustrated biographical profiles of 29 fantasy film actresses and directors. The book included one article by the actor Barry Brown, plus research by Drew Simels, author of the TV movie entries in early editions of Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide series. With articles on Alice Guy-Blaché, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Veronica Lake, Elsa Lanchester, Agnes Moorehead, Mary Philbin, Barbara Steele, Vampira, Fay Wray and others, Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors also incorporated much material from the Castle of Frankenstein files of manuscripts and still photographs. Beck's fourth book, Sense of Wonder, about fantasy films of the 1940s, was never published.

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