Robert Leslie Bellem

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Cover of the pulp magazine Spicy Detective Stories (April 1935, vol. 2, no. 6) featuring "Bullet from Nowhere" by Robert Leslie Bellem

Robert Leslie Bellem (July 19, 1902 – April 1, 1968)[1] was an American pulp magazine writer, best known for his creation of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective. Before becoming a writer he worked in Los Angeles as a newspaper reporter, radio announcer and film extra.


Bellem wrote in a variety of genres for many pulp magazines, particularly those owned by Culture Publications such as Spicy Detective, Spicy Adventure, Spicy Western and Spicy Mystery (one of the weird menace pulps). The word "spicy" in the titles of these magazines was meant to indicate sexual content, although this was very tame compared with current standards.[2]

Bellem's most famous creation was the hardboiled detective Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective, whose stories were written in the first person in a racy, slangy style that made them extremely popular. Set against the background of the Hollywood film industry (of which Bellem had personal knowledge), the Dan Turner stories appeared first in the pages of Spicy Detective (subsequently retitled Speed Detective) and later in his "own" magazine, Hollywood Detective, which ran from January 1942 to October 1950.[3]

Bellem also created other characters, such as Nick Ransom[4] who appeared a few times in Thrilling Detective, but none proved as successful as Dan Turner. It is claimed that Bellem produced some 3000 short stories in a pulp magazine career lasting less than 30 years.[5] He also wrote at least two novels, of which the best known is Blue Murder (Phoenix Press, 1938).

S.J. Perelman's essay "Somewhere a Roscoe..." contains excerpts from several of the Dan Turner stories, with Perelman's satiric comments.

TV career[edit]

After the demise of the pulps, Bellem switched to writing for television in the 1950s, including a number of scripts for The Lone Ranger, Adventures of Superman, Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip, and others.


  1. ^ Birth date from Social Security Death Index and California Death Index; death date from California Death Index.
  2. ^ Haining, Peter (2000). The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines. Prion Books. ISBN 978-1-85375-388-6.
  3. ^ "Dan Turner, Created by Robert Leslie Bellem (1902-1968)". Retrieved 18 December 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Nick Ransom Created by Robert Leslie Bellem (1902-1968)". Retrieved 18 December 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Bill Pronzini's introduction to the 1987 paperback edition of Bellem's novel Blue Murder, published by Dennins McMillan Publications.

External links[edit]