The Captain's Veranda by Joe Sarno


Now a funny thing is that your memory can get a little clouded about some things, and when I looked back at last week's article I had this memory that the Court Auction for the OSTFELDT store was in fact on Saturday morning the 17th of January 1970. That date is etched in my memory. I was exhilararted, excited, estatic, thrilled, overjoyed, elated, rapturous, and extremely happy, to say the least! And walking on cloud nine!

I remember heading down State Street and bumping into an old school chum of mine by the name of Wirth. I recognized him immediately, even though I hadn't seen him in 14 years. My thinking at the time was that I probably would not have recognized him had it been any other time, but in my joy I was more acutely aware of things around me than at any other time in my life. I could not believe my good fortune! And in a sense, I was starting to walk on the path that would eventually lead to this bookstore. I really don't remember what day I paid off the rest of the money owed the court. I don't remember the exact amount owed, or where I had to pay or when. Obviously this was done. But the other things I remember well. I had exactly one week to clear out the store.

It had to be empty by the following Saturday at midnight. Whatever was left was probably trashed. I had a key, and I began working in the store. My first priority was to get all the "good stuff" out as quickly as possible. that meant the comics, and the pulps, Big-Little-Books and movie material. They were moved out immediately. I didn't drive then, so I had to rely on my Dad and brother to carry the stuff in their car. Dave Denwood helped me move some stuff out in one evening. And I began putting together the stuff that would help me make the final move Saturday afternoon.

I got a number of "fans" to help, including Larry Charet, Alan Wong, George Hagenauer, Ross Kight, and others. We found all kinds of good stuff, but we quickly learned that some of the best stuff ws in two large front windows of the store. These included some of the better comics, BLB's, pulps, and the first three issues of Playboy magazine. While there were only a couple of hundred Golden Age comics, there also were around 400 BLB's over 500 movie posters, 2000 lobby cards and an even a larger number of original movie stills. There was a number of pre-1962 Playboy magazines and Silver Age comics (but you have to remember the Silver Age was just drawing to a close in 1970).

And, yes, I did find a small box of pornography, mostly original drawings and some black and white photographs--nothing really hardcore though. And there was a card with around 30 mounted crackerjack baseball cards from the early part of the century, and a whole box of 1939 Play Ball "sample" cards. There were multiples of about 50 different cards, sometimes as many as 50 of one card (I remember there were 39 Leo Durocher cards--he was managing the Cubs at the time). And some other very nice old sports cards.

Most of this stuff was moved out in the first couple of evenings. Wehad some horrendously cold weather that January, and I remember freezing with George Hagenauer 'til late at night packing stuff to be moved out of the store. Good ting, too, because the store was broken into late Wednesday night going onto Thursday and some very interesting stuff was taken.

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Originally published in the C.B. WEEKLY (Comic Book Collectors Bulletin) Vol3 #53 January 4th, 2001 copyright Joe Sarno and respective copyright holders 2003.