My dad told me today that George H. Scithers, a longtime Philadelphian, and former editor of Weird Tales Magazine among others, died yesterday. He had a bum ticker. So it goes. My dad worked for him back in the days of Amazing Stories. He called me a little sprout, even though the last time I saw him, sometime during high school, I was more than a head taller than him. His house in west Philly, when he still lived there, was the kind of house you would imagine a science fiction editor to live in. The study was lined with books and had one of those enormous desks with a green blotter, the kind of desk which belongs to a room like that. He had an old telephone that hung on a wall somewhere in his house; it had a crank on the side and an earpiece which you took off of a hook and held to your ear, the whole deal.
George gave me my start as a writer, sort of. Back when I began writing, I sent one of my stories to Weird Tales, this was back when he was head editor there, and he called me up to tell me that, while my story was “damn good,” it had a number of flaws, which he then explained to me. When I sent a new draft of the same piece, he sent it back to me all marked up. He believed in me, and believed that I couldn’t be turning out bad if I had a plush Cthulhu in my car.
Though I never got to know him too well as one professional to another, I will miss him.