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Art & Inspiration Henry Gregor Felson

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dan, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Dan
    Joined: Mar 13, 2001
    Posts: 2,355

    Dan
    Member

    Years ago I had most all his books, read and enjoyed them. Our school librarian asked if I had any recommendations for books that the "shop" kids might read. I suggested H.G.F. and she bought some. She tells me she can't keep them on the shelves. They have been a "life saver" for these kids who are required to read a book who other wise might not do it just for fun. That was neat to hear, glad it's been successful. Gonna look up a list of his works and forward it to her, she wants to buy the rest. Just thought this was a "feel good" bit of information and thought some others may enjoy hearing it.
     
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  2. You done good.
     
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  3. quick85
    Joined: Feb 23, 2014
    Posts: 1,691

    quick85
    Member

    It wasn't just cars with Felson, his stories also have a human element to them.
    I'm glad I still have my H.G.F. Collection and it's good to hear kids are still
    enjoying the books.
     
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  4. ffr1222k
    Joined: Nov 5, 2009
    Posts: 1,055

    ffr1222k
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Felson's daughter Holly is a member of the HAMB. Her screen name is hjfelson
     
  5. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 15,103

    Moriarity
    SUPER MODERATOR
    Staff Member

  6. I read Hot Rod for the first time in the 7th grade, about 1962. Over the years I have collected at least one copy of each of his car related books. Trying to put together a complete set of hardbacks.
     
  7. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 14,271

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If your librarian has a new print of Hot Rod, it has my car, my daughter, and my brother modelling in it. We all spent a fun afternoon/evening with Holly doing a photo shoot on the back roads of Central Iowa. We drove down the exact same roads her father wrote about in the book (names changed to protect the innocent).
     
  8. I have all 6 of the old dog ears paper backs but I probably need to get a new copy of Hot Rod. HRP
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
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  9. Dan
    Joined: Mar 13, 2001
    Posts: 2,355

    Dan
    Member

    Cool - I hope she sees this so she knows her family's work is still relevant and being appreciated-
     
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  10. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,732

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Hank will forever be an integral part of hot rod history. His books put the fire in a lot of teenage bellies to build a hot rod, including mine. I got to know him quite well in later years and found him to be a warm and truly genuine man. Amazingly, he had no idea how much effect his books had had on teenagers until be started touring the hot rod car shows and meeting the throngs of boys-now-turned-men whom his books had influenced over so many years.

    I have my "original" dog-eared copies of all his books plus the signed boxed set he and his wife Karen represented at car shows one year. I also have a few letters he wrote of encouragement through the few years between seeing him and his passing. While the content of his wonderful books is certainly dated, the "fire" will never die. Thanks, Hank, for giving so much to so many.
     
  11. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,404

    Paul
    Editor

    some of my copies..

    Fever Heat cover front.jpg hard cover.jpg
     
  12. OLDSMAN
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 1,856

    OLDSMAN
    Member

    I have that set that moriarity posted. I had read all of them when in junior high school. I can't remember how many years ago I bought this collection maybe 15 years ago. They are just as good as I rememberd them.
     
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  13. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 6,433

    19Fordy
    Member

    William Campbell Gault also wrote some great books for kids who loved hot rods
    around the same time as Felsen. Ask your librarian to buy these also. They are available used on the internet. Not expensive.
    IMG_4232b.jpg DSC03196 (Small).JPG IMG_4240b.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

  14. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,756

    czuch
    Member
    from vail az

    "Boy gets car", ruined me.
    Had to be in the 6th grade that I read it, and like the Navy, I still haven't recovered.
    No desire to either.
     
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  15. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 984

    0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Member

    I read as many of his books as I could find in the school library in jr high back in the late 60s. Only reason I would go to the library! lol The funny thing is I read an interview with him years later and the reason he wrote the books to begin with was to deter kids from Hot rods. If you read any of them they always ended in a tragedy of some kind that was car and speed related. Funny that they had the reverse effect on anyone I have ever met that read them. But I guess even though they made hot rods cool to me I did learn that you had to respect the dangers of those high speed hijinks! So I guess the message did get across in one way or another. Larry
     
  16. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 1,029

    goldmountain

    Another car themed book that I remember reading in school is "The Red Car". This one is not by Felsen.

    Sent from my SM-T350 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  17. I have the signed box set too, got it on eBay when I was recovering from heart surgery in 2016. I have a few of the old paperbacks too, a couple from when I was a kid.
     
  18. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 14,271

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I read The Red Car in middle school and still use the shifting technique the old master mechanic taught the "young protagonist" who rebuilt the MG. Do your slowdown and downshift before the start of the corner, and accelerate through the curve. I also think about the way he kept his tools in a fancy box whenever I'm throwing mine into an old tool drawer.
     
  19. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,732

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The Red Car was written by Don Stanford, not Henry Gregor Felsen. While Hank did write under a couple of noms de plume, I don't think this was one of them. Still, a good book!
     
  20. I just passed my Set of Felson books to my 14 year old son. My dad gave them to me when I was 14, and it surely set the hook for old cars.
     
  21. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 14,271

    alchemy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yup. Read Goldmountain's post above. We were just trying to make other positive reviews of old "car" books for the librarian to buy next. I sure hope Holly finds this thread and she can tell us any pen names her father used.
     
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  22. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 14,404

    Paul
    Editor

    Another HAMB appropriate juvenile read is Drag Strip by William Campbell Gault

    5902bc51ac538322e0290fcb9bcb3b12.png
     
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  23. Marty Strode
    Joined: Apr 28, 2011
    Posts: 4,039

    Marty Strode
    Member

    If you liked books by Felson or Gault, you will thoroughly enjoy these 2 books written by my pal Jim Lindsay. Book 1, the Little Bastards has been out for a few years, and Swerve was released this Summer. They capture life in America in the 50's and beyond, from a hot rodder's viewpoint. For those of us who lived it, it rekindles old memories, for others it describes those times perfectly. Bastards is 281 pages, and Swerve is 359. Rave reviews by icons of our hobby. IMG_2711.JPG IMG_2712.JPG
     
  24. Truckdoctor Andy
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 865

    Truckdoctor Andy
    Member

    I had completely forgotten about Hot Rod until this thread! I’ll bet I read that book 5 times in High School. Great Read!


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  25. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,590

    catdad49
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One of the few highlights of school, I read all the ones the library had and still buy them to read when I find them. My Uncle Charlie gave me a couple that he had as a youth, one of them about a young fellow called Red Pepper Burns. Thanks for the memories, Carp.
     
  26. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,732

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes, I had forgotten that part -it's been a lot of years. Hank was a struggling writer at that time and wrote a series of anti-hot rod-slanted articles for the Des Moine Register. As I remember him telling me that led to a grant offered by the American Safety Council for books or articles promoting teen driving safety. The ASC also sponsored short films about driver safety among teens, and if I'm not mistaken they also teamed up with Wally Parks' NHRA to promote safety among hot rodders.

    I think this led to him penning "Hot Rod" in 1950. "Street Rod" didn't appear until 1953 but was along the same lines. "Fever Heat" was published in 1954 and was a complete departure from the ASC-sponsored tomes, and was along the lines of the sex/adventure books which were beginning to emerge at that time. It was such a departure that he used a pen name as author instead of his own.

    As Hank often said, his writing wasn't driven so much by art as by hunger. He was somewhat prolific but was never even comfortable financially. He had hopes that the reprinting of his teen novels as a boxed set would make his life easier in his elder years, but for a number of reasons (not of his own doing) that didn't happen. He remained a humble man of humble means until his passing.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
  27. 36cab
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 587

    36cab
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have a few copies of HGF's books! My dad gave me his copy of Hot rod when I was a kid and I started looking for copies of his other books. I became friends with Henry's daughter Holly when she was looking for a 32 Ford coupe to use on the cover of her reprint of Hot Rod. I hooked her up with my buddy Matt (keystonekid on the HAMB) and we spent a day with Holly as she shot hundreds of photos around the Des Moines area of Matt's coupe for the cover HGF.jpg .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
  28. redo32
    Joined: Jul 16, 2008
    Posts: 1,477

    redo32
    Member

    I remember reading HGF's books in Jr High also, there's a couple in the boxed set that our library must not have had, as I don't recall reading them. We're planning a trip with a long plane ride in a couple of months, so maybe I'll look them up as I like to read on the plane. His titles also bring up the subject of when and who coined the term Hot Rod, which has been discussed in great length, but 1953 release of Street Rod might be the earliest appearance of this term. What say you?
     
  29. I, too have read all of HGF's books many years ago. I am now 78 years old, and I know they helped to shape my hot rodding life since then. The only character that I remember was Luke, in the back of the bus. He was a bad boy.
     

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