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Webmaster's Note: The following essay summarizes the as yet unpublished Robert Bloch / Harold Gauer collaborative novel "In The Land Of The Sky-Blue Ointments."

A First Novel
In The Land Of The Sky-Blue Ointments

Harold Gauer

A Bloch-Gauer book collaboration burst on the cultural scene in January, 1938 in two typewritten copies. It was preceded by a 30-thousand word outline, an allotment of work, and many hours of nighttime toil since the early October days when the idea first came up. It was a chronicle to affright the eyes of Henry Kuttner, other Californiacs, and local aficionados of the esoteric.

The story revolves around Black Art, a wizard, who lives in a villa with some odd associates, including an unfrocked priest, an undone doctor and a cynical, educated loafer. These three pals persuade Black Art to hurl a weekend party as respite from his grueling necromantic labors.

The Wizard meets an array of guests Omar Kyoebleh, a strange Persian, Phillipi Stringleborg, a mad greaser, Fiddlestuffer, a timid clerk, Lefty Feep, the celebrated sportsman, the Colonel and the Major, militarists, The Little Guy speaking in strange a argot, Floyd Scrilch, Poopse W. Tewya, musical conductor, F. Gregory Coprophalia the eccentric author, Mary Cadjadge, a toots, Mlle. Fustilaire lady perfumer, Charles Hovacoe and Doctor Stugatchu, and many others including a burlesque comic and a perverted gorilla.

In a drunken effort to prove his wizardry, Black Art holds a black mass and evokes an incubus who proves to be woefully undersexed. The assembled propose writing a "Doidy Book" to inspire tentigo in the Fiend.

The volume deals with this search for material, including encounters with Fink the Doidy Book Man, Peeping Tom the Voyeur, the stories of Bobo Farblebleester, the strange tale of the Japanese spy, the saga of Waldo Gonad and the sexaphone, the Little Guy's Story, the weird narrative of the Horse-Faced Man, an interview with Doc. Lessgland, and Corprophalia's Tale.

Black Art meets with The Sexual Congress, attends a Burlesque show where the comic, Marshall Mandrilljazz, suffers an overdose of musk. Mr. Stroof the unfortunate gentleman who lost his guts visits the party, as does Fiddlestuffer's Boss, who beats Fiddlestuffer. Hurrell W. Tchetch is the bulemic photographer and we meet the original Traveling Salesman. Thru the story run such figures as Lumpatsias Fudjumbrundis, Stanley Libido (the inventor of Sex) and dozens of women, bartenders, servants and Caspar the Naked, a Familiar.

Interspersed in the narrative are erudite comments on a variety of themes, combined with notes on the mantic arts, gastronomical divertissement, horticulture, philosophy, architecture, music and a wealth of stuff. Hubris is eschewed throughout and subtle understatement serves to place restraint on fantasy.

In no case has verisimilitude suffered, though artistic integrity remains paramount. Imagine if you can, a book combining the virtures of Finnley Wrenn, The Circus of Dr. Lao, and Thus Spake Zarathustra combined with the writings of Mencken, Joyce, Proust, and Cabell. Imagine such a volume and you won't have any idea of what in the hell The Land of the Sky-Blue Ointment is all about!

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A life long friend and correspondent of Robert Bloch, Harold Gauer is also the former Midwest Director of CARE, the worldwide relief organization. He is the author of the non-fiction books "How To Win In Politics" (1946, rev.ed. 1964), "Selling Big Charity -- The Story of CARE" (1990), and the multivolume Milwaukee cultural history series entitled "The History." He is also the author of the satire "Bury Me Not" (1981), as well as of numerous short stories and articles.

Mr. Gauer was also General Manager of the MIlwaukee Pops Orchestra, having produced a successful concert season. He holds the General Federation of Women's Clubs Life Achievement Award and the Fraternal Order of Eagles Civic Achievement Citation and now has permanent possession of the Skadietndapmn Trophy.

Mr. Gauer's official website can be found here.

This essay was originally published in Gauer's book "The History Volume One: Growing Up the Hard Way in the 1930s" (1989). This essay is 1989 by Harold Gauer and is reprinted here with permission.