beamjockey (beamjockey) wrote,

Paging through BOYS' LIFE, Part 1: Donald Keith's Time Machine Stories

Long ago, Boys' Life, the monthly magazine of the Boy Scouts of America, ran the Time Machine series.

In these stories, a Boy Scout patrol finds an abandoned Time Machine in the wilderness; the Smart Kid figures out the controls and they roar off to adventure, acquiring new patrol members from ancient Sparta and from 4000 A.D. along the way.


They were published, starting in 1959, under the byline "Donald Keith," a pseudonym for the father-and-son team of Donald Monroe and Keith Monroe. Eventually Keith Monroe published some of the stories under his own name.

I greatly enjoyed these when I was a Scout. I now recall that I read some even before that. My dad was a Scout leader and I remember reading a Time Machine story, maybe the origin story, in one of his issues of Boys' Life before we moved out of The Little Red House, so it must have been 1962 or earlier.

The Time Machine itself-- a luxurious saucer-shaped model-- was quite powerful, if not quite user-friendly. You could set the controls for any point in space and time, it was built to survive even in outer space, and it featured a time-viewer so you could study history or the future.

Boy, I wanted one of these so badly I could taste it.

(Using the time-viewer could be dangerous, though. On some occasions Brains Baynes would be watching some horrible scene from history, then somebody would trip and fall on the gearshift knob and the Polaris Patrol would find themselves in the middle of trouble...)

In the past, I have tried to track down some of the Time Machine stories I haven't read. I've pursued this quest for a long time.

Recently Google has been bringing more magazines down from the attic. In the past week, they have been adding freshly scanned issues of Boys' Life almost daily. One benefit is that we can all enjoy some of the Time Machine stories.

Here are the Time Machine stories I know of. (Tip o' the hat to Jerry Boyajian, who helped me get this list started years ago.)
MonthYear   TitleAuthorComment
DEC1959  The Day We Explored the FutureDK
FEB1960  The Time Machine Flies BackwardsDK
JUN1960  How We Got the Mind-Reading PillsDK
JUL1960  Our Time Machine at the JamboreeDK
OCT1961  Marco Polo and Our Time MachineDK
FEB1962  The Time Machine Slips a CogDK
DEC1962  Mutiny in the Time MachineDKDec 1962 to Mar 1963 (4-part serial)
JUN1964  The Time Machine Cracks a SafeDK
OCT1964  Time Machine to the RescueDK
FEB1965  The Time Machine Gets StuckDK Feb 1965 to Apr 1965 (3-part serial)
APR1967   The Time Machine Hunts a Treasure
DK Apr 1967 to Jun 1967 (3-part serial)
DEC1968   The Dog from the Time Machine
DK
SEP1970   The Time Machine and the Generation Gap
  
DK
AUG1971   The King and the Time Machine
DK
FEB1973   The Time Machine Cleans Up
DK
AUG1973   The Time Machine Twins the Jamboree
KM
DEC1973   Santa Claus and the Time Machine
DK
NOV1974   The Time Machine Fights Earthquakes
KM
APR1975   The Time Machine Saves a Patriot
KM
JUL1976   The Time Machine Kidnaps a Parade
KM
SEP1988  Target TimbuktuKM
FEB1989  Why We Kidnapped Our ScoutmasterKM
SEP1989  Pirates Took Our Time MachineKM



Some of the stories were combined into two fix-up books, Mutiny in the Time Machine (1963) and Time Machine to the Rescue (1967).

Using another pen name, Rice E. Cochran, Keith Monroe also published Be Prepared, a comic memoir about his experiences as a Scout leader, in 1952. It was the basis for a 1953 movie, Mister Scoutmaster.

(Part 2 of this series is Arthur C. Clarke's "The Sunjammer." Part 3 is Robert A. Heinlein's Scouts into Space. Part 4 is Dale Colombo's Starship MAGELLAN, more stories for which Keith Monroe was a co-author.)
Tags: books, boys life, donald keith, google, keith monroe, monroe, science fiction, sf, time machine
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