Velda Bellinghausen

Created by Ron Miller

From the The New York Graphic, February 2, 1951:

CHORUS GIRL TURNS SHAMUS
“To the disappointment of her many admirers, Miss Velda Bellinghausen, one of the better-known of the leggy chorines of Slotnik’s Famous Follies, has turned in her g-string. What does the retiring ecdysiast plan to do with her time? Why, become a private detective, what else! The Bellinghausen Superior Detective Agency hung up its shingle today at 827 1/2 Morris St., ready for business, but we suspect that the beauteous Miss Bellinghausen will have most of her clients peeking through her keyhole.”

I believe the operative word here is “hubba-hubba.”

VELDA BELLINGHAUSENs dad was a New York cop, the “straightest cop the city ever had,” and when he was killed, Velda felt she just had to do something. Turning P.I., her first big break was cracking the Sline case, which resulted in some real notoriety. Unfortunately, Hollywood never called, although she did sign a deal to and ended up with an honest-to-goodness detective pulp named after her. Though it lasted for only two lousy issues, and, as Velda puts it, “All I got out of it was 75 bucks and a lot of strange mail.”

I’ll bet. Sorry, guys, but it looks like Velda’s saving herself for her best pal, Chester “Chip” Finney, ace reporter for The New York Graphic. She’s hoping he’ll come around some day…

And I guess another apology is due to all those pulp and comic book fiends who just hit E-bay, looking for old (and potentially very valuable) copies of Velda’s adventures. Sorry, dudes — Velda’s the creation of modern day illustrator supreme Ron Miller, a man who claims to have far too much free time on his hands. It certainly seemed like it, if you listened to Ron, because for a while there, Velda seemed to be EVERYWHERE. Books, comics, posters, calendars, short films, radio shows, a stage play and the internet — everywhere you looked, Miller’s retro-kitsch homage to cheesecake, pulp magazines, girlie mags, comic books, pin-ups and private eyes made it perfectly clear — Ron knows a thing or two about this P.I. racket.

And Velda’s not hard on the eyes, either.

Too bad it was all a put-on, much like Dean Davis’ site for King Bennett, it was is a finely-rendered labour of love, a fitting tribute to the P.I. genre of the past. Maybe Velda and King should date.

In fact, when I first heard about Velda, I made the crack that “It sorta makes you wish these guys would actually cough up the real deal, instead of just teasing us so well.”

Well, I guess you should be careful what you wish for. Ron called my bluff, and submitted “Velda’s First Case”  to this site. We accepted it, and published it in our Summer 2002 issue. And damn if we didn’t go and accept another one. And another. And another. And now he’s writing novels and comics and radio plays and short films and everything.

It’s a Velda world after all!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

According to Ron’s official web site, he’s “an illustrator/author specializing in science, astronomy, science fiction and fantasy. In addition to providing artwork for many magazine and book publishers, (He’s) the author, co-author or editor of some fifty-odd books (some odder than others), including several novels. (He’s) also designed postage stamps and worked on motion pictures as a production designer and special effects artist.” But according to someone from the sci-fi side of the road, he’s a “World famed astronomical artist. Award nominee/winner sf cover artist, and the best ever translator of Jules Verne and mucho more.”

THE EVIDENCE

  • “If I never get beaten up again, it’ll be none too soon! But at least I taught a couple of goons a lesson about what happens to boys who kick nice girls in the ribs.”
  • “I resent being tied up naked in basements.”
    — Velda draws the line, in “The Early Bird”

UNDER OATH

  • “Velda is the kind of detective I like.”
    — Richard Prather
  • “Ron Miller is unfairly talented.”
    — Sir Arthur C. Clarke

SHORT STORIES (PROSE)

COLLECTIONS (PROSE)

NOVELS & NOVELLAS (PROSE)

COMICS

  • VELDA GIRL DETECTIVE
    (2004-07, Black Cat Comics)
    16-36 pages, black and white
    Written and drawn by Raoul Molnar

    • “Homicide Hotel” and “Butter Safe Than Sorry” (January 2004; #1)
    • “My First Case,” “The Early Bird” and “Velda Versus The Red Menace” (January 2005; #2)
      Also includes “Velda Meets the Strangler,” a prose story
    • “Velda Goes on a Treasure Hunt” (May 2005; #3; also Thrilling Detective Web Site
    • “Velda Joins the Circus” (March 2006; #4)
    • “Velda, Girl Detective” (March 2006; #5)
    • “Velda vs the DA,” “When My Chip Come In,” “The Phantom of the Follies” and “The Case of the Purloined Pegleg”  (February 2007; #5)

In 2015, Caliber Comics undertook an ambitious digital repackaging of the oeuvre for the digital market, all released in July 2015. Most include non-Velda backup features & assorted bonus “gag” features to fill out the issues. They’re no longer available on Amazon, but you can get them all on ComiXology.

COLLECTIONS (COMICS)

  • The Complete Velda, Girl Detective: Volume One (2015) Buy this book
  • The Complete Velda, Girl Detective: Volume Two (2015) Buy this book
  • The Complete Velda, Girl Detective: Volume Three (2015) Buy this book
  • Velda, Girl Detective (2015, Caliber Comics)Kindle it!
    Massive! Collects issues 1-8 and all the Velda: Girl Detective bonus features. Over 370 pages.

FILMS

  • THE STRANGLER AND THE STRAWBERRY BLONDE | Watch it now!
    (2010, Black Cat Pictures)
    14 minutes
    Written, Directed and produced by Ron Miller
    Starring as Christie Newton as VELDA
    With Judithka as the voice of VELDA
    Also starring Kirk Compton, Brian Raney, Mike Hicks, Kaitlin Marvin, Ben Capozzi, McCauley Hammond
  • THE PRISONER OF ZENDAVILLE | Watch it now!
    (2011, Black Cat Pictures)
    7 minutes
    Written, Directed and produced by Ron Miller
    Starring as Christie Newton as VELDA
    With Judithka as the voice of VELDA
    Also starring Woodson Hughes, Kirk Compton, Tom Sheppherd, Forrest Layne

Don’t expect Chinatown here. These are just short, homemade films.

STAGE PLAY

A one-act Velda play was produced on stage in 2010, and a full length presentation was performed in 2012. You can see a video of the full-length Velda stage play on the Velda site here.

RADIO

RELATED LINKS

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And thanks to Jean Marie for putting me straight.

 

Leave a Reply