“The Return of the Undead” by Kalem member and Lovecraft friend Arthur Leeds, in the Halloween 1925 issue of Weird Tales (November 1925). (Continuation of the story on page 712).

Lovecraft praises the story to Barlow in O Fortunate Floridian in a letter of January 1934, calling it a “splendid tale of a child vampire” in a fever hospital. I don’t see it mentioned or included in any surveys of ‘Lovecraft faves’. Judging by letters to Weird Tales it was also a strong favourite with the readership that season. It is presumably nearly out of copyright now (1st January 2021), and could make for a timely graphic novel adaptation.

Incidentally, in the same letter Lovecraft also gives another bit of data for the end-point of the Arthur Leeds biography, which I don’t think I had in my biographical chapter on Leeds: in the winter of 1933/34 Leeds was overwintering at Coney Island, at the Hotel Clement. A seedy place, judging by this possibly 1940s photo. The hotel was burned out in 1948 and a report of the fire furnished posterity with the information that it was “adjoining the center of the resort’s amusement area”.

This situation might suggest that, during this part of the Great Depression, Leeds in some way deployed his stage-craft and production talents at Coney Island. Possibly helping to build and revivify the attractions there for the coming season? It would be nice to think that he was able to deploy his talents on the more macabre attractions such as the Ghost Train, Hall of Mirrors, and the like. But a year later in 1935, Lovecraft tells Barlow that Leeds is out of a job again and is getting in line to get onto some New Deal work. Possibly Coney Island was thus only seasonal and transitory work, if Leeds was indeed working there in the winters.