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The Crimson Clown appeared in Detective Story Magazine beginning in 1926, and immediately attracted reader interest, so much so that Street & Smith published two hardback collections of his adventures. The Crimson Clown (1927) was rushed to press just as soon as there was enough material available to fill a hardback volume. This was followed by The Crimson Clown Again (1928).

The Crimson Clown is Delton Prouse, a wealthy young bachelor, able veteran of The Great War, explorer, and all around adventurer who functions as a modern Robin Hood, stealing from the unjustly rich and returning money to helpless victims or worthy organizations. He dresses in a mostly white clown suit and uses a tear gas pistol (later this became a "gas gun"). By the end of 1931 McCulley had permanently retired the character.