Vintage Pulp Aug 31 2015
We’d hate to be in the same boat as these guys.

An argosy is a type of boat, and this 1953 Argosy—the self-billed “complete men’s magazine”—has a type of boat on the cover and a boatload of interesting features within. Much of them focus on hunting, which has been in the news Stateside of late due to several rich folks being outed for killing African animals. Argosy glorifies hunting in a way that was typical of the 1950s, when guys like Ernest Hemingway and John Huston mainstreamed knowledge of the practice. 

The presumption that man has a natural right to kill African animals for sport oozes from these Argosy stories. We made a game of inverting that presumption by mentally adding “because I was trying to shoot him” to the end of sentences. For instance, “He turned and hurled his entire three tons at me…” became, “He turned and hurled his entire three tons at because I was trying to shoot him.” We liked the stories, though. They are exciting. But hey, times change—it ain’t The Snows of Kilimanjaro out there anymore. These big animals are way too important to be killing for sport.
About fifteen years ago we took a road trip across the U.S. and came upon the Petrified Forest National Park. We expected to see countless mineralized trees, and we did see some, but the place is just a plain of scattered rocks. It didn’t used to be that way. A sign explained that millions of artifacts had been removed from the park over the years by tourists. Each one seemed meaningless to the person taking it, but over time the forest disappeared.
Today we understand two important things we didn’t during the 1950s. First, humanity has no restraint when it comes to killing animals. There’s no point where the animal is too rare or valuable to be killed. The opposite, in fact—people simply pay more for the glory of doing it, and the number of interested parties is limitless. Second, a species reaches a level of scarcity where collapse is assured unless there are active and expensive human efforts made to prevent it. That collapse point comes long before every animal is killed, yet we don’t know exactly where it is for each species.

All of this means no large animal exists in true abundance. It doesn’t matter if a person shoots one of 50,000 of a species or one of the last 50. If a market exists for killing even one of them, the species is ultimately doomed, because stoppage is not structured into market systems—only higher pricing. There’s no doubt about this at all. The jury’s in. Anybody who doesn’t recognize it is lying to himself or herself. And extinction or near-extinction is too high a price for the ecology to pay in service to human ego. Scans below.


Vintage Pulp Nov 2 2014
What do you get when a woman dresses as a man dressing as a woman? Meet the scary ballerina lady.

We’re reaching all the way back to 1907 for this issue of The National Police Gazette, making it the oldest one we’ve found. A 1907 publication may seem pre-pulp, but the pulp era is considered by many to have begun around 1896 with Frank Munsey’s all-fiction magazine The Argosy, which was distilled from his earlier The Golden Argosy. What struck us about this particular Gazette is the weird cover, on which you see famed vaudeville dancer Gertrude Hoffman imitating fellow vaudeville entertainer Eddie Foy, who we assume must have had a well known ballerina-in-drag routine. She looks positively frightening, at least to our eyes. But lest you think Hoffman’s cross-cross-dressing had to do with a physical resemblance to Foy, consider that she was also famous for her impersonations of female stars like Anna Held, Eva Tanguay, and Ethel Barrymore, and also regularly performed a Salome dance that landed her in jail more than once for lewd conduct. She simply had a chameleonic ability to convincingly imitate people of both sexes. Later she showed business acumen by forming and becoming director of her own dance troupe and touring the U.S. and Europe. We have a half dozen scans below, and more from the National Police Gazette and other tabloids than any other website. You can see all of it—just click here and scroll down.


Vintage Pulp Jan 20 2013

Here's the latest page from Goodtime Weekly with a shot from Don Ornitz of February 1958 Playboy centerfold Cheryl Kubert. Kubert is a bit of a mystery. Early Playboy centerfolds were pretty demure, and she showed less than normal. She had already appeared in magazines such as Pageant, Gala and Argosy, and after her Playboy appearance was featured in their 1959 calendar, but after that there’s only a bit appearance in the movie Pal Joey, and a bit part in 1980’s Smokey and the Judge. She died in 1989, supposedly from suicide. The calendar quips are below.

Jan 20: “Many a girl is only as strong as her weakest wink.”—Sam Cowling

Jan 21: “A girl is grown up when she stops counting on her fingers and starts counting on her legs.”—Irv Kupcinet

Jan 22: “A wizard is a man who can describe—without gesture—an accordion or a girl.”—Quin Ryan

Jan 23: “Fashion is what a her does to a hem to get a him.”—Joe Hamilton

Jan 24: “A clever girl is one who knows how to give a man her own way.”—Tom Poston

Jan 25: “The greatest mystery in the world is a woman who is a bachelor.”—Loretta Young

Jan 26: “A confirmed bachelor is a guy who’ll go to a drive-in on a motorcycle.”—Scott Brady


Vintage Pulp Jan 2 2012
He may not be the best shooting gunman in the Old West, but you can’t fault his fashion sense.

This cover scan of Archie Joscelyn’s 1950 western Border Wolves was sent over from National Road Books, which is good timing, because the art is by George Gross and we featured one of his very best pieces back in October and said we’d get back to him. Gross (who should not be mixed up with German painter George Grosz) was a prolific artist who, as we mentioned in that previous post, was incredibly diverse, producing covers for Argosy, Baseball Stories, Bulls Eye Detective, Northwest Romances, Wings, Fight Stories, Saga, and many others. He was born in 1909 in Brooklyn, New York, began painting pulp covers in the 1930s and worked steadily through the 1980s, dying at the ripe age of ninety-four. You would suspect, looking at the shooting technique of the cowboy on the cover of Border Wolves, that Gross didn’t know much about guns. While that’s possible, we think the weird shooting position is a result of wanting to fit the cowboy’s entire arm on the cover. But he must have liked the result, because he used this awkward stance twice (see below). There are quite a few web archives of Gross art, so if you want to see more, let your fingers do the walking. And for those who would like more info on Border Wolves, it’s for sale at the National Road Books website. 


Vintage Pulp Jul 18 2011

Below are three Argosy covers sent to us by our friends over at National Road Books, where the trove of these they found are continuously making their way onto the NRB website. In the magazine’s pages each month were eight to ten original adventure tales, and often pieces of novels that were being serialized across numerous issues. The heavy focus on interior art pulp is known for was not a characteristic of these early Argosys, but there were a few illustrations, and the covers were always beautiful. These particular examples, from 1938 through 1940, were painted by Rudolph Belarski (top two) and Emmett Watson. You can find more details here. 


Vintage Pulp May 7 2011
Fortune favors the bold.

Above, four issues of the weekly pulp magazine Argosy from 1937 through 1940 with three covers from Rudolph Belarski and one from Marshall Frantz, plus early fiction from L. Ron Hubbard. These all came courtesy of our friends over at National Road Books, whose store you can visit via the little linkee here. 


Vintage Pulp Feb 24 2011
What the heck is an Argosy anyway?

You know we’re fond of anniversaries around here, so today we have an Argosy that was published seventy-one years ago today, in February 1940. The cover has Rudolph Belarski art, and inside is a slate of pure escapist fiction, from Eric North’s tale of Australian mysticism and adventure “The Green Flame,” to Charles Marquis Warren’s tale “Then I’ll Remember,” set aboard Noah’s Ark. And speaking of arks, in case you’ve wondered, an argosy is a merchant ship laden with an abundantly rich cargo. So it’s a fitting, if obscure, name for a magazine that publishes adventure fiction. As with all our recent Argosys, this one comes from National Road Books, and if you visit their website you’ll find that they’re laden with an abundantly rich cargo as well. Thanks again guys. 


Vintage Pulp Jan 28 2011
Frank Munsey’s Argosy had humble beginnings but lasted nearly a century.

The guys at National Road Books have fed us more scans from their large Argosy collection, and above are five from 1938 through 1940. In these issues there’s fiction from Max Brand, C.S. Forester, and a raft of capable in-house writers. The cover art is from Rudolph Belarski (panels one and two), G.J. Rosen (three and four), and Emmett Watson (five). After two years of finding almost nothing from Argosy suddenly we have a pipeline into a treasure trove thanks to NRB and we’re ecstatic, because Argosy was the first real pulp magazine, launched on a $500 budget by Frank A. Munsey in 1882. The venture wasn’t an instant success. Munsey had conceived a children’s publication and that version of Argosy went bust immediately. But Munsey managed to keep ownership of the idea and kept publishing on a shoestring budget. As he learned the market, he realized a children’s magazine wasn’t the direction he wanted to continue. By fits and starts, he began shifting from young readers to pulp fiction and eventually transformed the magazine into an American staple that lasted until 1978. We’ll have more on Munsey’s publishing adventures later. Got any pulp treasures of your own? Feel free to do what National Road Books did and use the pulp uploader in our sidebar. Our mailbox is always open. 


Vintage Pulp Jan 21 2011
I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna make it! I’m... shit!—not gonna make it!

Above, a July 1940 issue of Argosy with a Rudolph Belarski cover and fiction from Eric North, Stookie Allen, Jim Kjelgaard and Frank Richardson Pierce. Find this and other issues of Argosy here


Vintage Pulp Jan 8 2011
Just follow the bouncing ball.

Above we have a couple of sports-themed Argosy covers, which we’ve posted today because once again it’s the most wonderful time of the year over in the U.S.—NFL playoff time. Thanks to the wonders of satellite technology we don’t have to forgo watching the games, however we do have to watch them at the most wack hours imaginable, which throws the whole “have some friends over and drink a few beers” concept into serious doubt. Not that our friends actually appreciate American football. Anyway, these examples of Argosy hail from 1938 and 1939, and the covers are by Rudolph Belarski. Inside, you get fiction from Eustace L. Adams, William Du Bois and, in the second issue, part one of a novel length football adventure from Judson P. Philips. Okay, so after we nailed last year’s predictions, we know you’re positively atwitter with anticipation for this year’s. We’ve taken all of this weekend’s favorites. That’s Colts –3, Ravens –3, Eagles –3, and Saints –11. Bank it. You can see more vintage magazines at National Road Books here. 

Update: One for four this weekend. Oh, the pain...


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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 25
1947—Hollywood Blacklist Instituted
The day after ten Hollywood writers and directors are cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to give testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the group, known as the "Hollywood Ten," are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios.
November 24
1963—Ruby Shoots Oswald
Nightclub owner and mafia associate Jack Ruby fatally shoots alleged JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of Dallas police department headquarters. The shooting is broadcast live on television and silences the only person known for certain to have had some connection to the Kennedy killing.
1971—D.B. Cooper Escapes from Airplane
In the U.S., during a thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper, aka D. B. Cooper, parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines flight with $200,000 in ransom money. Neither he nor the money are ever found.
November 23
1936—First Edition of Life Published
Henry Luce launches Life, a weekly magazine with an emphasis on photo-journalism. Life dominates the U.S. market for more than forty years, publishing scores of iconic photographs that remain some of the most recognizable ever shot, and peaking at one point with a circulation of more than 13.5 million copies a week.
1963—Doctor Who Debuts on BBC
The BBC broadcasts the first episode of Doctor Who, starring William Hartnell as a mysterious alien who time travels in his spaceship, the TARDIS. With his companions, he explores time and space while facing a variety of foes and righting wrongs. The show would become the longest-running science fiction series ever broadcast.

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