British adventure magazine takes readers to the ends of the Earth.
The British men’s adventure magazine The Wide World debuted in 1898 and lasted all the way until 1965. That’s not quite National Police Gazette or Argosy longevity, but it’s still very good. During that entire time, a span encompassing two global conflagrations and various economic fluctuations, it failed to print only four issues—including once when a German aerial bomb flattened its pre-press facility.
The magazine’s founder was George Newnes, who also published The Strand Magazine, Tit-Bits and other titles. With The Wide World he hit upon an audacious marketing gimmick—he assured readers that every word in the magazine was true, and made “Truth Is Stranger than Fiction” the publication’s slogan. This claim was hot air, of course, but that idea—and the conceit that adventurers were a sort of global club that owed allegiance to one another—helped make the magazine a success among readers who considered themselves men of the world, or longed to be.
A strong focus on exotic lands and inscrutable dark-skinned inhabitants resistant to the white man’s ordained incursions likewise played well with readers, as Britain’s colonial era evolved into a post-colonial one. That makes The Wide World a repository of some ugly attitudes, however the magazine also managed such feats as being the first publication to report the death of Butch Cassidy in Bolivia, and publishing stories by many literary notables. Above and below you see a collection of covers, nicely rendered in pulp style by various artists.
, South Africa
, New Zealand
, The Wide World
, Butch Cassidy
, George Newnes
, magazine art
Good boy. Now that you’ve got begging mastered let’s see how you do at playing dead.
Above, Marked for Murder, written by Robert O. Saber, aka Milton K. Ozaki, published originally in 1955, with this edition from Australia’s Phantom Books appearing in 1956. Artist unknown.
Survival of the fittest—or just the person with the gun.
This issue of Australia’s Adam published in December 1971 has a rather nice cover illustrating a story by Adam Greenhill entitled “Nightmare in Timor.” We see the moonlit moment when the villains try to kill the hero, but need to make it look as if he’s been hacked to death by Timorese tribesmen. The girl, named Violet in the tale, plans to shoot the protagonist only in the unlikely event he survives the fight.
One thing about these 1970s Aussie writers is that they use the nearby lands of Timor, Malaysia, the Philippines, et al. to good effect, setting many stories in the jungles of those countries. The best writers do more than simply depend on exotic locales. They manage to slip in details that bring the settings to life, such as quirks of language, protocols of interpersonal interaction, or the fare in local markets and restuarants.
American writers from the same period didn’t seem as interested in their own exotic neighbors such as Guatemala, Belize, etc., although Mexico figures somewhat prominently in U.S. pulp, as well as in film noir. In any case, Adam remains our favorite men’s magazine, and the many stories set in mysterious Asian lands are a major reason. We have twenty-nine scans below to bring your 2014 to a pleasant end.
The cover changed substantially between editions but the weirdest bit stayed.
Remember our set of paperback covers featuring women who had died with their eyes agape? Here’s another to add to the list, which we saw over at Bill Crider’s blog. It’s Robert O. Saber’s The Affair of the Frigid Blonde, published in 1950 by the Handi-Books imprint of Quinn Publishing Company, Inc. This one is a bit strange, though, because of the three men seemingly hovering in mid-air to get a look through the deceased’s skylight. We chalk the bizarre perspective up to artistic license, or maybe we’re just not seeing it right. In fact, maybe she’s not even dead. Maybe she’s just in a state of shock. If we saw three guys floating above our skylight we’d fall into a stupor too. But no, the synopsis makes clear she’s dead.
Anyway, Robert Saber was a pseudonym used by Milton K. Ozaki, who also published frequently under his own name. The book also appeared in Australia as The Deadly Blonde in 1953, published by the Australian imprint Phantom Books, with slightly altered art. Among other details, what looks like a robot but is probably supposed to be a lamp was removed from the background, a clock disappeared, a humanoid shadow at the far right edge vanished, and the woman’s undies were made less sheer (though the floating guys still get a pretty interesting angle). All in all, this is very instructive example of how cover art changes between editions of pulp paperbacks. We’ll dig up more examples later.
Tales from the wild frontier.
In Australia cowboys were called stockmen or ringers, but by any other name they raised hell the same way. At least, they did in pulp paperbacks. Below are ten vintage covers for westerns published in Australia during the 1950s and 1960s, and you can see more western covers from the U.S. here. Australia
, Brad. E. Ford
, Matt Cregan
, Emerson Dodge
, Lytle Shannon
, C.J. Drewman
, Marshal Grover
, Glen Murriel
, Brad Cordell
, Hamilton Peck
, cover art
Police Gazette trots out its resident experts to give readers advice sure to get them in deep trouble.
This April 1972 issue of The National Police Gazette offers up Australian bellydancer Rozetta Ahalyea as its cover star, touts a method about picking winning horses, instructs how to outsmart used car racketeers, and suggests what to do when your wife goes on a sex strike. Concerning the latter, is the answer to apologize for whatever fucked up thing you did? No—Gazette suggests withholding her allowance, or possibly disappearing one or two nights a week until she realizes she could lose you. Yeah, that’ll totally make things better.
Inside the issue are stories on Jackie Kennedy and Jack Ruby, Natalie Wood and her lovers, wiretappers, naked witchcraft, cosmetic surgery, and Cassius Clay, who the editors refuse to call Muhammad Ali despite his name change of eight years earlier. Gazette also offers to tell you what you don’t know about lesbians. And what would that be? According to hypnotherapist Dr. Frank Caprio, they’re all mentally damaged. Come on, surely you didn’t expect a different answer from the Police Gazette? Caprio states: “There is some degree of homosexuality, latent or overt, in all women. [During] sexual development the homosexual component becomes sublimated in the form of friendships and non-sexual activities. However, in some instances this repression of the homosexual component is not successful and the individual finds herself the victim of bisexual conflicts.”
What kind of conflicts? Well, he cites the case of a woman who vomited uncontrollably for weeks due to unknown causes. After exhausting her options with physicians, she came to him for help and he determined that her guilt about a lesbian experience in her past was the cause of her non-stop cookie tossing. Caprio considers it an extreme but understandable reaction to a distasteful experience. So there you have it—everything you need to know about lesbians, provided for you by a heterosexual, middle-aged chauvinist who believes that “female homosexuality represents a flight from the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood.” Scans below.
Conduct unbecoming an officer and a publisher.
Above you see a rare book cover from Australia’s Horwitz Company for Jim Kent’s Gestapo Atrocity, an effort that falls broadly into a category of sleaze fiction (and cinema) sometimes called “nazisploitation.” Kent was prolific in this area, and in the realm of war sleaze in general, writing such evocatively titled books as Butchers of Vilna, Officer’s Love Slaves, Women of Landau, and Women of Stalingrad. He also wrote as Thane Docket and Cleve Banner. The rear cover of Gestapo Atrocity succinctly supplies the set-up, and you can read that below. By the way, we’re kidding about that “conduct unbecoming a publisher” crack in the subhead. We just needed something to put there and that was all we could think of. Horwitz published mounds of World War II fiction, nazisploitation being a subset, and all of it sold well to an eager Aussie public. We don’t think it would sell very well today, but you never know—a competent writer and good marketing can put anything over. Gestapo Atrocity was published in 1971, and the art is by Col Cameron. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1967—Apollo Fire Kills Three Astronauts
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although the ignition source of the fire is never conclusively identified, the astronauts' deaths are attributed to a wide range of design hazards in the early Apollo command module, including the use of a high-pressure 100 percent-oxygen atmosphere for the test, wiring and plumbing flaws, flammable materials in the cockpit, an inward-opening hatch, and the flight suits worn by the astronauts.
1924—St. Petersburg is renamed Leningrad
St. Peterburg, the Russian city founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and which was capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years, is renamed Leningrad three days after the death of Vladimir Lenin. The city had already been renamed Petrograd in 1914. It was finally given back its original name St. Petersburg in 1991.
1966—Beaumont Children Disappear
In Australia, siblings Jane Nartare Beaumont, Arnna Kathleen Beaumont, and Grant Ellis Beaumont, aged 9, 7, and 4, disappear from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, and are never seen again. Witnesses claim to have spotted them in the company of a tall, blonde man, but over the years, after interviewing many potential suspects, police are unable generate enough solid leads to result in an arrest. The disappearances remain Australia's most infamous cold case.
1949—First Emmy Awards Are Presented
At the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles, California, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents the first Emmy Awards. The name Emmy was chosen as a feminization of "immy", a nickname used for the image orthicon tubes that were common in early television cameras.
1971—Manson Family Found Guilty
Charles Manson and three female members of his "family" are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders, which Manson orchestrated in hopes of bringing about Helter Skelter, an apocalyptic war he believed would arise between blacks and whites.
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