Bad news, I lost the key. But before I was a kidnapper I was an orthopedic surgeon, so foot reattachment is no problem.
Above is another vibrant cover for Adam magazine, this one from May 1968, uncredited as always but painted by Phil Belbin or Jack Waugh. The pair did the bulk of the illustrations for the magazine, but it's not possible—for us, at least—to determine who was responsible for which pieces, because they worked in a similar style. On the occasions Belbin bothered signed something it wasn't only as himself—sometimes he signed as Duke, Pittsburgh, Humph, or Fillini. Waugh, as far as we know, was always Waugh. We've now uploaded more than seventy issues of Adam (we haven't done an actual count for a couple of years) and we'd say signatures appear on maybe one of every ten illustrations. Waugh's scrawl pops up here in the art for the H.M. Tolcher story, “Prize Sucker.”
The cover illustrates the Joachim Heinrich Woos story, “The Danger Behind,” which is is about a man walking through the woods at the exact moment some rural cops and a heavily armed posse are looking for men who robbed a bank. The robbers shot the guards and several police. Blinded by a lust for revenge, the mob mistakes the innocent hiker for one of the killers and chases him over hill and dale with the intent to end his life. He escapes by rowboat only to drift downriver and run into one of the real crooks, who's chained up a hostage and has bad ideas as well as an evil temperament. It's a decent story from Woos, who also wrote for Pocket Man, Argosy, Off Beat Detective Stories, Adventure, and Manhunt. We have thirty-three scans below.
Picture the entertainment business a lifetime ago.
Snap is yet another celeb and film magazine from the mid-century era, the product of the Snap Publishing Company, headquartered not in the usual locale of New York City, but in tiny Mount Morris, Illinois. Back in 1941, when this issue hit newsstands, Mount Morris had a population of only 2,700 people, and even today is home to only 3,000. You're probably thinking it's a really part of Chicago, a suburb within the metropolitan area, but it's actually fifty miles southwest, which was a long way in 1941 over rutted roads in primitive automobiles. Why was Snap based out in Mount Morris? We have no idea. Maybe the owner was inordinately attached to the Illinois Freedom Bell.
Though Snap had offices far afield, its focus was pure Hollywood and NYC., with plenty of celeb action inside each issue. In this one readers got Marion Miller, aka the “Queen of Quiver,” Dale Evans, Lily Damita, Marion Wakefield, Warner Baxter, Rita Hayworth, and many other screen stars and showgirls of the time. Editors also put together a comedic photoplay, notes on recent screen kisses, some kind of cockamamie home health test, and a scare feature on highschoolers going to tourist cabins—i.e. rentals in the woods where they could get laid. We have all that in forty-plus scans below.
It's always fun to take a trip with Adam magazine.
This issue of our favorite men's magazine Adam was published this month in 1977 with a cover illustrating J. Edward Brown's story, “Tramway to Nowhere.” This is an interesting tale. It's about a smalltown trolley line that runs out to a secluded beach. People won't ride the train after dark because it's supposedly haunted by dead soldiers. We've never encountered a supernatural story in Adam, and this isn't one either. Cleverly, it turns out that the trolley is being used by criminals who dress as soldiers to keep the legend alive and scare folks away. They're searching the beach each night for a lost treasure. Our hapless protagonist stumbles upon the plot, and that's the very night the local police decide to raid the train. When the gunfire starts our guy almost loses his shit thinking he's being attacked by ghosts, but he soon sees that it's a regular old shootout, cops against robbers. Fun concept, and a pretty good story.
There's more in Adam, as always. We were drawn by the story about old cruise liners. The author talks about various decommissioned or lost ships such as the French behemoth the SS Normandie, and laments the fact that the age of luxury ship travel has passed, but we see cruise ships chugging past our balconies most days of the week, some of them incredibly large. In fact, the world's largest, the Symphony of the Seas, was in dry dock here last year. While the Normandie was three-hundred thirteen meters long and had twelve decks, the Symphony is three-hundred sixty-one meters long, with seventeen decks holding twenty-restaurants, twenty-six bars, nineteen pools, two rock climbing walls, a nine-deck high zip line, and a helipad. So from our point of view, the age of luxury morphed into the age of ridiculous excess. Seriously, you need to see some of these ships to believe them. Most are far bigger than any hotel in town. We don't imagine traveling on one would be fun aside from the drinking, though we've never taken a cruise, so we don't really know. But generally, the idea of being with a thousand people whose idea of luxury is flashing lights, ringing bells, mass-cooked food, and pool water tainted with toddler pee scares us. We know—that makes us sound like snobs, but we're not. If we were snobs we wouldn't be collecting all these rare mags and sharing them with you. We're more-the-merrier type people. Except when todder pee is involved. We have forty-plus scans below.
Man Junior rings in the new year Down Under style.
We've shared a few issues of Australia's Man and Man Junior magazines. Like all men's publications they featured the combination of fact and fiction, sport and adventure, humor, and alluring women. And like many men's magazines, they published annuals—year-end or year-beginning collections of the best of the previous 365 days. That's what we have for you today—Man Junior's annual for 1965. It avoids any possibility of intellectual enrichment by focusing only on the primal—lust and laughs. Stripped down to nothing but glamour photos and cartoons, the magazine lays bare the fact that text is mere legitimization, a means of de-perving the visual content. Who'd buy an annual if it contained only dubious reporting and short stories? Not many people, we'd wager. These mags were all about the id. We have plenty of that below, with thirty scans. They comprise lovely women such as Betty Brosmer, Christine Aarons, and, in the final panel, June Wilkinson. The cartoons are beautifully colorful, if only occasionally successful as humor. We have more coming from Man and Man Junior in the future.
Rocket fueled adventures from Earth to space and back again.
Above: more covers of Star-Cine Cosmos, a popular brand of French photo-comics made from feature films. We always meant to get back to this magazine with its striking art, but it's been a full twelve years since we last looked at it. Time flies—especially in outer space. The films featured here are, original titles only, top to bottom, Space Men, Alraune, Forbidden Planet, The Mole People, X-15, Radar Men from the Moon, Battle in Outer Space, When World Collide, This Island Earth, Earth vs. The Spider, and Master of the World.
People really otter learn to be more careful.
The scene on the cover of this famous issue of Men magazine always struck us as absurd. In fact, animal attack covers from vintage mens magazines tend to be more funny than frightening. But it seems as though reality has strong sense of irony.
In Singapore a couple of days ago, Graham George Spencer, a British resident of that tropical island-state, was attacked by otters at the Gardens by the Bay botanical park, where several colonies of the animals live. Spencer was swarmed by a bevy of otters that managed to knock him off his feet and bite him twenty-six times. He summed up the ordeal with: “I actually thought I was going to die.”
That's no hysterical claim. Wild otters can grow to be five-and-a-half feet in length, which, frighteningly, is longer than both of the Pulp Intl. girlfriends. Spencer was saved thanks to the intervention of a friendwhose yelling startled the otters, giving Spencer the chance to get to his feet. Those crazy animals then chased the pair all the way to the visitors center, where they barked otter epithets, heaved rocks though a window, and spray painted the walls with the phrase, “Immigrant go home!” Spencer received medical treatment for injuries to his ankles, legs, rear end, and pride, and also got bitten by more than $1,000 in medical costs. All because he wanted to have a healthy walk in the park. Next time maybe he'll spend his day drinking pints at the pub like a normal Brit. Next up: weasels rip somebody's flesh.
Oooo... he's rich, widowed, and has a pig valve in his heart? I guess I could learn to love an older man.
Above: Carl Sturdy's classic digest novel Confessions of a Park Avenue Playgirl, 1947, from Phoenix Press. Sturdy specialized in medical romances with efforts like Unlicensed Nurse, Test Doctor, Doctor De Luxe, Suburban Doctor, et al, but this seems to be the book most people remember. Possibly that has partly to do with the striking art. The artist is unidentified, but it felt to us like a zoom of something larger, and it reminded us of George Gross. Working on those two assumptions, it wasn't hard to track down the source. As you see below, it came from the cover of a 1949 issue of Line-Up Detective Cases. It isn't really a much larger piece, but it is George Gross. Add another fun effort from his lengthy résumé.
What it lacks in maturity it makes up for in exuberance.
Above you see a cover of the Australian magazine Man Junior, which hit newsstands Down Under this month in 1963. An offshoot of Man magazine, it came from K.G. Murray Publishing, along with Adam, Pocket Man, Eves from Adam, Cavalcade, Man's Epic, et al. The Murray empire, run by Kenneth G. Murray, came into being in 1936, and the company's various imprints lasted until 1978—though the entire catalog was bought by Consolidated Press in the early 1970s. We've seen nothing from K.G. Murray that we don't love, so we'll keep adding to our stocks indefinitely. Or until the Pulp Intl. girlfriends finally revolt, which should take a few more years. Speaking of which, it's been a few years since our last Man Junior, but its positives and negatives are still intimately familiar to us. On the plus side, the fiction and true life tales are exotic and often good, and on the negative side the humor doesn't usually hold up, though the color cartoons are aesthetically beautiful.
Of all the stories, the one that screamed loudest to be read was, “The Hair-Raisers,” by Neville Dasey, which comes with an illustration of a bearded woman. It's an absurd, legitimately funny story about a con man who accidentally invents a hair growing tonic, which he then unintentionally splashes on his date's face. By the next morning she has a beard, which proves the tonic works, but the con man lost the magic liquid when he stilled it, and he ends up losing the formula to create it. But everyone ends up happy—the con man earns a contract that pays him regardless of whether he can recreate the formula, and his date ends up marrying the owner of the hair restoration company. We weren't clear on whether the formula wore off, or she had to shave regularly. Either way, the story is meant to be silly and it certainly achieves that goal. Twenty-eight panels below, and more from Man Junior here, here, and here. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1942—Ted Williams Enlists
Baseball player Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox enlists in the United States Marine Corps, where he undergoes flight training and eventually serves as a flight instructor in Pensacola, Florida. The years he lost to World War II (and later another year to the Korean War) considerably diminished his career baseball statistics, but even so, he is indisputably one of greatest players in the history of the sport.
1924—Leopold and Loeb Murder Bobby Franks
Two wealthy University of Chicago students named Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr. murder 14-year-old Bobby Franks, motivated by no other reason than to prove their intellectual superiority by committing a perfect crime. But the duo are caught and sentenced to life in prison. Their crime becomes known as a "thrill killing", and their story later inspires various works of art, including the 1929 play Rope by Patrick Hamilton, and Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film of the same name.
1916—Rockwell's First Post Cover Appears
The Saturday Evening Post publishes Norman Rockwell's painting "Boy with Baby Carriage", marking the first time his work appears on the cover of that magazine. Rockwell would go to paint many covers for the Post, becoming indelibly linked with the publication. During his long career Rockwell would eventually paint more than four thousand pieces, the vast majority of which are not on public display due to private ownership and destruction by fire.
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