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Love And Romance: The Magazines And I. Chapter 9, Part 2.

July 5, 2021

Love and Romance Magazines … is the 9th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter nine, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

PERSONAL ROMANCES

Published by Ideal Publishing Corp., a very lucrative smaller publisher that loved pulp magazines, Personal Romancesactually began as Personal Adventure, which in turn had begun as Personal Adventure Stories. Publisher William Cotton made it a slick replica of another one of his titles Movie Life. The magazine was somewhat thin for a Love Confessions pulp, but it served the purpose with tantalizing stories of love, lust and mayhem.

The March 1953 issue promised us stories on Girls Who Are Too Easy and I Got Her In Trouble. There was even a homemaking section that taught us how to make a perfect spaghetti dinner. And the ads were plentiful. In short, it did what any good pulp romance should do: it got women reading the stories. 

RANCH ROMANCES

Ranch Romances was the last of the original pulps. It was really the most successful titles of the western romance pulp magazines, with a 47-year run and 860 issues published between 1924 and 1971. Fanny Ellsworth edited the title for half its existence and it had three different publishers from 1929 to 1953. Warner Publications took over Ranch Romances in late 1933. It shrank to a 7-by-10, trimmed-edge format in its final decade, but never became a digest.

The March 1953 issue had stories, novels, serials and regular departments, such as Trail Dust and Out of the Chutes. It was a love story magazine with a western backdrop that women (and dare I say, men too) loved to read. 

RANGELAND ROMANCES

Another Popular Publications title, Rangeland Romances was its first and longest running title in the western romance pulp genre. It was their main title, even though they launched many others. And it was very successful.

The March 1953 issue had stories like Two Queens for a Gambler and Little Texas Rebel. It was light on advertisements and heavy on western love and commitment, with over 100 pages of content. 

REAL ROMANCES

Real Romances was a Hillman Periodicals publication and the first of the company’s dive into “love pulps.” In fact, Alex Hillman was one of the biggest and longest lasting publishers in the field. By calling this title “Real,” Hillman followed the same path that he had with Real

Detective and Real Story and seemed to lay down the gauntlet to other pulp publishers that his magazines were the real deal, so to speak.

The March 1953 issue featured three complete full length novels: Love Is Not Enough, Invitation To Sin, and Man-Huntress. From the titles of the novels, I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern here for love pulp magazines, but if it ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it, and these magazines were definitely not broken. Monthly sales were through the roof and women all across America were scooping them off the stands, especially in March 1953. 

YOUNG ROMANCE

Young Romance was launched in fall 1947 and was told from a first-person perspective. The romantic comic book series was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for the Crestwood Publications imprint, Prize Comics and is considered the first romance comic. It ran for 124 consecutive issues and then 84 more after Crestwood stopped producing comics and DC Comics took it over. It was an instantaneous hit after the first publication, and within the first two years Crestwood was capitalizing on its success by churning out companion titles.

The March 1953 issue was number 55 in the series and featured the Afraid To Go Home, Heartless, and Tell It To The Judge segments. It was artful and creative and had very few ads, just page after page of comic book story with enough romance to fill any young woman’s heart. 

Up next: Chapter 10 Men’s Adventure Magazines… coming soon.

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