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Music And Entertainment 1953 Style… The Magazines And I, Chapter 12, Part 1.

October 23, 2021

Music and Entertainment Magazines … is the 12th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter 12 part one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten and eleven in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

In March 1953 magazines that covered music and entertainment offered a great service to fans by providing current gossip of their favorite actors, singers, heartthrobs, many song lyrics and melodies, plus other pertinent information for people clamoring to be in-the-know. 

We have to remember that at this time, television was still in its infancy, basically still a “talking piece of furniture” that many were trying to adjust to and get to know. And while TV Guide was published in April 1953, and was a very big title, it did have regional predecessors that covered the infant television scene before the launch of the national edition on April 3, 1953. 

Music and entertainment magazines were the eyes and ears for fans, doing what the Internet and television does today for many people. In March 1953 there was a “channel” for every aspect of a fan’s interest, from honing their own musicality by learning lyrics to their favorite songs to enhancing their knowledge of popular movies and their stars. Magazines were the Internet of the times once again…and March 1953 had some of the best.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

3-D Screen

This magazine comes complete with a pair of 3D glasses for your viewing pleasure. Published by a company called Three-D Magazines, Inc., it featured wonderful photographs (not necessarily the 3-D ones either) of celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Russell. It was a similar piece of the puzzle, but with an odd corner cut being 3-D.

The March 1953 issue had Jane Russell on its cover and photos that promised they were so real you could almost touch them of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Janet Leigh and Rhonda Fleming. It was a tile when 3-D was becoming all the rage and magazines weren’t about to be left out of the firestorm.

ARTHUR GODFREY AND HIS GANG

Arthur Godfrey and His Gang was a magazine published by Ideal Publishing which was a subsidiary of Grosset & Dunlap and familiar to film fans all over because of its heavy load of fan, teenage and confession type magazines. William Cotton, who had been with Fawcett Publications at one time, founded the company in 1937. This magazine teamed up with one of the era’s most famous radio and TV personalities, Arthur Godfrey. And and at that time, everybody loved Godfrey.

The March 1953 issue featured Godfrey Today, Arthur and His Friends, Fly-Boy Godfrey ( who was an avid aviator) and other Godfrey-friendly features and information. There were stories on his crew of course, Julius La Rosa, Lu Ann Simms and all the others. Just anything and everything Arthur Godfrey, taking his popularity at the time and running with it. Great magazine for really hardcore fans. 

DOWN BEAT

Formatted like a normal vertical, Down Beat magazine for all intents and purposes appeared to be just another music magazine that covered jazz, blues and beyond. That is, until you opened its pages and then it became a totally different animal, as it folded open and flipped to a newspaper format, complete with a headline. The magazine was established in Chicago in 1934 and was named after the downbeat in music, or the first beat of a musical measure. It was published monthly by Maher Publications and is still being published today.

The March 1953 edition had Jackie Gleason on its cover and the line Jackie Gleason, Musician. Something that was sure to give people pause and to purchase the magazine. There were newspaper-style articles such as Influenza, In Flew Dinah (catchy headline) all about Dinah Washington being stricken ill at her closing performance in Honolulu. There were Down Beat’s Five Star Discs and Down Beat’s Scorecard, where current hits were rated. It was and is still a music lover’s dream-come-true magazine. 

FILMLAND

Flimland was another Martin Goodman title, published under the Red Circle Magazine umbrella. Making good in the pulp fiction market, Goodman knew his way around Hollywood gossip mags too. And Filmland offered the best in Hollywood news and images. From Shelley Winters to Janet Leigh, the magazine covered fan favorites every month. And with Goodman launching what would one day become Marvel comics, he certainly was no stranger to success in all genres.

The March 1953 issue was a great one with articles by Arlene Dahl, Shelley Winters and many others. The cover teased with Hundreds of New and Intimate Pictures and the stories inside ranged from Roy Rogers and his hero status to Dean Martin and his wife. And with actress Susan Hayward on the cover, the magazine was a complete fan have-to-have.

HIT PARADER

Hit Parader was launched in 1942 by Charlton Publications, which was based in Derby, Connecticut. The magazine was among the longest-lasting American music magazines, not ceasing publication until 2008. The title referred to the pre-music charts hit parade, so the magazine began as a song lyric phenom where people could go to find the correct words to their favorite songs. 

The March 1953 edition was filled with the lyrics to many famous songs of that era, such as I’m Just A Poor bachelor and Lady of Spain. Of course, there were many, many more, along with all the “Top Tunes.” Joni James graced this issue’s cover and there were exclusive hit movie tunes from Hans Christian Andersen. 

MAUDLIN SCREEN

This magazine, as they themselves put it, was “dredged” up monthly by Chaparral Publishing Company, which was created by Stanford Chaparral, the first successful college humor magazine outside the Ivy League. The golden age for Chaparral parodies was the 1950s and they were very good at it. They might not match the original’s production values, but they came closer than any other college mag. Maudlin Screen was of course a parody of Modern Screen and was an amusing clone of the Hollywood Fan magazine. The tagline was America’s Fanatic Movie Magazine, which of course was fittingly hilarious. 

The March 1953 issue had the requisite ingénue on the cover, a young female oddly enough holding a pipe. The stories were zany and outrageous: love-starved women of America, garbage collectors becoming cinema sensations and just all around unbelievable content. Far-fetched, funny and really smartly done. 

To be continued…

One comment

  1. Look forward to your book.

    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS



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