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Music And Entertainment 1953 Style… The Magazines And I, Chapter 12, Part 2.

November 3, 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 two.  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?

MODERN SCREEN

For over 50 years, Modern Screen was an American fan magazine that featured articles, images and personal interviews with movie stars, and later on many television personalities. The magazine debuted in the fall of 1930 and was founded by Dell Publications. Soon it became the direct competition for Photoplay and was one of the most popular “screen” magazines around, boasting the tagline America’s Greatest Movie Magazine. 

The March 1953 issue was certainly eye-catching with the lovely Rita Hayworth on the cover. The Talk of Hollywood was older wives with younger husbands, so there was an article on that and a romantic love story about actress Ann Blyth and her one true love. It was a time of Hollywood magic and this issue glittered that starlit path splendidly. 

MOTION PICTURE AND TELEVISION MAGAZINE

This title was a Fawcett Publication, which had a bevy of magazines, comic books and “Gold Medal” books, a line of paperback originals, which became a defining turning point in paperback publishing. Motion Picture And Television Magazine was an original movie fanzine full of gossip and romance for Hollywood fans of the ’50s. The magazine promised to incorporate screen life, Hollywood and movie story magazines, which was actually its tagline.

The March 1953 issue had Janet Leigh on the cover (a very young Janet Leigh) and declared that there were things us fans didn’t know about her personal life. Hmm… well of course, we just had to know. There were surprising true confessions of the stars – a very popular feature, I’m convinced. All in all, the magazine was another addition to satiate the cravings people had about Hollywood and all she entailed. It was a terrific read.

MOVIES

Movies magazine came from Ideal Publishing Corporation and Publisher William Cotton, who was known for his pulp magazines. Cotton was about building circulation and serving his demographic. He courted advertisers from a general perspective. He didn’t expect Chanel or Cadillac to advertise with him, but the more down-market products were right there with him. And in turn, publishing pulp made Cotton a very wealthy man. From Hollywood to personal romances, William Cotton ran the gamut of titles.

The February/March issue of Movies featured the usual talk-of-the-town. Marilyn Monroe’s Doctrine, an article by actor Robert Wagner and Debbie Reynolds, along with other scrapbook items for fans. The cover showcased the lovely Marilyn Monroe and offered her Secret Code for Life. You couldn’t get more Hollywood than Marilyn. 

MOVIELAND

Hillman Publications created this Hollywood monthly, competing directly with Bernarr Macfadden and Fawcett Publications. The magazine was another leg on the stool of celebrity entertainment, offering exclusive interviews, images and features.

The March 1953 edition had a magical picture of Doris Day on the cover in a pink chiffon dress that billowed out from her body as though in flight. One cover line beckoned for you to meet the new and sexy June Allyson and absorb five pages of Marilyn Monroe pin-ups. 

MOVIE LIFE

Movie Life was published by Ideal and William Cotton, another Hollywood title so popular in those days. Celebrity magazines have always been big sellers and eye-catchers, so no wonder Cotton kept adding to his stable of titles. Movie Life was a magazine filled with great images of movie stars, such as Esther Williams and Tony Curtis. The life the stars lived was something we all wanted and what better way to get it than from the pages of a vivid magazine.

March 1953 saw Lana Turner on the cover with picture scoops of Esther Williams, Howard Keel, Debra Paget and Dale Robertson. Actress and singer Gail Davis showed us the make-up styles of the day and how to apply them properly and we could read all about life with Lana in the cover story. It was a nice addition to the genre.

MOVIE PIN-UPS

Here comes another Ideal Publishing title from Mr. Cotton. This one was filled with sexy Hollywood sirens, both male and female, in various modes of poses. All in perfect form to clip the pictures from the magazine and hang on your wall. This title was just another in a long list of pulp-type magazines that made a small fortune for William Cotton.

The March/April 1953 issue had a beautiful image of Arlen Dahl that fans were sure to love, along with pictures of Debra Paget, Virginia Mayo and many others. The images and the poses were very tastefully done and just beckoned to be clipped out and hung up. Great photography. 

To be continued…

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