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Music & Entertainment 1953 Style… The Magazines And I Book. Chapter 12, Part 4.

December 14, 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 four.  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?

PHOTOPLAY

As one of the first American film magazines, Photoplay knew its spot was at the top. It was founded way back in 1911 in Chicago and for the most part was published by Macfadden Publications. In 1921, the magazine created the first significant movie award and became worthy of its tagline: America’s Largest-Selling Movie Magazine. Unfortunately, the title folded in 1980. 

The March 1953 issue had the lovely Jane Powell on its cover and an article by James Dougherty, a former Los Angeles police detective, entitled Marilyn Monroe Was My Wife, which she was for four years when she was still Norma Jean Baker and not the iconic sex symbol that she became. The issue also announced its Gold Medal Award Winners and was filled with a plethora of images of stars famous during that time. It was and is a very enchanting issue.

PHOTOPLAY ANNUAL

Photoplay was one of the first American film fan magazines. Photoplay Annual was a yearly edition that offered color portraits of famous movie stars of the times. The 1953 issue was complete with Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Debbie Reynolds, Robert Wagner, Tony Curtis and many, many others. For most of its existence, Photoplay was published by Bernarr Macfadden. The 1953 issue gave us pictures of famous weddings of the year, divorces, and births. It was a must-have for fans.

PREVUE

Prevue, the pocket size movie review, was published monthly by Madison Publishing Company, Inc. in Atlanta, GA with the editorial, advertising, and executive offices in Carmel, NY. The magazine promised its readers that  “every month, from January through December, you’ll be up on every major movie to be released plus exclusive features on what the stars are doing…thinking…wearing.”  Stephan L. Saunders was the publisher and Barbara Reingold was the managing editor.

The March 1953 issue featured Cyd Charisse on the front cover and Shelley Winters on the back cover.  The cover line was “The Taste of Fame, by Rita Gam,” and the inside of the magazine was divided into two sections, Prevue Presents and Prevue Previews.  Needless to say there was no movie magazine in 1953 without the obligatory picture of Marilyn Monroe who was the Pin Up of the Month in that issue.

POPULAR SONGS

This magazine was another title published by Charlton Publications, known for its song lyrics publications, (as we saw with Hit Parader) and also its comic books published under the Charlton Comics umbrella. It had its own distribution company called Capital Distribution. 

The March 1953 issue was another reflector of great music of the times, with lyrics to songs like A Stolen Waltz and My Baby’s Coming Home. On the cover was the inimitable Danny Kaye and showcased the titles to the many different songs that’s lyrics lived upon its pages. 

RADIO-TV MIRROR

Bernarr Macfadden had a hand in this early entertainment magazine – you know it was television’s infancy when Radio got top billing. Macfadden Publications published this title on a monthly basis and offered an inside look at radio, TV, and records. It had some full-color features and lots of articles about the “people on the air.”

The March 1953 monthly had Julius La Rosa and Lu Ann Simms on the cover, two singers who appeared on Arthur Godfrey and His Friends regularly. There were stories about some local New York stations and many extras that fans found interesting, I’m sure, such as a story about Art Linkletter written by his son and why Patti Page was so lucky.

SCREEN STORIES

A Dell publication, Screen Stories brought yet more Hollywood entertainment information to life, with articles about all your 1950s favorites, from Zsa Zsa Gabor to Ann Miller. The magazine joined Dell’s other titles, such as Modern Screenand Who’s Who In Hollywood. The March 1953 issue featured the wholesome Jane Powell on the cover as everyone’s favorite Small Town Girl and offered 21 other stories and features. Great title with lots of celebrity information.

To be continued…

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