Archive for the ‘News and Views’ Category

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Sports Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 11, Part 2.

August 26, 2021

Sports Magazines … is the 11th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter 11 part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

In the 1950s, sports was still at the top of many people’s priority list. Two of the most popular were baseball and boxing, and of course, football was coming around. And in 1953 there was no Sports Illustrated (1954) or any ESPN (1990s), but there was plenty of other sources to cover America’s favorite pastime game, baseball. The 1950s saw college football a lot more celebrated than pro ball, much like it is today, at least in the world of the SEC. Most southerners will plan weddings, anniversaries, and even funerals around SEC games. It’s just something we do. And yes, Mr. Magazine™ is most definitely a transplanted southerner having lived in the South since he was 30 years old. Pro football really took off in the 1960s when games began to be televised. 

These “spectator” sports, as opposed to the more individually relaxing sports such as fishing and hunting, were games that people wanted to attend. Events that many had to watch in person. And of course, they wanted to read about them in their favorite sports magazines.

This era saw a variety of different sports magazines and even a newspaper as The Sporting News (established in 1886 as a print magazine) held the proud tagline of being “The Baseball Paper of the World” when covering these very important and exciting topics. From baseball to boxing to wrestling to basketball, sports was a very large category of publications during the 1950s, and especially in March 1953. In Chapter Eleven, we take a look at some of Mr. Magazine’s™ personal accumulation, magazines that have a crucial place in the vast vault of his collection.

Welcome to the wonderful world of sports, March 1953… part two.

COMPLETE BASEBALL

Another Martin Goodman publication, Complete Baseball, was just that – all about the game of baseball, from the first page to the last. It was another sports title that Goodman added to his collection of titles. 

The March/April 1953 issue of Complete Baseball had a preview of the 1953 diamond season and features on all 16 big league clubs. From Stan The-Man Musial to Joe Black of the Brooklyn Dodgers, the bimonthly’s cover was definitely “complete baseball.” This issue was filled with previews of every big league team, along with a couple of short articles that fans would not want to miss. Another great baseball publication.

INSIDE BASEBALL

Inside Baseball, another title from Canadian bodybuilder and entrepreneur, Joe Weider, was a monthly that gave readers the “inside” scoop on the great American sport of baseball. Touted as the Big League magazine, it offered a Gallery of Baseball Stars, along with stories that were sure to have readers buying the next month’s issue or subscribing if they wanted it in their mailbox ASAP. 

The March 1953 issue was filled with stories such as Around the Bases by Bob Cutter and Why Cleveland Can’t Win by Frank Gibbons, along with many, many more great baseball tales. The March 1953 cover was engaging and beckoned the baseball fan to “come inside and read,” with a story by Hall-of-Famer Enos Slaughter called I Never Came Back. The magazine was another win for Joe Weider in his vast world of publications.

INSIDE SPORTS

Another monthly title founded by Canadian bodybuilder and entrepreneur, Joe Weider, Inside Sports was an all-sports magazine. It featured stories on baseball, basketball, boxing, golf, hockey, tennis, racing and some off-the-beaten sports trail activities. The advertisements inside the pages were mainly bodybuilding and muscle-enhancing type ads. (No surprise there, considering the magazine’s founder).

The March 1953 issue had articles about all of the sports of the time, along with several special features and photo spreads. While the cover was in full-color, the pictures inside the magazine were in black-and-white. But even though Joe Weider had a plethora of different titles under his belt, Inside Sports was a really well-done title that did justice to the arena of sports in March 1953. A fan favorite, to be sure. 

OFFICIAL JUDO

Official Judo (Authentic Guide to Sports Judo and Self Defense) was a magazine/book written by author Charles Yerkow who was also one of the best jiu jitsu and close combat experts active before, during, and after WW2, and chairman of the National A.A.U. Judo Committee and Amateur Judo Association of U.S.A. The March 1953 issue of Official Judo was only one among many publications that Yerkow wrote entirely. The military applications of his techniques were highly regarded and with the many manuals and guidebooks he wrote, the man was much more than an icon in the world of judo. This magazine was not a regular publication, it was more like a book with 14 complete chapters and a foreword from the man himself. For judo aficionados, it was a must-have. 

OUR SPORTS

Edited by the great Jackie Robinson, Our Sports magazine was touted as “The Great New Negro Sports Magazine,” and was published in 1953. It ran for a total of five issues. In lieu of being repetitive, I will refer you to Chapter Seven and our March 1953 Black magazines as Our Sports was covered in that chapter.

To be continued…

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Sports Magazines 1953… The Magazines And I Book. Chapter 11, Part 1.

August 19, 2021

Sports Magazines … is the 11th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter 11 part one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

In the 1950s, sports was still at the top of many people’s priority list. Two of the most popular were baseball and boxing, and of course, football was coming around. And in 1953 there was no Sports Illustrated (1954) or any ESPN (1990s), but there was plenty of other sources to cover America’s favorite pastime game, baseball. The 1950s saw college football a lot more celebrated than pro ball, much like it is today, at least in the world of the SEC. Most southerners will plan weddings, anniversaries, and even funerals around SEC games. It’s just something we do. And yes, Mr. Magazine™ is most definitely a transplanted southerner having lived in the South since he was 30 years old. Pro football really took off in the 1960s when games began to be televised. 

These “spectator” sports, as opposed to the more individually relaxing sports such as fishing and hunting, were games that people wanted to attend. Events that many had to watch in person. And of course, they wanted to read about them in their favorite sports magazines.

This era saw a variety of different sports magazines and even a newspaper as The Sporting News (established in 1886 as a print magazine) held the proud tagline of being “The Baseball Paper of the World” when covering these very important and exciting topics. From baseball to boxing to wrestling to basketball, sports was a very large category of publications during the 1950s, and especially in March 1953. In Chapter Eleven, we take a look at some of Mr. Magazine’s™ personal accumulation, magazines that have a crucial place in the vast vault of his collection.

Welcome to the wonderful world of sports, March 1953…

ALLSPORTS

Published and distributed complimentary by the U.S. Tire Distributors, Allsports was a magazine that was offered through local auto service and tire dealers. It featured a thin offering (14 pages total) of content on all sports (just as the name suggests). Baseball, fishing, the Olympics, football and other spectator events were covered, complete with photos and many tire ads. 

The March/April 1953 issue that Mr. Magazine™ procured is from an auto and truck service in Indiana. Then President Dwight D. Eisenhower was on the cover showing off his fishing skills, along with baseball picks by baseball expert  Dan Daniel. It was a great little magazine, especially considering it was free, for sports fans around the country. 

BASEBALL DIGEST

The First issue of Baseball Digest came out in August 1942 and was created by a sportswriter who worked for the Chicago Daily Times, Herbert F. Simons. He knew Reader’s Digest was a great success, so he figured why not one about baseball, hence Baseball Digest was born. And today it’s the nation`s longest-running baseball magazine. In the beginning, it was a small black-and-white publication, but today it’s a full-sized, full-color magazine. The magazine is a resource for all things baseball with statistics and data that brought everything together for the fan. It is a must for the hard-core fan. 

The March 1953 issue had a book feature by sports journalist, Arthur Daley, called Times At Bat and had feature articles such as Pitchers Toughest To Hit: Lemon, Hacker, Raschi, Rush by Harold Sheldon and Blood Money For The Dodgers by Michael Gaven. It gave the 1953 baseball fan everything that was going on in the month of March and offered so many more articles than just the three mentioned. The content was massive for its then digest size. 

BASEBALL MAGAZINE

Baseball Magazine was the first monthly baseball magazine published in the United States. Jake Morse, an influential Boston Herald sportswriter, founded the magazine before the 1908 season. A monthly magazine for baseball was unprecedented for the times, and allowed for more lengthy, in depth stories and reporting. It definitely filled a desire and a need in readers ravenous for their baseball updates and behind-the-scenes news. 

By the time March 1953 rolled around, the magazine was published eight times a year and with the Spring issue offered up a cornucopia of fantastic baseball articles by writers such as Harold (Pee Wee) Reese, Harold Rosenthal from the New York Herald Tribune and a number of other amazing sportswriters. There was a section on Rookies of the Year and a Baseball Game Photo Quiz. It was fun and informative, but unfortunately went defunct in 1957 in its original form. It was briefly revived a few years later, but to no avail.

BOXING AND WRESTLING

This magazine was touted as “two magazines in one” with its boxing content and its wrestling features. The magazine also had a tagline that read The Magazine For Combat Fans, since of course boxing and wrestling were considered combat sports. The title was founded by Canadian bodybuilder and entrepreneur, Joe Weider, who had a publishing empire that basically consisted of “physique-building”  or muscle magazines, except for a couple of “skin” titles. Weider was considered a pioneer in the world of bodybuilding and physical sports.

March 1953 saw boxers Chuck Davey, Johnny Bratton, Johnny Saxton and Kid Gavilan on its cover, with the all-important question: Will Kid Gavilan Lose His Title as the cover line. With stories on boxing and wrestling, the magazine was sure to please all fans of these very physical sports. The content was divided into two sections and very easy to navigate for individual fans. Entertaining and informative to say the least.

BOXING LIFE

Another pulp publisher, Martin Goodman, who went on to launch the company that would become Marvel Comics, created this boxing magazine that called itself Boxing Life. Goodman, who was reported to be the oldest son of 17 children, traveled the country during the Great Depression when he was a young man, living in hobo camps as he went. He fell into publishing through future Archie Comics cofounder Louis Silberkleit. Goodman went on to publish many genres of magazines, from sports to romance to general interest.

March 1953 saw Rocky Marciano on the cover fighting Joe Walcott. There was a Ring Roundup consisting of America’s 75 Best Fighters, according to the cover line and experts picking the most exciting fights of the year, with over 150 fight photos inside the covers. What boxing fans got from this magazine was an experience, as with most of the magazines from March 1953. The writing was tight and the statistics many. 

COACH & ATHLETE

This magazine came from many of the southern and Gulf States coaches and official associations in the United States. From Georgia to Florida to Louisiana and even that state’s high school coaches and their associations, it was a combined effort to promote coaches and athletes around the country. You could subscribe or buy single copies. The tagline said it all: “The Magazine for Coaches, Players, Officials and Fans.”

The March 1953 issue was filled with campus close-ups and stories on how to plan and promote high school track. It covered high schools, colleges, and of course had all the latest SEC news. Buddy Davis, a letterman in track & field and basketball in 1950-52, from Texas A&M was featured on the cover. It was a very good attempt at bringing college and high school level sports to the forefront for old and new fans. 

To be continued…

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Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 4.

July 22, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part four.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

THRILLING RANCH STORIES

Another magazine published by Thrilling Publications, Thrilling Ranch Stories offered just that – thrilling stories set with a ranch backdrop. The magazine was a quarterly that held readers enthralled with stories about rustlers and rangelands. The covers were almost always colorful illustrations of a handsome cowboy with his equally attractive heroine by his side. 

The March 1953 issue was an over-the-top edition with over 100 pages of stories such as Rustler’s Run and To Wed An Oregon Man. Between the western excitement and the ever-present romance that filled the pages, the magazine was a great addition to the flock.

TRIPLE WESTERN

With three novels loaded into one magazine, Triple Western was sure to captivate even the most hard-to-please Western fan. The magazine was true-to-form in that it offered western adventure on a large scale. Published by Best Publications, another umbrella of the Thrilling Group, the title proves that good things can also happen in threes.

The February/March 1953 issue of the magazine is complete with a novel called Trail West, one entitled Wide Loop and one called Merrano of the Dry Country. And while they all fit the bill of the 1950s era western story, each is a stand-alone piece of content that really shines with vivid characters and rich backgrounds.

WAR REPORT

War Report is a comic book all about the complexities of war and its travesties, rolled into a compilation of two different stories. Published by Farrell Publications under the umbrella of Excellent Publications, the company was founded and operated by Robert W. Farrell in the 1940s and 1950s. Farrell also published romance, adventure, superheroes, and funny animal comics.

The March 1953 issue had stories about U.S. soldiers facing combat action as the Korean War heated up and promised military adventure in a big way. It was adventure done comic book style and it was vastly popular.  

WEST

West magazine was in the Thrilling Publications stable of titles and continued to follow the highly successful course that their other pulp publications did. Published every other month, the magazine offered complete novels and a variety of short stories and special features.

The March 1953 magazine was filled with stories such as Good Smoke, Ruthless Return and a novel by Walker A. Tompkins called Barb-Wire Embargo. The cover illustration had a cowboy hid behind a fallen log, trying to evade another cowboy with a long-necked rifle in his hand. Above the title reads: New, Complete Stories Never Before Published. An excellent title to add to the repertoire. 

ZANE GREY’S WESTERN

Zane Grey, of course, had a very successful career writing western novels. So it’s no surprise that the pulp fiction Western adventure magazines that Dell published bearing his name were also a big success. Grey was a complicated man who led an unusual life, but his somewhat odd idiosyncrasies in life seemed to play a major role in his writing, prompting him to continue churning out bestsellers.

The March 1953 issue of Zane Grey’s Western magazine provided loyal fans with stories that even the master would read. While in this issue nothing was actually written by Grey, it seemed to be a given that he placed his stamp of approval on each piece. From Danger Rides The River to The Widow Packed A Six-Gun, the stories were typical Western adventure and the public loved them.

Now that we’ve revisited adventure in the jungles, the Wild West and explored many oceans around the globe, it’s time to see what the world of Sports had to offer in March 1953. So, let us cheer on our favorite team sports as we open the door on Chapter Eleven… Stay tuned.

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Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 3.

July 20, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part three.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

SAGA

Another Macfadden publication, Saga magazine claimed to be “True Adventures for Men.” The stories were filled with testosterone and an overabundance of danger, but they were just what the doctor ordered when it came to men’s adventure in the 1950s. 

The March 1953 edition of this monthly title was complete with stories such as Knives in the Night and Death Speaks Loudly. There were guns, blood, guts, and glory – to some degree, and a huge amount of thrills. Fans of the genre had to be pleased. 

STAG

There were various men’s adventure magazines published from the 1930s through around 1960 or so with the name Stag. This version is the second rendition published by Official Magazine Corporation. It appeared on the scene around 1951 and was eventually taken over by Martin Goodman of Marvel Comics fame. The magazine offered “true-life” fiction in an adventurous setting. Oddly enough, Mr. Goodman had threatened fledgling publisher Hugh Hefner with a lawsuit in those days due to a trademark infringement issue of Hef’s up and coming magazine he planned to call Stag Party. No problem, Hefner just changed his title’s name to Playboy and let it roll.

The March 1953 issue of Stag spurred excitement through stories of war and mayhem. From Find Me A Pistol to Wild Dogs of the Ramapos, the magazine was not lacking in adventure and larger-than-life situations that many men would run from. But not our story characters. The content was exceptionally well-written and often had that “true” feeling, which the magazine claimed in its words 25 True Men’s Adventures. Whether they were actually true or not, they were exciting to read.

TALES OF THE SEA

Tales of the Sea was published by Ziff-Davis Publishing Company and fell into the group of men’s adventure fiction that the company published during the early 1950s  along with their comic books. The magazine was a digest-sized title that was published quarterly. The Ziff half of the publishing company, William B. Ziff, had been interested in publishing high-quality magazines with art and photography as their focus, he’d really had no interest in fiction. But his partner Bernard G. Davis had other ideas when they acquired Amazing Stories in 1938. 

The March 1953 issue, which was the very first, featured dramatic sea stories such as The Unsinkable Ship That Sank and Are You A Weekend Sailor. For 35 cents, one could satisfy their need for sea-faring adventure from writers like Nobel Prize winning author Ivan Bunin and his story The Gentleman From San Francisco. In short, it was an admirable first issue.

TEXAS RANGERS

Texas Rangers also belonged to the Thrilling Publications family. It was a title that fit in wonderfully with all their other pulp Westerns, offering fans a glimpse into the exciting world of lawmen in the Wild West. 

The March 1953 issue featured an illustration of a very capable-looking Texas ranger on the cover, hand on the butt of his gun, which was strapped securely around his hips. The magazine offered Sword of Amontillo, which was a gun-swift novel by Jackson Cole, an alias for a number of different Western authors writing for Better Publications, the umbrella that this particular magazine was written under. An interesting time for men’s adventure stories when many different authors wrote under the same pseudonym. 

TEXAS WESTERN

It seemed to be  a given that Thrilling Publications knew what their readers wanted, with another Western title that offered the Wild West, Texas-style. Texas Western magazine had it all: adventure, brave Texans, unlawful activities and the men and women who had to deal with the nefarious creatures wreaking the unlawful havoc. 

The March 1953 issue offered up Texas Is For Texans and many other new and complete stories, as the magazine’s cover promised, to tantalize its readers. Once again, there was minimal advertisement and content that did not apologize for being formulaic. It definitely made the cut. 

Stay tuned for more Men’s Adventures magazines of March 1953

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Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 2.

July 15, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED

Classics Illustrated was a comic book/magazine series that proclaimed “Stories By The World’s Greatest Authors” and was created by Albert Kanter. Known for its adaptations of literary classics such as Les MiserablesMoby-DickHamlet, and The Iliad, the magazine evolved many times over throughout its lifespan, which ran from 1941 to 1969. The magazine started out as Classic Comics, but changed its name to Classics Illustrated in 1947 and became more standardized in the 1950s. 

The March 1953 issue features a very ferocious-looking tiger on its cover with the cover line Bring ‘Em Back Alive above the animal’s head. The cover art was effective and the stories within did not disappoint: Giant Jungle Man, Two Rhinos and Elephant Temper to name a few. The comic book magazine took readers on a wild adventure that many probably thought they might not return from. 

EXCITING WESTERN

This magazine was published by Thrilling Publications, also known as Beacon Magazines (1936–37), Better Publications (1937–43) and Standard Magazines (1943–55) and was operated by Ned Pines, who was known for publishing many pulp titles. Between Pines and a young man named Leo Margulies, they came up with what became known as the “Thrilling Group” of which Exciting Western was a part. 

In March 1953, the magazine showcased stories such as Hell Moved To Montana and Who Ain’t Bloodthirsty? The cover art was apropos of the stories and inside the pages was minimal advertising and offered over 100 pages of adventurous content. It was a very good read.

IMPACT

Macfadden Publications brought this magazine to life. It was one among many titles in Bernarr Macfadden’s publishing empire of Physical CultureTrue DetectiveTrue Romances, Dream World, True Ghost Stories, Photoplay and the tabloidNew York Graphic, along with True Story. The magazine was touted as the title for “He-Men,” a read for men who liked their reading rough and ready, tough and tense, powerful and provocative. Macfadden was nothing if not original. 

The March/April 1953 issue was jam-packed with fast-paced adventure and spine-tingling thrills – the publication’s description, not exactly mine. However, I would agree that the stories were both entertaining and heady, in an intriguing way. There were great images inside the covers of the magazine of both men and a few scantily-clad ladies. But even without all the hype, the magazine was a good read. 

MAX BRAND’S WESTERN MAGAZINE

Popular Publications was at it again when they “branded” a Western title with the “King of Action Western’s” moniker across the top of the magazine’s cover. It was then that Max Brand’s Western Magazine was born. With one of the most successful Western pseudonyms ever created, “Max Brand” who was really Frederick Schiller Faust, became a household name in the world of Western fiction. And Popular Publications made good use of that.

The March 1953 issue did the man justice. Stampeders of Big Hell Canyon was the cover story and had the illustration to match. The magazine touted itself as a producer of Famous Classics Of The Fighting West. And with Mr. Brand’s renowned  moniker attached, the magazine was a sure-fire success. In March 1953, everyone was happy with the content.

NEW WESTERN MAGAZINE

New Western Magazine also belonged to Popular Publications and offered the same type of Wild West content. The magazine fell into step beside its many counterparts and rolled with the powerful punches this genre tended to dole out to its competition. During the 1950s, Western adventure had many players on the frontier, so it was always a constant battle to stay at the head of the herd.

March 1953 saw an issue that was both familiar and different, in that the stories seemed to be more diverse, yet within the Western formula that was so successful at the time. From The Rider From Wind River to Blind Canyon Manhunt, the bimonthly magazine brought another Western dish to the table.

More Men’s Adventures magazines of 1953 to come… stay tuned….

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Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 1.

July 13, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

From exotic jungle locales to wartime feats of derring-do, with a bevy of pin-up beauties thrown in for good measure, men’s adventure was a genre of magazines that reigned supreme during the 1950s era. 

Western publications that were many times called “Dime Western Magazines” figured into the men’s adventure equation with an impact that cannot be denied. From Zane Grey to Max Brand, these magazines were looped into the “pulp” category, but not so much so that they didn’t do their due diligence when it came to success and magnitude of performance. And how could they miss with the heavy weight of popularity their namesakes brought the titles. Zane Grey is known as the father of the modern American western novel, after all and Max Brand is no less notable.

Looking at these adventure titles that were aimed at men and often offered wild animal conflicts in the far-flung jungles of  some unknown land or the explosive backdrop of a world at war, these publications brought many male readers (and dare I say, female readers as well?) many hours of great escape and dreams of daring exploits. 

Let’s take a look at these larger-than-life adventure magazines that could transport us from lands ravaged with war to dangerous jungle environments that no mere mortal man could survive to the thrilling ranches of the West where romance and danger lived forevermore.

44 WESTERN MAGAZINE

Published by popular Publications, which was a mass producer of pulp titles, 44 Western Magazine was touted as The Big Frontier Western Magazine. Popular Publications was formed in 1930 by Henry “Harry” Steeger during the Great Depression, when escape fiction was at an all-time high. The magazine was a bimonthly that definitely provided an adventurous escape. 

The March 1953 edition was filled with novelettes that lived up to the big frontier theme, with titles like Guns Wait In Spanish Spur,  Stage To Buckhorn, and Hunted Lawman. There was only a modicum of advertisement in the magazine, so for the most part it was strictly content. And content that was sure to enthrall and entertain even the staunchest of Western title fans.

ACTION

The magazine was published by Picture Magazines Inc. and was a title that strove to live up to its name. It was action personified with stories of “true adventure,” exposés, and sports in action, but also articles and features that offered a strong viewpoint and voice. 

The March 1953 issue had features such as The World’s Strongest Bartender and an article on the Male Body, buffered with action stories like The Flag of the Stonewall Brigade and Payoff On Horror Hill. The March 1953 issue was Vol. 1, No. 1, so its premier was a definite attention-grabber.

ADVENTURE MAGAZINE

After it was purchased from the Butterick Publishing Company by Popular Publications, Adventure Magazine became one of the most profitable and acclaimed of all the pulp fiction magazines. It drew the reader into a world of larger-than-life adventure and just refused to let them leave. And why would they want to? The magazine shouted to the world that it was the finest in fiction for men. 

The March 1953 issue did not disappoint when it came to that wild adventure theme. Hellwater Run by Hayden Howard was one of the cover line stories and the illustration on the cover matched the title vividly as a wild wave of oceanic proportions had two men fighting it valiantly in a small canoe. An absolutely great read.

BEST WESTERN

Best Western magazine was a part of Martin Goodman’s plethora of titles. Goodman launched the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics. Goodman’s strategy was to use several different names while publishing whatever genre he deemed popular at the time. Best Western was published under the Stadium Publishing Corporation umbrella. 

With the popularity of western adventure in the 1950s, Goodman saw success waiting to happen and began a stable of western titles, such as Five Western NovelsGunsmoke Western and many others including Best Western

The March 1953 edition held to the traditional, with a cowboy/beautiful woman on its cover, and stories such as Gunmen In The Streets and Thirteen Rode Out. The tales were compelling for the western fan and filled with just enough romance and adventure to balance the stories out.

BIG-BOOK WESTERN MAGAZINE

Another title by Popular Publications, Big-Book Western Magazine was one among many western adventures that the company published. 

The March 1953 edition featured the cover story called The High-Iron Killer, a dramatic epic of the Steel Train. And the illustrated cover complemented that title. The magazine had over 100 pages, giving it that “big-book” feel and proclaimed Frontier Fiction by Tophand Authors! 

To be continued…

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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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Love And Romance: The Magazines And I. Chapter 9, Part 1.

June 27, 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 one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

Pulp fiction was more than a movie starring John Travolta. It was a breed of magazines that crashed like an inexpensive swell through a variety of categories in the 20th century. From science fiction to adventure to romance, pulp magazines were a force to be reckoned with during the 1940s and 1950s.  

In this chapter, we examine the romance genre of pulp magazines. The inexplicable covers that promised desire, tears, and love, all rolled up into one issue. These titles were the successors of dime novels and short fiction of the 19th century. 

The term “pulp” came from the cheap wood pulp paper that the magazines were printed from. Often they had ragged and untrimmed edges and were in direct contrast to the higher-quality, glossy-type magazines of the same eras.  

But the heartbeat of pulp romance magazines were the many respected writers who wrote for them during their heyday. The most successful of the pulps could sell up to one million copies per issue and were very affordable reads during times of economic hardships, such as during the Great Depression. 

Romance in its many forms was indeed a pulp magazine staple. Pulp publishers were constantly trying to reinvent the wheel by specializing and grafting different genres and types of romantic fiction for their inventory. From the Western Romance to the Modern Romances, love was definitely in the air of pulp.

Let’s take a look at some “pulp” love from March 1953, shall we?

FIFTEEN LOVE STORIES

Popular Publications, the publisher of Fifteen Love Stories, was one of the largest publishers of pulp magazines, having 42 different titles in its repertoire at one point. The company was founded by Henry “Harry” Steeger during the Great Depression. Steeger was a smart businessman and knew that the times called for a bit of escapism and there was money to be made, so he began pumping out pulp fiction fast and furiously. Fifteen Love Stories was one of those moneymakers. 

The March 1953 magazine was filled with just that, novels and short stories on love, with tips on romance and cosmetic cues from some experts. It was non-stop love escapism, fringed with designs on romance and other Cupid-related topics. 

LOVE BOOK MAGAZINE

Love Book Magazine was another Popular Publications title and continued the pulp love trend admirably. It had love stories and features that brought women into the world of romance in a special way, showing them that when love was involved, anything was possible.

The March 1953 issue had seven complete love stories along with feature departments such as Beau Catcher and Pen Pals. It was page after page of content that had very little advertisements and a whole lot of love.

MODERN ROMANCES

Published by Dell, which was one of the largest publishers of magazines, including pulp magazines, Modern Romanceswas a long running true love magazine featuring short stories of love, passion, lust, divorce, and betrayal, usually all in one issue. The magazine was targeted toward “good girls” (don’t shoot the messenger, it was a different time) and showcased stories on how to get a man and keep him.

The March 1953 issue had a cover line that read: Ether Party – A girl’s first step to ruin. (I can only imagine) and I Blackmailed For Love. The magazine was over 100 pages and chocked full of stories such as those, along with ads galore. The tagline below the title on the table of contents page read: Every Family Begins With Romance. 

And it’s hard to argue with that.

MY STORY

Love stories at their best, My Story was a Dell Publication that offered book length novels and short stories, along with articles that offered women advice on marriage, virtue, and her husband’s finances. It was published annually and had more of a high-quality appeal than the other pulp magazines.

The March 1953 edition had plenty of love stories, along with six complete book length novels. The young woman on the cover had a fresh appealing demeanor next to cover lines such as Cocktail Wife and Strange Wedding Night. The incongruity cannot be ignored.  

To be continued…

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True, Detective, And Confessions Magazines: The Magazines And I. Chapter 8, Part 3.

June 21, 2021

True, Detective, and Confessions Magazines … is the 8th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter eight, part three.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

TRUE CASES OF WOMEN IN CRIME

Maybe we’re all a little bit obsessed with “true crime” stories. Just look at TV shows like 48 Hours or Dateline NBC. People have watched and kept them on the air for years. But when it comes to “true” crime magazines, especially of the March 1953 era, there was one for every taste. True Cases Of Women In Crime was published by a company called Special Magazines Inc. The March 1953 issue had the illustrated cover of a very voluptuous redhead behind bars, smoking a cigarette and being questioned by police. 

Inside the magazine is a disclaimer that reads: The illustrations on the following pages of this magazine were all specially posed by professional models, and it goes on to list the page numbers. The magazine is filled with ads and stories such as “She was fair, she was French, she was deadly.” This magazine is one among many that took the idea of “true crime” and possibly exploited it a bit.

TRUE CONFESSIONS

Beginning in 1922, True Confessions was a Fawcett Publication targeted at young women. During the 1930s, the magazine climbed to a circulation of two million with a readership of females between the ages of 20 and 35. With True Confessions, Fawcett was in direct competition with Bernarr MacFadden who had such titles as True Story and True Romance in his repertoire of titles, and Hillman Periodicals that had Real Story and Real Confessions. These “true” confession magazines soon felt a bit of a slump by 1949 due to the new comic book trend that hit.

The March 1953 issue of True Confessions had the cover story line of “Rendezvous With Shame – A Story For Every Wife Who Feels Love-Starved.” The magazine had special features and a section on “Your Home,” with articles such as Adventures in Food and If Father’s Been Away. It was a magazine that supplied fantasy and adventure for women in the 1950s .

TRUE CRIME DETECTIVE

True Crime Detective magazine was a digest-sized magazine that was published quarterly by Casebook Publications, a division of Mercury Publications which published The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The magazine never made it to a monthly frequency and was not one of the most popular of its time, due (according to its publishers) to the lack of diversity in the crimes the magazine presented. Most were murders with no recognition given to lesser crimes. That being said, the magazine folded after one year in publication. 

The spring 1953 issue had stories such as The Truth About Lizzie Borden and Death and the Farmer’s Daughter, with a few others thrown in. There were no ads (save one for the magazine itself) and no pictures. The magazine didn’t exactly follow the blueprint of the other “True Crime” magazines and definitely paid the ultimate price. 

TRUE DETECTIVE

Another MacFadden title, True Detective (formerly True Detective Mysteries) was a true crime magazine that was published from 1924 to 1995. During its heyday, it sparked many copycats and was an extremely popular read with fans. It started out focusing on mystery fiction, but also mixed it up a little with some non-fiction crime stories. The non-fiction became so important to the magazine, gradually the fiction was phased out and it became True Detective, and the one that all imitators were held up to. 

The April 1953 issue had a cover story called Beauty and the Corpse – She Inspired Me To Violent Passion and Violent Death. And with a tagline that read: The Authentic Magazine of Crime Detection, the other stories in that issue were just as dramatic-sounding: Redhead and the Torture Slayer and Manhattan Gun Battle to name a few. These magazines were definitely a bit campy, but an integral part of publishing history nonetheless.

TRUE STORY

Born in 1919, True Story was the first of the confessions magazines and carried the subtitle  Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction. It was a prominent title in Bernarr Macfadden’s publishing empire of Physical Culture, True DetectiveTrue RomancesDream WorldTrue Ghost StoriesPhotoplay and the tabloid New York GraphicTrue Story had a circulation of two million by the time 1929 rolled around, with most of the stories sent in by readers, purported to be true, only to be rewritten by staffers at the company. Eventually however, submissions by professional freelancers were being used or issues were completely staff-written. 

By the 1950s, the magazine was focusing on a younger female audience with stories reflecting teenaged girls and their choices in life. The March 1953 issue had a young lady on the cover, smiling, with cover lines above her head that read: Jail Bait – Story of a Teen Temptress, I Was Wedding Ring Crazy, and Are You Satisfied With Your Husband – Vital Facts About Ideal Marriage. The magazine was filled with ads of all kinds, from hair color to Q-Tips, it was clear MacFadden didn’t discriminate. With over 140 pages, the magazine was a dream-come-true for anyone starving for wild love stories and a serious shopping passion. It was possibly ahead of its time.

After a dose of “truth” magazine style, next up, we take a look at romance and love in the magazines of March 1953. It was a totally different ballgame then as you will soon see…

So, get ready for Chapter Nine – Romance and Love in March 1953.

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True, Detective, And Confessions Magazines: The Magazines And I. Chapter 8, Part 2.

June 17, 2021

True, Detective, and Confessions Magazines … is the 8th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter eight, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

FRONT PAGE DETECTIVE

In 1921, George T. Delacorte, Jr., founded the Dell Publishing Company with the intent of entertaining readers dissatisfied with the genteel publications of the time. Known more for puzzle magazines, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery MagazineAsimov’s Science Fiction, and Analog Science Fiction and FactFront Page Detective was still in the mystery genre, but had more of a “true crime” feel and look.

The March 1953 issue offered up a very beautiful redhead on the cover with the line: Necklace of Death for Rosamond. With ads galore and stories as murderously sensational, the magazine fit right in with the crime drama sections of newsstands.

HEADQUARTERS DETECTIVE

Published by Hillman Periodicals, who were also known for their true confession and true crime magazines, and for the long-running general-interest magazine Pageant, Headquarters Detective was another “true” crime title. Competing with MacFadden and Fawcett, Hillman put out titles such as true confessions magazines (Real Story, Real ConfessionsReal Romances) and crime magazines (Crime DetectiveReal DetectiveCrime Confessions).

The April 1953 issue had cover lines such as Honeymoon of Horror and My Girl’s Being Murdered and offered 16 extra pages, with a very voluptuous blonde woman on the cover. A photograph made to look like an illustration, of course, the 1953 cover was striking, while the cover lines were definitely alluring. 

INSIDE DETECTIVE

Another Dell publication, Inside Detective fell into step with Front Page Detective and the other “true crime” titles on the market. 

The March 1953 issue proclaimed: She Was A Kiss and Tell Killer and had a young woman with a glass of alcohol sitting at her elbow on the cover. The magazine had professional models within the pages, yet had the same sense of “true crime” style throughout.

MANHUNT

Launched in January 1953 as a monthly digest, it played briefly (from March 1957 to May 1958) with a larger format to enhance newsstand sales. However, that wasn’t successful, and it soon went back to its digest size and shortened its frequency to bimonthly. The magazine ran for almost 15 years and brought on a succession of reprints, from the U.K. to Australia.

The March 1953 issue had a fantastic cover with a wide-eyed woman, fear plain in her gaze, and a man’s hand heading for her throat, with no cover lines, but a list of magnificent authors. From Mickey Spillane to Craig Rice and stating every story new, the issue may have been digest-sized, but it was chocked full of great content, including a serial by Mickey Spillane called “Everybody’s Watching Me.”

MASTER DETECTIVE

Master Detective was one of Bernarr MacFadden’s publications and was a sister title to MacFadden’s highly successful True Detective. These titles appealed to the same working class audience as its pulp fiction competitors, and became very popular with audiences. The March 1953 cover of Master Detective has a wide-eyed woman with flaming red hair above a cover line that reads “Beautiful, But Deadly. She had a way with men, a gun to back it up.” Apparently, women were deadly creatures in March 1953. In the world of true crime magazines anyway.

The magazine itself is filled with stories about women with evil intent and the men they intended to bestow that evil upon. True? Possibly. Within the genre, True Detective was regarded as the standard bearer of quality and reliability. Maybe its sister Master Detective followed suit.

STARTLING DETECTIVE

Startling Detective is another Fawcett Publication and makes a play for real life mystery stories by using actual photographs as its illustrations. The March 1953 issue contains 10 true features including Two Telegrams From A Corpse and Fickle Fiancée and Murder. And of course, all the stories lend well to illustration. The actual photographs coupled with the very good illustrations make this magazine a definite standout. 

To be continued…

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