Archive for the ‘The Magazines And I Book’ Category

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March 8: It’s My Birthday… Reliving The Past

March 6, 2022

March 8 is my birthday. At age 10 I fell in love with magazines. The rest is history. A history that you will read about it soon in the book I am working on The Magazines And I. What follows is part of the book’s introduction. Hope you will enjoy…

The Beginning

Addictions can manifest in many shapes and forms. They take over your life. They can start at any age. Imagine being a 10-year-old junkie. Addicted to something with no control. If you can’t imagine it, allow me to step into your mind and help you envision it. 

In order to help you fully understand, I have to start at the very beginning. I was born and raised in Tripoli, Lebanon. I can vividly recall the two things that really impacted my young life: my dad’s storytelling from the Bible and my grandpa’s reading from it. It’s the only book I ever remember my father telling me stories from, and it made a definite impression on me and how I viewed my life. It was my first interaction with ink on paper and the power it possessed.

The Box of Wonders

In those times, it was safe to go out in the neighborhood and play with friends for hours. We would interact with all sorts of people in the city. One of those people was a peddler who used to ply his wares on the streets of Tripoli. He had a container that was referred to as the “viewer’s box.” It was this big, giant viewfinder, the kind you can still buy today in the toy department at Wal-Mart, only a much, much larger version. The peddler would go around the streets of the city with a monkey sitting on top of his shoulder, and when he came into our neighborhood he would call to my friends and me to “look” into the box. He would have around ten strips inside that would tell a story. The viewer was 3D and had three openings where you could place your eyes to watch, and as we watched the slides click by, the man would verbally unfold the riveting tale while we watched.

After the short show, we would laugh and clap with delight as the monkey would come out and collect the money the man charged for the afternoon diversion. 

These small glimpses, teases, into a world of visual and verbal stimulation, would be a slight spark in a very young boy’s life that would grow to an inferno when that boy became a man.

Remembering that long-ago afternoon with the peddler’s homemade viewfinder now, I realize that that was the moment in time when I learned that the visuals can make the story. The entire tale he shared with us was based upon the pictures. 

And I suppose that was the very beginning, the first pebble that would put me on the road to my destiny. 

The Man of Steel

In 1962, we had just gotten our first television set. It was a large brown box with an oval-shaped screen that only showed pictures in black and white. In the 1960s, television in Lebanon was not available 24 hours a day. The first programming started at 6:30 p.m.  The first hour was reserved for children’s programming and then the rest of the programming was for adults, and went until 10:30 or 11:00 pm. By no means did television rule or dictate your day.

What mainly attracted us (my friends and I) to the children’s programming, were these characters: Mighty Mouse, Popeye, and Casper. Then, when I was 10 years old, we started seeing advertising touting the phrase: “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…Superman.”

It was a new magazine. Back then, in Lebanon, we called all the comic books magazines. The combination of the ad and the storyline was so fascinating. It made all the kids where I lived – in a 10-apartment complex – say, “Wow, I need to see this!”

When the magazine hit the newsstands, I knew I had to have it. Back then, my allowance was 40 cents a week. The magazine cost 40 cents. It was fate.

When I held the magazine in my hands for the first time, ran the pads of my fingers across the shiny cover, I felt an indescribable sensation that felt similar to an adrenaline rush. At that moment, I truly believe I was ordained, my life’s path had been chosen before I was born and at the age of 10, I was at last privy to a glimpse of my future; that day, my heart stopped pumping blood and began to pump ink.

The most important facet of the “Superman” transformation to me was the fact that it was my magazine. Mine. It wasn’t borrowed. No one was going to read it to me and not finish it. I would be able to absorb it, cover to cover, at my leisure. That was what was mesmerizingly unbelievable to me.

Without even knowing where all this would lead, or even what it really meant at the age of 10, I began the journey. I think the transformation unwittingly molded me into the person I am now as an adult: one of those people who believe it’s not as important to see the end destination as it is to be on the right track. You have to be on the right track, even if the bright path before you narrows into a dark, small tunnel. If you are, then God will make sure your end destination is beyond your wildest dreams.

And I think that’s what put me on the right track – the fascination that suddenly I was in control of the show and tell, of the story, of the imagination, of everything. 

The Art of Show & Tell

Before too long, I was designing and creating content for my own little creations. Crayon and marker magazines that became my escape into a world foreign, yet so vivid and familiar, it was as though I had known it from the womb.

Little did I know that addiction starts out this way, it was such an extreme that I would get so immersed in reading that I could not even eat without a magazine at the table next to me. I could not drink without a magazine next to me. That is, until I got married and the magazine was banned from the breakfast table or the lunch table.

I was always reading. If I was on a bus, I was reading a magazine. If I was walking down the sidewalk, I was reading a magazine. It was as though I couldn’t function normally if a magazine wasn’t with me. Addiction at its best (or worst, however you might look at it).

A funny story – I don’t know if it was funny at the time – but my dad used to be a foreman in a refinery in Tripoli, Lebanon,  and there was a private beach on the Mediterranean for the employees’ children. Every summer, a bus would run hourly and collect the employees’ children and their friends, and then bring them back home in the evening. It was approximately a 15-minute ride to the beach. One time, on the way home from the beach, I was so engrossed in reading a magazine that I was paying no attention to my surroundings and assumed that the bus had reached our apartment. Unlike the U.S., buses operated with their doors open and without seatbelts of any kind, this was the 1960s after all. As I continued reading my magazine, I stepped off the bus at what I believed to be my apartment stop. The problem was it was not my apartment stop and the bus was still in motion when I stepped off. 

Addiction or Fascination

I remember the incident vividly, as if it were yesterday, it was like something was restraining me, pressing back against my body and then fast and hard, it pushed me all the way down against the asphalt. Boom, gone. I woke up in the hospital. I saw my mom and the first thing I asked for was my magazine. I don’t know if the accident messed up my brain that day, but it seemed a good sign that the obsession, the addiction, the gift, or whatever you want to call it, clearly was in full force by that age. 

I wish I could say that after I grew up I changed my habits, but I remember as an adult, driving from my office when I was working at a newspaper, reading and flipping through a magazine that was lying on the seat next to me, not paying any attention until the sounds of car horns alerted me to look up and I realized that I had almost driven into a utility pole. At that point, I promised myself I’d never again read a magazine when I was driving. I started putting the magazines on the back seat instead of the front, but like any promises an addict makes to himself, it only lasted a week or two.

After the first issue of Superman came out, everyone was fascinated with the “Man of Steel” and the flying cape. Still to this day, I remember hearing rumors of people trying to jump out of windows when Superman first appeared on the scene. There saving grace was that they lived on the first floors of their buildings. 

As Superman became more popular, it also increased in price. And something major happened 19 weeks later when issue 19 came out on June 11, 1964. It came with a gift – a Superman emblem that you could stitch to your shirt. But as with most magazines, when something like that happens, the price is increased. The price for that issue was 70 piasters, and of course, my allowance was 40 piasters. I could not buy the magazine immediately. I asked my dad for another 30 piasters. I told him it was to buy my Superman magazine and he said he wasn’t going to give me money to waste on paper, and that I didn’t need that “stuff”; little did he know that I needed that stuff very badly. Nothing can stand between an addict and his addiction, much less a little thing like money.

In Lebanon, there were grocery stores on the corner every few blocks, one of which was located directly across the street from my apartment. You could buy sugar, milk, coffee, magazines, newspapers, and other items on a daily basis – it wasn’t a time when you could do all your shopping for the week at once. The owner of the store kept a little notebook where he would compile a tab of your family’s groceries that you would settle with him at the end of every month. One afternoon as I entered the store, my pockets 30 cents shy of the amount I needed for the issue, I wondered how in the world I was going to get that special copy without the rest of the money. I walked up to the owner.

“I would like my Superman magazine, please,” I told him, my mind churning with ideas on how I was going to pull this one off.

“The price for this issue is almost double, 70 ,” the owner said.

“Just put it on my dad’s tab,” I told him.

The minute the words flew out of my mouth, I knew there was no taking them back. And I didn’t even want to. I had to have that issue.

Needless to say, my dad saw the cost of the copy on his bill at the end of the month and I got punished with a good spanking. But…I still got my magazine.

It is Physical

I soon realized that it was the actual, physical presence of the magazine itself that grabbed me more than the content of what I was reading. Even at that young age, I knew there was more to it than just Superman. I felt that no matter how much I loved the Man of Steel, I loved the idea of the magazine more, holding it, reading the story, flipping the pages incessantly. Because I was really not as fascinated by the superhero himself as all my friends were, it was very easy for me to move on from getting every issue of Superman to getting other new magazines. I began to buy first issues of others. At that stage, it was still all comics.

Once I had a little more allowance, if I saw a magazine that I liked, I would buy it. In junior high, I used to watch my friends buying a Pepsi and a piece of cake during recess, but I would hold my 50 cents because I wasn’t going to waste it on Pepsi. I could at least buy something lasting, a magazine. That fascination was always there. I became obsessed with buying first editions. It was like some higher power put me on this track, one issue at a time. And it’s funny, when I remember sitting down to compare and evaluate those magazines, I would compare all those first editions and daydream about cover stories and what they were going to be. At that time, I was completely convinced that what I had found was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Along with my magazine addiction, I also revered education. I remember my early childhood, crying at the door, wanting to go to school with my sister and brother. I still remember on my own first day, I ran out of my new class trying to find my sister’s class. I was fascinated by the idea of school, but even more fascinated with creating my own imaginary class. I would create exams and tests for imaginary students that I would grade. I would create grade books for those imaginary students. I would lecture about different topics, and I would hold discussions with students on how they could enhance their grade. 

Today, those childhood practices seem eerily familiar.

So it begins

When I finally came to the realization that I could not buy every magazine because I didn’t have the funds, I started trying to find little jobs. In high school, I even befriended the wholesaler in town, so I could see the magazines before they were distributed that morning.

One day the wholesaler said, “Kid, why don’t you go on to school and start coming here in the evenings? I will let you see what magazines we are going to distribute in the morning and I’ll let you buy them from here.”

I was like a kid in a candy store. To be able to get the magazines before anybody else in town, the night before, regardless of the magazine, was utopia to me. 

To be continued…

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.

Founder and Director

Magazine Media Center: To preserve the past, present, and future of magazine media.

samir.husni@gmail.com

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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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Music & Entertainment 1953 Style. The Magazines And I Book. Chapter 12, Part 3.

November 28, 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 three.  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?

MOVIE PIX

Movie Pix was a bimonthly magazine that was published by Astro Distributing Corporation and offered up great photographs of all the Hollywood legends and stars. From Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner to Rory Calhoun, this entertainment magazine had the pictures you must see and the stories you must read if you were a Hollywood fan.

The February/March 1953 issue had Betty Grable and her notorious legs on the cover, taking a bubble bath in an old-fashioned ornate bathtub. The stories inside featured Ava Gardner, Donald O’Connor, Gregory Peck and a host of others. Celebrity entertainment at its best.

MOVIE PLAY

This magazine had the inimitable F. Orlin Tremaine as its editor in chief. Tremaine had been the editor for the influential Astounding Stories for many years. Movie Play was yet another celebrity title that offered film reviews, information on television, fashion and gossip that couldn’t be missed. 

The March 1953 issue had Piper Laurie and her “Lucky Bunny” on the cover and proclaimed that it was open season on Hollywood Bachelors. And of course ten years with Elizabeth Taylor was a given. One just had to read the magazine cover to cover. 

MOVIE STARS PARADE

Ideal Publishing and William Cotton couldn’t be outdone when it came to the Hollywood celebrity magazines as Movie Stars Parade was another of their titles. With the tagline: the magazine for smart young moviegoers, the magazine’s mission was to be savvy and upbeat, interviewing and photographing everyone who was anyone in Hollywood.

The March 1953 edition had Ann Blyth on the cover and declared they had the man who knew her best inside the covers. Another star confesses her angst over why men jilt her. It’s a bit of a repeat performance here with some of the other celeb titles, but there seemed to be room for one more. 

MOVIE WORLD

Another bimonthly magazine devoted to the world of movies and movie stars, Movie World was published by Interstate Publishing Corp. in New York City under the editorship of Bessie Little and publisher Martin Goodman.  In her letter from the editor Ms. Little encourages the magazine readers to stay interested in films by buying the sister publications of Movie WorldScreen Stars and Filmland.

Movie World describes itself as “Hollywood’s Intimate All-Picture Magazine,” and the March 1953 features Doris Day, staring in the movie “April in Paris,” on the cover. However the big cover line, touts Marilyn Monroe’s own glamour secrets in addition to Lana’s greatest love. The magazine was divided into four sections: Hollywood Hilites, Hollywood Works, Hollywood Plays, and Hollywood at Home.

MUSIC JOURNAL

This magazine was founded by songwriter Al Vann and Choral Director Fred Waring in 1943, although only Vann was listed as publisher and advertising director. Vann had been a young Broadway actor and composed several songs throughout his lifetime: “Forever More,” “I Never Care About Tomorrow,” and “Old Man Moon.” The magazine was a look at the world of music from an educational viewpoint, in fact music educator Ennis Davis was the magazine’s editor.

The March 1953 issue was filled with articles about church festivals in Atlanta, the lowdown on orchestras, and movies and music. It had a musical crossword and a music quiz. Just a fun and informative magazine with an educational slant that couldn’t be ignored, yet didn’t make it stodgy at all. 

MUSIC OF THE WEST MAGAZINE

Joining together, many western music teachers associations, such as in Arizona, Oregon and Washington State, were featured in this educational tool used to inform and instruct on musicians of Western America. Founded in 1945, the magazine was `inspirational in connecting music teachers out west.

The March/April 1953 issue had Californian and Mezzo-Soprano Ruth Reynolds on its cover, a Coronado native who made a name for herself in the musical world during the ‘40s and ‘50s. There were letters from Europe and music and book reviews, along with all kinds of ads for music classes, pianos and other things of musical interest. The issue had a savvy look and a nice feel to only be 15 pages.

To be continued…

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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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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…

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Sports Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 11, Part 3.

September 30, 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 three.  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 three.

SPORT

Macfadden Publications brought monthly Sport magazine to life. It was one among many titles in Bernarr Macfadden’s publishing empire of Physical CultureTrue DetectiveTrue RomancesDream WorldTrue Ghost StoriesPhotoplay and the tabloid New York Graphic, along with True Story. The magazine was launched in 1946 and is especially notable because it created the 1955 Sport Magazine Award, which was awarded to the most valuable player in the World Series. The award was expanded over the years to include the outstanding post-season performer in all four major team sports, as sanctioned by the leagues.

The March 1953 cover is electric, especially if one was a basketball fan, since Bob Cousy of the Boston Cletics graced its front in a most eloquent in-action pose. Showing that the magazine covered all sports, The Ten Greatest Fights by Nat Fleischer (who founded The Ring magazine) was a cover line. It was another coup for already king of the publishers, Bernarr Macfadden. 

SPORT LIFE

Martin Goodman was a very busy publisher as he brought to life yet another great sports title, this one called Sport Life. Goodman was determined to have as many different titles as possible in the marketplace as this one covered the “sport” life, the entire view of all your favorite sports, from football to baseball to boxing.

February/March 1953 had content about football, boxing, baseball, along with a Sport Life exclusive all about America’s 10 Greatest Sports Heroes. The cover was phenomenal as it featured the Crimson Tide’s Bobby Marlow smack-dab in the center with other great players surrounding him, such as Joe Black from the Brooklyn Dodgers and Rocky Marciano. A great addition to Goodman’s already pulsating group. 

SPORTS STARS

Martin Goodman strikes again with Sports Stars magazine. This title was all about the players (the stars) rather than the actual games. From boxing to baseball, notable players were highlighted and talked about. Sugar Ray and Satchel Paige, Horatio Alger and Duke Snider, this magazine covered all the important stars of the era. And not just the pros, college athletes were also included.

March 1953 highlighted University of Seattle’s basketball stand-out Johnny O’Brien and Sugar Ray on the cover, along with Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers fame and All-American basketball player Bob Speight from North Carolina State. Stories from Inside the Diamond and others that spotlighted great players from all sports. This bimonthly had all the info a fan could want about their favorite professional or college player. 

SUPER SPORTS

This pulp magazine was a combination of sports fiction and fun facts that covered many sports, from boxing to baseball to football. Published by Columbia Publications, which consisted of Louis Silberkleit and Maurice Coyne, who started publishing many pulp titles in 1934 with different imprints, the two men started Columbia Publications in late 1937. 

The March 1953 issue had 132 pages of content with a cover that depicted a boxing match, complete with a devastating blow sending one of the men to the mat. From short stories like In This Corner and Curling Isn’t For Cowards. The illustrations weren’t in color, but the writing was engaging and the stories were plentiful, so it was a great title for sports fans who wanted an escape. 

THE ATHLETIC JOURNAL

This magazine was published by The Athletic Journal Publishing Company which was founded by Major John L. Griffith, a name many may not recognize, but should be noted when it comes to collegiate sports history. Griffith was the Big Ten’s first commissioner in 1922 until his death in 1945. He was an advocate for fitness in athletics and elevated and professionalized college coaching to the next level. In his opinion, fitness was vital when it came to sports and life in general. 

The March 1953 issue of the magazine, which was Volume 33, Number 7, still carried his name on the masthead, with information editors galore. There were articles on track, baseball, football, gymnastics, golf, and tennis. The magazine’s tagline was “Nation-wide Amateur Athletics,” and even had stories on some high school football. It was a very informative title that paid quiet tribute to the man who founded its belief in collegiate sports.

THE RING

The Ring, which was self-proclaimed as the World’s Foremost Boxing Magazine, was first published in 1922 as a boxing and wrestling magazine, but eventually shifted to boxing only. It was founded by Nathaniel Fleischer, who was a noted boxing writer and collector. Today, the magazine is owned by Oscar De La Hoya, the former “Golden Boy” of boxing and is still going strong. In its heyday, the magazine sported a disclaimer that read “a magazine which a man may take home with him. He may leave it on his library table safe in the knowledge that it does not contain one of matter either in the text or the advertisements which would be offensive.” 

The issue dated March 1953 featured story after story that portrayed the exciting world of boxing, with an illustration of welterweight boxer, Chuck Davey on its cover. Stories about Rocky Marciano, then heavyweight champion of the world, and Jersey Joe Walcott, Chuck Davey and Kid Gavilan. It was an issue that took you into the boxing world of March 1953 and immersed you in the fights. Just a great read. 

WHO’S WHO IN THE BIG LEAGUES

Who’s Who in the Big Leagues was published annually by Dell Sports Group, a division of Dell Publishing that was started by George T. Delacorte Jr. in 1921. While Delacorte had humble beginnings, the company became a powerhouse in magazine publishing, including pulp magazines, paperbacks and its dip into sports. 

In March 1953, the annual title chose St. Louis Cardinals and Hall of Famer Stan Musial for its cover, with stories by Jackie Robinson and Jimmy Dykes to tempt the palates of sports fans everywhere. It was a large, colorful magazine that had more statistics and information than you could read in one sitting, with no ads at all. It’s a step above many annuals of its day and certainly a keeper for collectors of anything “baseball.”

Chapter Twelve is up next and if you listen very closely you can hear a preview of it now from the open door of Mr. Magazine’s™ vault….music & entertainment – March 1953 style!

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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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