Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Saturday Evening Post, January 4th 1936 / J.C. Leyendecker New Year's Baby

It's always out with the new and in with the old here at Darwination Scans, but I'll take pause to reflect that it was a very good year on our little blog here and to promise even more discovery and stimulation in the year to come.

It's been a very good year in my family life and a great year for magazine scans, so let's break out the bubbly, baby. I found tonight's magazine in a little antique store a block or two past the end of Boulder, Colorado's downtown while on vacation a Summer or two ago. It was in bad shape and overpriced but magic!

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Who can divine what the future holds, eh? Brilliant composition here - all the wonderful and twisting curves, all the different reflective surfaces, the enchantingly cute baby, the rich detail of a scene full of exotic objects -fantastic!

The New Year's Baby, a long-time American icon, first appeared on the Post's cover in 1906 and it was the last cover Leyendecker would do for the post in 1943. I went looking for a gallery of them all put together, but alas, no blogger has attempted this feat yet. I don't know much about Leyendecker, but I can instantly recognize his distinct style. Certainly a giant in American illustration. For an introduction I'll point you to Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.'s fantastic website, BPIB. Here's his page on Leyendecker with bio and many images. There is also a nice gallery here at the excellent American Art Archives site. And if you are interested in the artist, you are in luck, there's a new edition of his work that just came out in 2008 by Laurence and Judy Cutler. My wife got it for me for X-mas, and it looks great. There's a nice review of the book with pictures here.

Thanks again to McCoy for his outstanding restoration work on the cover and for his edit of this magazine. Not to short-shrift, but I posted this one on a whim, so I will quickly post the contents and a handful of samples from this great slick magazine as New Year's Eve awaits...Enjoy and Happy New Year!

The Saturday Evening Post v208n27 (1936-01-04)(Darwination-McCoy).cbr
Get the scan here!

Contents. A fellow pulp scanner pointed out to me that The Hurricane which begins this issue was adapted as a John Ford film, I'll have to track it down. I find the pre-war look at Japan interesting, and there's lots of good fiction in here along with some very nice illustrations and vintage advertising.


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And remember party-goers, in the morning, when you welcome the shining new year still feeling the excesses of the previous, there is a cure!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Follow-Up / Snap 1941-04 & Jest 1942-07

A Merry Christmas to everyone! Santa brought me mostly books this year, but what more can a guy want? I spent a nice afternoon yesterday thumbing some great new books on J.C. Leyendecker, Norman Saunders, and Robert Maguire, along with the second volume of Bad Mags. For a scanner/collector like me, that means writing down many a scan target, so I'd guess we'll see some blogging on some of these subjects in the year to come.

I promised sports pulp, and indeed I will deliver next time, but for now a quick follow-up to Spot. Sorting my incoming scans folder last night, I came across a couple of scans from my friend McCoy that fill out my ramblings from last time on Spot. So today, I figured I'll post some covers and samples for two other four-lettered magazines from the approximate time period of Spot with a similar format. Trends come and go in the magazine industry, and any successful magazine is bound to have imitators. And that's not to say all the imitators of a trend are of lesser quality or don't bring in fresh approaches within the theme. Or that originators don't in turn incorporate facets of an imitator's magazine. Or that oft-times separate magazines are feeding from same trends in culture and printing technology.

In any case, here's two magazines very much in the vein of Spot, oversized, thin, and jam-packed with photos, all less risque than their predecessors in the girlie pulp and risque humor publications. Maybe the big pages were more in-step with the idea of the pin-up, more suitable for the soldiers headed off to war. Maybe the paper rationing equated to using a format to create the illusion of bigness for a smaller amount of paper. Giant pages but very thin magazines. McCoy tels me he has a couple more magazines that might fall into this genre is his stack, so there are yet more titles of this magazine to explore. But today, for your perusal, the April 1941 issue of Snap and the July 1942 issue of Jest!

Snap v01n05 (1941-04).Get the scan here.

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A pictorial on censored kisses.

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And I'll post in full the pictorial on the dangers of tourist cabins. I got a kick out of this one, where were all the tourist cabins when I was in high school, dammit?!

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and onto...

Jest v01n06 (1942-07). Get the scan here.

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This cover is really something else. I'm not sure if it's a cute cover gone awry or what. A mixture of dirty and weird, I get a sleazy vibe, har har

A recipe for cheesecake, eh?

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Pin-ups and their pets, a peek at a peke?

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Lastly, a war bonds cartoon from Courtney Dunkel. Dunkel worked in some of the earliest comics for Dell in the 20s, did cartoon work for Judge in the 30s, and worked on syndicated strips at various points in his career. His lambiek page is here.

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Once again, thank you McCoy for these scans and all your work in the digital preservation of vintage magazines. You're definitely one of the guys on the scan scene that is making it happen.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Spot, October 1940 / Evolution of the Girlie Magazine

Well I seem to have taken a bit of a breather here from the posting, but let's get back at it, shall we.

Up tonight, the second issue of Spot, a thin but over-sized burlesque magazine from October of 1940. I was just googling to confirm that the publisher listed, Country Press, Inc., is as I suspected a Fawcett operation and came across an article from Time in the same month of publication as our issue tonight. I think it sets the scene wonderfully, check it out:

The Press: Sewage Disposal from Time 1940-10-14

Great stuff! The culprit here is Man to Man, and look at the contributors. In a publicity stunt, a distributor is picked up and hauled in. I get the general feeling that the mid-30s witnessed a general tightening of the public morals. The country had seen what the free-wheelin' living of the 20s had wrought and seems to have tightened up. Catholic groups were pressuring newsstands to clean it up and city ordinances were drafted to prohibit sale or crack down on under the counter sales of spicy materials. But whatever the cause, the mid-late 30s saw the end of the classic girlie pulp. Tattle Tales, Gay Parisienne, Paris Nights, Pep Stories, etc. would all cease publication during this period. I'm not sure what I'll find yet, but I think there are some interesting publications in this period of uncertainty. The girlie pulp had died, but at the same time it was becoming possible to use much more photography cheaply in your publications. The magazines of the 40s are very visual in their exploration of the use of photos. If anything, they are almost overrun with photos. Time, Look, and Pic are the sort of magazine I'm thinking of, big and beautiful to behold. I can see how a publisher of burlesque material could see the potential, and that's where this magazine comes in. Soon magazines like Harrison's Beauty Parade (though lacking nudes) would begin to point to a standard format for men's magazines that Playboy would come to replace as the general standard in men's magazines. Of course, Playboy would draw on the traditions of the humor/cartoon magazines as well which were numerous in the 40s. Anyways, I'm rambling but I suspect there are more magazines like this one from the period. I've been reading Dian Hanson's volumes on the history of Men's Magazines, so I've got more ruminating on this whole area to do before I can get much of a grasp on it. But on to tonight's magazine, Spot! And before I begin I can't forget to thank McCoy for his edit work on tonight's issue. Once again, he's done a splendid job and his help allows me to get many more magazines done than I might otherwise, so it is much appreciated.

A hip title by me, the spot is the place to be.

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Contortionists, whew. I'm not sure if it's sexy or icky, but what a cover. I'm reminded of the strange series Bolles did for Cupid's Capers earlier in the 30s. It makes for an eye-catching cover, I mean, I'd pick it off the rack and check it out for sure.

Stories include A New Twist on Broadway, Big City for a Day, Bathing Suits from a Bottle, Big Game American Style, Carburetor Carnival, Paulette Always Gets Her Man, The Hard Road to Screen Fame, Blow-Ups, Hollywood's Good Girl Lets Go!, A Hot Time in the Old Town, It's Fun to Be Fooled - Even When You're a Magician, It's a Living, Manhattan Beach, and Jump Joint on the Delta, my favorite feature, a ride to the wild side exploring a black juke joint in New Orleans a reflection of race attitudes of the day, fascinated and condescending at the same time.

Spot v01n02 (1940-10.Country Press)(Darwination-McCoy).cbr
Get the scan of the entire magazine here.

The indicia page:

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The editor, Fred Feldkamp, has a wiki here. It's nice to see both house photographers get some time up front like this.

I like the Bathing Suits From a Bottle article. I'll post it in it's entirety below. I especially like the second page where the editor poses the article as a conundrum for the censors. A bit of flaunting the question, I love it.

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Yes, flaunting the naughty laughs, humor and sex make great bedfellows in the magazines. I don't doubt that it's the occasional risque photo like this that sold many a magazine.

There is certainly a voyeuristic element here, traveling from spot to spot. The page on sunbathing almost looks like it was shot from a peeping tom's point of view.

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We're all just tourists through these exotic spots and locales, so maybe it's even safe to explore how the other half lives, eh? Here's the article on New Orleans' Tick Tock Tavern. The language no doubt offends modern-PC sensibilities, but I think it's a lovely pictorial besides its value as a barometer of race perceptions c.1940.

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I'll leave you with my own little moment of zen.

Next up, sports pulp!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wrestling World, July 1954 / Prince Maivia

Ok, a quick post of another 50s wrestling mag today before moving on to other topics.

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Wrestling World v01n04 (1954-07.Wrestling World) (darwin-dregs).cbr
Get the scan here.

From 1954, here's the fourth issue of Wrestling World. Another trip back in the wrestling time machine, this is a fun issue. Thanks to golden age comic scanner Darkmark for pointing out that the gentlemen on the cover is none other than Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's grandfather. A quick look at The Rock's wiki reveals that his maternal grandmother took over promotion of Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling when the elder Maivia died in 1982. I don't quite see the family resemblance from the cover and the photos within, but showmanship must run in the family. Interestingly Maivia objected to his daughter's marriage to Dwayne's pops, wrestler Rocky Johnson, who together with Tony Atlas were the first african-american World Tag Team Champions.

Wiki for Maivia

Maivia's hall of fame page at the WWE site, you can navigate from here to find info on Rocky Johnson.

Quite the wrestling lineage. There's no doubt The Rock has been great for the sport, I really enjoyed his shtick at the height of his career.

But on to the scan at hand. Contents:

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Both pages of the Maivia article

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Another sample. Enjoy the scan!

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Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Wrestling Scene 1950 / Guy Le Bow

The Wrestling Scene (1950.Homecrafts) (Darwination).cbr
Get the scan of the entire publication here.

All right rasslin fans, gather round. Here's one of my earlier scans, but I'm psyched to get it up here on my blog because it's an absolutely fantastic look at wrestling in the first half of the century, a rare resource on the topic. This was written in 1950 by Guy Le Bow and is something of an odd little book. It's bound like a pulp but with more of a cardboard, glossy cover on a paper that seems more consistent with a book than a magazine. The indicia says "Homecrafts Sports Division" New York, but the only other book found I could find for this publisher was another book by Le Bow called The Hockey Scene. I did find reference to this at least one place on the web:;f=10;t=001855

The Wrestling Scene was advertised in some issues of the golden age crime comic The Perfect Crime from Cross Publications, so I wonder if it was published by the same outfit...

And, yes, indeed, this is an awesome book. It's a response to the post-war boom in wrestling's popularity. A generation of Americans were trained in hand to hand combat and the new technology of the TV combined to make wrestling a phenomenon. Wrestling was selling TVs, and TVs were selling wrestling, and there's a chapter in here on what is happening in each of the wrestling regions around the country (one written by a young Harry Caray in St. Louis). Le Bow talks about when wrestling was immensely popular before the depression and gives gate figures and descriptions of some of the legendary early 20th century matches and wrestlers like Farmer Burns, Jim Londos (who made more in 1932 at the height of the depression than even Babe Ruth or Jack Dempsey), and Stanislaus Zybysko. The chapter on wrestling's longest matches is fairly brutal.

But, what can I say, my favorite part is all the pictures. These characters are absolutely fascinating and you can see some of the templates for character types that exist to this day.


Profuse samples this time around. Gotta do it. I kick it off with Farmer Burns, a wrestling legend from the early days. I've got some low quality scans of some of his written materials here.

Maurice Tillet, what a frightful mug.

LOL, I love the gimmick, but who's afraid of a guy named "The Smiler"?

Lord Carlton had a valet before Gorgeous George and undoubtedly influenced his act in many ways. There's a good page at a very neat House of Deception website on Lord Carlton with photos and examples of his artwork here.

Hey ladies in the place, I'm callin out to ya...

P.S. This was a severely water-damaged copy so the cover's a bit messed up and there's some crinkliness on the pages. I think there's some yellow in the cover too, but my copy only has a bit of it on one side. If one of you readers out there in scanland have a copy with a good cover, please send me a raw scan and I will replace the page in the file.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wrestling As You Like It July 10, 1954 / Gorgeous George Redux

Looking at Doc Lomazow's Magazine History blog today in a continued discussion on early television guide magazines, I am prompted to return to a 1950 magazine I posted in April of this year here. Steve's discussion of Chicago as a pioneering TV city reminded me of the TV listings in that early issue of Wrestling as You Like It I scanned and to realize that a more recent issue I scanned from 1954 no longer included these listings. I guess that the need for TV listings had passed on from wrestling lovers into the general population during this time and that the surge in circulation for TV Forecast might have made the TV listings in WAYLI redundant. I'll have to get some intervening issues to determine exactly when the mag stopped publishing the TV listings.

But on to the man of the hour! Gorgeous George! You plebes are not worthy! My grappling partner McCoy did the edit work on this issue, so thanks to go to him for rasslin whatever paper I send his way.

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Wrestling As You Like It v06n44 (1954-07-10.Wayli)(Darwination vs McCoy).cbr
Get the scan here.

Here's George on the cover, all pomp and circumstance, leering down at the unwashed masses. Good copy, no doubt, having this taunting goldilocks on the cover probably sold quite a few issues.

Since my initial post on Gorgeous George, I had the good fortune to come across John Capouya's 2008 book Gorgeous George: The Outrageous Bad-Boy Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture. Large claims, but the book does a pretty good job of explaining his giant impact on James Brown, Ali, and Bob Dylan three giants of American culture if there ever were. A very fun read, my one gripe is that it was over too soon. A lot of the best insights come from interviews with his first wife, Betty, who had a large part in the phenomenon. Very cool to see the guy get a bio, a great look into the old days of wrestling. I liked the book so much I sent it off as a gift to my stepdad, but before I sent it, I just had to scan this pic of George getting a do and reading a copy of The Ring. I love pictures of celebs reading magazines, and this is a classic.

Capouya's book includes a nice 16 page photo section that has some cool pics. I think the paperback is coming out soon, a great gift for a particular generation. I encounter and experience all manners of nostalgia as a magazine scanner from a wide variety of people with a wide variety of interests, but I can safely say that the response I've gotten from the small portion of people out there that download the wrestling scans is very energetic indeed. A whole generation of wrestlers have faded from the wrestling spotlight but aren't forgotten by the kids who watched them...

Anyways, on to tonight's scan. Another nice issue of WAYLI gives a snapshots of wrestling happenings in cities across the country when wrestling still meant all sorts of leagues and circuits and flavors in all parts of the nation. This issue even has an expose on wrestling in India which I've heard a story or two of being very popular back in the first half of the century. This mag has a feature onNielsen and Lisowski, a north-south tag team, news of Verne Gagne's title defense in Chicago, and a story of the Dusek brother's retaining the tag title in KC and more. Wrestling As You Like It is always a fun and dignified little read at 16 pages.

Sample. Mildred Burke. I've heard some strange stories about this icon of women's wrestling. I kind of like the tough looking girls in wrestling. There are some modern girl grapplers that are cute and athletic, but it sure seems like a lot of the girls go the way of silicone. I like the girl wrestlers with a natural beauty.

TAP OUT, TAP OUT, just when you can't take anymore - I'll return next time with another vintage wrestling pub sure to interest fans of the golden age of wrestling, sort of a who's who of the wrestling world c. 1950. Though I said I was gonna stay off the themes, I think I'll post a couple more wrestling scans from this period to fill out the stage. I've got some real goodies on the scanner these days in preparation for some posts on early girlie pulps and risque humor mags, so many mags, so little time! ! !

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Inside Detective, July 1946 / Hush Hush

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So tonight I thought I'd round up this sampling of 40s detective magazines with something of a counterpoint to the other examples, a very nice title from Dell, Inside Detective. This issue was edited by my pal Dr Oldschool who always shows good taste in his approach to old paper.

The printing and photographs are nice in Inside Detective, the stories pretty well written (if predictable), and I guess these are about what you'd expect from Dell. Dell comics are good comics, and apparently Dell magazines are good magazines. Sure, there's plenty of innuendo in these seedy tales of vice, but it's of a tamer variety than the more salacious titles. There is discussion of emerging forensic science, sociological factioids given, a focus on the process of the investigation, the relation between police departments and jurisdictions, etc. The models in the photographs are not baring their braziers and descriptions of the gore are left more to the text than in the photographs. This was probably a more accepted title to let your teens read, at least little Johnny isn't reading Women in Crime...

Inside Detective v23n07 (1946-07.Dell)(c2c.Darwin-Oldschool-DREGS).cbr
Get the scan here.

Contents for tonight's issue. I'll post the whole page because I like the bit about the boys who meet in a reformatory, become war heroes, then return to crime when they get back. They serve society well in one set of circumstances(war) but don't fit in before or after. The Commissioner's comments are pretty hardcore, I don't think a police could get away with saying this these days.

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The lead story (The Hush-Hush Murder Case) regards a pair of detectives that travel upstream to the site of a murder before the news of the corpses discovery. The part where a couple turtle hunting boys find the body is pretty gross along with the descriptions of the corpse as fish food. Eeew. Somehow the picture of the perpetrators in my mind's eye doesn't quite match the model's photograph:

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One page I found particularly interesting is the story of a false imprisonment. Apparently the magazines story on a flawed conviction led to this man's release:

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I managed to track down word of his reward from the state. Here's an AP press release from the following April. The guy got 10,000 bucks for 6 years of wrongful imprisonment, doesn't sound like too much in today's economy. The poor guy turned it right over to his ma who had gone into debt fighting to get her son out of jail for so many years.

Here's a splash page with illustration, I don't know the cartoonist. Other issues of Dell's true crime mags contain all sorts of joke panels, I don't doubt that some issues might contain illustration. Maybe there is material in these magazines that would interest those with interests in the artists that worked at Dell over the years.

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Here is a sort of mixture of photograph and art, a "photodiagram", an illustrator's rendering made more real by the fusion of art with photography in order to dramatize a scene. Neat effect.

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A couple of splashes, great colors. Oldschool did a nice job on the join pages.

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I leave with an interesting column on DOPE. Many Americans consider drug usage a modern phenomenon or at least a 20th century occurence but no. Why even the good detective Holmes had to have his daily helper...

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of 40s crime magazines. At some point in the future I'll be scanning some earlier examples. Maybe I can find some Jim Thompson in True Detective or some good Dillinger or Lindbergh Baby material. In any case, an important genre! There's a mountain of these to be scanned, hopefully there are some enthusiasts out there that will rise to the challenge of digitizing this lost genre of mags - they are a wealth of sociological data, a look a law enforcement through the ages, and artifacts of the American fear of and interest in crime.

These themed posts on early Hollywood and 40s true crime have been fun, but I'll take potpourri for $200, Alex. I'm going to mix it up here for a little bit for a few weeks and post an array of periodicals before I move on to my next themed topic (20s and 30s slicks!!!).