Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...

Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...
Click the image above for more information about our anthologies of men's adventure magazine stories and artwork

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The very politically incorrect tale of “Ann Dawes: Love Queen of the Pygmies”


Men’s adventure magazines did not create the subgenres of stories about “white queens” and “white kings” who rule some benighted group of “natives” in a jungle, on an island, or in some other exotic locale.

They are themes that goes back at least to the 1800s in British and American fiction. One famous example is H. Rider Haggard’s novel She, a story about the immortal white queen of a Central African tribe, which was first published in 1887.

Like their prewar pulp magazine forbears, men’s post-WWII adventure magazines continued and embellished this tradition in the 20th Century.

In some cases, they took the “white queen” or “white king” concept to new, politically incorrect “heights” — or in the case of today’s featured tale, now lows.

The story “ANN DAWES: LOVE QUEEN of the PYGMIES,” published in the November 1960 issue of Escape to Adventure magazine, has something to offend everyone.

It’s racist, misogynistic and offensive to Africans and little people. It’s also spiced with scenes that include, sex, voyeurism, bondage, torture and hallucinogenic drugs.

Of course, if you’re able to enjoy this kind of campy, kitschy relic of American pop culture, it’s a real hoot to read.

For example, here’s how the “Love Queen” makes her first appearance in the story, which was written by “Julian Blalock” (probably a pseudonym):

     “Be quiet, she comes, the tall white goddess approaches. Madami comes!” the dwarf warrior said.
     A rigid look of fear tinctured with awe flitted across the wrinkled doll faces of the warriors. Fred Wheeler heard the crackle of brush and twigs underfoot. Into the clearing stepped a white woman in riding boots and an open-necked white shirt. She carried a whip made from plaited monkey skin.
     Perched on her shoulder was a tiny ebony man who laughed and made fierce faces at the other natives who barely came up to her waist. He was M’pundu, the shenzi – a magician – and something of a privileged character because of his sleight-of-hand and self-proclaimed powers.
     The girl who carried him was Ann Dawes. In the entire blood-spattered saga of Africa, no despot was capable of greater cruelty than was this fair-haired daughter of a Scottish clergyman who ruled the Ituri Forest pygmies for several years at the beginning of this century.

Among other things, Anne is into male bondage and torture. Her latest victim is the hapless white manly man in the story, a Canadian journalist. To ensure that he’ll be in the right mood for what she has in mind, she gives him her special blend of local psychedelic herbs. Interestingly, this 1960 story — published half a decade before the hippie era and the San Francisco “acid tests” began — specifically describes the effects as being like LSD:

     “Fawzi! Bring the white bwana our sacred Bolozi drink.”
     ...Wheeler sniffed the gourd tiny Fawzi held up to his lips. He thought he detected ginger, goat’s milk, acacia leaves, musk and a strange acrid odor. The white man made a wry face. Then he saw the spearmen edge closer and hastily swallowed the concoction...
     Like today's wonder drug, lycergic acid, the fermented drink caused a riot of colors to float in his brain…strange geometric figures and designs writhed in his skull.”

I won’t tell you what happens next. But I’ll let you read it yourself, by clicking here to download the story in PDF format via Payloadz.

The PDF also includes the wild cover. The cover artist is not credited in the magazine. However, in the cover’s lower right corner, next to the scorpions, you can see the small, blocky initials “F.M.”

I believe that’s the partial signature of American illustrator Frank M. Rines (1892-1962). If you look at some of his fine art paintings, like the one at right, you’ll see a very similar looking “F.M” in his full signature (at lower left in the painting). And, the brushwork looks similar to me as well.

Rines is best known for his landscape paintings, as well as for illustrations he did for mainstream magazines and advertisements in the Fifties and Sixties.

He also wrote a number of booksabout drawing and painting that feature his work, including Landscape Drawing with Pencil, How to Draw with Pen, Brush and Ink, and How to Draw Trees.

If the politically incorrect cover of the November 1960 issue of Escape to Adventure was not painted by Rines and his descendants are aghast that I even suggested it, I’ll apologize. 

But I think I’m right. And, it doesn’t surprise me that Rines may have dabbled in men’s pulp mag art. As I’ve noted in previous posts, many top notch artists and writers provided work for men’s adventure magazines, especially in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

The “Love Queen of the Pygmies” cover may not have been the best painting F.M. Rines ever did. But it may be the wildest.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

An interview with David M. Earle, author of the new book All Man! Hemingway…


All Man!, by Dr. David M. Earle, is a fascinating new book that provides a unique perspective on men’s adventure magazines.

It traces the evolution of Ernest Hemingway’s giant-size public persona as reflected in vintage magazines, especially the men’s adventure and bachelor mags of the 1950s.

In doing this, Earle also provides fresh insights about the roles that men’s adventure and bachelor magazines played in the lives of World War II veterans and other men, especially in the Fifties.

It’s an amazingly well researched and well written book, and it’s generously illustrated with cover art and interior art from vintage magazines.

In addition, it reprints several hard-to-find articles about Hemingway, taken from men’s adventure magazines like Bluebook, True and Climax.

I really enjoyed and learned a lot from reading All Man! And, I highly recommended it to anyone interested in men’s magazines, other vintage magazines, Hemingway or 20th Century American cultural history in general.

Author David Earle is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages at University of West Florida in Pensacola. He teaches courses in literature there and has created a growing website with his students that discusses pulps, men’s adventure and bachelor magazines.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk with Earle and ask him some questions about All Man!

Here’s the first part of that interview...

How did you get interested in doing a book about Ernest Hemingway?

EARLE: I was born in Sun Valley, Idaho, near Ketchum, where Hemingway had one of his homes and eventually committed suicide. My mom was a nurse and my dad was a doctor. Actually, my mom was Hemingway’s nurse before he was taken to the Mayo Clinic in his final months and my dad was Mary Hemingway’s doctor. So my parents told me stories about Hemingway as frail, failing, quiet, and polite man. Very much different from the image that was presented, by himself and others, in the popular press, and especially different from the hyper-masculine role model found in the men’s magazines. So that was the initial inspiration for All Man! — my interest in the  conflict between the public and private Hemingway, between a romantic myth and reality.

As your book discusses, a lot of the Hemingway myth was reflected in the men’s magazines.

EARLE: Yes. And, Hemingway’s public image itself parallels the conflict between the romantic myth of the 1950s as “the Golden Years” and reality of those years. The men’s magazines of the era offer an excellent window into exploring this conflict, both of the culture and of the man.

So, that’s how you started studying men’s adventure magazines?

EARLE: I had actually done research on prewar pulp magazines and vintage men’s magazines for my previous book Re-Covering Modernism, which was more of an academic work. After that, I wanted to write a book for a wider audience that explored postwar men’s magazines. And All Man! was the fun and logical result. I initially started collecting men’s bachelor magazines, since they often published highbrow modernist authors, like Hemingway, William Faulkner and James Joyce, and I teach courses about modernist literature. But, as I collected, I came across more and more well known authors, particularly Hemingway, in the men’s adventure magazines. Indeed, there were so many examples by and about Hemingway that I saw there must have been something deeper going on in the culture and with Hemingway as a figure of masculinity.

What’s one of the most interesting things you learned about men’s adventure magazines in writing All Man!?

EARLE:  The most concentrated exploration of men’s adventure magazines that I make in the book, and which I find pretty enthralling and novel still, is how they offered veterans of World War II a means to deal with and categorize both their wartime experience and the difficulties of returning to United States. They returned to a society that was, for a large part, unaware of exactly how horrible their experiences had been. The bloody realities of the war had generally been censored by the government and avoided by the press.

So, the men’s adventure magazines helped veterans deal with their wartime experiences?

EARLE:  Yes. The end of the war was obviously a happy time, but also a very traumatic time: a difficult shift to a postwar economy, pressures of suburbanization, the simple difficulties of readjusting, and even the difficulty of expressing, to your family and yourself, the experience of war. Men’s adventure magazines like Battle Cry featured stories by and about vets, soldiering, battle. They offered columns for reuniting with former war buddies. They returned men to the camaraderie of soldiering, but in a safe place. The stories about war provided a text and narrative for vets to identify with. This is one of the important parts of healing for PTSD [post traumatic stress disorder], hence why “rap sessions” were implemented for vets returning from the Vietnam War. Audie Murphy, the World War II hero who became a famous actor, wrote an amazing story about this for Battle Cry in 1956 that was instrumental in breaking the previous taboo about discussing war-related mental problems. [Note: See more about this topic in the previous post, “Men’s adventure magazines and PTSD”.]

What about some of the other extreme aspects of men’s adventure magazines, like the “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” stories and Nazi bondage and torture covers?

EARLE:  All of the men’s adventure mags featured stories about men facing extreme situations. In addition to battle stories, there were other themes of men in extreme situations – men vs. animals, Nazis, nature, etc. Some of those may now appear ridiculous, but at the same time such fantastic situations make traumatic reality codifiable. One can deal with the tensions of the real world in a safe fantasy world of fiction. In the 1890s, adventure romances by authors such as H. Rider Haggard, Bram Stoker, and A. Conan Doyle, were incredibly popular because they allowed readers to deal with the tensions created by urbanization, industrialization, scientific advances, and globalization. Something similar was going on in America in the 1950s and this is one reason why men’s adventure magazines were so popular.

All Man! is one of three major books published in recent years that deal with men’s adventure magazines, the other two being It's a Man's World and Men's Adventure Magazines, which features the Rich Oberg collection Why do think there’s a growing interest in the postwar men’s adventure magazines?

EARLE:  I think that probably the easiest explanation is because of the Internet. Anyone who has collected pulps, whether prewar or postwar, for any period of time has witnessed a huge explosion in the popularity of these magazines because of eBay. Suddenly people know they can get these cool things which before where scattered in the hands of a much more limited number of collectors. Of course, the more academic answer is that we are a more visual culture, and the extremity of the covers offer a kitschiness that contrasts with our modern sensibilities. But for whatever reason, I am honored to be grouped with the other two excellent books you mentioned.

Thank you, Dr. Earle. We look forward to hearing more from you about vintage men’s magazines and hope that readers of this blog will help encourage your efforts by buying All Man!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Man vs. Octopus – “Cephalopods Ripped my Flesh!”


I know that an octopus is a generally shy creature that is very unlikely to attack a human.

But when I was a kid in the 1950s, some of my favorite vintage movies and TV show episodes had scenes with an attack by a large or even monstrous octopus.

In most of them, the octopus was laughably fake and cheesy. But the idea of giant killer octopus was kind of cool and creepy.

That’s probably why I love cover paintings from vintage men’s adventure magazines that feature octopus attacks.

The three octopus covers shown in this post are by three legendary pulp artists who provided covers and illustrations for many prewar pulp magazines, men’s adventure magazines and paperback books: George Gross, Clarence Doore and Walter Popp.

You can (and should) read more about each of them on the terrific website “Field Guide to Wild American PULP ARTISTS,” created by artist David Saunders, son of artist Norman Saunders.

My personal favorite giant octopus attack cover painting is the one done by George Gross for the May 1958 issue of Man’s Conquest magazine.

It’s as rip-snortingly cool as the killer crocodile cover painting he did for the January 1958 issue of Man’s Conquest, which I featured in a previous post.

As a scuba diver, I also love the divers vs. octopus scene that artist Clarence Doore created for the February 1858 issue of Real Men magazine, shown below.

And, of course, any fan of men’s adventure magazines can appreciate the classic combination of the heroic manly man and a scantily-clad babe being attacked by a dangerous creature on the cover of the October 1956 issue of Men’s Pictorial. That one was painted by the great Walter Popp.

Check ‘em out…

You may also want to check out these books about pulp art and artists…

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A look at some of the notable writers published in men’s adventure magazines


In addition to having great painted covers and interior artwork by some of the top illustrators of the era, the best men’s adventure magazines had articles and stories by many talented writers.

Some of the best known writers whose work was published in men’s postwar pulp magazines include: Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Jimmy Breslin, Harlan Ellison, William Faulkner, Bruce Jay Friedman, Harry Harrison, Ernest Hemingway, Elmore Leonard, Mario Puzo, Robert Ruark, Robert Silverberg, Mickey Spillane, Jim Thompson, S.J. Perelman, and Alvin Toffler.

And, if you Google the names of other writers you see in men’s adventure magazines, you’ll find that many are widely-published pros.

For example, as noted in my previous post, the WWII bomber story featured in the December 1967 issue of Man’s Magazine“Yank Ace Who Saved the Anzio Invasion” — was written by Robert F. Dorr.

Dorr went on to become one of our country’s most respected and prolific military historians. His latest book (which I highly recommend) is Hell Hawks!

Another article in the December ‘67 issue of Man’s Magazine, titled “How Dick Biondo Stopped a Viet Cong Guerilla Attack,” was written by Glenn Infield.

Infield was a bomber pilot during World War II, like the one in Dorr’s “Yank Ace” story.

After the war, he worked as a pilot and various other jobs before eventually becoming a professional writer who focused primarily on war-related history topics.

When Infield died at age 60 in 1981, he had written over 300 magazine articles and nine books. One of his best known works is Eva and Adolf(1974), a book about that strange couple, Eva Braun and Adolf Hitler.

An interesting environmental expose in the December ‘67 issue of Man’s Magazine, titled “Booby Traps in Your Home,” was written by Leonard F. Guttridge(b. 1918).

In addition to writing many stories for men’s adventure, science fiction and mainstream magazines, Len Guttridge wrote a number of critically acclaimed history books, including: Ghosts of Cape Sabine: The Harrowing True Story of the Greely Expedition; Icebound: The Jeannette Expedition's Quest for the North Pole, and Mutiny: A History of Naval Insurrection.

The December ‘67 issue of Man’s Magazine also features a classic “bad girl” pulp fiction story titled “The Sullied Virgin.” it’s actually an excerpt from the classic pulp paperback Tomcat, and “Peter Kanto” is actually one of the many pen names of writer Hugh Zachary(b. 1928).

Zachary has been an amazingly prolific author. He’s written over 100 books and thousands of stories in almost every genre, from Westerns and romance to mystery, horror and science fiction. His most recent book is Munday, a murder mystery set in North Carolina.

The “Book Bonus” in the December ‘67 issue of Man’s Magazine — “Life and Loves of an Irishman” — is an excerpt from the infamous novel Goodbye the the Hill, by the best-selling Irish novelist Lee Dunne (b. 1934).

That novel, published in 1965, was the first of several books by Dunne that were banned in Ireland, giving him lasting notoriety. Since then, he has written 18 novels, 10 stage plays and dozens of scripts for Irish and British radio and TV shows. Several of his novels, including Goodbye to the Hill, were made into movies.

Another noteworthy writer who contributed an article to the December ‘67 issue of Man’s Magazine was Tedd Thomey (1920-2008). His piece, a profile of actor Charles Bickford, is one of many articles and books Thomey wrote about famous celebrities. The best known example is probably his book, The Big Love(1986), about Errol Flynn’s love affair with 15-year-old Beverly Aadland. It was later turned into a Broadway play starring Tracey Ullman.

In the Fifties and Sixties, Thomey also wrote many now-collectible pulp fiction paperbacks, such as The Sadist, Killer in White and Jet Ace.

Thomey was a Marine in World War II and was wounded in the Battle of Iwo Jima. His highly praised book about that battle and its iconic photo was published in 2008. It’s titled Immortal Images: A Personal History of Two Photographers and the Flag-raising on Iwo Jima.

Of course, not all men’s adventure magazines featured stories and articles by notable authors like those in December 1967 issue of Man’s Magazine.

But there’s a lot more to men’s adventure magazines than the Nazi bondage and torture art and cheesecake photos that seem to get the most attention from both collectors and critics of the genre.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

An exclusive Men’s Adventure Magazines Blog reprint – Robert F. Dorr’s classic WWII story “Yank Ace Who Saved the Anzio Invasion.”


The best men’s adventure magazines not only used illustrations by great artists, they also published stories and articles written by some excellent writers. Consider, the December 1967 issue of Man’s Magazine...

Mel Crair provided one of his superb action paintings for the cover story — “Yank Ace Who Saved the Anzio Invasion.”

And, that story is by an author who later became a top military historian, Robert F. Dorr.

Since the mid-1970s, Dorr has written 70 history books and literally thousands of non-fiction articles about World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, military aviation and international affairs.

His latest book is Hell Hawks!: The Untold Story of the American Fliers Who Savaged Hitler's Wehrmacht, co-written with former U.S. astronaut Thomas D. Jones. It tells the aerial “Band of Brothers” story of the 365th Fighter Group — the P-47 Thunderbolt pilots and crews who played a vital role on the European front during World War II.

Before Dorr became a critically acclaimed author of history books, he honed his skills by writing stories for men’s adventure and “bachelor” magazines in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Bob recently approved an exclusive reprint of his classic “Yank Ace” story here on The Men’s Adventure Magazines Blog. You can read “Yank Ace” by clicking this link and downloading the entire story in PDF format. (Also be sure to check out the other Bob Dorr stories reprinted elsewhere on this blog, a terrific Korean War story and a ripping yarn about a rogue polar bear.)

Last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Bob by phone. I asked him how the “Yank Ace” story fits into his awe-inspiring body of work.

“I look at my ‘Yank Ace’ story from 1967 and see the beginnings of a career writing about the experiences of wartime veterans,” Bob said. “The military history books I’ve written, like Hell Hawks!, are direct descendants of the war stories I wrote for the men’s adventure magazines many years ago.

Right now, I’m writing a new book about the B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ crews. The ‘Yank Ace’ story is about a pilot who flew the other World War II bomber, the B-24 ‘Liberator.’ B-24s aren’t as well known as B-17s, but there were actually even more of them and they served everywhere during World War Two.”

Bob said his new book about WWII bombers and their crews has a special focus on the historic mission to Berlin on February 3rd, 1945. He’d like to hear from anyone who has information about that event. If you do, email Bob at robert.f.dorr@cox.net.

Bob’s “Yank Ace” story is a good example of the war stories he wrote for men’s adventure magazines in the Sixties and early Seventies. It’s a gripping read. And, it provides a vivid glimpse of how dangerous and scary it was to be a pilot or crew member of a bomber in World War II.

“Yank Ace” is just one of the stories in the December 1967 issue of Man’s Magazine that was written by a notable author.

This issue includes a Vietnam war story by another respected military historian, Glenn Infield, a story by the controversial and best-selling Irish novelist Lee Dunne, and an exposé by former Boston Globe reporter George W. Rae, who wrote one of the best books about the “Boston Strangler” in the 1960s.

There’s also an article by Tedd Thomey, the author of a long list of popular non-fiction books and pulp fiction mystery and crime novels. More to come about those authors and their stories in the December ‘67 issue of Man’s Magazine in the next post…

Friday, January 8, 2010

Artist Tom Beecham: from “wild men” cover art for men’s adventure magazines to wildlife art for Remington

My previous post showed the amazing covers that artist Thomas Beecham painted for True Strange, an unusual supernatural-flavored men’s adventure magazine published by Weider Periodicals Inc in the late 1950s.

Beecham also did outstanding cover art for other vintage magazines created by bodybuilder Joe Weider and his brother Ben, such as Fury.

Fury was a more typical men’s adventure mag, subtitled “EXCITING TRUE ADVENTURES FOR MEN.” It was published from October 1954 to May 1961.

Two of my favorite Beecham covers for Fury are shown in this post.

The first, from the February 1956 issue, is a good example of Beecham’s masterful use of light and shadow and his ability to create a superb exotic adventure scene.

It’s for a story inside titled “Seeking the Wild Men” (promoted on the cover with the cover line “WE TRACKED DOWN THE WILDEST MEN IN THE WORLD”).

The second is the cover Beecham did for the February 1957 issue of Fury.

It’s an enticing slice of faux American history done men’s adventure style, depicting a scene for the story “WHITE QUEEN of the COMANCHES.”

Beecham was born in Texas in 1926 and died in 2000. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he studied art at The St. Louis School of Fine Arts. In 1951, he moved to New York, where he worked for a long list of publishers and advertising agencies.

In addition to providing art for men’s adventure magazines, Beecham did covers and illustrations for mainstream magazines like Reader's Digest, National Geographic, Outdoor Life, and Field and Stream, and covers for paperback books.

You can see some other nice high-resolution scans of Beecham’s cover art for magazines and paperbacks on the excellent American Art Archives site.

In the final decades of his career, Beecham was primarily known for his western and wildlife paintings.

He was one of the artists whose work was featured on Remington calendars, the long-running and still-published calendars distributed by the Remington Arms Company.

Other highly-regarded artists whose work was featured on Remington calendars included: N.C. Wyeth, Lynne Bogue Hunt, Philip R. Goodwin, Gustav Muss-Arnolt, Frank Stick, William Harnden Foster, Edmund Osthaus and Bob Kuhn.

There’s a beautifully illustrated book showing paintings from these calendars, titled The Art of Remington Arms.

You can also see many examples of the work that Tom Beecham and other artists did for Remington by visiting the Remington Virtual Art Museum. It’s definitely worth a visit if you like wildlife art, hunting art or vintage illustration in general. The Remington collection is the single largest collection of sporting and wildlife related art in the world.

The write-up there on Beecham’s long tenure as a Remington artist says:

“In 1971 when Tom Beecham signed on to succeed Bob Kuhn as the artist for Remington Calendar, no one could have foreseen that it was the beginning of a run that would last three decades and result in 348 paintings...Over the years Beecham’s involvement with the Remington Calendar, its focus gradually shifted away from scenes with an explicit hunting/shooting element to what might be called ‘pure’ wildlife scenes. This was a reflection on America’s changing – and increasingly conflicted attitudes about hunting...He was creating new paintings for the 2001 calendar when his heart finally gave out. The 2001 Remington Calendar; graced by the six paintings Beecham completed for it, was dedicated to his memory.”

Further reading…

Monday, January 4, 2010

True Weird and True Strange – men’s adventure magazines meet the Weekly World News


True Weird and True Strange were unusual, short-lived magazines that were like a cross between a men’s pulp mag and the Weekly World News (the wonderfully wacky supermarket tabloid that is now published online).

Both of these magazines were published by Weider Periodicals Inc., the publishing house founded by bodybuilder Joe Weider and his brother Ben.

In addition to men’s fitness magazines, the Weiders published the men’s adventure magazine Fury and several other magazines which — like True Weird and True Strange — were odd hybrids, including: American Manhood (men’s adventure meets Muscle & Fitness), and Outdoor Adventures and Safari (men’s adventure meets Sports Afield).

Only three issues of True Weird were published, between November 1955 and May 1956.

True Strange lasted for seven issues, from October of 1956 to February 1958.

Both magazines featured outré, tabloid-like stories that had some sensational, supernatural, occult or otherwise weird angle.

Both magazines also had great painted cover art.

As noted by the Taschen book Men’s Adventure Magazines: “The first True Weird had one of the best covers, an eye-catching painting by Clarence Doore of a blonde in a bikini menaced by fish men straight out of Universal Pictures’ Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

The subtitle on the covers says True Weird is “STRANGE...FANTASTIC...TRUE!” And, there’s no doubt that the first two adjectives apply.

Typical stories included:

  • “FISH WITH HUMAN HANDS ATTACKED ME”
  • “THE MAN WHO LIVED 4,000 YEARS”
  • “HARRY TRUMAN AND LINCOLN’S GHOST”
  • “I INTERVIEWED A ZOMBIE”

True Strange was similar to (and might be seen as the reincarnation of) True Weird. It was promoted with the subtitle “INCREDIBLE • WEIRD • AND FACTUAL.”

The cover paintings for True Strange were done by Thomas Beecham, who later become best known as a painter of western and wildlife art.

The premiere issue (October 1956) has a unique collage-style painting and includes stories like:

  • “THE MOST SADISTIC WOMAN IN THE WORLD”
  • “THE WOLF-CHILDREN OF GODAMURI”
  • “THE MAN WITH DEVIL’S HORNS”

The March 1957 issue is one of a series of issues that featured a celebrity portrait by Beecham. In that issue, the celeb is James Dean, and the stories include:

  • “JAMES DEAN SPEAKS FROM THE GRAVE”
  • “FAKE GHOSTHUNTERS”
  • “KING OF DEVIL WORSHIPPERS”

The June 1957 issue of True Strange has a terrific Elvis cover and stories like:

  • “DID THE DEVIL SEND ELVIS PRESLEY?”
  • “THE STRANGE MYSTIC POWER OF HITLER”
  • “SNAKE WORSHIP IN AMERICA”

Beecham's Roman-flavored cheesecake portrait of Anita Ekberg graces the cover of the October 1957 issue, which includes the stories:

  • “THE MOST EVIL MAN THAT EVER LIVED”
  • “YOU HAVE AN EXACT DOUBLE”
  • “THE WEIRD SEX MAGNETISM OF ANITA EKBERG”

The cover of the December 1957 issue provides an interesting glimpse of the culture war over rock music in the 1950s. Beecham’s painting shows images of rock ‘n’ roll stars and musicians above a scene of dance-crazed African tribesmen — a visual reflection of the way many parents and other “squares” viewed rock music at the time. The stories included:

  • “EXPOSED - THE STRANGE CULT OF ROC AND ROLL”
  • “IS INGRID BERGMAN HAUNTED BY THE GOD LOKI”
  • “THE PLANET VENUS IS SENDING US MESSAGES”

A lush portrait of Sophia Loren is featured on the last issue of True Strange (February 1958), along with cover lines for these intriguing stories:

  • “YOU CAN DREAM YOURSELF TO DEATH”
  • “THE STRANGE LOVE LIFE OF SIAMESE TWINS”
  • “THE REINCARNATION OF JACK THE RIPPER”

In the next post, I’ll provide some background about artist Tom Beecham and some of the great work he did for other men’s adventure magazines, paperback books and the legendary Remington calendar.

In the meantime, here are some more reading recommendations for fans of pulp art…