Thursday, July 22, 2010

“Lustful Bushwhackers,” a “Heroic Orgy” and Lili St. Cyr’s answer to the question “Are Strippers Oversexed?”

In my last post I featured cover art done for the magazine Untamed by Ed “Emsh” Emshwiller, who is more widely know for his great science fiction cover art.

In tonight’s post, we’ll take a look inside an issue of Untamed — Vol. 1, No. 5, dated September 1959.

Untamed was a short-lived men’s pulp mag published by Magnum Publications, Inc., a company owned by Irwin Stein, who also published horror and science fiction magazines and was a co-founder of Lancer Books.

The cover painting for the September ‘59 issue was done by the prolific pulp illustrator Leo Morey (1899-1965).

Morey was born in Lima, Peru. He worked as a commercial illustrator in Buenos Aires as a young man, then emigrated to the United States in 1926.

Over the next four decades, he provided cover and interior art for a long list of classic pre-World War II pulp magazines, Golden Age and Silver Age comics, vintage science fiction magazines and men’s adventure magazines (a.k.a. the postwar men’s pulp magazines).

Morey’s cover for the September 1959 issue of Untamed is literally a bodice ripper. It’s for the cover story “The Lustful Bushwhackers Of Yellow Creek.” As this title and Morey’s painting suggest, those evil, bushwhackin’ varmints were both robbers and rapists.

But that story is topped by another one that’s featured on the cover with the coverline (i.e., cover headline): “The Heroic Orgy of Ray Harrison.”

Inside, it’s titled “THE ORGY THAT WON ME A SILVER STAR.”

This is a purportedly true World War II story “by ex-Pfc. Ray Harrison,” who claims he got the medal for his, um, service in France.

In the table of contents for this issue of Untamed, the “Lustful Bushwhackers” and “Heroic Orgy” stories are in the “TRUE ADVENTURE” section.

Personally, I suspect the events in “Lustful Bushwhackers” took place in the same alternate Wild West as Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo.

And, Harrison’s “orgy” story seems to be set in the parallel universe where Hogan’s Heroes exists.

You didn’t know an orgy could somehow be heroic? Well, you’re just not reading the right stuff. I’ll remedy that by letting you read Private Harrison’s yarn for yourself. Just click here to download the entire story in PDF format.

The page-spanning interior illo for Harrison’s piece is another painting by Leo Morey. Morey also did the artwork for both of the stories in the “UNTAMED FICTION BONUSES” section of this issue.

The first one — “Murder Is a Two-Sided Triangle” — was written by the famous science fiction writer Algis Budrys (1931-2008). Like many sci-fi greats of that era, Budrys also wrote stories for men’s, mystery and detective mags. His story in the September 1959 issue of Untamed is a classic noir-style piece of fiction with a totally unexpected twist in the very last sentence. The other featured “fiction bonus” in this issue of Untamed is a horror-tinged tale titled “The Thing That Stared” by Paul Sloane (which I think is a pseudonym, but don’t know who for).

The “UNTAMED GLAMOR GALLERY” includes three fairly tame cheesecake photo spreads. But the best photos are in the piece titled “Are Strippers Oversexed?”

Several of the ladies featured in this one were top Burlesque queens back in the day, most notably: Lili St. Cyr (“The Queen of Burlesque”); the former “Our Gang” child star Shirley Jean Rickert, who went on to become the striptease artist billed as Gilda, the Golden Girl; and, Jennie Lee, “The Bazoom Girl” (aka “Miss 44 & Plenty More” and “The Biggest Bust in Burlesque”).

Here they are. (Yer welcome.)

If you click on the JPEGs above to enlarge them, you can read the answers these legendary striptease artists gave to the question “Are Strippers Oversexed?” They’re in the captions next to the photos. My favorite is the answer given by the great Lili St. Cyr (bottom left in the third page in the series). She said:

“Strippers are no more oversexed than so-called movie sexpots. We’re artists, perhaps more than they.”

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Further reading about the Queens of Burlesque and the art of striptease…