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Our books on Amazon: the MEN'S ADVENTURE LIBRARY series...
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Talking with Josh Alan Friedman about Mario Puzo, men’s pulp magazines and Marvel Comics


Last week I had a fun conversation with writer and musician Josh Alan Friedman, talking about his father and Magazine Management, the company owned by Martin Goodman that published some of the best men’s adventure magazines in the 1950s and 1960s.

Josh’s father is Bruce Jay Friedman, the famous writer who was an editor of several Magazine Management mags early in his career, including Male, Men, Man's World, Swank and True Action.

Josh is busy preparing for the release of the print version of his latest book, Black Cracker. (The Kindle version is already out on Amazon.com.)

On his blog, Black Cracker Online, Josh has also recently posted the original, unedited versions of the chapters he wrote about vintage men’s adventure magazine for the books It's a Man's World and Volume 3 of Dian Hanson’s History of Men’s Magazines.

(You should definitely check out those posts on Josh’s blog, as well as his critically-acclaimed books and his tasty, bluesy music.)

Among other things, Josh and I talked about some of the great writers who worked at Mag Management in the Fifties and Sixties — like his father and Mario Puzo, who gained worldwide fame in 1969 with the publication of his fifth novel, The Godfather.

In his pre-Godfather days, Puzo was one of Bruce Jay Friedman’s Associate Editors at Magazine Management. He also wrote many stories for Men and Male under the pen name “Mario Cleri.”

Josh told me:

“My dad hired Mario right out of the Post Office, where he had been working, around 1959. He was there for seven or eight years, until about the time my father left the company in 1966.

My dad always loved him. He was a big, fat guy, and my dad always thought he was a very gifted writer. When he hired him, I think Mario had published or was about to publish his very first novel, called The Dark Arena. He came in and gave it to my dad at the interview and my father loved it and hired him right away.

When my dad was at Mag Management, they had an extraordinary run of guys who became great writers and screenwriters. At one time, Mickey Spillane worked there. So did Ernest Tidyman, who went on to write The French Connection, and Shaft and High Plains Drifter. Martin Cruz Smith worked there, who wrote Gorky Park. And, many other great writers were stringers [regular contributors] for my dad’s magazines.

Mario Puzo became one of my dad’s best friends. He died about ten years ago, and my father still hasn’t gotten over it completely. They were very close.”

One of the men’s adventure magazine articles by Puzo that Josh and I both remembered is the shark story he wrote (as Mario Cleri) for the April 1966 issue of Men, titled “THE SIX MILLION KILLER SHARKS THAT TERRORIZE OUR SHORES.”

In a chapter posted on his blog, Josh said of this article: “Mario Puzo’s piece on sharks...predated Jaws by a decade in its aquatic paranoia. It detailed all manner of questionable shark attacks at our nation’s beaches. What would today draw ire for wrong thinking, it suggested readers ‘go out and kill sharks’ to vent anger, as sharks are the most evil monsters on earth.”

Mario Puzo wasn’t the only notable writer who provided a story for the April 1966 issue of Men.

For example, it includes a rousing World War II story about “HITLER’S SPY STATION CONDOR” written by Glenn Infield, who specialized in war-related magazine articles and wrote several popular history books, such as Eva and Adolf (1974). There’s also a Korean War story by the respected New York Times journalist Joseph P. Fried.

Another article in the April ‘66 issue of Men is of special interest to fans of 1960s erotica and pulp paperbacks. It’s the story “FAVORITE GIRL IN THE ‘HOUSE OF ALL DESIRES’” by Joannie Winters, a tale about a prostitute who was supposedly “the top performer in LA’s wildest brothel.”

Joannie Winters is actually the pen name of a man — Leo Guild — who wrote a number of titillating magazine stories and books in the Sixties. The story in Men in taken from his “Joannie Winters” paperback House of Joy (1965). That now-collectible pulp fiction “masterpiece” sold well enough for him to write a sequel, titled House of D.E.S.I.R.E. (1967).

The special “book bonus” in this issue — “LOVE-HUNGRY GIRL IN THE ‘BILLION DOLLAR OASIS’” — is by Alan Caillou, the nom de plume of an interesting man who had a long and varied career as an adventurer, novelist, screenwriter and actor.

His real name was Alan Samuel Lyle-Smythe. By the time of his death in 2006, he had written dozens of popular novels, at least ten movie screenplays (including William Shatner’s 1977 classic, Kingdom of the Spiders), and scripts for more than 80 episodes of vintage TV shows, including 77 Sunset Strip, The Rat Patrol, It Takes a Thief, The Six Million Dollar Man and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

He was also a busy actor, appearing as Alan Caillou in dozens of movies and TV show. Check out his credits on IMDB.com and you’ll probably be amazed. I was.

I was equally amazed to learn that, before he became a full-time writer and actor, Caillou was a British spy during World War II, a police commissioner in Ethiopia and Somalia in the late Forties, and a big game hunter and guide in Africa in the early Fifties.

The Alan Caillou book bonus in the April 1966 issue of Men is a condensation of his novel A Journey to Orassia (1965). The cover of the Avon paperback edition of that book features a nice pulp art cover by Stan Borack.

Borack also painted the wild men’s adventure magazine cover that was featured in my previous post, showing Jivaro headhunters carrying severed heads.               

The art used for the book bonus version of Caillou’s novel in Men magazine is by Earl Norem, another talented artist who did covers and illustrations for both vintage men’s magazines and pulp paperbacks.

Norem is also known for the cool cover paintings he did for Marvel Comics — including covers for The Hulk, The Silver Surfer, The Savage Sword of Conan, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Fantastic Four.

And, of course, as readers of this blog may know, Marvel Comics started out as part of Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management company.

Which brings us back full circle to Josh Alan Friedman.

Josh told me that his father worked in the same building as Marvel Comics writer/editor Stan Lee and that he used to bring young Josh the latest Marvel comic books hot off the press — including all of the early Lee-era Marvel comics that were published in the early 1960s.

Comics which Josh said he unwittingly gave away long ago, not realizing they’d be worth a fortune today.

Which is a story I’ll relate in a future post on this blog…

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cover artist Stanley Borack – from Jivaro headhunters to Jaws


In my previous post, I featured a cool shrunken head cover by the great artist Wally Richards (aka Walter Dubois Richards).

The headhunter story Richards’ cover art was done for was about the once notorious Jivaro Indians of South America, who call themselves the Shuar and now help lead the fight to save the Amazon rainforest from destruction.

At left is another wild Jivaro headhunter cover by another excellent artist, Stanley Borack (1927-1993).

It was done for the story “RAID OF THE JIVARO HEADHUNTERS,” published in the May 1956 issue of Male magazine.

Like Wally Richards and many other artists who worked for men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, Stan Borack painted covers and interior art for many types of magazines and books.

In his later years, he moved away from doing cover art to focus on Western paintings that still sell for hefty prices in fine art galleries.

There’s a good bio of Borack on the site Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists, created by artist and author David Saunders, son of the legendary artist Norman Saunders.

David’s Pulp Artists site one of the best places on the Web to learn more about artists who worked for both the classic pre-World War II pulp magazines and the postwar men’s adventure pulp magazines.

Borack’s Jivaro headhunter cover is one of my favorites of his.

I also love the painting he did of a lone man on a life raft surrounded by sharks. It was used for both the cover of a book — Raft of Despair by Ensio Tiira (1954) — and for the cover of the December 1956 cover of Men magazine.

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Further reading, listening and viewing about the Jivaro (Shuar) Indians...


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Artist Walter DuBois Richards’ shrunken head masterpiece for Men magazine


Headhunters and shrunken heads were popular topics in men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s and 1960s.

In a recent post, I featured a wild “head on a stick” headhunter cover, from a 1958 issue of For Men Only magazine.

Today’s post features a shrunken head cover, with a painting done by a great artist.

It’s on the December 1957 issue of Men magazine, published by Zenith Publishing Corp., another publishing entity owned by the legendary founder of Magazine Management and Marvel Comics, Martin Goodman.

And, yes, I really do mean this shrunken head cover art was done by a great artist.

He’s credited as Wally Richards in the magazine. His full name is Walter DuBois Richards and he was a highly talented and respected American artist who died in 2006 at the age of 99.

As a young man, Richards studied at both the Cleveland School Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. By the 1930s, his prints and watercolors were being shown in many fine galleries and museums around the country.

He was a prominent member of the Cleveland Print Makers Print-A-Month-Club, an organization that was dedicated to keeping the market for fine art prints alive during the Great Depression. (Hence helping artists stay alive.)

From the mid-1930s on, Richards provided illustrations for ads, as well as cover paintings and interior art for a long list of magazines, including Life, Look, Colliers, Argosy, Readers Digest, Outdoor Life ­­­­— and many men’s adventure magazines.

Richards was a co-founder of the Fairfield Watercolor Group. In the 1950s, he became the official painter for the U.S. Air Force. He also created the artwork used for 37 stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service. One of the most popular is the stamp showing Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Fallingwater” house in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, issued as part of the series commemorating great architecture.

When I showed my wife my copy of the December 1957 issue of Men magazine and told her the shrunken head cover painting was done by a great artist, she gave me the usual look she gives me whenever I show her one of my men’s mag treasures. In words, the look would be translated as: “Sure, honey, whatever. Enjoy your little hobby collecting those weird old magazines, but don’t expect me to appreciate that bizarre stuff.”

Walter DuBois Richards was married to Glenora Case Richards. Glenora, who died in 2009, was herself a famous artist, known for her “miniaturist” paintings, stamp designs and portraits.

I wonder what look Glenora gave Walter when he showed her the shrunken head painting he did for Men magazine.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dr. David M. Earle on men’s magazines – and “Monkey Madness”

In the weeks since I posted my January interview with Dr. David M. Earle — author the groundbreaking book about Ernest Hemingway and 1950s men’s magazines, titled All Man!— David has been busy.

He recently created a new Facebook Group for fans of All Man! and vintage men’s magazines, where he posts great new cover and interior scans every day and chats with fans and students of men’s adventure and bachelor mags.

Indeed, the students who take literature classes from Dr. Earle at the University of West Florida in Pensacola really do study post-World War II men’s magazines — as well prewar magazines.

Another outgrowth of those studies is the amazing Virtual 1925 Newsstand that David created with his students.

Among the magazines currently featured there are the men’s adventure precursor Argosy All-Story and the the spicy pulp mag Snappy Stories, which paved the way for later “girlie magazines.”

A truly cool aspect of this unique online newsstand is that, by pointing and clicking, you can actually “pick up” and leaf through copies of the magazines. (You really gotta try it.)

In between activities in his busy schedule, David was kind enough to answer some more questions I asked him about his book All Man! and vintage men’s magazines.

I started by asking him about a Hugh Hefner quote he cites in All Man!

In 1953, when Hef launched Playboy, he said it was a magazine for “urbane fellows who were less concerned with hunting, fishing, and climbing mountains than good food, drink, proper dress, and the pleasures of female company.”

Hefner’s quote is a pretty good description of one general difference between the vintage bachelor magazines and the men’s adventure and outdoor sport magazines, isn’t it?

EARLE: Yes. Playboy and the hundreds of bachelor magazines that followed in its wake were all about the fantasy of upwardly mobile bachelorhood, emulating the life of leisure. In contrast, the men’s adventure mags were decidedly blue collar.
     Whereas the bachelor mags had articles and ads about leisure wear for a summer cruise, the men’s adventure magazines had ads for correspondence schools and offered stories and articles that confirmed masculinity in a different way — not by constructing a fantasy bachelor’s world, but by showing man in perilous and extreme situations, triumphant. And, again, the locals of these were as far away from the pressures of suburbia and the day-to-day job pressures as possible.
     So, I guess if I had to really draw a reason behind the distinction between the bachelor and men’s adventure genres, I’d say it is economically based, though of course neither readership was mutually exclusive.

What do you think men’s adventure magazines tell us about the changes taking place in gender roles during the 1950s and 1960s?

EARLE: Wow. Huge question. Really, what we see in the men’s adventure mags is the other side of the pressures on women to conform to a social role reflected in the domestic magazines of the day, like Good Housekeeping, etcetera. In both cases, these magazines offered very extreme, very conservative roles for men and women. The most obvious reason for this, at least in the case of the women’s magazines, was a pressure to get women back in the kitchens after their empowering work in factories during World War Two. But it was also the economic and suburban boom that put pressure on having a family in the years after the war.
     Of course the men’s magazines are very, very extreme in their portrayal of gender roles. Whereas women’s magazines advertised the love of an “all pink” kitchen and men as the master in the house, men’s magazines fought a fear that American suburban culture was too feminine, and was feminizing the men. And while these magazines are incredibly fun, they also often have a really troubling misogyny in them. Jem, a bachelor magazine called “the magazine for masterful men,” is perhaps the worse, but some of the adventure mags aren’t too far behind. That’s why there are so many stories in them about dangerous women: the dominatrix female Nazi guards and Amazon women — like the “Love Queen of the Pygmies” story you recently featured on your blog. At the same time, it’s why there are also many stories of women in peril who are helpless or just sex objects, hence having a man save them in the story confirms masculinity.

You obviously read a lot of men’s adventure magazines in your research. Do you have any special favorites?

EARLE: Sure. One very specific favorite is the December 1961 issue of Man’s Magazine that features a James Joyce short story in it, “Two Gallants.” The idea of Joyce appearing in a men’s adventure magazines is great. It’s shocking to many academics and wonderful for my argument that high-brow literature was available across class and culture lines. In fact, I start my first book, Re-Covering Modernism, with that cover.
     I also love the September 1959 Man’s Magazine that features the story “Hemingway’s Private War with Adolf Hitler.” It really exemplifies what these magazines and popular culture as a whole were doing with Hemingway’s image, confusing his fiction with the real man.
     And I of course love magazines like the August 1953 issue of Male, which features “Monkey Madness” — three guys in a life raft being attacked by hundreds of monkeys. It’s just so ludicrous.

Could you tell us something about your college classes and projects that deal with vintage men’s magazines?

EARLE: Love to. I often use magazines as a teaching tool, not only because that is where my own interest is, but because magazines really convey the time and place to an audience — my students — who often have very little sense of history. There are so many voices in magazines, whether authorial, editorial, artistic, or advertising, that teach about the time and place. This is especially true and effective with men’s magazines because of their extreme sensationalism. They are kitschy, attractive, but still show deep rooted cultural tensions about class and gender. So they are great teaching tools. My two classes that rely on magazines the most have been a class that digitally recreated the 1925 newsstand
    

I also teach a 1950s Masculinity class where students “read into” a men’s magazine from the 1950s and create a group of essays and webpage for it. Initially I have them read some great books like Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, Casino Royale, Donald Hamilton’s first Matt Helm book Death of a Citizen, and Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana. Stuff like that. Then the students take the themes we’ve discussed and write about them in regards to the men’s magazines. I divide them into “suburban mag,” “bachelor mag,” and “adventure mag” groups. It’s fun and I think really effective.

What kind of reactions to your book are you getting from current fans of Ernest Hemingway and men’s adventure magazines?

EARLE: The reaction from academics to presentations I’ve given on the material has been overwhelmingly positive. There are a few traditionalists in Hemingway studies who snub it, but that’s because I’m saying pretty controversial stuff, such as Hemingway tried to be a pulp writer before he discovered Modernism at the hands of Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and Sherwood Anderson. Plus I am presenting the popular Hemingway, which has always been opposed to the academic Hemingway. But they’ll come around. I mean, the evidence and fascination of Hemingway in the men’s mags and gossip magazines is incontrovertible.
      The reaction from the pulp audience has been fantastic — your blog for example. This is all the more gratifying, since pulp fans are exhaustive in their research. I also think that they know that academic attention to this genre is way, way overdue.

Thanks, David. I look forward to talking with you again soon — and urge readers of this blog to check out your books and online projects.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Getting ahead in life with men’s adventure magazines


Yes, I know, given the woman’s head on the stick on the cover of the February 1958 issue of For Men Only magazine (shown at left), the title I used for this post is a terrible, tasteless pun.

But I happen to like terrible, tasteless puns — and pulp art with heads on sticks.

And, aside from having a wild example of the latter (by an uncredited artist), there are a couple of full-page ads in this issue of For Men Only that show how men’s adventure magazines actually did help some men get ahead in life.

Many of the World War II veterans who were a key target audience for men’s pulp mags had limited educations.

That often made it difficult for them to get a good-paying job in postwar America.

If you read vintage men’s adventure magazines, you can’t miss the ubiquitous presence of ads for correspondence schools and other services and products that offered to help those men improve their lot in life.

There are two interesting examples in the February 1958 issue of For Men Only.

One is an ad for the venerable International Correspondence Schools – which still exists and was essentially the forerunner of the online universities and courses of today.

Like many ads for job training schools and services in Fifties men’s magazines, the ICS ad subtly played on — and cleverly addressed — the sense of educational and social inferiority some vets struggled with.

The first few paragraphs in the ad said:

    All of us can’t be geniuses. But any ordinarily talented mortal can be a success – and that’s more than some geniuses are.
     Now, as in Aesop’s time, the race doesn’t always go to the one who potentially is the swiftest. The trained man has no trouble in passing the genius who hasn’t improved his talents.
     In good times and bad times, in every technical and business field, the trained man is worth a dozen untrained ones, no matter how gifted.

In other words, screw those so-called and self-proclaimed “geniuses.” If you get the right training and work hard to learn a trade and improve yourself, you can get a better job and make more money than most of those a-holes.

I gotta say, based on my own experience in life at age 60, that basic concept still rings true to me. A “genius” IQ plus a few bucks will get you a Caffè Latte at Starbucks.

In addition to career training, many ads in vintage men’s adventure magazines offered to help men get ahead by improving their language skills.

The ad for Sherwin Cody’s Course in English — with the headline To People Who Don’t Say “Ain’t” — used this clever pitch:

“You may still be making other (perhaps less glaring) mistakes in English which cause people to misjudge your true abilities and educational background. Here’s how you can tell – and what you can do about it...”

Of course, the true target for that ad was men who really didn’t have a good education. But it protected their egos by suggesting that they’d benefit from the course even if they had a PhD.

A little interesting bit of trivia about Sherwin Cody is that he was (he claimed) the cousin of “Buffalo Bill” Cody.

And, here’s a little more trivia about the February 1958 issue of For Men Only

The Editorial Director was Noah Sarlat. Like his colleague Bruce Jay Friedman (father of Josh Alan Friedman, who was featured in my previous post), Sarlat served on the editorial staff of several of Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management publications, including Stag, Male and For Men Only.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Josh Alan Friedman relates his inside knowledge of men’s adventure magazines

I’m a bit envious of Josh Alan Friedman for several reasons.

His father was Bruce Jay Friedman, who – prior to becoming a world famous novelist, screenwriter and playwright – was the editor of some of my favorite vintage men’s adventure magazines for Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management company.

As a result, Josh got a unique inside look at the realm of men’s adventure magazines as he was growing up in New York City in the 1950s and 1960s.

Josh is also an excellent writer. He contributed chapters to two of my favorite books about vintage men’s magazines – It's a Man's Worldand Volume 3 of Dian Hanson’s History of Men’s Magazines.

In both, he relates some of the insights he gained by being able to hang out at the Magazine Management offices.

Recently, Josh published the original version of his chapter from Hanson’s book on his Black Cracker Online blog.

In an introductory comment, he notes:

“Taschen [the publisher] ran my chapter accompanied by dozens of cover illustrations that had nothing to do with the magazines from Magazine Management, of which I wrote. (Taschen ran sado-maso and Nazi covers, that would have offended the World War II-veteran writers and editors from Magazine Management). The editing was also botched, changing my meaning and intent.”

So, on his blog, Josh lets us read his original piece, with cover art he picked himself. He says it is the first of several posts he’ll be doing on the subject of men’s adventure magazines. I look forward to reading more.

As I explored his blog, I also discovered that Josh has a new book — Black Cracker — published by Wyatt Doyle Books. It’s about Josh’s childhood as the only white boy to attend New York’s last segregated school. And, that’s just one of a long list of interesting books Josh has written or contributed to.

I also discovered that Josh may have picked up some musical pointers from African American friends he made in school. Because he is a damn good blues guitarist and singer, with several albums to his credit.

Since I also play guitar and sing a bit, that gives me another reason to envy Josh.

And, another reason to hope I’ll be able to meet him someday, so we can talk about about men’s adventure magazines and jam a little.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Psycho killer cannibal Albert Fish vs. killer fish. Which is scarier?


Challenge for Men was a classic men’s adventure magazine published from 1955 to 1959 by Almat Publishing (part of the Pyramid book and magazine publishing group).

Most issues of Challenge for Men featured excellent action-oriented painted covers and interior art.

They also included a typical mix of men’s adventure style features: man against creature yarns, war stories, exotic adventure tales, true crime stories, sports and hunting articles and “cheesecake” photo spreads.

The September 1956 issue of Challenge for Men is especially good (and well worth snagging if you see it on eBay).

Even the cheesecake photo spread inside is better than average.

It features the gorgeous Swedish actress Anita Ekberg, rather than some unknown, semi-attractive “model.”

In addition, the story about Ekberg that goes with the photos was written by one of America’s great modern humorists, Art Buchwald.

His Ekberg piece is titled “The *9 hills of Rome!” — with an asterisk in front of the number nine.

In small type next to the asterisk at the bottom of the page is a Buchwald-style pun playing off the notoriety of the famed Seven Hills of Rome and Ekberg’s biggest, er, assets.

It says: “*Once there were 7 — and then came Anita!”

Like most men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s and 1960s, the September 1956 issue of Challenge for Men also had quite a few correspondence school ads, including a funnier than usual full-pager for LaSalle Extension University that has the headline:

“I WON’T be a CLERK all my life — I don’t HAVE to!”

That’s right! All you had to do was send in the form to get your free illustrated book “Accountancy, the Profession That Pays.” Then, you’d be on your way to having an adventurous job as an accountant instead of a clerk. (And, you know, women like Anita Ekberg just can’t resist men wearing green eyeshades.)

This issue of Challenge for Men also has an outstanding barracuda attack cover painting, done by an uncredited artist for the story “I WAS ‘CUDA BAIT.”

As a diver, I’ve seen many barracuda. I know they can be dangerous if provoked or if you’re stupidly carrying around a stringer of bloody fish underwater. But most people tend to view barracuda as being more of a threat to humans than they really are.

By far, the scariest fish in this issue of Challenge for Men is Albert Fish — the real-life psycho killer and cannibal. He’s one of several wackos profiled in an article by Bellevue psychiatrist Joel C. Charles, titled “MURDERERS I HAVE KNOWN.”

In the article, Charles notes that he dealt with the infamous Fish twice. The first time was in 1931, when Fish was being held for observation at the Bellevue psychiatric unit after sending obscene letters to a young girl.

In that case, Fish was ultimately set free, since no physical harm had been done to the girl and there was no other evidence against him at the time.

Three years later, Charles interviewed Fish at Bellevue again after police determined that he had kidnapped, murdered and eaten 10-year-old Grace Budd.

In the article, psychiatrist Charles paints a chilling picture of Fish and discusses several other murderers he interviewed at Bellevue. (You can download and read the entire piece in PDF format by clicking this link.)

Fish is definitely the creepiest. In addition to killing at least 15 young kids and attacking scores of others, Fish was also into self mutilation.

Charles says in the article:

“X-RAYS revealed that during the previous seven years Fish had inserted no fewer than 29 needles and pins in his own pelvis and abdomen…He said he had been ordered ‘by God’ to castrate little boys, and once he’d attempted to castrate himself. Relatives said that he often beat himself bloody with nail-studded paddles. In addition to cannibalism, he admitted that he frequently practiced coprophagia (the eating of human excrement) and drank human blood.”

Makes barracuda seem kinda cute and cuddly by comparison.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Harlan Ellison’s “lost” men’s adventure magazine stories

Harlan Ellison is most often associated with science fiction.

That’s understandable, of course. He is the author of some of the greatest science fiction stories ever written, like “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” (1965) and “A Boy and His Dog” (the 1969 short story made into a film in 1974). He also wrote legendary screenplays like the “Demon with a Glass Hand” episode of Outer Limits (1964) and the revered “The City on the Edge of Forever” episode for Star Trek (1967).

In addition, Harlan Ellison has edited some of the world’s most famous anthologies of science fiction short stories, like the game-changing collection Dangerous Visions (1967).

But during his long career as a professional writer, which began in earnest in the mid-1950s, Harlan has actually written many different types of fiction and non-fiction.

In the ‘50s and ‘60s, he wrote dozens of short stories for popular mystery, crime and detective magazines, such as The Saint and Crime and Justice Detective Story Magazine. He wrote even more fiction and non-fiction stories and articles for men’s bachelor magazines, like Playboy and Rogue. (He was also an Associate Editor of Rogue in the early 1960s.)

Along the way, Harlan also had a few stories published in men’s adventure magazines. However, those have not been reprinted and were essentially “lost” — until recently.

Last last year, on this blog, I mentioned two Harlan Ellison stories I was surprised to find in men’s adventure magazines: “I Raped Freedom in Budapest,” a faux, as-told-to “true story” published in the August 1957 issue of Battle Cry and “Death Climb,” a noir thriller first published in the February 1957 issue True Men Stories.

I was even more surprised when Harlan Ellison contacted me, after someone told him I’d mentioned those stories.

That initial contact resulted in several incredibly interesting phone calls with Harlan.

In his own inimitable, mind-blowing, curmudgeonly way (see the documentary Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth if you don’t know what I mean), Harlan regaled me with tales of his days in New York City in the late 1950s, when he was writing stories for virtually every type of magazine — including men’s adventure magazines and even women’s “True Confessions” style mags.

Harlan also told me some stories about famous writers, actors and directors he knew and hung out with after he moved to California in 1962.

In between laughing, being amazed and making sure my tape recorder was working, I asked Harlan if I could reprint the stories he’d written for men’s adventure magazines.

He said his story “I Raped Freedom in Budapest” is scheduled to be reprinted for the first time in an upcoming book, so he wanted me to wait on that one.

But he graciously gave me permission to reprint “Death Climb” and another lost Ellison tale I recently found in a 1958 issue of Exotic Adventures magazine, titled “The Island of Tyooah.”

I must note that I paid Harlan for the online reprint rights to those stories. And, he was very nice about making it affordable for me.

But for Harlan, paying the writer is a matter of longstanding principle. Actually, let me correct that by quoting what Harlan said in a press release when he sued Paramount in 2009 for continuing to make tons of money from the original Star Trek episodes without paying any additional fees to him and other writers who provided scripts for the series:

“F- - - -in’-A damn skippy! I’m no hypocrite. It ain’t about the ‘principle,’ friend, its about the MONEY!...Pay me and pay off all the other writers from whom you’ve made hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars...from OUR labors...just so you can float your fat asses in warm Bahamian waters. The Trek fans who know my City screenplay understand just exactly why I’m bare-fangs-of-Adamantium about this.”

So, damn skippy, I paid Harlan for the online reprint rights to “Death Climb” and “The Island of Tyooah.”

I also signed a contract outlining how I would make those stories available, in a password-protected PDF format with the proper copyright information.

With this post, I am making them available online for the first time. In future posts, I’ll tell you more about the stories and relate some anecdotes Harlan told me.

Both stories are now available to download via Payloadz, by clicking the links below:

Harlan Ellison’s “Death Climb,” a noir-style pulp fiction tale originally published in the February 1957 issue True Men Stories.

Harlan Ellison’s “The Island of Tyooah,” an exotic South Seas fantasy yarn originally published in the second issue of Exotic Adventures magazine, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1958).

And, yeah, damn skippy, you gotta pay to read them. Not much — just 99 cents each. But hell, do you think I would write this blog just to get calls from guys like Harlan Ellison?

Well, OK, I probably would. But by buying Harlan Ellison’s lost men’s adventure magazine stories, you can help support this blog — and I will be able to buy more men’s adventure magazines to feature here for your reading pleasure.