Sunday, June 27, 2010

“Jungle Jane” Dolinger among the Jivaro headhunters and beyond


The previous post here focused on Marion Michael, star of the 1956 cult film Liane, Jungle Goddess. Marion is one of the two famous “jungle girls” featured in the premiere issue of South Sea Stories, published in July 1960.

The other is Jane Dolinger, one of the most interesting woman associated with men’s adventure and bachelor magazines of the 1950s and 1960s.

She’s the only woman who was both a pin-up model and a writer of exotic travel and adventure stories for vintage men’s mags.

Her nickname back then was “Jungle Jane” and she was called “the most glamorous travel writer in the world.”

More recently, she has been called “a real-life Lara Croft” and a “female Indiana Jones.”

During her remarkable career she wrote more than 300 magazine stories and eight books.

Dolinger may be best known for the ongoing series of exotic/erotic adventure articles she wrote for the girlie mag Modern Man from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. These typically featured on-location or staged photos of Jane in scanty native garb or other revealing story-related costumes.

As noted on the excellent, retro-oriented site Java’s Bachelor Pad (a site that I highly recommend):

“Month after month for, Modern Man readers were treated to Jane Dolinger’s globe-trotting accounts as well as a healthy dose of cheesecake posed in exotic locales. She was the all-American girl who faced danger and found adventure no matter where she landed. One month she would be Queen of the Amazon, the next she was in the middle of a Voodoo ceremony, and then it was off to a Moroccan harem. No matter where she was, she always looked great whether draped in leopard skins, wrapped in South American tapestries, or dressed as a Egyptian princess.”

Dolinger was also the Modern Man cover girl in December 1959 and appeared in a jaw-dropping nude photo spread in the February 1965 issue.

In addition to her popular series of articles for Modern Man, Dolinger was one of the few women who wrote stories for men’s adventure magazines.

One of her best yarns is in the July 1960 of South Sea Stories. It’s provocatively titled “I Watched A Head-Shrinking Orgy” and it’s promoted with an equally sensational pulp-style editorial blurb: “The Witch Doctor Took Five Days to Shrink the Girl’s Head. Then the Orgy Started.”

In this story, Dolinger recounts how she watched a Jivaro headhunter transform a young woman’s severed head into a shrunken tsansta. And, she describes the process in vivid detail, starting with this attention-grabbing graf:

“A strange hush fell over the Jivaros. Now all eyes were focused on the basket. The witch doctor’s chant became a frenzied shriek and ended on a high discordant note. My heart pounded furiously and I tensed as I saw the tiwipa’s hand snake into the open basket and bring out the bloody head.

Standing, he held it high, so that all could see. It was the head of a girl — a young girl about 15 years of age. She had long blue-black hair and the color of her skin had turned a sickening white. Her eyes were closed and her pale lips were slightly parted. Dirt and coagulated blood covered the neck where it had been severed from the body.

It was the most gruesome and yet strangely fascinating sight I had witnessed during the past year in the Greater Amazon Basin.”

The article shows photos of Dolinger watching the head being, er, processed. There are other shots of her examining the finished product and a close-up of a collection of shrunken heads that purportedly includes those of two white men.

Like most of Dolinger’s stories, this one has a basis in fact and her real travel experiences. But some aspects clearly seem like embellishments.

For example, the South Sea Stories article ends with a tribal orgy that Dolinger supposedly observed from a nearby tree. That part is a bit hard to believe. But “Jungle Jane” did in fact did in fact explore the tropical forests of South America and visit native tribes there, including the Jivaro.

The story of how Jane became an adventure travel writer is amazing in itself. She left her parents’ Pennsylvania home at age 19 looking for a career that would fit her impressive intelligence and adventurous spirit. She ended up in Miami, where she saw a “Help Wanted” ad in the local newspaper that intrigued her. It read:

       AUTHOR needs adventure-loving Girl Friday.
       Must be free to travel. Excellent pay.
       Reply Box M-569, giving full particulars.

The ad was placed by the veteran adventure travel author and Hollywood scriptwriter Ken Krippene, who was preparing to head out on an assignment to South America with professional cameraman Bob Farrier.

Dolinger responded to the ad, met with Krippene and the two hit it off.

During the next year, Ken and Jane traveled together to Peru, went deep into the Amazon interior and lived for months with primitive tribes. She developed her own skills as an author. They both wrote magazine articles based on that trip and others that followed, many of which were published in men’s adventure and bachelor magazines. 

Not long after their initial travels in South America, Krippene and Dolinger were married. She was in her early twenties. He was in his fifties. They remained happily married and continued their globe-trotting writing careers until Krippene’s death in 1980.

Jane died of cancer 15 years later. When she passed, the world lost one helluva woman.

If you’d like to read more about Jane Dolinger, trek over to the Jane Dolinger Memorial Website.

It’s maintained by Lawrence Abbott, an Instructor of English and Writing at the University of Pennsylvania who wrote the forthcoming biography about her, Jane Dolinger: The Adventurous Life of an American Travel Writer. (It’s on my Amazon.com Wish List already.)

If you’d like to see more of Jane — literally speaking — the most revealing set of pics from her Modern Man articles and nude photo spreads can be found here.

And, if you’d like to read Jane’s wild story  “I Watched A Head-Shrinking Orgy” just click on this link to download the entire article in PDF format.

She wrote it several years after her early travels with Ken Krippene. And, there’s a paragraph in it that seems to sum up her satisfaction with the unusual path her life took.

“At the age of 22 I was already a seasoned explorer,” she wrote. “Not that I had planned it that way. But for the grace of God and a cleverly-written help-wanted ad in a Miami newspaper, I probably would still be one of the army of discontented secretaries, stifled with boredom and lost in the endless labyrinth of office routine.”

Thankfully for her legion of fans back then and those of us who still remember her fondly today, “Jungle Jane” didn’t become a secretary.

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A cult gem from SOUTH SEA STORIES - Marion Michael as “Liane, the Jungle Goddess”


For fans of the pulpiest vintage men’s adventure magazines, there’s a lot to like about SOUTH SEA STORIES. And, the premiere issue, dated July 1960, is one of the best.

It has a cool cover painting by artist Mark Schneider that tells a visual story of tropical treasure, intrigue and violence.

Inside, there are wild “true stories” and fiction yarns about favorite men’s pulp mag topics, such as harems, cannibals, headhunters, war and “white kings” on islands full of sex-starved native girls.

As is often true of men’s adventure magazines, some of the story titles are entertaining in themselves. Titles like:

“I Stole a Slave Girl in Honduras”

“The Woman Who Ate Her Lovers”

“I was Spread-Eagled for ‘Beef Ants’ to Eat” and…

“Lady Forsythe’s Cannibal Dinner.”

Of special interest to aficionados of mid-20th Century pop culture are two articles featuring unique “jungle girl” celebrities of that era.

One is a photo spread about Marion Michael, star of the cult movie LIANE, JUNGLE GODDESS.

The other is an exotic adventure story about Jivaro headhunters written by Jane Dolinger, the female adventure writer and pin-up model nicknamed “Jungle Jane.”

Marion Michael was “Germany’s answer to Brigitte Bardot.”

When her debut film, LIANE, JUNGLE GODDESS, was released in October 1956, she became an instant sensation in Europe — both for her beauty and the fact that she appeared topless in much of the first half of the movie.

In 1957, Michael starred in the first of a series of planned sequels, JUNGLE GIRL AND THE SLAVER.

After Michael’s first two “female Tarzan” movies became popular hits in Europe, a dubbed version of LIANE, JUNGLE GODDESS was released in the U.S. in 1959.

It began to look like Michael actually did have a chance of becoming an international sex symbol like Bardot.

SOUTH SEA STORIES was one of many American men’s magazines to make note of this.

The July 1960 issue has a two-page photo spread about Michael that uses promotional stills from the first LIANE movie (which the text wrongly calls “LIANE—THE JUNGLE GIRL”). As you may have noticed from the SOUTH SEA STORIES pics and lobby card above, she was indeed Bardot-esque.

Just to drum home how alluring she was, here are a couple more publicity photos of Marion as Liane.

The text for the photo spread in SOUTH SEA STORIES provides a brief bio of Michael with some factoids I have not seen in other articles about her. It says:

“Although Brigitte Bardot refuses to come to the U.S., don’t despair. You’re going to see a lot of her biggest rival, this luscious blonde 17-year-old — Marion Michael. Marion is the star of Germany’s big money-maker, “Liane — the Jungle Girl” and many connoisseurs swear that Europe's MM is even sexier than BB.

In 1956 Marion walked away with the coveted role of Liane, although 11,800 girls showed up to try out for the part.

The producers wanted an unknown for the role and they say Marion, then a precocious and beautifully-equipped 15-year-old (36½-19-35) with long golden hair, was just made to play Liane, a young girl who grows up among the animals of the jungle after her parents are killed.

A low-budget picture like our own “I Was a Teen-age .Werewolf,” “Liane—the Jungle Girl” is already the second highest money-maker of any German movie since the war.

So far it has been shown in thirteen countries and Marion's charms are well-known to avid movie-goers.

The producers, who knew a sexpot when they saw one, signed Marion to a 7-year contract and plan to star her in a series of Liane movies. Marion, who is also an accomplished ballerina, lived in East Berlin under the Reds. She escaped, with her mother, to the West. Her father is still working as a surgeon in an East Berlin hospital.

The pictures on these pages were taken in a tropical park near Naples, Italy, which served as the location for the African jungle setting of the movie. During the filming Marion's mother was with her every second-and the Italian wolves didn't have a chance.

Since then Marion has been to an exclusive German finishing school-and now she's all set to put the Hollywood jungle under her spell.”

Unfortunately for Marion and men around the world, Hollywood was not in the cards for her.

Tragically, in 1960, she was in a terrible car accident that left her disfigured and unable to work for months. Her shot at fame flickered out. After appearing in several more generally-ignored films in the early Sixties, she returned to Communist East Germany, where she lived in virtual anonymity for decades.

Marion Michael died in 2007 at age 66, but her beauty and her LIANE movies live on, on DVD, the Internet and copies of vintage men’s magazine sold on eBay.

If you’ve never heard of her, you might be surprised at how many web pages turn up when you do a search for “Liane, Jungle Goddess.”

In the next post on this blog, we’ll take a look at the other famous “jungle girl” featured in the July 1960 issue of South Sea Stories magazine — “Jungle Jane” Dolinger.

In the meantime, if you’ve never seen Marion Michael in LIANE, JUNGLE GODDESS, which co-stars the great Hardy Kruger in one of his first films released in the U.S., I’ll help you catch up on your cult movie viewing.

Just click on the video below, try to keep your tongue in your mouth and watch the entire film online, courtesy of The Internet Archive. (It’s also available on DVD if you decide you want it for your collection.)

Enjoy…

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An interview with Luis Ortiz, co-editor of CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z


A while ago, I posted a brief review of the recently-published book CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z.

Simply put, I love this wide-ranging, lavishly-illustrated book.

In fact, I consider it a must-have for anyone who is a fan of (or curious about) non-mainstream magazines, such as horror and science fiction pulp mags, vintage men’s adventure and girlie magazines, Confidential-style scandal rags or “true crime” and detective mags.

CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z was co-edited by Luis Oritz and the legendary Earl Kemp. (Kemp is the Dean of science fiction fanzines and the editor of some of the campiest, most-collectible erotic pulp paperbacks of the ‘60s and ‘70s.)

In addition to being co-editor, Luis Ortiz designed CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z and published it, through his New York-based indie publishing company Nonstop Press.

Other recent Nonstop books by Ortiz include ARTS UNKNOWN, a bio and art retrospective of Weird Tales horror artist Lee Brown Coye, and EMSHWILLER: INFINITY x TWO, about veteran sci-fi author Carol Emshwiller and her late husband, the famed science fiction illustrator and avant-garde video pioneer, Ed “Emsh” Emshwiller. (Though Emsh was best known as an illustrator for his classic sci-fi magazine and book covers, he also provided cool cover and interior artwork to several vintage men’s adventure magazines, including SPORTSMAN, UNTAMED, SEE FOR MEN and TRUE ACTION.)

Before founding Nonstop in 2004, Luis Ortiz was a top graphic designer for a cutting-edge New York advertising and marketing agency. I was curious to find out more about him and Nonstop Press. So, I tracked Luis down and he was kind enough to do a virtual interview with me.

Thanks, for doing an interview for MensPulpMags.com, Luis. Could you start by telling us a bit more about Nonstop Press?

ORTIZ: We are a small group of footloose writers, artists, and editors living and working in New York who decided to moonlight at creating some worthwhile books. In the near future we have plans to add graphic novels and science fiction to our catalog. We think these will go well with the pop culture books and artist monographs already on our list. [NOTE: New and forthcoming books from Nonstop include: OTHER SPACES, OTHER TIMES, by the great science fiction author Robert Silverberg; OUTERMOST: The Art & Life of Jack Gaughan, a new book by Ortiz; and, STEAMPUNK PRIME, edited by Mike Ashley.]

How did you come up with the idea for CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z?

ORTIZ: I have been a magazine junkie all my life. I first had the idea for the book in the ‘90s when there were some great cultish magazines still hanging in there: PSYCHOTRONIC, THE SCREAM FACTORY, SF EYE, WORLD WAR 3, SPY, THE NOSE, PUNK PLANET, FACTSHEET FIVE, FILM THREAT, BOING BOING, and HIGH TIMES. Most of the magazines covered in CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z were long gone before I had a chance to buy them off the newsstand.

But I did catch up with of a few of them in places like Mendoza’s and Ruby’s, two NYC downtown bookstores that carried old, cheaply priced, issues of CRAWDADDY, CRACKED, GALAXY, TWILIGHT ZONE MAGAZINE, HIGH TIMES, IF and a lot of old men’s adventure magazines. The last century started out with some great cult magazines like MacFadden’s PHYSICAL CULTURE and BLUE BOOK. The latter is an example of a magazine changing with the times, going from general fiction magazine, to men’s adventure magazine, to finally just a men’s magazine at the end. With each new incarnation it got just a little bit raunchier.

How did you link up with Earl Kemp? Did you already know him?

ORTIZ: I knew of Earl from his association with the science fiction field. His byline on SIN-A-RAMA: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties, and the work he was doing on his e-zine e*I*, spurred me to contact and enlist him as co-editor on CULT MAGAZINES.

How did you pull together the long list of contributors who provided the text for CULT MAGAZINES: A TO Z?

ORTIZ:

Earl took the reins in the early going and brought in most of the contributors. I made suggestions and brought in a few writers later. I knew that I wanted Mike Ashley to write about early American pulp magazines. He is an expert in that area. It turned out that Mike and I did the bulk of the writing for the book.

The book has hundreds of great, hi-rez scans of covers and interior pages from many different genres of magazines. How did you pull those all together?

ORTIZ: Most of the magazine images, after 1960, came from my own collection. The rest came from the writers who wrote pieces for the book and collectors I know in the NYC area.

As an artist yourself, are you a fan of the cover and interior art that was used for vintage men’s adventure magazines?

ORTIZ: Hard not to be when you consider some of the great artists working there: Ed Emshwiller, Bill Edwards, Mark Schneider, Mort Kunstler, George Gross, Walter Popp, Valigursky, Tom Beecham, and Vic Prezio to name just a few. Like most artsy kids of my generation, my first real appreciation of art started with magazine and comic book artists.

Do you have any favorites among the many illustrators who provided cover and interior art for the men’s adventure mags?

ORTIZ: Emsh and Bill Edwards stand out for me because of their ability to draw dynamic human figures, especially women, and their mastery of picture composition. Tom Beecham’s outdoors adventure cover art, especially the stuff done for FURY, was colorful and usually much better than the magazines the art appeared on.

CULT MAGAZINES: A TO Z covers many different types of magazines. Are any of the genres you covered particular favorites of yours?

ORTIZ: At Mendoza’s I picked up a lot of old science fiction and mystery pulp magazines and I would say these genres qualify as favorites. I am also drawn to off-beat publications like FATE, MAGAZINE OF HORROR, SIR! and TRUE STRANGE.

The subtitle of your book is "A Compendium of Culturally Obsessive & Curiously Expressive Publications." What aspects of the men’s adventure magazines you included in the book do you think best fit that description?

ORTIZ: Besides the art, how can you beat story titles like “Doomsday, U.S.A.”; “Booze, Bennies & Border-Busting” or “The White Queen of the Comanches”.

Do you have any plans to do more books with Earl Kemp or more books about vintage magazines?

ORTIZ: I am mulling over the idea of doing a follow-up, or second volume, to CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z. There are a lot more magazines that we didn’t have room to cover the first go-around – not to mention this would be a chance to present more great cover art.

Thanks, Luis. I’ll look forward to reading that one and other new books from Nonstop. You’re doing God’s work for those of us who revere cult magazines, science fiction and illustration art!


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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Some of the cool books from Nonstop Press…

Thursday, June 17, 2010

SOUTH SEA STORIES, the 1960s men’s adventure mag about sexy (but dangerous) tropical isles…


During the golden era of the classic pulp fiction magazines, from the 1920s to the 1940s, some pulps focused on stories set in particular places in the world.

One of those was a short-lived title called South Sea Stories.

That digest-size pulp, published bimonthly by Ziff-Davis from December 1939 to October 1940, featured action and adventure stories set on the sultry islands and beautiful waters of the South Pacific.

Many men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s had action, adventure and war stories set in the South Pacific, but only one made such stories it’s primary focus.

It was also titled South Sea Stories and the company that published it, Counterpoint, Inc., was owned by an intriguing man who once wrote for the prewar pulp mags and maintained a special fondness for them throughout his life.

His name was Adrian B. Lopez. During the Great Depression, Lopez wrote stories for classic pulps like Black Mask, Argosy and Dime Detective. Starting around 1940, using money he won in a horse race, Lopez became a major magazine publisher.

Lopez eventually owned many publishing companies, including Counterpoint, Inc., Volitant Publishing Corp., Picture Magazines, Inc. and others, and his companies published magazines in many different genres. Notable men’s adventure and girlie magazines published by Lopez included Action, Escape to Adventure, Jumbo Man’s Magazine, Man to Man, Sir! and South Sea Stories.

The reincarnation of South Sea Stories (which may have been Lopez’s homage to the earlier pulp title) is more of a men’s adventure mag than a girlie pin-up mag. But sex and sexy women are clearly a dominant theme.

As in other classic men’s adventure magazines, those women could be sexy damsels in distress, sexy raging nymphomaniacs, sexy sadists — or even sexy cannibals.

Indeed, the premiere issue of the Lopez version of South Sea Stories (July 1960, Vol. 1, No. 1) features a story titled “THE WOMAN WHO ATE HER LOVERS ALIVE.”

The teaser subtitle on the cover claims it is “The true story of the most blood-thirsty cannibal queen in the history of Africa!”

That first issue also includes the story about female slavery, “I SAW ONE MILLION GIRLS FOR SALE,” and the book bonus story “Island Harem of John Adams.”

The cover painting on the first issue and most others was done by artist Mark Schneider, who provided cover and interior art for many magazines published by Adrian Lopez.

Copies of South Sea Stories are scarce today on eBay and on vintage magazine sites like David T. Alexander’s.

I am lucky enough to own a copy of the premiere issue of South Sea Stories and a couple others. In an upcoming post on this blog, we’ll take a look at some of the stories inside.

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KEY FACTS ABOUT SOUTH SEA STORIES MAGAZINE:

Publication dates: 1960-1964; published bi-monthly from July 1960 to Nov. 1964 (26 known issues in total)
Publishing Company: Counterpoint, Inc.
Publisher/Primary Owner: Adrian B. Lopez
Addresses: 2nd & Dickey Sts., Sparta, Illinois; Editorial offices: 21 W. 26th St., New York, New York
Original price: Single copy price 35¢; annual subscription $2.10
Size: 8.25 x 11 inches; average of 74 pages
Circulation: 86,191 in 1963 according to Devine’s Guide*
Editors: John Jordan (Editor-in-Chief), John Dorson (Editor), Robert S. Dolin (Art Director)
Frequent cover artists: Mark Schneider 
Interior illustration artists: P. Max, Howard Post, Mark Schneider, Sydney Shores, John Willis. (Often reprinted artwork previously used by earlier men’s adventure magazines.)
Frequent or notable writers: Paul Brock, Lou Cameron, John Charr, Jane (“Jungle Jane”) Dolinger, Vic Hurley, Tom Kopat, Ken Krippene, Sid R. Latham, Benton Wood 
Notable “cheesecake” spread photographers: Roy Kemp, Bob Carlyle
Frequent or notable cartoon artists: Irving Hagglund, Paul Murry, Alfred Rosenberg, Douglas Ryan, Louis Priscilla, Bill Wenzel. (Many or most cartoons were probably reprints.)
Current availability of copies: scarce
Recent price range (depending on issue and condition): $10 to $100

* Devine’s Guide to Men’s Adventure Magazines (a hard-to-find guide published in the 1990s by vintage comics and magazine collector Bill Devine of Bath, Maine.)

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.



Recommended for vintage magazine collectors…

Popular Fiction Periodicals: A Collectors' Guide to Vintage Pulps, Digests, and Magazines

by Jeff Canja

Sunday, June 13, 2010

GUSTO magazine was killed to protect you! Here’s what you missed…


In 1957, Everett M. “Busy” Arnold’s company Arnold Magazines, Inc. applied to the United States Postal Service for a second class mail permit for its new men’s adventure magazine, GUSTO.

The low-cost postage rate allowed by such a permit, now called the Periodicals rate, makes it financially feasible for publishers to mail magazines to subscribers. (A standard rate based on weight would be too expensive.)

During the heyday of men’s adventure magazines, in the 1950s and 1960s, the USPS could deny periodical rates to magazines deemed “obscene.”

It still has that authority. But, of course, the legal definition of “obscenity” in the Fifties and Sixties was much stricter and more absurdly Puritanical than it is today.

Gusto was pretty similar to many other men’s adventure magazines being distributed via second class mail permits at the time. And, it was tamer than the girlie bachelor mags, like Playboy, which (unlike Gusto) showed women with fully-bared breasts in their photos and had millions of subscribers.

Nonetheless, Arnold Magazines’ request for a second class mailing permit for Gusto was denied by the Postal Service. Or, more specifically, it was denied by a diligent Postal Service bureaucrat working on the front lines of the fight against smut and sleaze: Hearing Officer William A. Duvall.

Duvall’s decision was in the report he issued on November 8, 1957. It was based on his review of the first two issues of Gusto: the October 1957 and December 1957 issues.

Only one additional issue of Gusto was published (dated February 1958), largely because of Duvall’s decision.

Of course, in order to come to a conclusion, Duvall had to carefully study and read the contents. (Poor guy!) And, in his report, he wrote up his basic observations and descriptions of each story.

Let’s take a little trip in the Wayback Machine to look at some of those stories and read some of the things Hearing Officer Duvall had to say about Gusto’s October ‘57 issue...

“It must be said that there is no article of any scientific merit in the October issue, and if there is any literary merit to any of them it is only to a minuscule degree.,” Duvall noted. “As to ‘other merit,’ it is presumed that to some readers some of the articles have some merit from the standpoint of the entertainment which may be derived from reading adventure or horror stories.”

“In this last category would be placed the story of the death of the geologist in the Louisiana quicksand, the fight of the man with the alligator and the headhunter attack on the hunters in Africa. Another article tells of the suffering of a narcotic addict as he tries to struggle through the rehabilitation treatment back to a normal life, and, finally, there are articles criticizing the military, or at least holding the Army up for ridicule, because of the alleged fact that so few generals die in battle, and because of alleged defects in army weapons.”

“The remainder of the text of the October issue is composed of the recounting of the vice in Corpus Christi, illustrated with pictures of girls obviously depicting prostitutes; quotations of sexually suggestive language from calypso songs [NOTE: See my previous post about this article]; accounts of the lives of young girls dedicated by their parents to satisfy the lust of the priests in certain Indian religions, and given to a life of sexual promiscuity…”

“In addition, there are the picture articles entitled ‘Gusto’s Gal’ and ‘They Call Her Frenchy.’ These articles consist of numerous pages of pictures of voluptuous-looking young women in varying degrees of undress and in many sexually provocative poses, with various parts of their anatomies exposed. The cartoons found in different places in the magazine serve only to accentuate the general aura of sensuality pervading it.”

Here are some helpful and insightful additional remarks by Duvall from the Appendix of the report...

Gusto’s Gal – Four pages, eight pictures of shapely girl, various stages of undress, breasts are obviously bare but are not completely shown in any picture, but in many of them large areas of the breasts are exposed.”

The Good Life – Cartoons having a sexual theme.”

They Call Her Frenchy – Picture article showing shapely young girl. Some pictures show her buttocks, some show large areas of her breasts, all show her in scanty attire or filmy, partly transparent garments.”

After writing a similar thorough review of the contents of the December 1957 issue of Gusto, scrupulously noting salacious stories, suggestive cartoons and partially uncovered breasts, hard-working, dedicated U.S. Postal Service Hearing Officer William A. Duvall provided his conclusions...

“Words are inadequate to convey the impression created by the two issues of this publication, but inspection leads one to the firm conclusion that the dominant theme and effect of them, taken as a whole, is an appeal to prurient interest.”

“The October and December, 1957, issues of the publication ‘Gusto’ are, when considered as a whole, dominated by material of an obscene, lewd, lascivious, indecent or filthy nature...and are not entitled to entry into the mails as second-class matter in accordance with Sections 224 and 226, Title 39, United States Code.”

Having killed off Gusto magazine, Hearing Officer Duvall was presumably proud to have done his part to save the world — and the eyes, minds and precious bodily fluids of the people of America — from another grave threat posed by a men’s pulp magazine.

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.


Recommended reading for fans of vintage pulp…

Sin-A-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties

Edited by Adam Parfrey, Brittany A. Daley, Earl Kemp and Miriam Linna

Monday, June 7, 2010

CULT MAGAZINES: A to Z – a highly recommended new book…


Although I focus on men’s adventure magazines on this blog, I also enjoy reading — and reading about — vintage magazines from many other genres.

I have been a huge fan of science fiction magazines and books since I was a kid in the 1950s.

I somehow overlooked the men’s adventure magazine genre in the ‘50s and ‘60s and didn’t discover them until later. But, as a teenager and young adult, I did enjoy Playboy and other girlie or “bachelor” mags. I also also became a lifelong fan of campy erotic pulp paperbacks. (My favorite was The Man from O.R.G.Y. series).

I’m still a fan of such stuff. So, naturally, I am a fan of the legendary Earl Kemp.

In case you didn’t know, Kemp is (among many other things) the Dean of science fiction fanzines, the editor of some of the best book compilations of vintage sci-fi stories and the editor of some of the most outré erotic pulp paperbacks of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

The latest book edited by Kemp, with co-editor and graphic designer Luis Ortiz, is Cult Magazines: A to Z.

It’s aptly subtitled “A Compendium of Culturally Obsessive & Curiously Expressive Publications.”

This lavishly-illustrated book, published by Nonstop Press, explores a selected list of the coolest, weirdest and wildest magazines published between the 1920s and the 1980s. They include classic pre-World War II pulps, postwar men’s adventure magazines, “confidential” style scandal rags, girlie magazines, horror and science fiction mags, “true crime” and detective magazines, and some bizarre magazines that are almost unclassifiable.

Cult Magazines: A to Z is partly a “coffee table” art book that you can spend hours just browsing through.

It’s also an interesting magazine history and reference book.

It includes beautiful, high-rez scans of hundreds of magazine covers and interior pages. These are accompanied by insightful write-ups on the history of each of the magazines featured, written by a long list of knowledgeable contributors.

In his introduction to the book, Luis Ortiz notes:

“Authorities saw these cult magazines as outside mainstream consumer culture and therefore suspect, but many had a loyal following that actively searched for their favorite magazines. This book can be read as a tribute to the daring of a few non-conformist publishers and editors, and the readers that danced with them along the edge of that wide-open cliff.”

Ortiz’ co-editor, Earl Kemp, was himself one of those envelope-pushing editors in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Science fiction fans know Kemp primarily as the editor a number of pioneering science fiction fanzines published from the early 1950s to the mid-1960s, such as Destiny and SaFari, and as the editor of seminal sci-fi story compilations.

But from the mid-1960s into the ‘70s, Kemp was the top editor at Greenleaf Classics, a company that published erotic paperbacks and girlie magazines.

Greenleaf was owned by Chicago publisher William Hamling, who in 1955 created the great men’s bachelor magazine Rogue (once edited by Kemp’s old friend and another literary hero of mine, Harlan Ellison).

While at Greenleaf, Kemp oversaw the publication of hundreds of “sleaze paperback” novels.

He also edited an infamous illustrated version of the 1969 “Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography” — audaciously adding photos of the “obscene and pornographic” things the Commission reviewed.

Ironically, although the Commission’s report recommended ending America’s long-standing, prudish efforts to censor what adults read and view, Kemp and Hamling were convicted of obscenity for distributing the illustrated version of the report.

They were each given a one year prison sentence. Both only served the federal minimum of three months and a day. But, of course, even that seems absurd now.

It’s also ironic that, today, surviving copies of The Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography sell for hundreds of dollars.

In recent years, Kemp has been publishing reprints of his old science fiction fanzines on his personal website.

He has also been producing a fascinating new ezine about vintage science fiction magazines, pulp paperbacks, his publishing exploits and other cool stuff, titled e*I* (distributed by eFanzines.com).

Several years ago, Kemp co-edited the book SIN-A-RAMA: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties, published by Feral House.

One of his co-editors on that one was Adam Parfrey, author of the great book about men’s adventure magazines, It’s a Man's World (another Feral House publication).

SIN-A-RAMA and It’s a Man’s World are on the list of books that I highly recommend to readers of this blog.

Cult Magazines: A to Z has now been added to that list.

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Inside Exotic Adventures: “Tight Pants,” Harlan Ellison, savage women wrestlers, and more…


As noted in a previous post, Exotic Adventures magazine isn’t a typical 1950s men’s adventure mag.

It does have war stories, wild exotic adventure stories, exposé “shockers,” noir-like fiction and cheesecake photos. It also has the usual ads for stag films, sex books, correspondence courses, trusses, lingerie and body-building courses.

But, unlike most men’s adventure magazines of that decade, Exotic Adventures was printed entirely on slick paper. And, the cheesecake photo spreads in the six issues that were published in 1958 and 1959 have Playboy-style nude shots. Most other men’s adventure-style mags didn’t start showing real nudity until the late 1960s.

The most notable story in Vol. 1, No. 1 of Exotic Adventures, is a classic juvenile delinquent story by veteran pulp writer Stuart Friedman, titled “Tight Pants.” Stories about violent teenage “juvies” were very popular in the Fifties in magazines, books, movies and TV shows. (In the Sixties, they were replaced by doped-up Hippies; in the Seventies by vicious motorcycle gangs.)

Freidman was a prolific pulp writer who died in 1993. He contributed many stories to vintage pulp magazines in the 1940s, such as Mammoth Mystery, 10-Story Detective Magazine, Crack Detective, Big-Book Western Magazine, Dare-Devil Aces, Western Aces and Jungle Stories. In the 1950s and 1960s he wrote for the newer wave of detective mags, like Manhunt, and for the postwar men's magazines. He also wrote a number of pulpy paperback novels.

The second issue of Exotic Adventures includes a rare find: one of the few stories by the legendary writer Harlan Ellison that was published in a men’s adventure magazine.

Today, Ellison is most widely known for his science fiction stories and screenplays. But in the late Fifties, during the same period when he started writing for science fiction magazines, he also wrote stories for other types of magazines.

Quite a few were “juvie” stories like Friedman’s (but hipper). Most of those stories were originally published in detective and “true crime” pulp mags and were later collected in Ellison's early books, including one aptly titled The Juvies (1961).

Ellison’s story in Vol. 1, No. 2 of Exotic Adventures is not a “juvie.” Nor is it science fiction. It’s an exotic adventure story with supernatural overtones and some sexy bits called “The Island of Tyooah” (misnamed as “Island of Tyooha” on the title page).

This story has never been included in any of the books collecting Ellison’s stories. However, fortunately for me — and readers of this blog — Harlan gave me permission to offer online reprints through Payloadz.com.

“The Island of Tyooah” is fun to read and has elements of Ellison’s famous sci-fi short stories, including well-crafted prose and one of his trademark final twists in the last few paragraphs. It also has a gorgeous illustration depicting a risqué scene from the story.

There are some other stories in the first two issues of Exotic Adventures that focus exotic foreign women. One is “Lost Village in the Burma Jungle,” a World War II yarn in which some lucky American soldiers stumble on a village “jam-packed with sex-starved Burmese girls.” The other is a photo feature about the “Savage Women Wrestlers” of the Choco tribe in the Panamanian jungle. Photos of women wrestling are often viewed as being sexy. I’ll let you decide if you think these are.

Personally, I think the models in the cheesecake spreads in Exotic Adventures are a bit more appealing than the Choco wrestlers.

However, as in many vintage men’s magazines, the photos are accompanied by some truly cringeworthy text and captions that are either are incredibly inane or incredibly sexist. Or both.

For example, the headline for photo spread featuring the “beautiful blonde bomb” Lee Lane, in Vol. 1, No. 1, is titled “Man’s Best Friend” and the captions and text have a gag-inducing pet theme.

Of course, no vintage men’s adventure magazine would be complete without ads that also seem sexist and outdated.

Below are a few of my favorites examples from the first issue of Exotic Adventures.

If you click on these ads to see them enlarged and read the text, I think you’ll get a few laughs. (Or maybe see some things you wish you could order.)

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Comments? Questions? Corrections? Post them on the Men’s Adventure Magazines Facebook Group.


Harlan Ellison: Dreams with Sharp Teeth

If you’re a fan of Harlan Ellison (like me), this documentary about him is a must-see. It’s available on DVD and as video-on-demand.

And, if you’re a pulp mag fan, you should also get Harlan’s audiotape An Hour with Harlan Ellison: Loving Reminiscences of the Dying Gasp of the Pulp Era, available from his online store.