This past weekend, on the 72nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I read a classic men’s adventure magazine story about that fateful event, titled “YANK ACE WHO BATTLED THE JAPS OVER PEARL HARBOR.”
It was published in the December 1965 issue of STAG, one of the best mags in the genre in the 1950s and 1960s (before it morphed into a clone of HUSTLER).
The story was written by Robert F. Dorr, one of the best of the many writers who worked for the men’s adventure magazines.
I am big fan of his work from all phases of his long writing career.
Bob Dorr started out writing stories for men’s adventure magazines and military-related periodicals in mid-1950s while serving in the US Air Force.
In the 1960s and 1970s, he worked as a US Foreign Service Officer in many countries around the world, including Madagascar, Korea, Japan, Liberia, Sweden and England.
In his spare time, he wrote hundreds of stories for the top men’s adventure mags of the day.
When the men’s adventure genre faded away in the mid-1970s, Bob continued to write for other types of magazines.
He eventually began to specialize in nonfiction articles about military history, particularly military aviation history.
In the 1990s, after retiring from the Foreign Service, Bob began writing books about those subjects.
Bob’s stories in men’s adventure magazine generally fall into three categories. Some are fact-based war stories, like his Pearl Harbor story in STAG.
Others are exciting war, action and adventure fiction yarns, such as “I FOUGHT CASTRO’S CUTTHROAT GUERRILLA SQUAD,” a story in the April 1970 issue of FOR MEN ONLY. It’s illustrated with a great painting by Earl Norem that now resides in the collection of my friend Rich Oberg.
A third type of men’s adventure magazine stories Bob wrote are news-style exposés. These usually have a basis in fact. They also often reflect knowledge Bob gained from traveling the world and details from research he did. But they are typically sensationalized with imaginary people, events and anecdotes Bob created and spiced up with pulpy artwork and/or stock photographs picked by art directors and editors who wanted to pump up the “shock value.”
A great example of a Bob Dorr exposé that I featured here in a past post is the story “INNER SECRETS OF THE INTERNATIONAL COCAINE COMBINE”, in the July 1971 issue of BLUEBOOK
It’s an interesting account of the early coke smuggling business, years before it mushroomed into a huge, multi-billion dollar industry in the late 1970s and 1980s. The main photo the editors used for it shows a coke-fueled sex orgy, with those classic black bands overlaid on the eyes of the participants.
A smaller photo shows what are IDed as “coca farmers” with a pile of plant pods, purportedly in the process of breaking them up with bolos (machetes) to make cocaine. In reality, the pods are cocoa tree pods, which are used to make chocolate – not cocaine. As most people know today, cocaine is made from the leaves of coca plants. In 1971, the editors of this story were either clueless or it was an inside joke they figured most readers back then were unlikely to catch.
We included two of Bob’s classic stories in our WEASELS RIPPED MY FLESH! anthology of men’s pulp adventure magazine stories: “BAYONET KILLER OF HEARTBREAK RIDGE,” the featured cover story from MAN’S MAGAZINE, October 1964, and an unusual animal attack story from the February 1975 issue of MALE, about the “‘GHOST BEAR’ THAT TERRORIZED A TOWN.”
Bob’s story about Pearl Harbor was the featured cover story for the December 1965 issue of STAG.
The cover painting was done by the great Mort Kunstler, another men’s adventure magazine veteran who now specializes in painting scenes from American history that go for tens of thousands of dollars. (Kunstler’s Pearl Harbor painting for STAG was later recycled on the cover of ACTION FOR MEN, November 1969.)
The focus of Bob’s story is George Welch, a real-life hero who was of the few American fighter pilots who were able to engage the Japanese planes that were attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Inside, the story is illustrated with historic photos taken during the attack on Pearl Harbor and a photo of George Welch and his buddy Ken Taylor, being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for their bravery that day.
The style of this story is a precursor of the style of Bob’s later military aviation history books, which have been described as aerial versions of BAND OF BROTHERS.
If you’d like to read it, just click this link to the MensPulpMags.com virtual newsstand, where I recently uploaded a complete PDF copy of the December 1965 issue of STAG.
It’s worth downloading that issue just to read a classic Robert F. Dorr’s war story.
It also contains many other men’s adventure treasures, including some wild yarns illustrated by several of the best pulp illustration artists of the era: Earl Norem, Bruce Minney (“The Man Who Painted Everything”) and Samson Pollen.
Another thing that caught my eye in this issue is a news item about the gun control debate that developed in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
It’s quite interesting from a historical perspective, regardless of which side of the gun control debate you’re on.
But even more interesting for fans of retro pop culture is the scantily-clad babe in the illustration. She is blasting away with a “bra gun” like Ursula Andress used in the movie THE TENTH VICTIM. Coincidentally (or not), that movie was released in the US the same month this issue was published.
A bra gun was also used by Sofia Vergara in the recent grindhouse-style flick MACHETE KILLS. And a variation of them, sometimes called “nipple canons,” were built into a fembot in AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY. (Yeah, baby, yeah!!!)
In the next post, I’ll provide a closer look at some of the other cool stuff in December 1965 issue of STAG.
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