Thursday, June 7, 2018

FFM: A January 1951 Newsstand Photo...and some of the magazines on display...

Getty Images is handling orders and rights for this photo, which Paul Di Filippo drew to the attention of Facebook Vintage Pulp and Paperback forum members:
-which they might ask not be reproduced here, in this non-commercial context:

The following issues, available in January 1951, are visible in the photo:
Comment: a pretty good example of how Sam Merwin was doing good things with the Thrilling Group sf magazines, even if Edmond Hamilton, Leigh Brackett's husband, was still writing "Captain Future" stories (however, I would have then and still do prefer seeing those to the fringe "nonfiction" both John Campbell and Ray Palmer would engage in in their magazines, Palmer having just left the Ziff-Davis magazines, below, in Howard Browne's hands...and the tendency for both Campbell and Palmer to ride hobbyhorses, which was going to begin seriously marring Astounding by the latter '50s, and would become even more pronounced in the magazines Palmer would publish as well as edit.

Howard Browne's issues would tend to resemble Ray Palmer's, only lacking any of Richard Shaver's crackpot "revelation" fiction...after the spike of impressive fiction, particularly in Fantastic Adventures, in 1950, as Browne had hoped to offer an "upgraded", at least semi-slick version of Amazing...which saw one "ashcan" dummy prototype, but went no least until the rather handsome, semi-slick Fantastic,  and then Conflict and The Seven Seas/Tales of the Sea, appeared in 1952 and 1953 respectively, with Amazing retrofitted in '53 as well. But the larding of little fillers, and even talented writers such as William McGivern and Rog Phillips often delivering simply competent fiction, rather than their best efforts, all too often.  Fantastic and to some extent the short-lived titles and Amazing did step up their games for a couple of years, but by 1955, mediocrity would rule OK again, as Browne left for a Hollywood career and Paul Fairman took over with an even less engaged approach to editing...though Browne, then Fairman, were fortunate in having as an assistant from the mid-'50s onward Cele Goldsmith...who would become editor herself by decade's end. 

From the same publishers as Startling Stories, which had a slew of corporate names...
Slightly unusual for a western magazine to dig back as far as the 'Teens for all but the biggest "names"...though Raines was at least at the edge of that sort of reputation.

The Rex Stout novella indexed below as reprinted in 3/52 EQMM:
and in the 1952 collection, Triple Jeopardy:

    The American Magazine [v151 #2, February 1951] (Crowell-Collier, 25¢, 8½" x 11", cover by Peter Stevens Sumner Blossom, editor. Details from (No image available for this issue's front cover.)

All the Mercury Press titles lined up, including the then recently-sold American Mercury...

Anthony Boucher doing double-duty at EQMM, even as he co-edited his own magazine, below:

I first read an excerpt of this novel in the 1977 "250th Anniversary" issue of The Saturday Evening Post...(please click to enlarge the images below)

Issue Date: February 1951; Vol. LXXII, No. 326 
UNTOLD FACTS IN THE KOREAN DISASTER ... William Bradford Huie, editor.
DOWN TO EARTH: Alan Devoe on Hunting
THE MYSTERY BUS RIDE ... Robert Lowry.
THE VOICE OF MARGARET TRUMAN: A Critique ... Dr. Putzi Sczerbowski, LL. D.M.
CONFESSIONS OF A WAR LACKEY ... Lt. Comdr. James Monroe Madison, USNR
FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE: Night over South Africa ... Robert de Koch.
THE YOUNG THIEVES ... Chandler Brossard.
THEATRE: The Young Man Named Fry ... George Jean Nathan.
MOVIES: The Death of the Hero ... William Poster.
BOOKS: Noble Hawks and Neurotic Woman ... Chandler Brossard.
TV AND RADIO: What Hath Two Billion Dollars Wrought? ... John Tebbel.
WHY NO KOREAN WAR SONGS? ... John Tasker Howard.

About American Mercury...
That's the January issue of The New American Mercury in the photo, just after the sale of the magazine by Mercury Press to the first in a succession of ever more rightwing and soon particularly anti-Semitic and racist owners...this first set, under editor William Bradford Huie, were more in the mode of William F. Buckley, Jr....who would be an intern at the magazine under the next administration in 1955, and would leave it to go found National Review. Up through the end of the Mercury Press years, it published a lot of interesting work, including Walter Miller, Jr.'s first short story, and some impressive George Salter covers while a Mercury Press title. 

The Reporter, 23 January 1951

John Norris queried about Masterpieces in the Comments below; turns out it was a Ziff-Davis color plates reproductions of famous paintings magazine, presumably meant to be an annual, at least, that probably never saw a second issue, at least under that logotype. (Click to enlarge any of these images.)

Some of the paperbacks John also identified:

(though I think I like the composition, if not the execution, of this Canadian cover even better:)

Looks like it's the Graphic rather than the Harlequin edition of Roeburt's Corpse on the Town:

And the last issue of the expensively-produced, lavish fashion and arts magazine Flair, as Fleur Cowles's pet project is shut down in the face of paper-shortage fears in as the Korean War heats up (her husband's publishing company was most notable for Look magazine, Life's chiefest rival among large-format photojournalism magazines; Venture was a later, expensive project). Possibly Ronald Searles's first US publication.

For more conventional Friday Books entries, please see Patti Abbott's blog.


Jack Seabrook said...

That is a great photo! I can't help but wonder if the clips holding the magazines damaged them!

Todd Mason said...

Usually a little. It was assumed the casual purchaser wouldn't care.

George said...

I started reading and collecting SF magazines around 1962. Later, I read and collected mystery magazines, too. Loved the look and feel of these publications. I don't get the same thrill with today's SF and mystery magazines.

Todd Mason said...

Might it simply be the familiarity? Some of the magazines today and in the last decade or so, albeit usually the more peripheral ones, have been among the most elaborately produced...for example, TECHNOLOGY REVIEW's special SF issues, the new SPECTACLE, or even MARY HIGGINS CLARK'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, which was mostly notable for using standard "slick" magazine design elements...

George said...

I miss the EMSH and Kelly Freas covers. I miss the pulpy feel of the digests. I was never a fan of slick magazines.

Todd Mason said...

Are you amused by how TIN HOUSE tries to look like 1960s/70s textbooks? As one who fell in love with magazines through the digest-sized CHILDREN'S DIGEST and HUMPTY DUMPTY, I was predisposed to love digest-sized fiction magazines, no doubt...and my earliest remembered adult-fiction reading experience was with one of my father's sf magazines when I was about five...never have been able to figure out which magazine or story that was...

J F Norris said...

The first thing I noticed was the line of movie magazines (about exact center right below the FLAIR issue) many titles of which I've never heard.

As you can imagine I was drawn to the small area with the paperbacks in the upper left. Almost all of them are crime novels. I see two westerns on the bottom. I immediately recognized Focus by Arthur Miller (Popular Library) on the bottom row in that section. It's got a well known Rudolph Belarski cover painting. I can also make out these: Murder Can't Stop by W. T. Ballard (Graphic Mystery), Corpse on the Town by John Roeburt (Harlequin 109), Bound Girl by Everett & Olga Weber (Popular Library), and was barely able to make out Money to Burn by Peter B. Kyne (Dell) in the upper left in that section.

What was Masterpieces, I wonder? A magazine about fine art? There's what looks like a Renoir painting on the cover. Maybe about museums?

Todd Mason said...

Turns out it was a Ziff-Davis one-shot, though as with several of their fiction magazines mentioned above probably hoped to be a more regular publication. An image or so about to be added above...and thanks for picking out the paperback titles!

I have yet to make out the MERCURY MYSTERY or BESTSELLER MYSTERY issues, but they Shouldn't be Too elusive...

J F Norris said...

Gee, thanks for the look at the Masterpieces issue. Unusual idea lavishly done.

One more from the paperbacks area: The Old Battle Ax by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (Popular Library) with another fabulous Belarski cover. That's located two to the left of FOCUS.

Todd Mason said...

Added, thanks. And I see, at the left and above the browser's hat, some pulps on spine-out display, just loosely-enough arrayed to allow to see some of the covers, in the photo or if a customer...I recognize LARIAT, I believe...also, a paperback near the Holding with a title very like MARCH OF THE BULLS...

Todd Mason said...

Which turns out to be THE MIRACLE OF THE BELLS...

J F Norris said...

I was trying my best to figure out that one. With my failing eyes and my bad glasses I thought it said MARRIAGE ON THE ROCKS. Then I thought it might be MURDER BY THE BOOK by Rex Stout because that definitely was published in 1951. But the cover was nowhere near right. Glad you tagged that one properly. I will now retire from this guessing/Google image game.