Vintage Pulp Mar 14 2012
GETTING RE-QUAINTANCED
Our first Pulp treasure from San Francisco reunites us with one of our favorite artists.

We have another great find for you today—an issue of Beautify Your Figure published during the summer of 1944. The magazine was one of several imprints owned by the Bonomo Culture Institute, which was the brainchild of Joe Bonomo. Bonomo’s art director was none other than George Quaintance, and that’s a Quaintance cover you’re looking at above, making its first appearance on the internet. We posted some pieces from Quaintance way back in 2009, but those were culled from online. This one is all ours, and we got it for five bucks. In addition to the cover, Quaintance also drew all the interior illustrations, which include the one posted just below, as well as the “Her Crowning Glory Goes to War” illustration in panel ten. He supplied art for Bonomo’s other magazines too, a roster that included Make-Up, Improve Your Dancing, Your Baby, and Building Body Power.

Beautify Your Figure is filled with amusingly anachronistic articles, such as the feature beginning in panel twelve that teaches housewives how to avoid arguments with their husbands. The magazine’s advice? Prettify yourself so you look your best when he comes home. He probably hates it when he returns from a long day of work and you’re in your apron scrubbing the wall. Seriously. Wall scrubbing was a standard chore in 1944, we gather. Elsewhere in the issue women are taught to stand on their heads to improve digestion, learn to swim by laying across a stool and sticking their heads in a bowl of water, and exercise their facial muscles by making a series of horrible expressions (but always in private, so as not to upset the hubby).

You’ll notice Beautify Your Figure is sprinkled with references to the war, and most pages carry a call to buy war bonds. We’ve hinted before—and Beauty Your Figure, of all magazines, reiterates—what clarity those times had. We weren’t there, but we’ve read about it, and listened to stories told by our relatives who lived it. Americans approached the war effort with near-total unity and upbeat determination. Belief in the war as unambiguously noble was so general that financial support could be demanded even in the pages of beauty magazines. Could you imagine that happening today? We have more gems from San Francisco upcoming. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 22
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.
October 21
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
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