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.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
April 18
1923—Yankee Stadium Opens
In New York City, Yankee Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, opens with the Yankees beating their eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox 4 to 1. The stadium, which is nicknamed The House that Ruth Built, sees the Yankees become the most successful franchise in baseball history. It is eventually replaced by a new Yankee Stadium and closes in September 2008.
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