What it lacks in maturity it makes up for in exuberance.
Above you see a cover of the Australian magazine Man Junior, which hit newsstands Down Under this month in 1963. An offshoot of Man magazine, it came from K.G. Murray Publishing, along with Adam, Pocket Man, Eves from Adam, Cavalcade, Man's Epic, et al. The Murray empire, run by Kenneth G. Murray, came into being in 1936, and the company's various imprints lasted until 1978—though the entire catalog was bought by Consolidated Press in the early 1970s. We've seen nothing from K.G. Murray that we don't love, so we'll keep adding to our stocks indefinitely. Or until the Pulp Intl. girlfriends finally revolt, which should take a few more years. Speaking of which, it's been a few years since our last Man Junior, but its positives and negatives are still intimately familiar to us. On the plus side, the fiction and true life tales are exotic and often good, and on the negative side the humor doesn't usually hold up, though the color cartoons are aesthetically beautiful.
Of all the stories, the one that screamed loudest to be read was, “The Hair-Raisers,” by Neville Dasey, which comes with an illustration of a bearded woman. It's an absurd, legitimately funny story about a con man who accidentally invents a hair growing tonic, which he then unintentionally splashes on his date's face. By the next morning she has a beard, which proves the tonic works, but the con man lost the magic liquid when he stilled it, and he ends up losing the formula to create it. But everyone ends up happy—the con man earns a contract that pays him regardless of whether he can recreate the formula, and his date ends up marrying the owner of the hair restoration company. We weren't clear on whether the formula wore off, or she had to shave regularly. Either way, the story is meant to be silly and it certainly achieves that goal. Twenty-eight panels below, and more from Man Junior here, here, and here.
Aussie magazine delves into love, sex, war, crime, and more.
We're back to Man's Epic today, a difficult to find Aussie adventure magazine published by K.G. Murray Co., the same group responsible for the amazing Adam magazine. K.G. Murray Co.'s provenance goes all the way back to 1936, when an Aussie advertising worker named Kenneth Gordon Murray launched Man magazine from offices in Sydney, and its mix of adventure, cartoons, and women caught on with readers. Murray expanded and would eventually publish Man Junior, Cavalcade, Gals and Gags, Adam, and numerous other titles. By 1954 the company was churning out eighteen monthly publications.
Man's Epic, which is not related to the U.S. men's magazine of the same name, came in October 1967, and switched to bimonthly in 1971, with the above issue published to span May through June 1973. Unfortunately, Man's Epic died in late 1977 or possibly early 1978, at the same time numerous men's magazines were withering with the changing times. Murray's umbrella company Publishers Holding Ltd. had become targeted in a takeover bid that resulted in K.G. Murray Co. being sold to Australian Consolidated Press, or ACP. After that point Murray's magazines were shuttered one by one by their new owners.
We're fans of Man's Epic, though this is only the second issue we've managed to buy. Inside you get articles about practitioners of warcraft, a story on motorcycle accidents that doesn't spare the carnage, and various models whose identities are new to us. There's also a lengthy feature on shocking sex rites, including a bit on San Simón, aka Maximón, the Mayan trickster deity native to our former beloved home of Guatemala. We once took a long drive from Guatemala across Honduras with an effigy of Maximón in the vehicle, and we learned about his trickster nature firsthand.
That story, by the way, was penned by Jane Dolinger, a trailblazing travel writer who ventured everywhere from the Sahara to the Amazon and wrote eight books, but is perhaps a bit forgotten today. The editors make sure readers know Dolinger is hot by publishing a glamour photo of her, which is a pretty sexist move, though she posed for provocative shots often. Meanwhile her framing of other cultures' sexual practices as abnormal is textbook racism. Abandon all hope ye who enter this magazine!
Junior is every bit as grown up as its father.
From K.G. Murray Publishing Co., the group that would later produce Adam magazine, comes this October 1948 issue of Man Junior, which you may already know was the offspring of Murray’s flagship publication Man. We showed you one of those here. Both magazines featured art, fiction, cartoons, and glamour photography, but Man Junior was of smaller dimensions—in fact pocket sized. It launched in 1937 and was an immediate success. The cover art above, signed Val, is uncredited, but inside you get illustrations from Arthur Nichol, Jack Waugh, and others, plus an adventure from the immensely popular comic character Devil Doone, who was created by R. Carson Gold, first appeared in Man Junior in 1945, and was drawn during this period by Hart Amos. You also get a pretty cool photo of American actress Janet Blair, who we shared a portrait of just a couple of weeks ago, and of special note are two nude studies from famed British photographer John Everard. We’ll have more samples form Kenneth Murray’s publishing empire soon.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1969—The Krays Are Found Guilty of Murder
In England, twins Ronald and Reginald Kray are found guilty of the murder of Jack McVitie. The Kray brothers had been notorious gangsters in London's East End, and for their crimes both were sentenced to life in prison, and both eventually died behind bars. Their story later inspired a 1990 motion picture entitled The Krays.
1975—Charlie Chaplin Is Knighted
British-born comic genius Charlie Chaplin, whose long and turbulent career in the U.S. had been brought to an abrupt end when he was branded a communist and denied a residence visa, is bestowed a knighthood at London's Buckingham Palace. Chaplin died two years later and even then peace eluded him, as his body was stolen from its grave for eleven weeks by men trying to extort money from the Chaplin family.
1959—Lou Costello Dies
American comedian Lou Costello, of the famous comedy team Abbott & Costello, dies of a heart attack at Doctors' Hospital in Beverly Hills, three days before his 53rd birthday. His career spanned radio and film, silent movies and talkies, vaudeville and cinema, and in his heyday he was, along with partner Abbott, one of the most beloved personalities in Hollywood.
1933—King Kong Opens
The first version of King Kong
, starring Bruce Cabot, Robert Armstrong and Fay Wray, and with the giant ape Kong brought to life with stop-action photography, opens at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The film goes on to play worldwide to good reviews and huge crowds, and spawns numerous sequels and reworkings over the next eighty years.
1949—James Gallagher Completes Round-the-World Flight
Captain James Gallagher and a crew of fourteen land their B-50 Superfortress named Lucky Lady II in Fort Worth, Texas, thus completing the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight. The entire trip from takeoff to touchdown took ninety-four hours and one minute.
1953—Oscars Are Shown on Television
The 26th Academy Awards are broadcast on television by NBC, the first time the awards have been shown on television. Audiences watch live as From Here to Eternity wins for Best Picture, and William Holden and Audrey Hepburn earn statues in the best acting categories for Stalag 17 and Roman Holiday.
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