The story's on the verge of ending badly for all of them.
The above issue of Adam once again features two men about to fall to their deaths while fighting. The magazine used this idea often, including on our last example. The art, which is probably by Jack Waugh, illustrates Eric. J. Drysdale's tale, “Ransom Double-Cross,” about a rich man whose wife is kidnapped for $200,000 ransom. He later learns that she's in on the scheme and wants to have him murdered so she can inherit everything. But you can't keep a good man down. His wife goes over a cliff, as do her two accomplices. The inside front cover of this issue is graced by Italian actress and occasional space femme Ornella Muti, while the rear cover model, just above, is familiar, but unidentified for now. We'll have more from Adam later.
Obscure men's magazine roars but has no bite
Tiger was a Chicago based men's magazine launched in 1956 by George Fox, Jr. that had as its premise the dubious idea that great men are tigers. It had features on “tigers of the past,” and “modern tigers,” and we suppose this was Fox's attempt at clever branding. Sounds a bit forced, right? It didn't seem to work for the public, because though Wikipedia claims that the publication lasted into the mid-sixties, we found no evidence anywhere that it lived past 1957. But we'll keep an eye out and see if we're wrong about that.
In the meantime, above you see the front of an issue that hit newsstands this month in 1957, and the cover star is famed nudist and model Diane Webber, aka Marguerite Empey, who we've seen a whole lot of around here. She's also featured in four pages at the back of the issue, and along with her are photos of Zahra Norbo, Gunnar Gustafson, obscure actress Melinda Markey, an unknown model lensed by Russ Meyer, and shots of Nona Van Tosh by Earl Leaf. In the writing department, Fox swapped out his editor/publisher hat for a journalist's fedora and contributed a profile on George S. Patton, one of those so-called tigers of the past. If Tiger was anything like the magazine we once ran, Fox probably wrote the story in a panic to fill space after one of his writers torched a deadline. His writing is fine, but overall the magazine doesn't have any spark, literarily, artistically, or pictorially. We hate to say it, but it's a pretty tame tiger. But it's worth a look just because of Webber's presence. You'll find thirty-some scans below.
I'm an excellent deal. Plus there aren't even 10,000 men on my odometer yet.
Above: the uncredited front cover, plus the rear cover, of the very first issue of Ecstasy Novel Magazine, November 1949, with Trudy Hamilton's A Body To Own inside. We added the rear just to show how digest novels self-promoted their output. Readers typically bought their first in a bus station or drugstore, but thereafter were prodded to buy by mail, discreetly, to get their rocks off. Not that these novels were in any way pornographic. But they did get racy at times, depicting women who definitely weren't waiting for marriage before hitting the sheets. Often, the heroines even bedded two or three men. There was hardcore literary porn around, but it was harder to find and as a rule terribly written. Digest publishers employed competent authors, though they would never be mistaken for masters of the craft. Some, though, such as Jed Anthony, N.R. De Mexico, and Val Munroe, wrote good books. We have plenty of digests sitting around, so you'll continue encountering them on our site. You can see a couple more examples from Ecstasy Novel Magazine here, here, and here.
Some men go head over heels for a woman.
We have another of issue of Adam magazine for you to feast your eyes upon. This one was published in January 1973, and the cover illustrates the story, “Death Rail,” in which author Jack Ritchie asks the eternal philosophical question, “What do men think about when they are falling?” The answer is probably: how to land on the other guy. And what does a woman think about? In the story she congratulates herself for having inherited everything that belongs to her falling husband, and all just by making him erroneously believe she was screwing his business partner, and luring the two into a balcony fight. And the twist, unrevealed until the last sentence, is that it was all a misdirection play. She actually had been cheating, but with the chauffeur, not the business partner. Pretty good work from Ritchie, and another excellent effort from Adam.
Don't worry! I'm going to get the three of you out of there!
Our girlfriends—affectionately PI-1 and PI-2—rolled their eyes at this one, and why wouldn't they? We did too, but we work with what we're given, and we certainly couldn't ignore the fact that this January 1969 Adam magazine features a cover of a woman whose gravity defying breasts are directly in the center of the art. Men's magazines, those concoctions of macho fantasy set to print, are inherently sexist, but we are mere documentarians of mid-century art, literature, and film—and crime, and weirdness, and sex—in the various forms they take. This one is a particularly eye-catching example.
While literary magazines published prestige fiction, men's mags like Adam carried on the pulp tradition, giving authors without highbrow leanings opportunities to expose their work to wide audiences. Without the efforts of such publications, modern literature might look very different. Stephen King, for example, published many of his early stories in Gallery, a middle-tier smut monthly nobody would have mistaken for Playboy. Speaking of which, Playboy published early works from Ian Fleming, Ursula K. Le Guin, and even serialized the entirety of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in 1954, a year after its initial publication landed with a thud.
As far as we know Adam didn't produce any major writers except James Lee, aka Jim Aitchison, whose Mr. Midnight books were recently made into a series now streaming on Netflix. But failing to graduate lots of future bestselling authors doesn't change what Adam was—a publication that aimed for mass male appeal by merging all the elements of what was once known as pulp. Those elements included mystery, crime, war, exotic adventure, risqué humor, and a dose of relatively tame sexual content. We have all that and more below in thirty-plus scans, and something like seventy-eight issues of Adam embedded in our website.
It's not comfortable, but it's reliable.
We're back to men's adventure mags today with an issue of Male from this month in 1962, with cover art by Mort Kunstler illustrating the tale, “The Hell-Raising Yank and His Remarkable Flying Sub.” We gave the story a read and it tells of Walter R. Cook, a U.S. soldier stranded in Burma who, with the aid of a local beauty (of course), finds and refurbishes an abandoned Catalina seaplane, which has attached to it a two man submarine. The sub was a type used during World War II that the operators rode like horses while breathing through scuba gear. Cook uses it to disrupt Japanese supply lines.
The story is a standard sort for an adventure magazine, but educational, since we'd never heard of rideable submarines. The illustration makes clear exactly what form it took. The magazine also offers stories set in China and New Zealand, and contains a detailed piece on an escape from Alcatraz, the very escape that inspired the Clint Eastwood film Escape from Alcatraz, involving the inmate Frank Morris, who may or may not have actually succeeded. The art throughout the issue is from the usual suspects—Charles Copeland, Samson Pollen, and Bruce Minney—and is tops as always. We have seventeen scans below.
If anyone's going to impress her by magnanimously paying an exorbitant restaurant bill it's me!
This issue of Adam magazine hit newsstands in July of 1968, and our header refers not only to the two brawlers on the cover, but to the fact that this issue bore the smashing weight of something heavy for years, a fact made clear by the six rusty pressure dents that go clean through the magazine. Maybe the owner used it to level a work table in his garage, which we can't approve of as proper usage for the greatest men's magazine in Australian history, but even so, the scans mostly came out okay. Adam covers, which were usually painted by Jack Waugh or Phil Belbin, are always nice, but of special note in this issue is interior work from an excellent artist who signed only as Cameron. You'll find two efforts below. The editors didn't see fit to (and rarely did) credit artists in a masthead, so Cameron's full identity will remain a mystery. At least for now.
The cover illustrates Roderic J. Fittoc's “Gentleman's Agreement,” about rivarly and adultery among the smart set, but the more interesting tale is Victor Blake's “Dead Girls Can't Run.” The cool title gets an opening reference in the story, and a callback. First, concerning a tragedy in the main character's recent past, Blake writes, “But now Zelda is dead and Bertie is blind. He lost his eyes and lost his girl—but don't go thinking she came running back back to me. Dead girls can't run.” As the story devlops, the narrator is betrayed into prison by woman named Nikki. Though there's nothing good about being locked up, he figures at least he can enjoy picturing how graceful and athletic Nikki is, espeically when she runs. That pleasure would be ruined if he were free, because he'd have to kill her, and dead girls can't run. Double duty for the title phrase. We liked that. Twenty-nine scans below.
Stop resisting us! We're politicians! We know what's best for women!
Above is a July 1977 issue of Adam magazine with cover art illustrating Alex Tait's short story “Sweet Revenge.” Tait was popular with the editors. We've run into him previously here and here, and both times he got the cover. This one deals with a man who's nearly killed by a jealous husband and subsequently learns that he'd been chosen by the cheating wife with that exact outcome in mind. She'd been having a longtime affair with an acquaintance of her husband, but had no way to get free from her marriage and maintain her financial security. So she chose the protagonist for a little nookie because he resembled her lover, and she figured if she engineered it so he was caught in bed with her and killed, her husband would go to prison and she'd retain his fortune and be free to continue her affair with lover number 1 in peace. It's a clever plot idea, but it's actually a near-direct copy of the central twist in Day Keene's 1954 novel Joy House. The plan in “Sweet Revenge” fails because Tait's protagonist isn't killed. Once he realizes what was behind his terrifying fight for survival he takes revenge on the femme fatale. The payback is nothing too awful—after trapping her and her lover in her bedroom, he rigs her house to billow smoke so the fire brigade shows up and catches her en flagranti, the point being to expose her to her stuffy neighbors and ruin her reputation. The whole time the cheated-upon husband has been lurking, watching, and afterward approaches the protagonist, and it's seemingly the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Tait's fiction is a bit better than most you find in Adam, in our opinion. It's very visual, anyway. Elsewhere among the issue's one-hundred pages is a factual story about something called the Green Goddess. The name intrigued us. What in the world could the Green Goddess be? Why, it's Cannabis sativa/ruderalis/indica, maryjane, chronic, weed, smoke, indo, dope, etc. We should have guessed. The story is mainly an informative overview of the plant's origins, uses, and references in ancient literature. It made us want to get high. Adam later offers up popular glamour model Nicki Debuse in four photo pages, and Swedish beauty Anita Hemmings, aka Annika Salomonsson, in one. The Hemmings/Salomonsson shot is unrecognizable facially, but we knew it was her just from the shape of her lovely body. Note to Adam editors: smoke less, print better. Thirty-eight scans below.
The only thing that can stop her is a good guy with some gumption.
This issue of Adam magazine hit newsstands this month in 1973. The cover illustrates John P.Gilders' unusual story, “The Seventeenth Shot,” and the male character isn't really a good guy with gumption, but a meathead with entitlement. It's the type of story that could serve as an example in a women's studies class in order to show how only fifty years ago—and today, often—women were not presumed to have ownership of their bodies. One afternoon ambling around a Gold Coast beach town the main character Ral sees a woman in a fourth floor hotel window aiming a rifle toward a crowd on a boardwalk. She's cute, so he gets interested. He goes up to her room and shoves his way inside when she tries to keep him out. Importantly, he doesn't care about the gun. He cares about her beauty. He doesn't think the gun is real even for a moment, so he's not trying to be a hero—he's trying to get laid. Once inside the room he forcibly kisses the woman, and makes her submit to him sexually in that no-means-yes way familiar from so much old fiction and cinema.
Afterward, he learns that the woman, named Eva, is dry-shooting a man she claims had her family executed back in her home country. When she's mock-shot him sixteen times she plans to shoot him for real. The seventeenth shot, for seventeen dead relatives. Ral doesn't believe her for an instant, though he notes that the rifle is real. He eventually leaves, but returns the next day around the same time. He barges in again, gropes and sexually takes her again. This happens day after day, and at no point is it suggested to be rape. At no moment is Ral hinted to be a bad guy. Eva practices her shot, and Ral comes each day for some action, having convinced himself she likes him, rather than is tolerating humilation so that a plan she's had since she was a little girl won't be ruined.
Finally, on day seventeen, the day she claims she'll shoot the man for real, Ral decides to be proactive about Eva's presumed delusion, and instead of going to see her, intercepts the man she plans to kill. Ultimately his moronic meddling gets Eva killed, because Ral assumed there was no way, simply no way, she could be right about her target being a mass murderer. Gilders wrote the story unironically, an archetypal dismissal of a woman's words, with tragic results. It boils down to: Well, your so-called genocidal maniac seems like a regular guy to me, so you must be crazy. Ral is not portrayed as bad, only a little dense. His forcing himself upon Eva is just him being a normal, red-blooded male. This is another reason we enjoy mid-century fiction—because as times change, meanings often change too. “The Seventeenth Shot” is rife with meaning it was never intended to have, exemplifying on multiple levels why so many women are pretty well fed up with male attitudes.
There's another story, an excellent one, that touches on sexism and male attitudes, and does it deliberately. It's J. Edward Brown's, “Thunder Maid,” and it deals with a highly competitive golfer whose private club takes in its first woman member—who later ends up matched against him in the final of the yearly club championship. He so hates the woman for her alleged intrusion into male territory that he plots to have her killed during the competition. He can't count on mundane means, because he might get caught, so he resorts to Polynesian magic—the intervention of the titular Thunder Maid, as summoned by a local shaman. Yeah, it's a bizarre story premise, but it works. Brown tells the tale hole by hole, all eighteen of them, building suspense as the weather turns, rain comes, and bizarre occurrences tilt the match this way and that. His opponent Anita is Polynesian. Was our sexist narrator the only one who resorted to magic? It sure seems at times like Anita has a little something extra in her bag too.
All in all, we'd say this issue is one of the more successful examples of Adam we've acquired. The art was nice, the fiction was fun for differing reasons, and most of the factual stories were legitimately interesting. We did a fast count and it seems like this is the seventy-fifth issue we've uploaded into our website. We also have thirty-nine more we haven't scanned yet. Oh yes, we've been busy little pulpsters. And we almost scored six more issues, but the guy selling them didn't want to be bothered with shipping internationally, so he took far less money—less than half what he'd have gotten from us—to sell his stack locally. We really wanted those, but that's life. Will we ever get our stack completely uploaded? It's not a question that needs an answer. We'll upload as many as we can. The same goes for our books and all the rest. There's no goal. The end is however far we happen to get. We have thirty-one scans below, and those other seventy-four issues of Adam in the website for you to enjoy. The greatest men's magazine in the history of Australia will return.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
The Battle of Normandy, aka D-Day, begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of northern France in an event codenamed Operation Overlord. The German army by this time is already seriously depleted after their long but unsuccessful struggle to conquer Russia in the East, thus Allied soldiers quickly break through the Nazi defensive positions and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
1963—John Profumo Resigns
British Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigns after the revelation
that he had been sexually involved with a showgirl and sometime prostitute named Christine Keeler. Among Keeler's close acquaintances was a senior Soviet naval attaché, thus in addition to Profumo committing adultery then lying about it before the House of Commons, authorities pressed for his resignation because they also feared he had been plied for state secrets.
1939—Journey of the St. Louis
The German passenger liner MS St. Louis, carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps. The event becomes the subject of a 1974 book, Voyage of the Damned, by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, and is later adapted into a film with the same title, released in 1976.
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