Archive for July, 2021


Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 4.

July 22, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part four.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.


Another magazine published by Thrilling Publications, Thrilling Ranch Stories offered just that – thrilling stories set with a ranch backdrop. The magazine was a quarterly that held readers enthralled with stories about rustlers and rangelands. The covers were almost always colorful illustrations of a handsome cowboy with his equally attractive heroine by his side. 

The March 1953 issue was an over-the-top edition with over 100 pages of stories such as Rustler’s Run and To Wed An Oregon Man. Between the western excitement and the ever-present romance that filled the pages, the magazine was a great addition to the flock.


With three novels loaded into one magazine, Triple Western was sure to captivate even the most hard-to-please Western fan. The magazine was true-to-form in that it offered western adventure on a large scale. Published by Best Publications, another umbrella of the Thrilling Group, the title proves that good things can also happen in threes.

The February/March 1953 issue of the magazine is complete with a novel called Trail West, one entitled Wide Loop and one called Merrano of the Dry Country. And while they all fit the bill of the 1950s era western story, each is a stand-alone piece of content that really shines with vivid characters and rich backgrounds.


War Report is a comic book all about the complexities of war and its travesties, rolled into a compilation of two different stories. Published by Farrell Publications under the umbrella of Excellent Publications, the company was founded and operated by Robert W. Farrell in the 1940s and 1950s. Farrell also published romance, adventure, superheroes, and funny animal comics.

The March 1953 issue had stories about U.S. soldiers facing combat action as the Korean War heated up and promised military adventure in a big way. It was adventure done comic book style and it was vastly popular.  


West magazine was in the Thrilling Publications stable of titles and continued to follow the highly successful course that their other pulp publications did. Published every other month, the magazine offered complete novels and a variety of short stories and special features.

The March 1953 magazine was filled with stories such as Good Smoke, Ruthless Return and a novel by Walker A. Tompkins called Barb-Wire Embargo. The cover illustration had a cowboy hid behind a fallen log, trying to evade another cowboy with a long-necked rifle in his hand. Above the title reads: New, Complete Stories Never Before Published. An excellent title to add to the repertoire. 


Zane Grey, of course, had a very successful career writing western novels. So it’s no surprise that the pulp fiction Western adventure magazines that Dell published bearing his name were also a big success. Grey was a complicated man who led an unusual life, but his somewhat odd idiosyncrasies in life seemed to play a major role in his writing, prompting him to continue churning out bestsellers.

The March 1953 issue of Zane Grey’s Western magazine provided loyal fans with stories that even the master would read. While in this issue nothing was actually written by Grey, it seemed to be a given that he placed his stamp of approval on each piece. From Danger Rides The River to The Widow Packed A Six-Gun, the stories were typical Western adventure and the public loved them.

Now that we’ve revisited adventure in the jungles, the Wild West and explored many oceans around the globe, it’s time to see what the world of Sports had to offer in March 1953. So, let us cheer on our favorite team sports as we open the door on Chapter Eleven… Stay tuned.


Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 3.

July 20, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part three.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.


Another Macfadden publication, Saga magazine claimed to be “True Adventures for Men.” The stories were filled with testosterone and an overabundance of danger, but they were just what the doctor ordered when it came to men’s adventure in the 1950s. 

The March 1953 edition of this monthly title was complete with stories such as Knives in the Night and Death Speaks Loudly. There were guns, blood, guts, and glory – to some degree, and a huge amount of thrills. Fans of the genre had to be pleased. 


There were various men’s adventure magazines published from the 1930s through around 1960 or so with the name Stag. This version is the second rendition published by Official Magazine Corporation. It appeared on the scene around 1951 and was eventually taken over by Martin Goodman of Marvel Comics fame. The magazine offered “true-life” fiction in an adventurous setting. Oddly enough, Mr. Goodman had threatened fledgling publisher Hugh Hefner with a lawsuit in those days due to a trademark infringement issue of Hef’s up and coming magazine he planned to call Stag Party. No problem, Hefner just changed his title’s name to Playboy and let it roll.

The March 1953 issue of Stag spurred excitement through stories of war and mayhem. From Find Me A Pistol to Wild Dogs of the Ramapos, the magazine was not lacking in adventure and larger-than-life situations that many men would run from. But not our story characters. The content was exceptionally well-written and often had that “true” feeling, which the magazine claimed in its words 25 True Men’s Adventures. Whether they were actually true or not, they were exciting to read.


Tales of the Sea was published by Ziff-Davis Publishing Company and fell into the group of men’s adventure fiction that the company published during the early 1950s  along with their comic books. The magazine was a digest-sized title that was published quarterly. The Ziff half of the publishing company, William B. Ziff, had been interested in publishing high-quality magazines with art and photography as their focus, he’d really had no interest in fiction. But his partner Bernard G. Davis had other ideas when they acquired Amazing Stories in 1938. 

The March 1953 issue, which was the very first, featured dramatic sea stories such as The Unsinkable Ship That Sank and Are You A Weekend Sailor. For 35 cents, one could satisfy their need for sea-faring adventure from writers like Nobel Prize winning author Ivan Bunin and his story The Gentleman From San Francisco. In short, it was an admirable first issue.


Texas Rangers also belonged to the Thrilling Publications family. It was a title that fit in wonderfully with all their other pulp Westerns, offering fans a glimpse into the exciting world of lawmen in the Wild West. 

The March 1953 issue featured an illustration of a very capable-looking Texas ranger on the cover, hand on the butt of his gun, which was strapped securely around his hips. The magazine offered Sword of Amontillo, which was a gun-swift novel by Jackson Cole, an alias for a number of different Western authors writing for Better Publications, the umbrella that this particular magazine was written under. An interesting time for men’s adventure stories when many different authors wrote under the same pseudonym. 


It seemed to be  a given that Thrilling Publications knew what their readers wanted, with another Western title that offered the Wild West, Texas-style. Texas Western magazine had it all: adventure, brave Texans, unlawful activities and the men and women who had to deal with the nefarious creatures wreaking the unlawful havoc. 

The March 1953 issue offered up Texas Is For Texans and many other new and complete stories, as the magazine’s cover promised, to tantalize its readers. Once again, there was minimal advertisement and content that did not apologize for being formulaic. It definitely made the cut. 

Stay tuned for more Men’s Adventures magazines of March 1953


Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 2.

July 15, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.


Classics Illustrated was a comic book/magazine series that proclaimed “Stories By The World’s Greatest Authors” and was created by Albert Kanter. Known for its adaptations of literary classics such as Les MiserablesMoby-DickHamlet, and The Iliad, the magazine evolved many times over throughout its lifespan, which ran from 1941 to 1969. The magazine started out as Classic Comics, but changed its name to Classics Illustrated in 1947 and became more standardized in the 1950s. 

The March 1953 issue features a very ferocious-looking tiger on its cover with the cover line Bring ‘Em Back Alive above the animal’s head. The cover art was effective and the stories within did not disappoint: Giant Jungle Man, Two Rhinos and Elephant Temper to name a few. The comic book magazine took readers on a wild adventure that many probably thought they might not return from. 


This magazine was published by Thrilling Publications, also known as Beacon Magazines (1936–37), Better Publications (1937–43) and Standard Magazines (1943–55) and was operated by Ned Pines, who was known for publishing many pulp titles. Between Pines and a young man named Leo Margulies, they came up with what became known as the “Thrilling Group” of which Exciting Western was a part. 

In March 1953, the magazine showcased stories such as Hell Moved To Montana and Who Ain’t Bloodthirsty? The cover art was apropos of the stories and inside the pages was minimal advertising and offered over 100 pages of adventurous content. It was a very good read.


Macfadden Publications brought this magazine to life. It was one among many titles in Bernarr Macfadden’s publishing empire of Physical CultureTrue DetectiveTrue Romances, Dream World, True Ghost Stories, Photoplay and the tabloidNew York Graphic, along with True Story. The magazine was touted as the title for “He-Men,” a read for men who liked their reading rough and ready, tough and tense, powerful and provocative. Macfadden was nothing if not original. 

The March/April 1953 issue was jam-packed with fast-paced adventure and spine-tingling thrills – the publication’s description, not exactly mine. However, I would agree that the stories were both entertaining and heady, in an intriguing way. There were great images inside the covers of the magazine of both men and a few scantily-clad ladies. But even without all the hype, the magazine was a good read. 


Popular Publications was at it again when they “branded” a Western title with the “King of Action Western’s” moniker across the top of the magazine’s cover. It was then that Max Brand’s Western Magazine was born. With one of the most successful Western pseudonyms ever created, “Max Brand” who was really Frederick Schiller Faust, became a household name in the world of Western fiction. And Popular Publications made good use of that.

The March 1953 issue did the man justice. Stampeders of Big Hell Canyon was the cover story and had the illustration to match. The magazine touted itself as a producer of Famous Classics Of The Fighting West. And with Mr. Brand’s renowned  moniker attached, the magazine was a sure-fire success. In March 1953, everyone was happy with the content.


New Western Magazine also belonged to Popular Publications and offered the same type of Wild West content. The magazine fell into step beside its many counterparts and rolled with the powerful punches this genre tended to dole out to its competition. During the 1950s, Western adventure had many players on the frontier, so it was always a constant battle to stay at the head of the herd.

March 1953 saw an issue that was both familiar and different, in that the stories seemed to be more diverse, yet within the Western formula that was so successful at the time. From The Rider From Wind River to Blind Canyon Manhunt, the bimonthly magazine brought another Western dish to the table.

More Men’s Adventures magazines of 1953 to come… stay tuned….


Men’s Adventures Magazines 1953: The Magazines And I. Chapter 10 Part 1.

July 13, 2021

Men’s Adventures Magazines … is the 10th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter ten, part one.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and nine in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

From exotic jungle locales to wartime feats of derring-do, with a bevy of pin-up beauties thrown in for good measure, men’s adventure was a genre of magazines that reigned supreme during the 1950s era. 

Western publications that were many times called “Dime Western Magazines” figured into the men’s adventure equation with an impact that cannot be denied. From Zane Grey to Max Brand, these magazines were looped into the “pulp” category, but not so much so that they didn’t do their due diligence when it came to success and magnitude of performance. And how could they miss with the heavy weight of popularity their namesakes brought the titles. Zane Grey is known as the father of the modern American western novel, after all and Max Brand is no less notable.

Looking at these adventure titles that were aimed at men and often offered wild animal conflicts in the far-flung jungles of  some unknown land or the explosive backdrop of a world at war, these publications brought many male readers (and dare I say, female readers as well?) many hours of great escape and dreams of daring exploits. 

Let’s take a look at these larger-than-life adventure magazines that could transport us from lands ravaged with war to dangerous jungle environments that no mere mortal man could survive to the thrilling ranches of the West where romance and danger lived forevermore.


Published by popular Publications, which was a mass producer of pulp titles, 44 Western Magazine was touted as The Big Frontier Western Magazine. Popular Publications was formed in 1930 by Henry “Harry” Steeger during the Great Depression, when escape fiction was at an all-time high. The magazine was a bimonthly that definitely provided an adventurous escape. 

The March 1953 edition was filled with novelettes that lived up to the big frontier theme, with titles like Guns Wait In Spanish Spur,  Stage To Buckhorn, and Hunted Lawman. There was only a modicum of advertisement in the magazine, so for the most part it was strictly content. And content that was sure to enthrall and entertain even the staunchest of Western title fans.


The magazine was published by Picture Magazines Inc. and was a title that strove to live up to its name. It was action personified with stories of “true adventure,” exposés, and sports in action, but also articles and features that offered a strong viewpoint and voice. 

The March 1953 issue had features such as The World’s Strongest Bartender and an article on the Male Body, buffered with action stories like The Flag of the Stonewall Brigade and Payoff On Horror Hill. The March 1953 issue was Vol. 1, No. 1, so its premier was a definite attention-grabber.


After it was purchased from the Butterick Publishing Company by Popular Publications, Adventure Magazine became one of the most profitable and acclaimed of all the pulp fiction magazines. It drew the reader into a world of larger-than-life adventure and just refused to let them leave. And why would they want to? The magazine shouted to the world that it was the finest in fiction for men. 

The March 1953 issue did not disappoint when it came to that wild adventure theme. Hellwater Run by Hayden Howard was one of the cover line stories and the illustration on the cover matched the title vividly as a wild wave of oceanic proportions had two men fighting it valiantly in a small canoe. An absolutely great read.


Best Western magazine was a part of Martin Goodman’s plethora of titles. Goodman launched the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics. Goodman’s strategy was to use several different names while publishing whatever genre he deemed popular at the time. Best Western was published under the Stadium Publishing Corporation umbrella. 

With the popularity of western adventure in the 1950s, Goodman saw success waiting to happen and began a stable of western titles, such as Five Western NovelsGunsmoke Western and many others including Best Western

The March 1953 edition held to the traditional, with a cowboy/beautiful woman on its cover, and stories such as Gunmen In The Streets and Thirteen Rode Out. The tales were compelling for the western fan and filled with just enough romance and adventure to balance the stories out.


Another title by Popular Publications, Big-Book Western Magazine was one among many western adventures that the company published. 

The March 1953 edition featured the cover story called The High-Iron Killer, a dramatic epic of the Steel Train. And the illustrated cover complemented that title. The magazine had over 100 pages, giving it that “big-book” feel and proclaimed Frontier Fiction by Tophand Authors! 

To be continued…


Love And Romance: The Magazines And I. Chapter 9, Part 2.

July 5, 2021

Love and Romance Magazines … is the 9th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter nine, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight in previous blogs.  Enjoy.


Published by Ideal Publishing Corp., a very lucrative smaller publisher that loved pulp magazines, Personal Romancesactually began as Personal Adventure, which in turn had begun as Personal Adventure Stories. Publisher William Cotton made it a slick replica of another one of his titles Movie Life. The magazine was somewhat thin for a Love Confessions pulp, but it served the purpose with tantalizing stories of love, lust and mayhem.

The March 1953 issue promised us stories on Girls Who Are Too Easy and I Got Her In Trouble. There was even a homemaking section that taught us how to make a perfect spaghetti dinner. And the ads were plentiful. In short, it did what any good pulp romance should do: it got women reading the stories. 


Ranch Romances was the last of the original pulps. It was really the most successful titles of the western romance pulp magazines, with a 47-year run and 860 issues published between 1924 and 1971. Fanny Ellsworth edited the title for half its existence and it had three different publishers from 1929 to 1953. Warner Publications took over Ranch Romances in late 1933. It shrank to a 7-by-10, trimmed-edge format in its final decade, but never became a digest.

The March 1953 issue had stories, novels, serials and regular departments, such as Trail Dust and Out of the Chutes. It was a love story magazine with a western backdrop that women (and dare I say, men too) loved to read. 


Another Popular Publications title, Rangeland Romances was its first and longest running title in the western romance pulp genre. It was their main title, even though they launched many others. And it was very successful.

The March 1953 issue had stories like Two Queens for a Gambler and Little Texas Rebel. It was light on advertisements and heavy on western love and commitment, with over 100 pages of content. 


Real Romances was a Hillman Periodicals publication and the first of the company’s dive into “love pulps.” In fact, Alex Hillman was one of the biggest and longest lasting publishers in the field. By calling this title “Real,” Hillman followed the same path that he had with Real

Detective and Real Story and seemed to lay down the gauntlet to other pulp publishers that his magazines were the real deal, so to speak.

The March 1953 issue featured three complete full length novels: Love Is Not Enough, Invitation To Sin, and Man-Huntress. From the titles of the novels, I’m sure you’re seeing a pattern here for love pulp magazines, but if it ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it, and these magazines were definitely not broken. Monthly sales were through the roof and women all across America were scooping them off the stands, especially in March 1953. 


Young Romance was launched in fall 1947 and was told from a first-person perspective. The romantic comic book series was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for the Crestwood Publications imprint, Prize Comics and is considered the first romance comic. It ran for 124 consecutive issues and then 84 more after Crestwood stopped producing comics and DC Comics took it over. It was an instantaneous hit after the first publication, and within the first two years Crestwood was capitalizing on its success by churning out companion titles.

The March 1953 issue was number 55 in the series and featured the Afraid To Go Home, Heartless, and Tell It To The Judge segments. It was artful and creative and had very few ads, just page after page of comic book story with enough romance to fill any young woman’s heart. 

Up next: Chapter 10 Men’s Adventure Magazines… coming soon.

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