Archive for the Magazine Category

Never Halloween Without a Witch, 1911

Posted in 10s, Advertising, chromolithograph, Costumes, Halloween, Magazine, SFW on 2 April 2011 by redwitch1

The October 1911 issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal contains a colour spread under the title “The Halloween Masquerade” with eight designs by Adrienne Brugard and drawings by M. E. Musselman.

The eight designs are: Yankee Doodle Boy, A Very Demure Goose Girl, Up-to-Date Aeroplane Girl, a Witch, Bo-Peep Hunting her Sheep, Pumpkin and Lettuce Girls, A Calico Clown. The spread is promoted in these words:

For a jolly time on Hallowe’en give a masquerade party. How shall I dress? is always the first thought on receiving an invitation to such a party. The girls and boys will look well in these fanciful costumes, some of which suggest others which would be just as quaint and humorous. Ghosts and goblins might accompany the Witch, and Little Boy Blue and other nursery-rhyme characters might go along with Bo-Peep. If the dominos do not sufficiently conceal the features suitable masks may be obtained for a number of these costumes. The more one’s identity is concealed the greater will be the fun.

The attenuated broom carried by the witch suggests that M. E. Musselman was not familiar with the object itself, but the costume is cute. Note the short cape, which turns up in some graphics from the 40s and 50s (here and here). BTW: I love the Lettuce Girl (below)—I can’t understand why this costume has waned in popularity since 1911!

At the foot of the page are two paragraphs (which I have transcribed) that explain you could buy the pattern to three of the costumes. For women, the witch costume was the only one available, men, could choose between the Yankee Doodle Boy and the Clown outfit. It would be nice to think that this meant that the witch costume reigned supreme at Halloween, for women of all sizes (i.e., with bust measurements from 32 to 44 inches). But contemporary photos suggest that the Calico Clown was more popular with women than the witch outfit. And many of the witch outfit people actually wore were hybrids with the clown outfit. After all, it was easy to make!

I haven’t given up hope of finding a surviving pattern for this design, or a costume based on it, or—better still—a contemporary photo of someone wearing this Adrienne Brugard’s creation. Until I do, Musselman’s artwork will have to suffice.

* * * * *

Patterns (including Guide-Chart) for the numbered designs shown on this page can be supplied at fifteen cents for each number, post-free. Pattern No. 4112 [Calico Clown] comes in four sizes: 26, 30, 34 and 38 inches; No. 6409 [Yankee Doodle Boy] in six sizes: 24, 26, 32, 36, 40 and 44 inches chest measure; and No. 6407 [Witch] in seven sizes: 32 to 44 inches bust measure. Order from your nearest dealer in patterns; and by mail, giving number of pattern and bust measure, and inclosing the price to the Pattern Department, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Philiadelphia.

Note—If you want any further information about the costumes shown on this page send an addressed, stamped envelope to the Fashion Editors, The Ladies’ Home Journal, Philiadelphia, who will tell you how to make these costumes, suggesting substitute patterns for any of the unnumbered designs shown on this page. Several of the costumes may be made from discarded dresses, with only a small expenditure for accessories.

Mexican Sexy Witch, 1998

Posted in 90s, Magazine, PSFW on 12 March 2011 by redwitch1

This is the cover of a Mexican adult comic. It bears no relation to the contents at all, which are a series of infantile “sexy” jokes in comic-strip form. It is hard to imagine anyone outside of a mental hospital actually being titillated by El Mil Chistes, especially as recently as 11 May 1998. But this is issue no. 657 (!!) of the magazine. I can only assume that the appeal is the cover-art. at least, I hope it is.

In this case we have a very full-figured, blonde-haired witch, riding a very plain vibrator. The witch is exclaiming: “Adios a las escobas …¡Ahora lo Moderno es ESTO!” [Goodbye to the brooms … Now the Modern thing is THIS!]

Of course, vibrators have been around for a century, and battery-operated ones that look like this have been around since the late sixties. So this is a bit like saying, “goodbye brooms, the modern thing is a carpet-sweeper”. If the artist had done their job properly, they would have been depicted a very modern-looking vibrator. One with knobbly-bits, elliptical motions and bright colours.

Then there is the cat. I am not entirely sure why the cat is sweating so profusely. Perhaps our witch is travelling at great speed, and it is clinging for dear life to her ample arse. But you’d be forgiven for thinking that the cat is—instead—taking advantage of the witch’s posture. Perhaps this is why the magazine is only “para su venta a mayores de 18 años” [for sale to those greater than 18 years].

Joan Crawford, A Modern Witch, 1927

Posted in 20s, Halloween, Magazine, Photograph, SFW on 20 October 2010 by redwitch1

Yes, the Joan Crawford, one of Hollywood’s most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States in the 20s; and yes 29 October 1927, when she was just 22. As Wikipedia explains, Crawford signed with MGM in 1925 (at 20), but she was frustrated by the parts offered to her, so she “began a campaign of self-publicity.” By the end of the 1920s she was known across the States. This is an example of Crawford’s, successful, “campaign of self-publicity.”

Here she appears on the cover of the Mid Week Pictorial 26:10 (week ending 29 October 1927), which was published by the New York Times Company, with this comprehensive caption:

A Modern Witch of Hallowe’en: She Uses a Parachute to Make a Forced Descent After Losing Her Grip on the Broom Which Witches Ride Through the Air. For the Witch of 1927 Is the Resourceful Joan Crawford, Metro-Goldwy-Mayer Movie Star, and She Knows Her Parachutes.

Did you miss any of that? Witches ride brooms through the air … resourceful Joan lost her grip … forced descent … knows her parachutes … Got it. I guess the caption is this long because it is all the explanation you get: there is no article inside. The image is just eye-candy, designed to encourage cashed-up and care-free Americans to reach into their pockets. (The Great Depression was a few years into the future. Think 2006.)

The modern Parachute was pretty new technology in 1927. According to Wikipedia (again): backpack style parachutes were developed in 1911, the German air service started using them in 1918; soft packing of parachutes started in 1924 and in 1927, several countries started experimenting with using parachutes to drop soldiers behind enemy lines.

I mention this because it is amazing how often images of witches pop up with some piece of new technology, like vacuum cleaners instead of brooms (here), in a 1923-image also captioned “A Modern Witch.”

As I have said before

This juxtaposition of “olde worlde” witches with new technology was particularly common in Swedish Easter Witch postcards, in fact it constituted an entire genre unto itself: brooms with propellors or rockets, witches flying in aeroplanes, or jets, racing trains and cars, using radios, re-fuelling in cloud-top petrol(?) stations, getting caught up in telegraph wires, or simply resting on their way to the sabbat by perching on top of the poles.

Not being a shrink, I can’t really explain why the juxtaposition of “olde worlde” witches with new world technology is so popular. No doubt it is mostly self-congratulatory: a not-very subtle pat on our own backs: “Gosh, aren’t we clever? Look at all the new-fangled things we have invented!”—with a touch of—”And weren’t they a pack of god-forsaken ignoramuses in the past! They believed in witches!” So, in as much as it is self-congratulatory, it is simultaneously poking fun at the belief in witches and witchcraft. Beyond that, who knows?

As for the twenty-two-year-old Ms Crawford, I hope you’ll agree that she is one of sexy witches. It is a shame my copy of the Mid Week Pictorial is so ratty, but how many people have seen it at all in the last eighty-three years? Not many I reckon. Which is a shame, because I think Ms Crawford, her familiar (the cat) and this mournful owl are all very cute.

Veronica Lake, The Sexiest Witch of the 40s?

Posted in 40s, Magazine, Movies, Photograph, Postcard, SFW on 11 September 2010 by redwitch1

James has suggested that I have “missed the sexiest witch of the 1940′s: Veronica Lake in I Married a Witch.” James, you are only half right. Four years ago (!), I did a very long entry on The Passionate Witch, 1942. Since then I have been collecting. And collecting. And collecting.

I now have Heralds and Press books in English, French, German and Yugoslavian! I have Lobby Cards from the US, Mexico and Italy, about a dozen Press Photos and some Magazine articles and postcards; I also have fourteen copies of the book.

So, I have been busy. The problem is that there is a lot that I still want, that I really want, because I agree, Veronica Lake is, probably, the sexiest witch of the 40s!

Unfortunately, original posters start at about USD1000 (here is one for USD7500—it was USD8500), lobby cards at USD250 and Press Photos at USD100, which is why I have no poster, and only one US lobby card.

This time last year I went crazy and bid USD750 on a 37×15 inch day bill poster, but was outbid. And there are at least 150 Press photos! What this means is that, given another four years, and a limitless budget I would need about USD20,000 to do the post that I have always wanted to do on this film.

But I guess after four years without a limitless budget it is time to admit to myself I am never going to be able to do the post I want to do, and to at least make a start based on what I have. So, James, here we go, here is a taster.

Here you have only two postcards—from before the film—and The Sunday News magazine cover of 6 April 1941—in an outfit from the film, but from before the film was released. All three are great images of the delightful Veronica Lake. During the week I will do a separate post on the film Heralds, and then another on the Press Photos. Stay tuned!

Sailor Witch, 1943

Posted in 40s, Halloween, Magazine, SFW on 9 January 2010 by redwitch1

The Log 33:4 (29 October 1943) was published by The United States Naval Academy.

As you can see, the “Halloween Issue” features a witch in fantasy Naval uniform. During WW2, US and other military uniforms for women were actually below-the-knee skirts but pin-up images almost always employ fantasy uniforms. (See here and here for detailed discussions of the uniforms worn and here and here for a variety of WW2 uniforms for women.)

As Wikipedia informs us here, Among The Log‘s usual features were … “Company Cuties,” photos of male midshipmen’s girlfriends.” The magazine also features amateur artwork by midshipmen. This cover being an (unsigned) example.

Owen Smith’s Witching Hour, 2000

Posted in 2000+, Magazine, Painting, SFW on 19 December 2009 by redwitch1

This is the cover of The New Yorker from 6 November 2000. The artwork is by Owen Smith and is titled “Witching Hour.”

On 8 September Annie left feedback here asking me whether I knew of a picture from a magazine that she had “held onto for years but can’t track it down again. It’s a pin up witch flying across the moon, but it’s sort of a double image and from a distance it looks like a skull. I loved it, just wondering if you know it.”

As you can see, I do know it, and I love it too. The strapless dress, the cat, the choker: it is all good.

And as you can also see, I do sometimes respond to requests, despite what I said during the week. What can I say, except Annie did ask nicely, and she did say that my site is “absolutely fabulous”! So I guess you really can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

31 Days of Halloween-Day 24–and more magazines

Posted in 50s, Halloween, Halloween Countdown, Magazine, Photograph, SFW on 24 October 2009 by redwitch1

While I agree with apples, that the main reason why magazine cover art from before the 70s is generally better than more recent work is because photography replaced commercial artwork about that time, here is one of many exceptions to that rule.

The model is Myrna Hansen, the composition—entitled “Be-Witching Hour”—was published by the Sunday Mirror, 25 October 1953.

I have other photographic covers, even better, and going back as far as the 20s, which suggest that photography alone is not responsible for the failure of more recent covers to match the earlier standards. I also have more recent covers, that employ commercial artwork, that are nowhere near as good as this earlier work. Why is not clear, but it is a story for another day anyway.


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