Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving U.S.A.

Paper Magazines are an interesting media format that we love here at VGMH because they represent such an important part of contemporary gay history.  Despite promises that they would disappear, pulp magazines continue to be sold in book stores, supermarkets, major retail stores at the checkouts, and of course in specialty stores (as in adult versions).   Vintage copies in good condition command large amounts of money compared to what they originally sold for.  And unlike their electronic modern cousins, good old-fashioned paper publications do not require a battery or plug-in source to view.  

By definition, "magazines" are printed publications issued periodically, usually bound in a waxed paper covers designed to attract attention of potential buyers, typically containing essays, stories, photographs, or drawings along with advertising.  Some magazines are geared to a large audience while many specialize in a particular subject or area, such as gender, hobbies, news, gossip, or fitness and sports.  Their paper pages are fragile yet strong enough to withstand the test of time and countless fingers thumbing through them.   Here we show our appreciation to previous issues of timeless magazines from Novembers gone by.  


This November 1957 issue of Popular Mechanics (below) is one of my all-time favorites. In addition to a nifty story about how to build your very own backyard ice rink, there's a great story inside about Walt Disney's Disneyland.

The article is written reflecting the type of reader of this nuts and bolts magazine--men interested in how things work---and wowweee does it ever deliver!  Once upon a time there was an attraction at Disneyland called the Rainbow Cavern Mine Train.  This article illustrates how they made the paint pots percolate as trains passed by.  The story also describes drive belts for hippos, five-horse-power electric motors for alligators, and even tells a secret--a toot from the train whistle tripped sound-actuated switches that turned on the spinning rocks!  Very modern!
And if that wasn't enough, there was also a pattern to make your own Happy Hunter Pipe Rack!  The time spent in the basement or garage making this pipe rack could also offer an excellent excuse to have some 'male personal enjoyment' time with maybe a few special magazines carefully tucked away. 
Of course with the kick-off for the holiday season circa 1957, Kodak offered their new Pony II camera.  Hmmm..wonder who (or what) he is taking a photo of?
  And the new 1958 cars!
It was also a time when straight men could indulge in socially-naughty sexual delights with issues like this November 1957 Playboy magazine...while the nudity in Playboy was frowned upon by the conservative-minded moralists, interestingly, the male viewers of the magazine were seldom criticized for enjoying to look at women purely for their sexual pleasure (and implied desire to fuck them if given the chance).    And while on that subject, did people really believe that men only looked at the big boobs and crotch fur gals without masturbating a few dozen times?  Straight men were usually given a free pass because after all...boys will be boys...

...and sadly these decades were also a time when gay men were largely invisible to much of mainstream society and their sexual pleasures were forced to be disguised behind topics like fitness, such as this November issue of Demi Gods.
An order form would arrive in the mail after the first correspondence.  Men in posing pouches were the norm.  But even in the 1950s there were some daring specialty publications.  Although this was risky and usually illegal if caught.  A safeguard was to try and wrap the nudity around a theme such as nudists or exercise.  Below we have a 1950s football player with both a facial expression and boner that both look very serious.  Yes, it's nice to appreciate nude males, in a purely clothing-free non-sexual way, of course.
Things changed down the road a few decades later with mainstream Playgirl and VIVA magazines, when a selection of gents were offered monthly for the explicit purpose of being viewed as sex objects (albeit officially for women to ogle over).  Here's some nice vintage November issue covers:

Viva, November 1973
By November 1980, gents could give thanks for magazine covers like this Honcho (below) which celebrated the sexual beauty of the human male for the intended viewing pleasures of other men.


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