Friday, August 28, 2009

Jim Jam Jems v20n06 (1931-02)

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An interesting late sample of Jim Jam Jems, "Official Magazine of the Bar Flies of America," of which the North Dakota Library says:

Written by the fictional "Jim Jam Junior," Jim Jam Jems was an editorial news magazine published monthly in Bismarck, North Dakota, by Sam Clark. The magazine used sensationalism, propaganda, humor and satire to expose corruption and spread truth. The subtitle of each issue was "A Volley of Truth."

Each issue was composed of around 60 pages, and began with a "Monthly Preamble" by Clark. The rest of each issue contained articles of social and political commentary. Subject matter was truly wide ranging, from the fight versus prostitution in Fargo (March 1912 ) and war with Mexico (July 1916), to abortion and infant mortality (August 1914). There were occasional cartoons and artwork, but the vast majority of each issue was textual.

Under the guise of Jim Jam Junior, Sam Clark recorded his views regarding the Federal Reserve System in a 1922 book entitled The Federal Reserve Monster.

Clark also was responsible for publication of another editorial newsmagazine, Red Ink, in the 1930s.

This particular issue, I'm told, was published by Fawcett (the indicia indicates a Minnesota address). Apparently, the magazine ceased publication for a short while in the late 20s and was renewed for a brief run by the Minnesota publisher. Inside this issue there is a plug for a Smokehouse Annual, one of Capt. Billy's other publications.

Get the scan here.

Jim Jam Junior starts this issue with an examination of Chicago gangdom, placing the blame for the rise of these mobsters on Prohibition. Hall uses a neat sort of 20s slang, you do get the sense that he's a voice of the midwest here, and I like his harangue of country scribes' flowery language and appreciate his attitude towards government involvement in the daily affairs of its citizens. After the opening section of editorials, the magazine gets into a standard sort of risque joke and cartoon mag with lots of spot illustrations, though JJJ does come back in a few times for more editorializing. Some antiquated racial views and humor in here but really a fun read. I've got another issue of this from this era where the covers look similar to what you'd see in tamer pulp pin-ups of the day. Some of the earlier covers I've seen look a lot more like Capt. Billy's Whiz Bang in terms of just a couple colors and a simple layout - I'll keep my eye out for an early example to scan.

McCoy edited this issue for me, and, as always, he's done a smash-up job, so thanks McCoy!


The preamble. Jim Jam Junior is right on target that Prohibition is to blame for the rise of gangdom, just as the war on drugs is responsible for today's rise of cartels foreign and domestic. End prohibition now!

I no longer feel the need to apologize for some of the antiquated views in the things I scan. I scan everything and let the readers sort it out. If I were to avoid scanning racist or bigoted material, I'd be doing an injustice to these wonderful magazines and misrepresenting the past. I find a sort of fascination in material from the 20s about how the other half lives and about the fun times being had in Harlem. There was obviously a simultaneous attraction even though there's an outward condemnation. Here Jim Jam Junior investigates..

An organization of Bar Flies? Apparently so, you can imagine Jim Jam Jems being passed around the bar...

Cheers and Enjoy! I realize I've been neglecting my little blog here and will try and keep up the excitement a little better now that Fall has arrived.

P.S. a small (1.6MB) but readable scan of Hall's book on the Federal Reserve from google is here.


Unknown said...

I've got one from nov 1920. any idea what its worth or who might be intrested in buying it?

darwination said...

The best place to sell it would be ebay. I tend to see issues go for about $5-$10 dollars, though the earliest issues might go for a bit more as well as the later issues with painted girlie-pulp type covers.

I'd say they are rare-ish but that there is no real collector's market for them. I've got an earlier issue to scan sometime as a follow-up to this post...