Sunday, October 25, 2009
Inside Detective, July 1946 / Hush Hush
So tonight I thought I'd round up this sampling of 40s detective magazines with something of a counterpoint to the other examples, a very nice title from Dell, Inside Detective. This issue was edited by my pal Dr Oldschool who always shows good taste in his approach to old paper.
The printing and photographs are nice in Inside Detective, the stories pretty well written (if predictable), and I guess these are about what you'd expect from Dell. Dell comics are good comics, and apparently Dell magazines are good magazines. Sure, there's plenty of innuendo in these seedy tales of vice, but it's of a tamer variety than the more salacious titles. There is discussion of emerging forensic science, sociological factioids given, a focus on the process of the investigation, the relation between police departments and jurisdictions, etc. The models in the photographs are not baring their braziers and descriptions of the gore are left more to the text than in the photographs. This was probably a more accepted title to let your teens read, at least little Johnny isn't reading Women in Crime...
Inside Detective v23n07 (1946-07.Dell)(c2c.Darwin-Oldschool-DREGS).cbr
Get the scan here.
Contents for tonight's issue. I'll post the whole page because I like the bit about the boys who meet in a reformatory, become war heroes, then return to crime when they get back. They serve society well in one set of circumstances(war) but don't fit in before or after. The Commissioner's comments are pretty hardcore, I don't think a police could get away with saying this these days.
The lead story (The Hush-Hush Murder Case) regards a pair of detectives that travel upstream to the site of a murder before the news of the corpses discovery. The part where a couple turtle hunting boys find the body is pretty gross along with the descriptions of the corpse as fish food. Eeew. Somehow the picture of the perpetrators in my mind's eye doesn't quite match the model's photograph:
One page I found particularly interesting is the story of a false imprisonment. Apparently the magazines story on a flawed conviction led to this man's release:
I managed to track down word of his reward from the state. Here's an AP press release from the following April. The guy got 10,000 bucks for 6 years of wrongful imprisonment, doesn't sound like too much in today's economy. The poor guy turned it right over to his ma who had gone into debt fighting to get her son out of jail for so many years.
Here's a splash page with illustration, I don't know the cartoonist. Other issues of Dell's true crime mags contain all sorts of joke panels, I don't doubt that some issues might contain illustration. Maybe there is material in these magazines that would interest those with interests in the artists that worked at Dell over the years.
Here is a sort of mixture of photograph and art, a "photodiagram", an illustrator's rendering made more real by the fusion of art with photography in order to dramatize a scene. Neat effect.
A couple of splashes, great colors. Oldschool did a nice job on the join pages.
I leave with an interesting column on DOPE. Many Americans consider drug usage a modern phenomenon or at least a 20th century occurence but no. Why even the good detective Holmes had to have his daily helper...
I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of 40s crime magazines. At some point in the future I'll be scanning some earlier examples. Maybe I can find some Jim Thompson in True Detective or some good Dillinger or Lindbergh Baby material. In any case, an important genre! There's a mountain of these to be scanned, hopefully there are some enthusiasts out there that will rise to the challenge of digitizing this lost genre of mags - they are a wealth of sociological data, a look a law enforcement through the ages, and artifacts of the American fear of and interest in crime.
These themed posts on early Hollywood and 40s true crime have been fun, but I'll take potpourri for $200, Alex. I'm going to mix it up here for a little bit for a few weeks and post an array of periodicals before I move on to my next themed topic (20s and 30s slicks!!!).