Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Wild Cherries v01n02, September 1933 / Worth B. Carnahan, Pt. 5

It's been far too long since I sat down and typed here at Darwination Scans, but I've got a special treat to share tonight, a mouth-puckering offering of the second issue of Worth B. Carnahan's self-published magazine venture, Wild Cherries


Get a better peek at this first prize winning cover at Flickr here

One of my favorite covers by Worth Carnahan, simple but with all sorts of little details to sink your teeth into.  The flapper with short curls in a cute little pink number and silk stockings in white heels adorned with little cherries.  The rolling pin, perhaps used by the baker to keep the suitors away.  The fantastic lettering and logo design.  The price - 25 cents - and worth it! - perhaps a nod toward the hard times that were forcing magazines that had sold for 25 and 35 cents in the flush times of the 20s to drop the price to a mere dime (and often cut corners in production as well).  But life, even in hard times, is just a bowl of cherries upon which it's all perched and in front of a crest design, the shield being a motif and that Carnahan used often in his work and would return to with vigor later in life.

Since last writing here, I've had the good fortune to correspond a bit with Cynthia Carnahan, Worth's youngest daughter.  She was born when Worth was 56 (that's a brave man for you) and carries on the family tradition of artistry from her father and has made a great pen-pal in learning more about the man and his art and later life in Tennessee (where both Cynthia and I reside).  It's totally mind-boggling to me that an artist that was active in the magazines and comics of the 20s and 30s might still have children around today.  My interest in Worth's earliest work has only deepened, and I do intend to step back a little at some point and return to his activities in the mid-20s prior to and contemporaneous with Spice O' Life and his work in the late 20s on Harry Donenfeld's pulps and take a closer look through this lens at Burten's Follies and Artists and Models Magazine, two magazines that are central in the history of the risque urban magazines of the jazz age.

But first, I want to share a couple more publications from here around 1932 and 1933 from when Worth was running his own show and spreading his wings a bit.  Cynthia has provided me a cover for the pamphlet Worth produced during the presidential election of 1932 for Franklin Roosevelt, F.D.R. - The Man, and I plan on sharing a full scan of that soon.  I've also been looking at his work as "The Lone Ranger Stamp Editor" in the first couple issues of Trojan's pulp, The Lone Ranger Magazine and hope to share some neat production material from Worth's time as packager for Bilbara's O.K. comics and celebrate some of his work as a pioneer in the golden age comics of the late 30s in a project for the Digital Comics Museum.

But tonight, a slice of pie, the second issue of Wild Cherries.

You can get the full scan in .cbr format here.

Or it is available for online viewing or download in .pdf format at the Internet Archive here.

The scan gods smiled kindly upon me recently, as I was able to pick the issue up from a picker in England just as I'd been corresponding with Worth's fam.  Sent to me wrapped in a delicate tissue paper, the timing was a great bit of serendipity, not to mention the cover is one of my absolute favorites from Carnahan's career.  When I shared the third issue of Wild Cherries in late Summer, it was met with enthusiasm by vintage magazine fans.  Wild Cherries is funny.  And frank.  Who knew grandma and grandpa were busting out the dirty jokes, eh?  And as a student of risque and spicy mags, I do find Wild Cherries to have a particular flavor.  There's a directness in the humor that is refreshing and direct.  Sure the jokes are dirty but with a wink and delivered with class.  We're all naughty, rich and poor, dim and bright, and, let's face it, sex is likely the greatest motivator in all of human behavior, so you might as well have a laugh at it, eh? But enough of the pontificating from yours truly, let's crack the issue open and have a look.

A new day, the inside front cover - red, white, and blue.

 at Flickr

Emerging from The Great Depression, there was initially an enormous optimism about a new day in American industry and American life.  There was an idea that Roosevelt might usher in balanced economic system fair to the worker and small business alike that would set aside the iniquities that many American's blamed for their economic hardships of the day. The National Recovery Administration's blue eagle featured as a stamp on many magazines of this exact time period, but Carnahan has given the program his most enthusiastic support by placing the eagle front and center upon opening his magazine.  I'll likely get into some thoughts on Roosevelt and the good and bad legacies of his policies when I share F.D.R. - The Man but for now I just want to celebrate the optimism.  The can-do.  The sense of unity behind it and the willingness to do your part. Hear, hear, Americans.

The editor's page (and also the publisher's page as the case may be)

Here Worth espouses "spicy but clean fun" art and plenty of laughs.  He's also looking for input and engagement.  A new magazine must quickly discover what readers do and don't like and adjust.  Also, you see Worth handling a side perhaps he hasn't handled so much in the past as publisher, submissions from would-be contributors.

The contents page, promising peppy pages, really clever jokes, and that lightning rod of magazine success, novelty.  Not to mention Worth hoping for some three dollar yearly subscribers.

The opening cartoon, fitting for a magazine of sex humor, Samson and Delilah, the battle of the sexes eternal writ in the slang of the 30s

at Flickr

There may be only one way to keep your man from straying says the help

 A Carnahan flapper up a tree.  You can climb up, but can you get back down?

I still haven't identified this cartoonist.  I know he worked in the Calgary Eye-Opener as well but have failed to get a name to go with the crazy signature.  I like the idea behind this one:

at Flickr


Carnahan, About to Be Embarrassed

at Flickr

For the birds

Now you tell one!  Jokes and wine. 

Selling blushes

Bruce Patterson, egad

at Flickr

Who says the British lack a sense of humour? 

From the mailbag, lovers of the magazine?  Naughty but not too naughty?  I'm going to skip any theorizing here why Wild Cherries didn't make it and save it for if I ever find copies of the other two issues.  Many great magazines lived a short life for all sorts of different reasons.  The magazine market here in 1933 was tumultuous and crowded, a quarter was hard to come by, and a new publisher might not have the strong arm of more established syndicates behind them.  Enjoy the wild cherries when in blossom.

And, in closing, the back cover, more red, white, and blue.  Attention AMERICA.  The Last Word in Clean Spicy Humor.

at Flickr