Friday, May 23, 2014

CARTOON AND MODEL PARADE & the Pre-Bettie Page Days of Irving Klaw, circa 1950

If you’ll recall from last week, we left off with a brief look at remnants of some very early Irving Klaw bulletins. Today I thought it might be fun to trace the earliest Irving Klaw catalogs. What’s the difference between Irving Klaw’s bulletins and his catalogs? Well, for one, the catalogs are much thicker. They also generally represent “the best of” his bulletins (or what, most likely, was his “best-selling” material. Let’s not forget that Irving Klaw, first and foremost, was a businessman).

By this time, the late 1940s, Klaw had been selling movie star pin-up photos and Hollywood memorabilia for about a decade. He was a seasoned businessman with mail order experience. Although Irving Klaw was married (also for about a decade), his real partner in crime was his sister Pauline (aka “Paula”).

Irving Klaw Paula Klaw Irving Klaw Pin Up Photos, Richard Pérez Seves

Irving Klaw’s earliest catalogs were called Movie Star News. Since I own a few of these I can say they’re pretty bland: just straight listings of mainstream Hollywood material with very few pics, except for the occasional celebrity PR shot.

Movie Star News, Richard Pérez Seves

By the mid-to-late '40s, “borderline” material would be introduced in these catalogs. This was a natural progression (following Darwin's Law, we might say), as what sold would be featured more and more.

Already by issue #27 of Movie Star News, for instance, there’s mention of “Girls in Extreme High Heels,” “Dominant Female Sirens,” “Curvaceous Corset Girls,” “Fighting Girls,” “Slave Girls,” “High Laced Boots Poses,” “Gagged Model Poses.” Many of these same ads, which are actually quite innocent, can also be seen in issue #29 (below):

Movie Star News #29, Richard Pérez Seves

Movie Star News #29, Richard Pérez Seves

The 29th edition of Movie Star News would morph into issue #30 of Cartoon and Pin-Up Parade, then finally by issue #31, Cartoon and Model Parade, which you see below.

Cartoon and Model Parade #31, Richard Pérez Seves

Not only is this the first Cartoon and Model Parade, it’s also the first catalog not to be printed on newsprint. This accounts for the paper not browning so much, the smoother texture, and the better image quality. Although this item has no publishing date, an accurate guess would be 1950.

Since I own this particular issue, would you like to take a peek inside? If so, tune in next week!

But here’s a special preview (click to enlarge)!

Shirley Levitt, Richard Pérez Seves

Richard Pérez Seves

 => Index ~ of FetHistory ~ From the Beginning:

Charles Guyette: Godfather of American Fetish Art

Charles Guyette: Godfather of American Fetish Art 
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