The Heyday of Girlie Magazines in America

Men's Magazines
Earl Moran, Peter Driben, and Billy DeVorss are some of the 20th-century’s highly regarded illustrators, credited with defining feminine beauty in America from 1942 to 1955, providing exceptional works of Pin-up art for the colorful covers of Robert Harrison’s girlie magazines.

Born in 1904 in New York City, New York, USA as Max Harrison, journalist Robert Harrison became known as the diabolically ingenious founder of a mighty girlie-magazine empire in the USA. Before his publishing career, Harrison had worked in the editorial offices of Martin Quigley, the upright publisher of “Motion Picture Daily” and “Motion Picture Herald.”

Robert Harrison in 1957
Photo of American journalist and publisher Robert Harrison (1904 – 1978).

Harrison created his first girlie magazine, titled “Beauty Parade: The World’s Loveliest Girls” in 1942. United States’ booming consumer society at the time, an awakening eroticism, as well as a lust for cash and fame, instigated Rober Harrison to go for a series of relevant titles, such as “Titter: America’s Merriest Magazine” (1943 – 1955), “Wink: A Whirl of Girls” (1944 – 1955), “Flirt: A Fresh Magazine” (1947-1955) and “Eyeful: Glorifying the American Girl” (1943-1955) with the cooperation of his friend and pin-up artist Earl Moran.

Beauty Parade (1943) Earl Moran
Beauty Parade (1943), Earl Moran

Peter Driben and Billy DeVorss were also some of the artists that helped the darlings of Pin-up art in seducing postwar America by highlighting their carefree and cheeky attitude. All natural American sweethearts against garish backgrounds on Harrison’s titles could not be ignored at the kiosks. The tasteful presentation of these infamous scandal magazines in full contrast with their earthier language was a recipe that drove men to distraction.

The tradition of American burlesque inspired the content of the American publisher’s magazines. The girls hosted in his titles were either showgirls, strippers or cheesecake models. Betty Page achieved great fame after appearing for the first time in 1951 in Harrison’s magazines.

Titter Magazine (1955), Peter Driben
Titter Magazine (1955), Peter Driben
Flirt (1947), Billy DeVorss
Flirt (1947), Billy DeVorss
Wink (1947), Peter Driben
Wink (1947), Peter Driben
Eyeful (1945), Billy Devorss
Eyeful (1945), Billy Devorss

“Whisper,” a heady mixture of scandal rag and girlie magazine and scandal sheet “Confidential” were two of the titles Harrison launched for his empire to withstand new modern men’s magazines, such as George Von Rosen’s “Modern Man” and Hugh Hefner’s “Playboy.”

Whisper (1950), Peter Driben
Whisper (1950), Peter Driben
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