The Witnesses (People Today Magazine, 1955)
This is a report on the UFO and extraterrestrial experiences recalled by numerous men and women who attended the Second Annual Spacecraft Convention at the Giant Rock Airport near Palm Springs, California in 1955.
Whatever Happened to Evelyn Nesbit? (People Today, 1952)
She had been a key figure in the most spectacular murder trial of the Gilded Age. An artist's model, a Broadway chorus girl, the obsession of crazed millionaire and the play thing of one of America's greatest architects; her beauty was legend - driving men to do the sorts of things that they knew were wrong. Her name was Evelyn Nesbit (1884 – 1967) and when that era faded into obscurity, so did she; until the hard-charging reporters of PEOPLE TODAY found her decades later - in the Land of Fruits and Nuts (Southern California), where the celebrities of yesteryear all go to "find themselves".
Bettie Page & Bunny Yeager (People Today Magazine, 1955)
A 1955 photo-essay about Bunny Yeager (1929 – 2014), the first American pin-up model to grab a camera and achieve some measure of success in the low-fashion world of cheesecake photography.
Working in the city of Miami, Yeager quickly found that she was the preferred photographer for many a model - all feeling secure in the knowledge that they would be safe from any inappropriate advances. Among these models was a lass whose greatest fame would arrive with the digital age: Bettie Page (1923 – 2008). When these six pics of Page were snapped, the two had been working steadily for the past year. It was Yeager who famously provided PLAYBOY MAGAZINE with the image of Page wearing only a Santa hat for their 1955 Playmate of the Month centerfold.
Highlights of Soviet Espionage: 1949 - 1953 (People Today, 1953)
Well-illustrated, pithy and informative, this article will get you up to speed on some of the espionage triumphs of the Soviet GRU (the military intelligence arm of the former "worker's paradise"). The article refers to where their agents trained before their American and Canadian deployments, what they were taught, and how big the GRU was. Of even greater interest were the parts of the article that referred to their "Atomic spies" and the variety of traitors and turncoats they were able to attract.
Homosexuals: A Persecuted Minority (People Today, 1952)
The closeted lives of gay men in 1950s America is but one of the many topics addressed in the attached article. Illustrated with seven images, the column is largely composed of quotes from anonymous gay men uttered to Dr. Albert Ellis (1913 – 2007), a prominent psychologist and researcher in the field of sex and love:
"Homosexuality, says Ellis, cuts across all segments of society. Causes are complex and there is a disagreement even among experts. Some hold that it is due to heredity or other biological factors. Others, like Ellis, say it is caused by psychological, social and family influences."
(The American Psychiatric Association would not conclude that being gay was not a mental disorder until 1973)
Tennis Skirts of the Mid-Fifties (People Today Magazine, 1955)
'They Want to Legalize Homosexuality' (People Today, 1955)
"'I think it [sodomy] is a matter of morals' declared Judge Learned Hand (1872 – 1961) 'a matter very largely of taste, and it is not a matter that people should be put in prison about.' Previously, he had voted to make homosexuality punishable under the [N.Y.] Model Legal Code, because omitting it might make the entire Code less likely to be accepted."
"What practical effect will the Law Institute's Model Code have on the law Americans live with?" Asked Professor Louis B. Schwartz (1913 - 2003) of Pennsylvania U's Law School, who supervised the writing of the sex provisions:
"We would regard it as a stroke of luck if a state would enact all this soon..."
This 1961 article examined the question: Is sex a requirement in order to lead a happy life?
Erotic City: Sexual Revolutions and the Making of Modern San Francisco
The Twilight of Segregated Baseball...(People Today Magazine, 1951)
An anonymous scribe at PEOPLE TODAY wrote this well-illustrated piece to mark the occasion that heralded the end of the Negro Baseball League - and the integration of major league baseball in America.
Click here to read a 1954 article about Willie Mays.
Hair Fashions of the Early 1950s (People Today, 1952)
"Keep it short": that was the M.O. of the hairdressers of the Fifties (as you, no doubt, gathered from this 1949 article) - and this column, accompanied by eight photos, serves as proof. Much of this column pertains to the men who were active in 1952 hair dressing, and their deep thoughts pertaining to pny tails, perms and poodle-cuts.
Click here to read about the short hair craze of the late Forties.
The New Sex-Changlings (People Today Magazine, 1954)
"Next to the recurrent hydrogen bomb headlines, reports of sex changes are becoming the most persistently startling world news. Latest U.S. case in point is Charles 'Charlotte' Mcleod [and Christine Jorgensen]. But similar stories crop up elsewhere - in Tehran, surgeons help a 16-year-old girl turn into a soldier of the Shah. In London, a dashing fighter pilot and father readjusts to life as a sophisticated lady. In Naples, a 13-year-old Adrianna becomes 'Andrew'"
"What are the facts behind these tales? How can a man become a woman, and to whom does this happen? PEOPLE TODAY herewith presents the latest authentic information about these secrecy-shrouded phenomena.
Click here to read further about this topic...
Fears of a Stalin/Mosadegh Alliance... (People Today, 1951)
The attached article will give you some indication as to the high level of anti-Soviet intensity that existed in the U.S. in 1951. This short piece, and others like it, fanned the fires that lead to the downfall of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh (1882 – 1967) in the well-known 1953 coup that was launched by both the CIA and MI5. The results of of this joint effort ("Operation Ajax") were fruitful in the short run, but set in motion a series of events that have created the Iran we enjoy today.
Illustrated with a military-style map, abounding with footnotes and an ominous-looking red Soviet arrow, rudely pointing at the Abadan oil fields, the uncredited journalist hinted that Mosaddegh's rise and subsequent nationalization of all foreign-owned oil wells would only create a new Iran that was firmly in the Soviet camp. This was not to be the case, for Mosadegh really never trusted the Reds.
Can You Spot a Red? (People Today Magazine, 1950)
''This Is The Life'' (People Today Magazine, 1953)
"Pretty girl's pictures help sell toothpaste, cigarettes and magazines, so why shouldn't they help sell religion? This logic is being applied by churchmen producing the new TV series called, This is the Life."
"After all - it's no sin to be pretty" - quoth Reverend R.C. Wuerffel, Chairman of the Lutheran TV Production Committee.
It was indeed divine inspiration that graced the craniums of these producing-churchmen employed by the Lutheran Hour Ministries - this television program was an absolute success - appearing first in 1952 and wrapping in 1988. Some of the pretty faces they employed along the way belonged to Annette O'Toole, Kathy Garver, Angie Dickinson, Lisa Pelikan, Mala Powers and Lynn Whitfield.
The Girl ''Loomed Large'' - for a Bit (People Today Magazine, 1951; Tempo, 1954)
For reasons we are unable to fully comprehend, today's magazine editors are no longer asked to cast their ballots for a category titled "Most Photogenic Figure on TV" - but this was not the case in 1951, and Delores "Roxanne" Rosedale won hands-down.
Movie Breasts vs. TV Breasts (People Today, 1951)
The earliest producers of TV programming recognized that they had one advantage over movies and it was a slim one: convenience. Aside from that, there were multiple disadvantages that TV provided their quickly growing audience - the screens were small, the images were not in color and there weren't any big stars. To win over their audience they decided on a familiar lure that had withstood the test of time. When the big mucky-mucks in Hollywood saw that more and more people were failing to grab their coats and hats and head to the theaters, they responded in kind:
In 1947 French fashion designer Christian Dior disappointed a lot of men when he dropped the hemlines and made women's legs far less visible; seven years later his designs marginalized women's breast - and this Americans would not tolerate; read about it here...
More on this topic can be read here.
Click here to read about Marilyn Monroe and watch a terrific documentary about her life.
Golf Gets Easier... (People Today, 1954)
"The Golfmobile provides an ideal solution for two new golfing problems: a growing shortage of caddies and a crop of time-pressed golf lovers, headed by President Eisenhower, who frequently uses a Golfmobile to cut playing time in half."
"The Tamarisk Country Club in Palm Springs, California was one of the first to employ a fleet of the 'bugs' and now many courses throughout the country are doing the same."
The Draft Dodgers (People Today Magazine, 1950)
"With the U.S. inducting some 50,000 men a month there must necessarily be a high number of delinquents... Few draft dodgers realize that the FBI steps in when the draft board steps out of the picture. Furthermore delinquents are liable to five years imprisonment."
American Women in the Early War (People Today Magazine, 1950)
The Infidelity Detective (People Today, 1953)
To be sure, the creation of the internet has made the quality of our lives a bit better. However, given the fact that Facebook is mentioned in one third of all divorce cases - who would have guessed that the two groups who have benefited the most from the onslaught of the digital era would be divorce lawyers and private investigators who specialize in wayward spouses?
As a point of interest, you might be keen to learn that the term "faithful spouses" is fed into Google 170 times every month, while "cheating spouses" is queried 301,000 times within that same period.
"is he cheating": 90,500
"how to cheat on my husband": 22,200.
And this is where we commence our segue to this well-illustrated article that tells the story of Bernard Laker, a private investigator from the pre-computer age whose detective skills were steadily relied upon by numerous women who held their husband's fidelity in serious doubt.
Legalizing Abortion? (People Today Magazine, 1955)
This illustrated article was published eighteen years before abortion became legal in the United States (1973). At the time this article first appeared Japan and Sweden were the only two countries where abortion was legal, and so the uncredited journalist devoted a good deal of column space examining how it worked in those nations.
Unrepentant Fascists in Argentina (People Today, 1951)
The pages of PEOPLE TODAY, a short-lived gossip rag and probable ancestor of today's PEOPLE, seldom reserved any column space to report on the whereabouts of all the various celebrity Nazis who had missed their date's with the hangman - but for this scoop they made an exception.
Spotted in Argentina during the summer of 1951 was Mussolini's daughter, Edda Ciano (1910 – 1995), Otto Skorzeny (1908 – 1975) and Croatian fascist Ante Pavelić (1889 – 1959). The murderous Pavelić was in the employ of the Argentine dictator, Juan Peron; the other two resided in Europe (Countess Ciano had recently served a two year stint in an Italian prison and Skorzeny, as an ODESSA flunky, was probably no stranger to South America).
Click here to read another article about the post-war whereabouts of another Nazi.
Daddy's Boy (People Today, 1952)
Attached is a brief notice concerning Joseph P. Kennedy (1888 – 1969), Hollywood producer, politician, adulterer and FDR's one-time ambassador to Britain - and his thwarted attempt to merge the BOSTON POST with the BOSTON GLOBE in order to best influence voters in the 1952 Massachusetts congressional elections.
From Amazon: Assassination of John F. Kennedy Encyclopedia
Congress OKs the Hiring of Illegal Farm Workers (People Today Magazine, 1951)
"In the midst of the Imperial Valley labor strife, on June 27, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill by a vote of 240 to 139 making it possible for farmers to hire illegally entered [Mexicans]."
He Posed for Auguste Rodin (People Today Magazine, 1955)
Sixty years before this article was published, Libero Nardonne, who posed for the Rodin's celebrated sculpture, "The Kiss" (1885), enjoyed a life as one of the most popular artist's model in all of Paris - at a time when the greatest artist's in the world were residences of that famous burg. Jump forward to 1955 and you would find him a broke and broken man who lived on the streets - nonetheless, he showed the American photographers through the art museums to point out all the masterpieces he had played a part in creating.
'A' is for Acting (People Today Magazine, 1955)
It was called the Universal-International School of Motion Picture Drama and it was established in 1948 (the year of it's closing is not so easy to find). The school's young students were all Universal contract players who had been chosen by legendary casting agent Robert Palmer; a few illustrious names from the alumni list include Rock Hudson, Tony Curtis, Shelley Winters, Jeff Chandler and Piper Laurie.
Although he is not listed as a student in that program, Clint Eastwood can clearly be seen in the center of the attached class photo.
American Love is Better (People Today Magazine, 1955)
This article is based on the research of Paul Popenoe (1888 - 1979), and the American Sociological Society that pointed out the high STD rate in Europe at the time indicated that the first sexual experiences among the males of that continent were with prostitutes. Two additional factors in the author's argument highlighted the alarmingly high suicide rate among young European women coupled with the fact that the illegitimate birthrate far outpaced that of the United States at that time.
Illustrated with four images that depict how depraved European dating in the Fifties was and how darn wholesome American teenage dating used to be by comparison, this five page article from 1955 presents some sociological data that supports the conclusion that American love is better than European love because the American approach to the topic was simply "easier".
Coercing 70,000 ''Reds'' to Surrender (People Today, 1953)
The Allure of the Private Bomb Shelter (People Today Magazine, 1955)
This is a consumer report concerning various bomb shelter plans that were commercially available to the American public in 1955:
"The most elaborate of five government-approved home bomb shelters is a combination tunnel and emergency exit in reinforced concrete, extending outward under ground from cellar walls It holds six persons and offers maximum protection from all effects of an atomic explosion... But the FCDA (Federal Civil Defense Administration) also recommends a practical type type that can be put together by any do-it-yourselfer for around $20.00."
Noel Field: Family of Spies (People Today Magazine, 1950)
The War-Babies of Occupied Japan (People Today Magazine, 1954)
There was one thing the Japanese hated more than being defeated and occupied by the "Gai-jin" (the Japanese slur for Whites) and that was when their daughters began bedding their tormentors and baring their young. Tremendous shame was brought on these women, and their families. This article is about the Amerasian babies who were placed in a special orphanage designed just for them.
A vast number of Amerasian war babies were aborted: click here to read about this practice in post-war Japan.
Building the CIA (People Today Magazine, 1951)
"For the first time in history, the U.S. government is training professional spies - and picking the brightest college youngsters to make espionage their career. By December, some 250 men and 50 women will be learning the spy business from the bottom up, at schools they mustn't even admit exist."
A 1951 article about the young CIA can be read by clicking here...
The Woman Who Created Marilyn Monroe (People Today Magazine, 1954)
You can bet that throughout the short career of Marilyn Monroe there were voluminous amounts stylistes, cosmetologists, coiffeurs and doyennes of glamour who came in contact with the headliner at one time or another. Some offered genuine nuggets of beauty wisdom while others could only offer bum steers. Although the name "Emmeline Snively" may sounds like a character from a Charles Dickens novel, she was in actuality the very first woman to offer sound fashion advice to the ingenue - advice that would start her on her path to an unparalleled celebrity status as the preeminent "Blonde Bombshell" in all of Hollywood. You see, Emmeline Snively was the one who recommended that La Monroe dye her hair that color in the first place.
The Discovery of Audrey Hepburn (People Today, 1952)
American audiences came to know Audrey Hepburn (1929 – 1993) when she was teamed up with Gregory Peck for the 1953 William Wyler production "Roman Holiday" (Paramount) - but the king makers of Hollywood sat up and took notice of her a year earlier, when she appeared in the European comedy "Monte Carlo Baby" (briefly reviewed herein). This movie was pretty quickly forgotten - and today "Monte Carlo Baby" cannot be found on DVD or cassette, and the film's producer, Ray Ventura (1908 - 1979), is primarily remembered for his talents as a jazz pianist.