Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23 is World Turtle Day

You have to wonder how Bolles pitched the concept for this cover to Harry Donenfeld, the publisher of Gay Parisienne.  Sure, there would be the pretty girl as always, but why not add an animal? Not a cute puppy or pony; that angle worked like a sort of innocence pass that let the artist forego clothes on the girl (think Mabel Rollins Harris).  No, let's make it an aquatic reptile. Granted, Bolles did throw in some odd props on a few other Gay Parisienne  covers, including a tuba!  And you have to give him points for a girl wearing a bikini long before you'd see a suit at the beach that revealed anywhere near that much acreage.  The turtle, which I'm guessing is a Hawksbill, also seems quite content.  So, no blow-back from decency societies specializing in protecting wildlife from abusive pinups.     

Still, I just don't get it. Gay Parisienne was one of the hottest of all the so-called smoosh mags and the decency leagues stalked it like Clyde Beatty on the trail after big game. This oddball cover from 1936 just doesn't jibe with the magazine's notorious reputation, its pulpy pages chock-full of raunchy novels, dirty drawings and photos of naked girls.  It got Donenfeld hauled into court so many times he ended buying his way up a notch in the publishing hierachy, buying out National Allied Publications, after first suing them for nonpayment.  By May  1938 is pulps, Gay Parisienne and Spicy Stories were out of circulation, while at the same time  Donenfeld published the first Superman story in Action Comics.  Breezy Stories began recycling Bolles covers and his last new cover painting was for the June issue. 

For the first time in his career, Bolles was down to just one magazine, and a mere  two months later Film Fun had a new cover artist, Albert Fisher.  The Bolles girl, who made her debut in 1914 and who had been adorning three to five magazine covers a month for nearly a decade, was gone.  


Daniel [] said...

Woe unto you if my girlfriend, who is a fan both of Bolles' pin-up and of sea turtles, should learn of your questioning this composition!

Jack R said...

Perhaps he had this appetizing combination in mind for her :)
I just can't wrap my head around how he talked some narrow minded art editor into approving it.

GWR Pinups said...

Hi, I am a big fan of your blog and (obviously) Enoch Bolles. I started a blog recently to post some of the pin up style illustration I've been doing.
Originals, copies and pastiches mostly. Many using Bolles as a source. Have a look if you are interested. And keep up the terrific job you are doing!
GWR Pinups

GWR Pinups said...

oh yeah,

Jack R said...

Hi GWR. I checked out your page and the art is great!! Keep up the good work.

wentworth said...

Great blog and post. I googled symbolism of the turtle and this was off one site:....
(reading this the painting makes sense and I think points to Bolles' deep understanding of symbolism)

"The Turtle is an Ancient Symbol, Representing Order, Creation, Endurance, Strength, Stability, Longevity, Fertility, and a Gentle Innocence. The Turtle also Offers Protection, Good Fortune , and Can Bring Forth Happiness and Good Omens.

One of four Chinese sacred animals (among The Dragon, The Phoenix, and The Unicorn), the mythical Turtle is a creature of two elements; land and sea, as such the Turtle reflects an ability to adapt and flourish in any environment.

In Asian myth the Turtle represents universal order and is thought to have created the universe from it's body: It's shell is symbolic of the heavens, it's body, symbolic of the earth and it's undershell represents the underworld. "