Sunday, May 1, 2011
I kid you not, May 1 is also officially known as Lei Day. There was no way I could let this holiday pass without a Bolles and it was a lot of fun perusing covers for just the right example. I've pretty much left this cover to the a 1931 issue of Hollywood Nights intact in its well-thumbed state. For some reason I feel the wear adds something to it.
Bolles did only a handful of covers for this magazine and others titles published by Henry Marcus' Follywood Publications. Among them are his only examples of pen and ink cover art out of the over 500 he created, and this is one of his best. He would have been lucky to earn $40 for it.
Hollywood Nights didn't last long; the combination of poor finances and the constant pursuit of the decency leagues would put Marcus out of business by the end of year. But in the 1930s you couldn't put a good smoosh mag publisher down for long and by 1933 Marcus was back at it with a new publishing company and new titles: Stolen Sweets, Tattle Tales, Bedtime Stories and Cupid's Capers. Bolles teamed up with him again and produced the most provocative pulp covers ever printed (aside from Hugh Ward's sex-and--violence mash-ups, but they constitute an entirely different category). They were successful, too successful. The Marcus lineup rose to the top (or sunk to the bottom, depending on your perspective) of the smoosh mag hit parade, and in the process became the equivalent of public enemy number-one for the New York vice cops and decency leagues. Marcus would be out of business-again-before the end of 1934. By then Bolles had moved on to another publisher.