Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

One-Off Part Three

In this installment of single cover assignments Bolles completed we present perhaps the biggest oddball of his entire career. This cover showed its faceless face on the newsstands in 1937, and you have to wonder whether Enoch painted it out or left it blank from the get-go.  Ballyhoo was the creation of Norman Anthony, who back in the 1920's was the editor of Judge magazine during a time when Bolles was still occasionally contributing cover art.  Anthony then jumped ship to Film Fun where he pepped up the laughter content of the interior, and he may also have brought Bolles on board as its full-time cover artist. But Anthony's autobiography, which pretty much name drops everyone he ever had a drink with (a LONG list) curiously left Bolles name off the ledger, despite or perhaps because of Bolles' role in Anthony's success. When Ballyhoo debuted in 1931 it was an immediate sensation and within a couple issues was selling over 2 million copies an issue, more than every other magazine on the newsstand.  By 1937 however, it had gone stale and I suspect Anthony was getting bored.  It folded in 1939 and Anthony went onto other projects, none anywhere near as popular as Ballyhoo. But then again, no humor magazine published after Ballyhoo surpassed its initial popularity and it wasn't until the 1940s that Life magazine broke Ballyhoo's sale record. 

There's one more chapter to this story.  Some time back I bought a painting I knew was by Bolles but was was listed as unattributed, in large part because you couldn't see the girl's face in it. I had always assumed it was an illustration for an ad, but not so long ago I discovered it was actually a second cover painting that Bolles had done for Ballyhoo.  Do any of you Bolles fans out there know which issue it was?