Friday, September 7, 2012


Judy and I enjoyed shopping at the City Wide Garage Sale last weekend. We've attended several of these events this year. They're held at the Palmer Events Center and if you like cool old stuff (like we do), you should plan to attend the next one (or the one after that, or the one after that,...). What did we score? I'm glad you asked.

I found a guy with a large plastic tub full of vintage, retro ties for only a buck apiece. How can you go wrong for a dollar a tie? I love old vintage ties. I think the patterns, colors and art/design work are striking and way cool. I bought five of the suckers. Couldn't resist.

Next, I scored some vintage men's "sweat" magazines from the '50s and '60s. For those of you who might not know what I'm referring to here, these are men's magazines that were first published in the post-war years. They featured stories of rugged men of action in wild tales of adventure and danger. There were war stories, hunting stories, survival stories, spy stories, crime stories, flying stories and sex stories. In short, material that would be of interest to a male readership.

These mags were standard size with mostly painted covers. The interiors were on cheap paper and printed in grainy black and white. The men's sweats were a bridge between the defunct pulps and the soon to come skin mags. As the years went by, the sweats dialed back their over-the-top yarns and began to increasingly feature pin-up photos of nude and/or nearly nude women. By the end of their runs in the mid-70s, the surviving men's sweats had almost all morphed into cheap skin mags, many rungs down the ladder from the much classier and sophisticated PLAYBOY.

The sweats specialized in selling the sizzle, not the steak. The lurid, wild painted covers are the chief attraction to these mags and if you've seen these books, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't seen them, I recommend you check out two books to learn more about this fascinating sub-genre. The books are MEN'S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES and IT'S A MAN'S WORLD: MEN'S ADVENTURE MAGAZINES, THE POSTWAR PULPS. Needless to say, both of these tomes are on my bookshelves.

I have a small collection of sweats but I'm always looking for more, especially if they're reasonably priced. Titles I have in my collection include ADVENTURE, ARGOSY, BLUEBOOK FOR MEN, CAVALIER, CLIMAX, IMPACT, MAN'S CONQUEST, MAN'S ILLUSTRATED, MAN'S STORY, MAN'S TRUE DANGER, SAGA, STAG, TRUE ACTION and UNTAMED. My favorite is an issue of MAN'S TRUE DANGER from April 1963 which features a terrific cover painting depicting "Deadly Nazi Fight of the Depraved Nude Girl Duelists" (I am not making this up). It's that kind of sleazy, lurid hyperbole, a promise of forbidden, "adult" material not found in the more sophisticated, slicker publications, that makes me love these mags. The publishers of the sweats knew who their audience was and they knew what they wanted and they gave it to them in spades. Wild stuff!

The other big score at the City Wide was an old, wooden rocking horse. Just the horse itself, not the frame and springs. It's painted red with black trim and it's exactly like the one I had as a kid. We have a photo in our home of me (about age three), dressed in my cowboy hat, fringed vest, gun belt with cap pistol and boots (I'm wearing shorts!) riding that red, wooden rocking horse on the back patio of my childhood home. We had to have this old horse who has been well loved and ridden many, many miles. It's unlikely that it's the actual horse I had but it's an exact match and it now sits in a place of honor on our hearth. Yee-Hah!


  1. Cool stuff! I need to sell some bells from a collection I inherited and have been thinking of this as a place to sell. We have a Saturday class this fall, but my daughter said she would help me sell maybe in spring. Some of the bells are very good, some not so. I have a pretty good little Mr. McCawber available....

  2. Did you ever read the nude girl duelists story? Curious if it lived up to its title.