Pulp Advertisements

Friday , 15, July 2016 4 Comments

One of the many things I noticed in this issue was the significantly larger portion of the magazine dedicated to adspace. While the earlier issues I’d read had a few ads in them, your typical Charles Atlas plugs, build your own radio kits, and some various household gadgets, the issue I finished had several pages worth of advertisement sandwiched into the sidebar of the final story and the letters section.

So what was being pushed in the direction of late 40s consumers of Planet Stories? What was the mark of a SF reader? Loneliness, for one thing.

Many of the ads were for lonely hearts (“Lonesome? Marry Rich!”, “Are you Lonesome?”, “Why Be Lonely?” and many more) offering chances to join clubs, meet singles in your area or purchase ‘face books’ which for a mere 10 cents, you could see some nice eligible folks, and why for only 40 cents more, they’d send you the version with their addresses!

Or for those with no hope at all, feel free to sign up to be a Merchant Marine!

Also there were lots of “let us put your poems to music” scams, but it’s hard to top the pamphlet on how to get rich quick raising Hamsters, “The new wonder animals from Syria”.

There are a handful of ads for comic and gagbooks, including this little number promising naughty fun for men and women alike.


Which may or may not include this thing:4696116502


Perhaps the most intriguing of these ads is that for the mysterious Secret Museum of Mankind, which promises to be a lurid and titillating collection of foreign and exotic beauty.Secret Museum


Apparently part of someone’s get rich quick scam, The Secret Museum of Mankind is a collection of stolen anthropological photographs that had been previously published in several other more serious and respectable works on ethnography and given strange, hyperbolic and sometimes wholly inaccurate captions. For those curious, the whole thing has been scanned and uploaded here.

Interestingly, the version of the later advertisement in Planet Stories has been slightly censored compared to this version from around 1942.


  • Carrington Dixon says:

    I think the ads are not directed so much at Planet Stories’ readers as that the whole line of pulps from the publisher. You’ll find similar but slightly different ads in the Thrilling group. And different yet in the Street & Smith pulps…

    • Alex says:

      Oh, of course I didn’t mean to imply that they were targeting PS readers in particular, but PS readers DID have this stuff directed at them as consumers of magazines. And, if we go by marketing typing, magazine readers were certainly assumed to be desperately lonely. Of course assuming folks are lonely and in need of love and affection is generally a safe bet, especially if you’re looking to make a buck of them.

      Worth noting that the fully unclothed Secret Museum ad was apparently taken from a 1942 issue of Keen.

  • Martin says:

    A blast from the past. Dad’s, anyway but we were raised on WWII movies, the 4th of July, and VFW picnics. The war was over and America was pleased, if not amazed to discover we were no longer in the Great Depression. Life in the Nuclear Age was scary. The Reds were still rattling the sabre over Thrungia, GR (which Patton held til we could get out the nuclear scientists). Uncle Joe Stalin was promoted as kindly and generous, and anything but. Korea loomed but no one knew, or perhaps at the time cared. Mao was only an oddity. New designs, new cars and housing tracts, but the Nazis were everywhere, and war heroes tracked them from Hollywood to the American Communist Party and even the White House…It was an interesting, devil-may-care era and to be remembered with nostalgia. Life was no simpler, but stress was something you wore off at work, not with a needle or spice. I wish you well and am posting this addy on FB

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