Saturday, January 23, 2010

The whole truth and nothing but the--well, sorta

Ed here: Gawker ran an excerpt from Shocking True Story: by Henry E. Scott, the tale of the rise and fall of Confidential magazine, the "TMZ of the 50s" as somebody wrote today. People my age probably remember the lurid covers and the gasp-worthy headlines. While some of their stories contained a few facts some contained none. Liberace was among the first to sue them. They'd hinted he was gay. Yes. He won the case. This gave courage to others. I believe a few careers were damaged or maybe even ruined by the magazine.

From the book Shocking True Story by Henry E. Scott excerpted in Gawker

"It was August 1953, and Harrison smiled the smile of a man who knew he was at the top of his game in the greatest city in the greatest country in the world. On almost every corner he passed in the five blocks between his home at the Parc Vendôme on West Fifty-seventh Street and his Broadway office, there was a newsstand. And on each newsstand only Harrison's magazine promised the answer to the question that was on every American's mind: "Why Joe DiMaggio Is Striking Out with Marilyn Monroe!"

"Harrison had launched his semimonthly Confidential nine months earlier with a press run of 150,000 and a racy mix of stories that included a feature on a homosexual wedding, a portfolio of pictures of women in their underwear, an exposé entitled "I Was Tortured on a Chain Gang," and a "science" story by a Manhattan psychiatrist that revealed that athletes are lousy lovers. No matter that the gay wedding, purportedly set in Paris, was staged and photographed in Harrison's New York City apartment, that the chain gang story was utter fiction, and that the underwear pics were retreads from Harrison's stable of girlie magazines-Beauty Parade, Whisper, Eyeful, Titter, Wink, and Flirt. Readers loved the pulp paper magazine with the lurid red and yellow covers that used exclamation marks as often as other magazines used periods. Now, by issue number 3, Harrison knew that Hollywood was the country's richest source of sensational stories. And with the August issue of Confidential he was to learn for sure what Twentieth Century-Fox already knew-Monroe sells."

for the rest go here:


Richard S. Wheeler said...

I bought them and believed every word. It was the real stuff, the stuff that had been censored.

Todd Mason said...

So, what fell between the POLICE GAZETTE and CONFIDENTIAL?

Jayne Mansfield on the cover reminds me that Mariska Hargitay is on the cover of the current MORE, the magazine that pitches itself at women over (I can barely stand to type it) forty...