Phyllis Farkas’ Haircut.
May 1, 2015
According to the credits in the back of this magazine (written by J.W) “A particular debt is owed to Phyllis Farkas, whose haircut inspired the entire project.” I’ve no idea what that means…………….. although she is listed as Managing Editor in later issues?
The cover features Marion Moore and James Warren himself. In case you were wondering, he is the one on the right!
Whatever it was that prompted James Warren to start “Famous Monsters of Filmland”, it was an instant hit. 150000 copies were issued in February 1958 and as they soon sold out a further 117305 of that same first issue were printed in May 1958. Actually, almost certainly what prompted publication of FMOF was the late-50s craze for 1930s/1940s/1950s horror movies that had suddenly become available (for the first time) for TV stations to show late at night, often introduced by gruesome or glamorous “hosts”. Cheap and plentiful availability of still photos from the film studios helped too! Oddly enough, this magazine was initially intended to be a one-shot. However when the second print run had sold enough copies the decision was made to produce further issues and so No 2 was published in the autumn of 1958.
I bought my copy of the first edition second hand in the 1960s and somehow it has survived various moves/clearouts until this day. I always wanted to read the MAD wannabe magazine “Humbug” that I only knew existed thanks to this article in FMOF No1 but I never came across any of the 11 issues (published in 1957/1958). I guess even Thorpe and Porter didn’t import those! And I can’t really justify spending the 51 squids being asked for the book that now collects them all together.
PS: “Famous Monsters of Filmland” continued until 1983 when all the Warren magazines finished. After a couple of false starts the title was resurrected by others in 2010.