Nudists and A-Bombs from Mars: Hit! Magazine 1953

Hit! magazine was one of the many countless adult oriented rags to fill the top shelf magazine racks of mid-century America.  It featured the standard content: tabloid tier articles mixed with plenty of eye candy.  Playboy would come along in a few years and change the game a bit by adding a touch of class and swingin’ Mad Men era sensibility.  While the bunny magazine may have delivered higher quality material, girly magazines like Hit! were a lot more fun. So, let’s have a look, page by page, through the January 1953 issue.  Enjoy.

“It is possible that a super-civilization exists on Mars… For many years scientists have considered the possibility that life exists on the planet Mars.  Now, it appears that if there is a civilization in existence there, it is as advanced as ours here on earth, or perhaps superior.

The reason for this belief is the statement made recently by a leading Japanese astronomer that he had observed a brilliant explosive flash of several minutes duration followed by a luminous cloud, on Mars.  The obvious answer: It was an atomic explosion!

…If it was an atomic blast that took place on Mars, there are two possible causes. First, that the Martians, if they exist, set it off themselves, and second, that the planet was the target for a new, terrifying weapon originating here on the earth.”

Here’s a rather odd pin-up section.  Rather than have this issue’s beauty (Linda Williams) pose on the beach, Hit! magazine has her lounge around saber-tooth tiger statues at the LaBrea Tar Pits.

The next article is titled “Gentlemen Really Prefer Brunettes”.

“Statistics tell that many men would rather have a blonde date, but they marry the dark-haired girls.”

The article goes on to say: “It’s a fact that gentlemen do prefer brunettes.  The ratio of winning brunettes over blondes in beauty contests is actually shocking.  And men marry brunettes more often, too.”

I wonder if this is because there are more brunettes than blondes…. surely, they factored this in, right?

“Gentlemen in the know are aware that brunettes are less nervous, more relaxed than the average blonde, who is usually high strung.”

This cartoon was never more apt than today.

The article “Fun In Miami Beach No. 1 Hot Spot” features a club owned by the infamous Harold Minsky.  Harold was one of four brothers who owned burlesque clubs across the country and came under a lot of fire for obscenity charges.  Their story is a fascinating one.

For more on showgirls see: Burlesque in America: From Heyday to Final Shabby Demise and Chorus Line Dancers and Can-Can Girls from the 1920s-1960s.


“Pinky Lee, a connoisseur of wide repute, can vouch for the fact that dust does not make good eating under any circumstances.  Fried, boiled, broiled or stewed, it tastes lousy…. He found this to be true while flirting with a cute cigarette girl named Margot.  Margot, Pinky learned the hard way, is an expert at the sport called judo!”

Pinky Lee had a popular kids TV show in the early 1950s, until that famous incident in 1955 when he collapsed on live television.  The poor guy was writhing around on camera for at least ten seconds before the crew realized this wasn’t an act.  Pinky was fired from the program and many urban myths surrounded his whereabouts.  Kids across the country postulated that he’d gone insane or that he had died, etc.

The Miss Europa 1953.  The title went to Miss Turkey (third from left), but the real surprise, according to the author, is Miss Greece winning third place even though she wore a one-piece suit.

Janis Thompson shows off her dancing trophies won across thirty-seven countries.  Suffice it to say, they were big on gams back in the 1950s.

For more great men’s magazine cartoons see: Men Misbehaving in Mid-Century Adult Magazine Cartoons

The “Nudists Convention” article describes a meeting of the Sunbathing Association of America in New Jersey.  The president of the organization postulates that “nudism may be a national vogue by the year nineteen hundred and seventy-two.”

“Such a possibility does, perhaps, exists when one considers the evolution of the bathing suit.  In the early days of the century, boys and girls both were covered in great swaths of beach clothing.  Later both sexes bared their arms and legs.  And finally, in swift alterations, the ladies changed from a bulky one-piece suit to the tummy exposing two-piece outfit which has now shrunk to the Bikini.”

A profile of a circus doctor.

“A popular Los Angeles nightclub, the Toddle House, found that Monday night was a time when the cash register was not making that pleasant ringing noises.  It therefore established an “Amateur Night” (on Monday of course) when everyone could play model and photographer.  L.A. citizens grabbed their cameras and bathing suits and came running.  The cash register is now making a constant jingle.”

What would a men’s magazine be without a Charles Atlas advertisement?

“Here’s your chance to BE POPULAR!”….

Mary is missing out on fun and dates – if only she could play the piano.  Then, she’d be the belle of the ball.

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