Friday, April 24, 2015


Vol. 1, No. 4 (1957)
Publisher: The Jay Company
Editor: James Warren
Art Director: Richard Sherman
Contributors: George Glazer, Forrest J Ackerman, Cal Massey
Cover: Photo of Anita Ekberg by Russ Meyer; design by Ron Rovinsky

James Warren’s love affair with the printed page began early. As a youngster, he not only read and collected comics, but just about any other magazine or printed material that he found interesting, including model kit instructions!

When he returned home after serving in the Army, he found that his Mother had thrown out every box that contained his beloved collection (sound familiar?).

In 1954, he discovered a new magazine. It was provocative, sophisticated, and included top-notch fiction. Oh, and it had photos of beautiful girls in it, too. It was called PLAYBOY. Warren eventually met the editor, Hugh Hefner, at the World Science-Fiction Convention in Chicago in the early 60’s. He found that they had a lot in common. Turns out Hef loved science-fiction, and loved Warren’s monsters as well (FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND had already seen a number of issues published by then).

Not long after, scads of imitators were trying out their own “men’s magazine”. Warren decided to give it a shot, too.

He published his first issue of AFTER HOURS in 1957. It was considerably less sophisticated than its model, PLAYBOY, but still, Warren got his feet wet in the publishing world. “I worked at it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I got my first experience with national magazine distributors and retailers, and with large magazine printing plants,” he told Jon B. Cooke in a 1998-1999 interview*. “It lasted four issues. It was awful.”

Later, Warren would be indicted on pornography charges at the mercy of a predatory Philadelphia D.A. who was looking to win an election. The charge stemmed around the centerfold of AFTER HOURS #1 – a photo of a bare-breasted Bettie Page, uncredited, but no doubt by the hard-working photographer and glamour model Bunny Yeager. The D.A. was elected. The judge looked at the magazine. The charges were dropped.

The infamous centerfold that got James Warren arrested.
Three more issues of AFTER HOURS were published in 1957 before it folded. The fourth, and last issue, is the number that most interests monster and science-fiction fans, and it has since become noted as the precursor of Warren’s and Forrest J Ackerman’s collaboration that would come to be recognized as  the first-ever periodical devoted strictly to monster, science-fiction and fantasy movies, the aforementioned FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.

“I learned a lot,” Warren said in his interview with Jon B. Cooke. “I learned the hard way about Teamsters, truckers, loading docks, slowdowns at printing plants, and bankers who welsh on you. But with the fourth issue, something good happened: A guy named Forrey (sic) Ackerman came into my life. Forrey was a Hollywood literary agent. Forrey, who was reading every men's magazine in existence as part of his agency work, saw a new one called After Hours and he contacted me through the mail. He wrote that he had some stories to offer me for my magazine. I liked what he submitted and ran it. We were featuring "Girls of Amsterdam," "Girls of Las Vegas," "Girls of Singapore," etc., and he came up with the idea, "Girls from Science-Fiction Movies." He sent 8"x10" stills with it and wrote it himself. I saw his writing and thought it had an interesting, offbeat style. The more I read it, the better it became because nobody can write fantasy movie features like Forrey Ackerman. Nobody. He is the best specialty writer on the face of the Earth, bar none—a writer who is so head and shoulders above all other writers for our genre, that nobody will compare with him 100 years from now.”

The now-famous “science fiction issue” of AFTER HOURS begins on the inside front cover with a “Sexy Science-Fiction” feature and includes a photo of actress Lori (REVENGE OF THE CREATURE) Nelson sitting atop Paul Blaisdell’s lap. Blaisdell is dressed up as the monster in THE DAY THE WORLD ENDED, one of the sci-fi/monster movie makeups that he created. The blurb introduces the issue and heralds the special section devoted to science-fiction films.

On page 8 begins the “Science Fiction Folio” and includes Forry’s “Confessions of a Science-Fiction Addict”, a confessional that would be told and re-told in the years to come.

“Screamoscope Is Here!” follows and serves as a capsule commentary of sci-fi and horror movies. There is no by-line, but the style and content is surely Ackerman’s. Accompanying these articles are illustrations and photographs that would be seen later in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND.

Also in the issue was a short fiction story by Arthur Porges titled, “I Meet My Love Again”, which was adapted in CREEPY #3 as the now-classic “Return Trip”, illustrated by EC Alumnus, Joe Orlando.

Arthur Porges (b. 20 August 1915 – d. 12 May 2006) was a prolific author of mainly short fiction. His most successful period was in the 1950’s and 1960’s when he wrote many mystery stories and contributed numerous tales to the then-ubiquitous science-fiction digest magazines. Among them were stories that could be considered “weird fiction” or outright horror. Many of his stories are marked by the odd circumstance of the protagonist not surviving. “I Meet My Love Again” is one of them. His work appeared in paperback collections such as, Best SF, Coffin Corner, Legends for the Dark, and Tales of Terror from Outer Space. He also wrote for other men’s magazines besides AFTER HOURS, such as ADAM.

Two pictorial features were photographed by the soon-to-be popular maker of big-breasted adult movies, Russ Meyer: one with his then-wife and glamour model, Eve Meyer (b. 1928-d. 1977) and the other of the late European stunner, Anita Ekberg. 

AFTER HOURS #4 will remain in the annals of popular culture as the place where monster magazines were born and, as a result, its importance as the placeholder for this momentous occasion cannot be understated. One thing is for certain: Forry’s “offbeat style” stuck with Warren and they went on to make publishing history. 

*NOTE: The quotes by James Warren in this post are excerpted from an interview conducted by Jon B. Cooke on 17 October 1998 and 11 February 1999 which appeared in COMIC BOOK ARTIST #4, published by TwoMorrows. It is also available to read online HERE. COMIC BOOK ARTIST #4 is available in digital format from TwoMorrows HERE.

The scan of AFTER HOURS #4 is from the MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD archives, and originated on the web from an unknown source. Some pages have been digitally reconstructed for a better presentation and appearance.

Part 2 of this post will appear this coming Sunday.

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