Sunday, January 22, 2017

Clarence Doore, pulp artist

It wasn't that long ago that men's magazines had covers like this. It takes some mental effort to imagine an elephant as a "killer brute" attacking a scantily clad woman.

The illustrator who painted that cover was named Clarence "Boo" Doore (1913-1988). He's best known as a specialist in pulp themes.

Boo was a distant relative of mine. My great-great grandfather, John Hopkins Gurney, was his great grandfather.

The extended family spent summers in a camp in Maine. That's my grandfather Dan with the hat driving the touring car. Boo is the little blond-haired boy sitting directly behind him.  

Clarence Doore did this cover for a story in TrueWeird Magazine called "Fish with Human Hands Attacked Me." 

Other magazines he worked for included: Cinderella Love, Flyboy, Football Thrills, The Hawk, Kid Cowboy, Romantic Marriage, Space Patrol, Tales of the Sea, Tops In Adventure, Wild Boy, All Man, Animal Life, Battle Cry, Champion For Men, Fury, Male, Man's Adventure, Man's Exploits, Rage For Men, Real Men, and Rugged Men.

Instagram @jamesgurneyart
Twitter @GurneyJourney
Facebook JamesMGurney
iOS app GurneyJourney Blog
Pinterest GurneyJourney


Steve said...

An important aspect of going to the barbershop when I was a wee sprout in the 1950s was seeing if I could find something more compelling than Readers Digest or Popular Mechanics in the stack of magazines. A few of the titles listed at the end of your post were sometimes to be found. The covers and the pages within represented an eye-widening world not to be found at home -- in retrospect, they showed a world not to be found anywhere but in the fevered imaginations of the artists and writers. Trips to the barbershop took on an illicit possibility and led to my first use of holding an incriminating magazine inside the larger cover of something more innocent.

Fabulous touring car! Twelve people?

David Webb said...

They just don't make magazines like that these days, do they?

Bil Hardenberger said...

You have the most interesting relatives James.

Mel Gibsokarton said...


That brings to mind another quote

"...It was very simple, and at the end of that moving appeal to every altruistic sentiment it blazed at you, luminous and terrifying, like a flash of lightning in a serene sky: 'Exterminate all the brutes!"

Jim Douglas said...

These covers are called "Fake News" nowadays. ;)

James Gurney said...

Mel, thanks for the Conrad reference. That book made such an impact on me.

Jim, Yes, so many of the magazines had the word "True" in the title, and were written to make some outlandish concept sound believable. I suppose the boundary between fiction and truth has always been fuzzy, and most literature sits right in there.

Steve, what a great recollection. I got my barbering done at home and my dad just subscribed to boring magazines, so the only thrill I could find was from old copies of National Geographic.

Bill, yes, remarkable people, but not many professional artists, so I was happy to discover Boo recently.

David, I wish a major museum would do an exhibit of pulp artwork. It would be a fascinating window into the culture of the time.

WW said...

Hi James, the New Britain Museum of Art has the entire Robert Lesser collection of pulp art covers paired with original paintings. They had a show a few years back about the time the gift was made. One of the things I remember was the sense that the paintings were done with extreme economy and speed with brushes loaded with colors as lurid as the subjects depicted. Another thing I remember is it was said many of the original paintings were tossed out by art directors when they were done – thus the relative rarity of originals.

The entire collection is available online. Go to the museum site and scroll to the bottom and you'll see the link.

Marjorie Hoefmans said...

I like James Avati as well.

MDoore said...

Uncle Boo was my father's older brother. I am pretty sure is the little boy in the black shirt is my father! I loved this blog post. Come join us in Maine one summer!

N in Seattle said...

Boo's daughter Ruth is a longtime friend of mine. I got to meet Boo way back when ... he was quite the character!

And I spent a week or so several years ago at the family's camp on Lake Sebec. What a lovely place that is, an opportunity to leave your outside-world problems and cares behind you for a little while.