Going to get a little more lurid today with a peek inside a magazine which ran for a long, long time. Founded in 1845 by George Wilkes, the National Police Gazette (U.S. version) was in publication through 1982, though it had evolved into something quite different along the way.
Originally aimed at the police and intended to help them identify criminals, the Police Gazette came under control of Richard Fox in 1877 and developed into a bar room and barbershop mainstay replete with sports, especially baseball and boxing, and sex, especially with photos of actresses and later film stars, and even burlesque performers.
An oversized publication printed on pink newsprint, I’ve had several issues from it’s hey day pass through here and realize excellent prices with cover features such as Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Jack Dempsey, and even Louise Brooks.
As a quick aside, one of the most collectible features of the Police Gazette were the large photographic Supplements they produced between 1901-1917. Our friends at Old Cardboard, the info-packed site for vintage baseball collectors, have a tidy informational page set up for the Gazette Supplements.
So by the time we sit in our barber chair to read the April 1965 issue (hey, beats paying the 35 cent cover price!), what we have is a tabloid which heavily resembles a gossip magazine such as The National Enquirer.
We’re going to move through this issue of The Police Gazette pretty fast. I chose it because with April here, and the start of the baseball season oh so close, I’d like to page through several magazines this month that feature baseball in some way. This issue qualifies.
However we begin with period favorite Kim Novak, who graces the cover with the sinful headline “Why Six Men Couldn’t Keep Kim Novak Happy.” Yikes! But opening up the issue we see they’re talking about the six men involved in her life at different times: Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Rafael Trujillo, Aly Khan, Richard Quine, and Mac Krim. Now the 31-year-old Novak has become involved with 42-year old British actor Richard Johnson. The Gazette takes the opportunity to show Kim in a loose-fitting top for her latest project “The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders.”
Gambling authority John Scarne asks “Is Gambling in Nevada Honest?” Basically Scarne’s answer is yes, except for some casinos on the outskirts of Vegas. He finds the most deceit in Blackjack where he spots cards peeled from everywhere but the top of the deck.
“The True Answers to the Joe Bananas Mystery” puts Joe Bonanno in Italy looking to expand mob ventures into Europe.
The Police Gazette during this period always tries to include one health scare article to get you upset and this issue it’s “Is YOUR Town a Cancer Hot-Spot?” George McGrath says yes if you live in Memphis because of the presence of the pesticide endrin in both the Mississippi River and the Memphis sewer system.
There’s an article about the first Medal of Honor winner in the Vietnam War, 30-year-old native of Saugerties, N.Y., Captain Roger Hugh Donlon, age 30, who was wounded four times.
“The Heavyweight Crown … Its Gold has Turned to Brass” rips the current state of boxing’s most followed division saying “these days you almost have to be some kind of bum or character to get a shot at the title!” It mocks champion Muhammad Ali, who they refer to as Muhammad “Hernia,” due to the injury which caused him to back out of a rematch with Sonny Liston.
Speaking of boxing, the Police Gazette published their own boxing ratings, here are their top heavyweights this issue:
World Champion: Cassius Clay
- Sonny Liston
- George Chuvalo
- Floyd Patterson
- Karl Mildenburg
- Ernest Terrell
- Zora Folley
- Doug Jones
- Cleveland Williams
- Amos Lincoln
- Eddie Machen
The next page is pink, which is what The Police Gazette did to flash back to earlier times, in this case to “Joe Gans’ Bloodiest Victory,” which came when the referee stopped his pummeling of Young Griffo in the 8th round on July 10, 1900.
“The Key Men Who’ll Decide Baseball’s Pennants” is all about the idea of the what have you done for me lately mentality of the fans. It credits Babe Ruth as having said “A hero today and a bum tomorrow,” 30 years earlier after having a bad day and getting booed. Then it calls out the heroes of 1964 who they say must produce again in 1965:
- Johnny Keane, who replaced Yogi Berra as manager of the Yankees despite Berra’s getting the Bombers to the World Series in his rookie outing as manager. The winner? Keane’s Cardinals.
- Dean Chance is coming off a big year going 20-9 with a 1.65 ERA in ’64, “but Dean hasn’t let that record do the talking. He’s made the rounds of the winter banquet cirucit telling the world it hasn’t seen anything yet.”
- Willie Mays and the Giants and have to play well under new manager Herman Franks to justify the firing the Alvin Dark.
- Joe Torre hit .321 with 20 homers and 36 doubles in ’64, but “some experts say Joe won’t keep in condition and he has to prove them wrong.”
- Oriole fans says they lost the pennant because Boog Powell wasn’t there, now Boog needs to live up to expectations.
- Cardinal fans say Lou Brock was the main reason the Cards won it all in ’64, now he has to live up to those expectations once again.
- Finally, Bo Belinsky broke curfew and got into so much trouble throughout the season that the Angels sent him down to Hawaii. Belinsky refused to report which led the Angels to deal him to the Phillies for ’65. He’s expected to win in Philadelphia.
There you have it, all the top stories inside The Police Gazette, April 1965.