Wednesday, September 22, 2010

More Humor Digests

Long after Joseph J. Hardie & Raymond J. Kelly stopped producing Amazing-Man Comics, World Famous Heroes, Man of War Comics and C-M-O Comics, they continued cranking-out various magazines (including crosswords) and several humor digests under a variety of publishing names (this is very much like what Martin Goodman did while he owned Marvel/Timely Comics, where different comics would carry different publishing names, yet basically they all came from the same company). Raymond J. Kelly, if you don't know, was part of the ownership group that purchased Funny Pages, Funny Picture Stories, Star Comics and Star Ranger from Ultem Publications in 1938. Joseph J. Hardie started-out as the publisher of Kelly's books, then at some point in 1939 he became part-owner alongside Kelly. The duo remained together for the next couple of decades producing all types publications.

Today, I'm posting highlights from the following:

From Pastime Games Inc:
Crossword Pastime Pad Series 3 - circa 1946 (as best I can tell).
The bulk of Hardie & Kelly's crossword magazines were published under the "Harle Publications" name. "Harle" is still in use today as an imprint of the Kappa Publishing Group, who themselves publish various puzzle magazines, "Games Magazine" and wrestling magazines through London Publishing. Crossword Pastime Pad was published using the name "Pastime Games Inc". Other publishing names Hardie & Kelly used for their puzzle magazines include Fifty Crosswords Inc, Dime Crosswords Inc and American Championship Crosswords Inc.

Crossword Pastime Pad (Series 3) was a unique venture in the world of crossword publications, but don't take it from me when you can read what "Uncle Joe" Hardie had to say himself.

H-K Publications:
Mirth 36 & 38 - March & June 1955

Getting information for some of the magazines is like looking for a needle in a haystack, at least when it comes to what you can learn online. All I know about Mirth is what I learned from the books themselves. In fact, I didn't know anything about this title until I saw an ad in one of the Smiles digests I own.

Mirth, which ran at least 58 issues, was published throughout the 1950s, possibly from 1950 until 1958, but again, information is scarce (one issue I have yet to scan carries no publisher info at all).

H-K Publications (as far as I know) was first used to publish the pulp magazine "Comet: Stories of Super Time and Space".

Also from H-K:
A Pocketfull of Pepper 14 - Jan 1946

H-K Publications was the publishing name used for quite a few publications from 1940 through 1959 (possibly past that but I'm not 100% sure). Publications included Yoo Hoo, Flying Models, Motorsport, Melodyland, Boat Sport, Speed Mechanics, Water Ski and Foreign Car Guide, as well as Pocketful of Pepper.

Band Leaders Publishing Company Inc:
Smiles 22 & 46 - Summer 1947 & Feb 1951

The first several issues of "Smiles: A Magazine Gone Mad" were published by Comic Corporation of America (or "CCA") from 1942 until 1944. CCA was the publishing name used for Amazing-Man Comics, Stars & Stripes Comics, Liberty Scouts, The Arrow # 3, World Famous Heroes and C-M-O (or "Chicago Mail Order") Comics. In 1941, CCA was used to publish several humor digests, including Khaki Whacky, Khaki Humor, Yoo Hoo, Cheers, Pocketful of Pepper, What's Cookin', Keep 'em Laughing and Smiles. All-American Band Leaders (later changed to simply "Band Leaders") was also published under the CCA imprint.

"Band Leaders" eventually became yet another publishing name Hardie & Kelly would use. Besides publishing Smiles & Band Leaders magazine under this imprint, another humor digest called "Zing!" was produced.

Smiles would last until 1958 (a guess actually, based on the info I have at the moment), reaching issue 90. Smiles was magazine-sized at one point (I have issue 18 which is in that format) but was switched to the smaller digest-size by issue 21 (which I have yet to scan).

All of the above digests (but not Crossword Pastime Pad) can be downloaded & read cover-to-cover by clicking the following links:

Mirth 36
Mirth 38
A Pocketful of Pepper 14
Smiles 22
Smiles 46

If you want to learn more about humor digests or the publishing efforts of Joseph Hardie & Raymond Kelly, good luck! I have no idea where to point you to as there isn't much out there that focuses on either subject.
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