Earle K. Bergey

Earle Kulp Bergey (August 26, 1901 – September 30, 1952) was an American artist and illustrator who painted cover art for thousands of pulp fiction magazines and paperback books. One of the most prolific pulp fiction artists of the 20th century, Bergey is recognized for creating the iconic cover of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for Popular Library at the height of his career in 1948.

Bergey was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to A. Frank and Ella Kulp Bergey. He attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1921 to 1926, finishing formal Academy studies in the spring of 1926. He initially went to work in the art departments of Philadelphia newspapers including Public Ledger, and he drew the comic strip Deb Days in 1927. Early in his career, Bergey contributed many covers to the pulp magazines of publisher Fiction House. By the mid-1930s, Bergey made a home and studio in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and he married in 1935.

Fantasticstory5301
Earle K. Bergey cover illustration for Fantastic Story Magazine (January 1953)

Pulp magazines

Throughout the 1930s, Bergey worked freelance for a number of publishing houses. His eye-catching paintings were predominantly featured as covers on a wide array of pulp magazines, including romance (Thrilling Love, Popular Love, Love Romances) as well as detective, adventure, aviation, and Westerns. Bergey illustrated mainstream publications, such as The Saturday Evening Post, during this time. He illustrated covers for fitness magazines. Along with pin-up painting peers such as Enoch Bolles and H.J. Ward, Earle K. Bergey was one of the first prominent American pin-up artists, contributing hundreds of covers to influential magazines including Gay Book Magazine, Pep Stories, and Snappy.

During the 1940s, Bergey continued to paint covers for romance, sports, and detective pulp magazines, and he began working on a number of science fiction magazines, including Standard Publications' Strange Stories, Startling Stories, and Captain Future, and later for Fantastic Story Magazine. His illustrations of scantily-clad women surviving in outer space served as an inspiration for Princess Leia's slave-girl outfit in Return of the Jedi and Madonna's conical brass brassiere. Bergey's science fiction covers, sometimes described as "Bim, BEM, Bum," usually featured a woman being menaced by a Bug-Eyed Monster, alien, or robot, with an heroic male astronaut coming to her assistance. Bikini-tops worn by Bergey girls often resembled coppery metal, giving rise to the phrase "the girl in the brass bra," sometimes used in reference to this sort of art.

Paperbacks

In 1948, Bergey made the transition to the rapidly expanding paperback book industry along with skilled pulp artists like Rudolph Belarski, whose work is often confused with Bergey's. While continuing to paint pulp covers until his death, Bergey sold illustrations to at least four (4) leading paperback publishing houses, including Popular Library and Pocket Books. His art graced the covers of dozens of novels and helped to sell millions of volumes. His paperback cover illustrations were as diverse as his work for the pulps. In addition to his work on Anita Loos' famous Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Bergey painted cover art for well-known authors from Émile Zola to the Western master, Zane Grey, whose 1951 Pocket Books edition cover painting for Spirit Of The Border is a Bergey classic. Many of his paperbacks are now cult classics, some featuring hidden self-portraits. Bergey died suddenly and unexpectedly on September 30, 1952 in New Hope, Pennsylvania with family at his side. Cause of death according to his State of Pennsylvania death certificate was acute coronary thrombosis due to coronary artery disease.

See also

References

  • Martignette, Charles G.; Louis K. Meisel (1996). The Great American Pin-up. Cologne: Taschen. ISBN 3-8228-1701-5.
  • Strickler, Dave. Syndicated Comic Strips and Artists, 1924-1995: The Complete Index. Cambria, CA: Comics Access, 1995. ISBN 0-9700077-0-1.

External links

Bergey

Bergey may refer to:

Bill Bergey (born 1945), a former American collegiate and Professional Football player

David Hendricks Bergey (1860–1937), an American bacteriologist

Earle K. Bergey (1901–1952), an American illustrator who painted cover art for magazines and paperback books

Jake Bergey (born 1974), a retired lacrosse player

Josyane De Jesus-Bergey, a Franco/Portuguese poet who was born in La Rochelle, France in 1941

List of pin-up artists

This is a list of artists who work primarily in the medium of the pin-up.

Miniskirt

A miniskirt (sometimes hyphenated as mini-skirt or separated as mini skirt) is a skirt with a hemline well above the knees, generally at mid-thigh level, normally no longer than 10 cm (4 in) below the buttocks; and a dress with such a hemline is called a minidress or a miniskirt dress. A micro-miniskirt or microskirt is a miniskirt with its hemline at the upper thigh.

Short skirts have existed for a long time, though they were generally not called "mini" or became a fashion trend until the 1960s. Instances of clothing resembling miniskirts have been identified by archaeologists and historians as far back as c. 1390–1370 BCE. In the early 20th century, the dancer Josephine Baker's banana skirt that she wore for her mid-1920s performances in the Folies Bergère was subsequently likened to a miniskirt. Extremely short skirts became a staple of 20th-century science fiction, particularly in 1940s pulp artwork such as that by Earle K. Bergey who depicted futuristic women in a "stereotyped combination" of metallic miniskirt, bra and boots.

Hemlines were just above the knee in 1961, and gradually climbed upward over the next few years. By 1966, some designs had the hem at the upper thigh. Stockings with suspenders were not considered practical with miniskirts and were replaced with coloured tights. The popular acceptance of miniskirts peaked in the "Swinging London" of the 1960s, and has continued to be commonplace, particularly among younger women and teenage girls. Before that time, short skirts were only seen in sport and dance clothing, such as skirts worn by female tennis players, figure skaters, cheerleaders, and dancers.

Several designers have been credited with the invention of the 1960s miniskirt, most significantly the London-based designer Mary Quant and the Parisian André Courrèges.

Popular Library

Popular Library was a New York paperback book company established in 1942 by Leo Margulies and Ned Pines, who at the time were major pulp magazine and newspaper publishers. The company's logo of a pine tree was a tribute to Pines, and another Popular Library signature visual was a reduced black-and-white copy of the front cover on the title page.

A native of Malden, Massachusetts, Pines became the president of Pines Publications in 1928 and continued to lead the company until 1961. He was the president of Popular Library from 1942 to 1966 and its chairman from 1966 to 1968. Retiring in 1971, he continued to work as a consultant.

Space Stories

Space Stories was a pulp magazine which published five issues from October 1952 to June 1953. It was published by Standard Magazines, and edited by Samuel Mines. Mines' editorial policy for Space Stories was to publish straightforward science fiction adventure stories. Among the better-known contributors were Jack Vance, Gordon R. Dickson and Leigh Brackett, whose novel The Big Jump appeared in the February 1953 issue.

Startling Stories

Startling Stories was an American pulp science fiction magazine, published from 1939 to 1955 by publisher Ned Pines' Standard Magazines. It was initially edited by Mort Weisinger, who was also the editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories, Standard's other science fiction title. Startling ran a lead novel in every issue; the first was The Black Flame by Stanley G. Weinbaum. When Standard Magazines acquired Thrilling Wonder in 1936, it also gained the rights to stories published in that magazine's predecessor, Wonder Stories, and selections from this early material were reprinted in Startling as "Hall of Fame" stories. Under Weisinger the magazine focused on younger readers and, when Weisinger was replaced by Oscar J. Friend in 1941, the magazine became even more juvenile in focus, with clichéd cover art and letters answered by a "Sergeant Saturn". Friend was replaced by Sam Merwin, Jr. in 1945, and Merwin was able to improve the quality of the fiction substantially, publishing Arthur C. Clarke's Against the Fall of Night, and several other well-received stories.

Much of Startling's cover art was painted by Earle K. Bergey, who became strongly associated with the magazine, painting almost every cover between 1940 and 1952. He was known for equipping his heroines with brass bras and implausible costumes, and the public image of science fiction in his day was partly created by his work for Startling and other magazines. Merwin left in 1951, and Samuel Mines took over; the standard remained fairly high but competition from new and better-paying markets such as Galaxy Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction impaired Mines' ability to acquire quality material. In mid-1952, Standard attempted to change Startling's image by adopting a more sober title typeface and reducing the sensationalism of the covers, but by 1955 the pulp magazine market was collapsing. Startling absorbed its two companion magazines, Thrilling Wonder and Fantastic Story Magazine, in early 1955, but by the end of that year it too ceased publication.

Ron Hanna of Wild Cat Books revived Startling Stories in 2007.

Strange Stories

Strange Stories was a pulp magazine which ran for thirteen issues from 1939 to 1941. It was edited by Mort Weisinger, who was not credited. Contributors included Robert Bloch, Eric Frank Russell, C. L. Moore, August Derleth, and Henry Kuttner. Strange Stories was a competitor to the established leader in weird fiction, Weird Tales. With the launch, also in 1939, of the well-received Unknown, Strange Stories was unable to compete. It ceased publication in 1941 when Weisinger left to edit Superman comic books.

Street

A street is a public thoroughfare (usually paved) in a built environment. It is a public parcel of land adjoining buildings in an urban context, on which people may freely assemble, interact, and move about. A street can be as simple as a level patch of dirt, but is more often paved with a hard, durable surface such as concrete, cobblestone or brick. Portions may also be smoothed with asphalt, embedded with rails, or otherwise prepared to accommodate non-pedestrian traffic.

Originally, the word street simply meant a paved road (Latin: via strata). The word street is still sometimes used colloquially as a synonym for road, for example in connection with the ancient Watling Street, but city residents and urban planners draw a crucial modern distinction: a road's main function is transportation, while streets facilitate public interaction. Examples of streets include pedestrian streets, alleys, and city-centre streets too crowded for road vehicles to pass. Conversely, highways and motorways are types of roads, but few would refer to them as streets.

Tales of Magic and Mystery (magazine)

Tales of Magic and Mystery was a pulp magazine which published five monthly issues from December 1927 to April 1928. It was edited by Walter Gibson, and published a mixture of fiction and articles on magic. It is now mainly remembered for having published a story by H.P. Lovecraft.

Thrilling Publications

Thrilling Publications, also known as Beacon Magazines (1936–37), Better Publications (1937–43) and Standard Magazines (1943–55), was a pulp magazine publisher run by Ned Pines, publishing such titles as Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories.

Pines became the president of Pines Publications in 1928. Pines folded most of his magazines in 1955 but continued to lead the company until 1961.

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