Robert Taylor on the Cover: the Thirties

1930’s Movie Magazines

During the 1930’s, Robert Taylor’s face was everywhere. He beamed from every newsstand in black and white and living color.  Most of the images were romantic and emphasized his good looks but a few differed.  The one from Yugoslavia showing Mr. Taylor drinking coffee, for instance, or the one with his battered face from The Crowd Roars are unusual.  He is often featured with his co-stars, most often Jean Harlow in Personal Property or Barbara Stanwyck in This Is My Affair.

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Yugoslavia; Yugoslavia; Italy; Argentina

These covers remind us of how different the world was then.  Paper and print were cheap and movie magazines flourished by the dozens.  The average price was between 5 and 10 cents in the United States.  Everyone went to the movies, not just adolescent males who like to watch things blow up.  For a nickel a young couple could buy an evening in the comfort of a movie theater, with maybe another nickel for ice cream later.

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USA; UK; UK; USA

Movies weren’t supposed to be real and hard hitting they way they became in the fifties and sixties.  The country was in a deep and lasting Depression and films provided a welcome relief from it all.

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USA; USA; USA; Brazil

These magazines were meant for women and girls.  They were read and discussed by the working women of the thirties and by the stay at home mothers. Every facet of a star’s life, whether real or imagined, would turn up on the pages of Photoplay, True Romances, or Movie Mirror.

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USA; USA; USA; USA

The studios, like MGM, worked with the magazines to make their stars available for interviews and photographs, and to intervene if a star got off track and started to talk about anything too real.  There are also some serious magazines like Films in Review for those who insist on analyzing movies rather than just enjoying them.

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France; USA; USA; USA

I am especially intrigued by a magazine called The Gentlewoman. Perhaps gentlewomen preferred Robert Taylor.

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Italy; USA; USA; USA

Nor were Mr. Taylor’s appearances on covers limited to American magazines.  You could find him on newsstands in countries from Spain to Turkey to Israel and points beyond.

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UK; USA; UK; USA

Many of the stories in these magazines were entirely fictional. The studios generally didn’t complain unless there was something that would damage one of their stars. This illustrates the old saying that “any publicity is good publicity.”

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USA; USA; UK; USA

The movie magazines were influential.  An article in Photoplay in December, 1938 about Hollywood’s “unmarried couples” resulted in a number of marriages including that of Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck and Clark Gable and Carole Lombard.

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USA; USA; Italy; UK

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UK; UK; UK; UK

RT3092RT3091RT2592RT3146
UK; UK; USA; UK

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USA; USA; Mexico; Italy

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USA; unknown; unknown; USA;

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UK; Brazil; France; USA

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USA; Sweden; Yugoslavia; Turkey

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About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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