Sunday, March 06, 2011

Retro-Review: Glamorous Romances #48, Part 1!

glamrom48_01Time for a new retro-review, and this time around it's Glamorous Romances #48, published by Ace Magazines/A. A. Wyn, Inc.. This title started with issue #41, taking over numbering from Dotty (which itself had taken over the numbering from Four Teeners, which itself had taken over numbering from Four Favorites – with an interim issue of Crime Must Pay the Penalty in there), and continued until issue 90 in 1956, which was the end of Ace.

I'm looking at issue 48, which featured an unsigned painted cover.

glamrom48_02The first tale in this issue is “That First Time We Kissed...” which has no credits (same goes for the entire book, for that matter... when I saw that the Grand Comics Database had pretty much nothing on this book, I decided to index the stories there myself). The tale opens at a tiny hat shop in New York City, where Francey Blair works as a salesgirl while waiting her big break as a singer.

Francey's used to only seeing husbands buying hats for their wives in this shop, but this man – Jed Gordon – wants a dozen of one hat, because he needs them for the dancers at Club Silver, which he's opening in a week. Francey promises to deliver them herself. A week later, as Francey delivers the hats, she hopes she'll get a chance to audition for Jed. When she arrives, she sees Lorna, one of the singers at the club, complain to Jed about the songs he wants her to sing. After Francey trips and falls, Jed notices her beauty, and asks if she can sing. When she says she can, Jed decides to give her a shot, since Lorna's being temperamental lately.


So, after being hired, Francey finds herself being assigned to swing the old-fashioned sweet songs, while Lorna does the torch songs. Francey also lears that Jed and Lorna are engaged. At opening night, Francey's got a case of the nerves... until Jed comes to her dressing room, and gives her a kiss to calm her nerves... which they both enjoy! The kiss does the trick, though!


After opening night, the club – and Francey – are a smash. As Francey leaves the club, she runs into a man who was sitting near the stage where she sang, and he invites her to do the town with her. She agrees (since Jed disappeared with Lorna right after the club closed), and when the man – Stuart Vickers – swoops in for a kiss, suddenly reporters are all around them, snapping photos. Francey and Stuart head off to Sawyers, where Jed and Lorna always go. Inside, Jed isn't happy to see his star attraction out so late, and so he and Lorna end up forcing themselves onto Stuart and Francey at their table, making it a foursome.

Francey hopes that Jed will be jealous, but Jed lectures her on going for money instead of love. Jed breaks up the celebration before long to get his singers home, but Lorna insists on staying. Jed ends up driving Francey home, where he lets Francey know something she wasn't aware of!

Of course, Francey's dismayed to learn that Stuart is married... and even more dismayed when Jed gives her a kiss! Well, nothing else happens for a few days until one night at the club, a woman stands up and throws a tomato at Francey for stealing her husband's affections! The papers carry the story the next day, which makes Francey wonder if Jed wants her to quit, but he says no... even after Lorna claims Francey's been dating Stuart this whole time. When Francey returns to her dressing room, Stuart's wife tells her that she was mistaken. Francey puts two and two together, and goes to see Lorna in her dressing room...


So, to nobody's surprise, it turns out that Lorna's been the one seeing Stuart. Francey tells her she's quitting because she's tired of this whole setup, and goes back to work at the hat shop. In the middle of a busy day at the hat shop, Jed shows up, announcing that he's looking for a hat for his wife. Francey thinks Jed's gone and married Lorna, but then Jed says he'll buy the hat – and take the girl, too! Since Jed never had Francey's home address, he'd been looking all over town for her, finding her there. He'd had a fight with Lorna and discovered she'd been dating Stuart, and asks Francey to marry her, and she accepts... since she'd fallen in love with him the first time she saw him.


OK, so what did I think of this first story? The art wasn't too bad overall (although there are a few panels that appear to me to be swipes, because the art style's a bit different from the rest of the story). So far as the story goes... I don't know why Francey would want anything to do with Jed! First of all, she knows he's engaged to another girl... and he still kisses her anyway – twice! That doesn't seem to me that there's much hope that Jed will end up being faithful after they're married. And someone casually reading the story may not realize that the entire saga takes place over a period of about two weeks! And apparently there wasn't such strict guidelines for employers back in the day, given that Jed's gone ahead and kissed Francey in her dressing room (sexual harassment, anyone?), and then we learn that he never got Francey's home address? Doesn't he keep any kind of employee records at all? How was he planning to file taxes that year?

The sad thing is that for most romance comics stories, these kind of plot holes and plot developments are all too typical, as you'll see when I continue this retro-review next time, with “They Called Me a Heartless Flirt”!


  1. Jon,
    Taxes? Jed and the Club Silver will be long gone before the taxes are due. Kissing Francey while engaged to Lorna? Jed and Lorna must have been planning some kind of "open marriage." Obviously, it's supposed to be more open for Jed than it is for Lorna.

    1. Yeah, the stuff that goes on in these romance books... Sheesh!


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