Unquestionably, Carney's Burlesque was one of the weirder cover offerings from the lurid sleaze paperback publishers Uni-books; a reissue of a British pulp story that changed both the name of the protagonist and author to Steve Harragan. Uni-books created the private eye Harragan character out of thin air, the only thing connecting him from one adventure to the next being his signature eye-patch, accompanied by his always on hand eye-candy. This oil on masonite cover painting by Walter Popp imagines Harragan backstage at a bump and grind theater straight out of a horror film, with a femme-fatale on his arm whose life choices were a "rhapsody of men and mayhem played on a G-string..." The cover provides an odd moment in time spooky thrill that the story could only hope to live up to.
From the collection of Bob and Diane Yaspan Collection, painting has been handsomely framed under glass and remains in a fine state of conservation.
A biography on the artist courtesy of David Saunders :
Walter Robert Popp was born on May 19, 1920 in New York City. His biological father was Gustave Gutgemon (1860-1952), a German immigrant artist, who had a significant career as a muralist and instructor of architectural detail at the Pratt Institute. His unwed mother, Kathe Popp, was born 1880 in Austria and was trained as a professional cook. In 1909 she immigrated to the U.S. on the S.S. Amerika and settled in New York City. She found work as an artist in Gutgemon's busy workshop, where decorative designs of flowers, birds and animals were created for stylish New York furniture companies.
He graduated Hoboken High School in June of 1938. He then studied art at the New York Phoenix School of Design, 160 Lexington Ave, NYC, where the pulp artist Laurence Herndon taught.
By 1940 Walter Popp worked briefly as a commercial artist and sold freelance illustrations to pulp magazines, but he soon entered the U.S. Army on October 10, 1942 and served in the Medical Corps in Europe as a TEC-5 during WWII. His enlistment papers record him as being twenty-two years old, single, five-eleven, and 151 pounds.
After the war he studied art and architecture at the Shriverham American University in England. In 1946 he returned to New York and attended the Art Students League, where he met another art student, Marie Mulligan, a native New Yorker from Queens. They fell in love and married in 1947. They moved to his parents home in Carlstadt, NJ, where they raised nine children.
He painted freelance pulp magazine covers and interior story illustrations for Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures, Fantastic Mysteries, Fantastic Story, Fifteen Western Tales, Space Stories, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder, and Western Story Round-Up.
In the 1950s he painted covers for paperback books, which were produced by such publishers as Unibook, Ace Books, Flying Eagle Publications, and Popular Library.
He also painted covers for large format true crime magazines such as Master Detective and True Detective, as well as the digest title, Manhunt.
During the 1950s and 1960s he worked for the post war pulp men's adventure magazines, such as Action Life, For Men Only, Impact, Male, Man's Illustrated, Man's World, Men, Men Annual, Outdoor Life, Real, Saga, Stag, and True Adventure.
In the mid-1960s, when classic illustration art was out of fashion, he began to do package design for toy and sporting-goods manufacturers. He also worked on the art staff as a full time employee of the Norcross greeting card company, at 244 Madison Avenue (Near 38th Street) in NYC.
Walter Popp died in Paramus, NJ, at the age of eighty-two on November 10, 2002.