This rare original oil on canvas spicy pulp painting by Earle K. Bergey is an exciting recent estate find. Used as the cover of the October, 1935 issue of Pep Stories, this topless majorette pin-up girl exudes perhaps just a little too much “pep” as she winds up tumbling back-side-first into a large marching drum. This captures the exuberance and decadence of 1930s chorus hall burlesque, and comes from the collection of Sire Records mogul Seymour Stein, which makes the music theme all the more resonant.
Pep Stories was one of the most popular spicy pulp titles, and the longest running “girlie pulp” in publication. Throughout the 1930s, the spicies pushed the envelope of what was considered decent, celebrating the risqué, daring, and free-spirited. Even as censors tried to ban them from the newsstands, the popularity of these affordable, wild and highly modern magazines continued to grow. The colorful sexy covers were a tremendous part of their allure, and Bergey was one of the most innovative artists to be associated with this dazzling genre. We were fortunate enough to acquire a second example by the artist from the Seymour Stein collection, and it too is available on the site.