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Thursday, March 28, 2024

Robert Shea, men's magazine editor

Before Robert Shea took a job at Playboy magazine, he served from 1965 to 1967 as the editor of Cavalier, a men's magazine similar to Playboy.

If you are curious about what a magazine edited by Shea would be like, I have an example to point to. The Internet Archive has a copy of the September 1966 issue of the magazine; a PDF of the complete issue may be downloaded and examined. 

A few observations: Robert J. Shea is listed as editor. Arthur Kretchmer, who had a long career at Playboy, is listed as managing editor. 

The table of contents includes a story by Bruce Jay Friedman and also a story by John D. MacDonald. There's a column by Shea's friend Paul Krassner, and an article on British political cartoonists by Bob Abel, another friend of Shea's.  If Shea was doing Abel a favor here by providing a market, surely Shea was repaid; Abel was the Dell book editor who bought Illuminatus! There are two photo features of attractive young women. Some of the cartoons aren't bad, and the ads are interesting. 

The issue also has a piece by Shea, apparently a regular column, "The Cavalier Attitude," about attending the showing of an Andy Warhol movie. 

I wondered if some of the replies to the letters column were written by Shea. One reply defends the space program. A letter on page 10 from a reader in Winnipeg warns that the publication of nude photos in Cavalier will inspire God to destroy America. The editor's reply says "What about Canada?" 

The advertisement for subscriptions ($6 if you live in the U.S.) says, "Like good cigars, brandy and LSD, Cavalier is best enjoyed in a comfortable, warm and secure atmosphere." 

Another Internet site has a directory of back issues of Cavalier for sale, from 1966; it lists an article for July 1966, "Dr. Timothy Leary on the Psychedelic Revolution," and it shows that Isaac Asimov was a contributor to the magazine. 


Doctor Richard Waterloo said...

I love retro magazines, and the old playboys are a fun late night trip -- especially for the cigarette ads and (not suitable for today's world) comics. has some old copies of Cavalier as well as Playboy and the like. They're not as rich in content as Playboy, but still a good time. ;)

Arthur D. Hlavaty said...

He published a column by Isaac Asimov. One i rememberwas about his time in the army and how the guys who saluted the flag the most also stole the most in by

Don Dulchinos said...

Never knew this about Shea. Curious here if Shea worked at Cavalier through at least February 1968. That issue ran an article (first published in Canada in October 1967) called a Theory That Explains Everything. It's about Clare Graves, a professor at union college in New York, who had a developmental psychology theory that in retrospect is similar to Leary's Periodic Table of Evolution - i wrote about it for Maybe Day - . It's Shea not Wilson who may have green lighted the article, but maybe it came up as Shea and Wilson collaborated?

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

I think Shea had left by then, but of course magazines have to work in advance, so it seems possible Shea could have purchased the article.