Black Pin Ups #10 Dan Burley Duke Magazine African-American Genius and Forgotten Afro-Antics the Series by Jim Linderman
OBIT OF DAN BURLEY FROM JET MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 8, 1962 SADLY OMITS DUKE MAGAZINE
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Dan Burley is the most famous folk you never heard of. Why? Because he was an African-American man. Sorry, but that's just the way it was. (Is?)
If you did a six degrees of separation chart for Dan Burley, it would include everyone of any importance in the music and publishing world, but yet again I'll ask. Do you know who Dan Burley was?
Well, let's see...He appeared in films with Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. He wrote music for Cab Calloway. In fact, one can trace his own piano playing right to the Beatles song Lady Madonna. Are you humming that piano run in your head yet? Thank Dan Burley.
Some people can do more than play. Burley was editor of Ebony Magazine way back in the 1930s. He married the first African-American woman to sing in Madison Square Garden. He invented the word Bebop, reportedly, and also created the Harlem Handbook of Jive. I mean, get HEP!
During World War Two, the USO show he organized was the black version of Bob Hope's entertainment for the troops.
He wrote for Elijah Muhammad.
He helped create Jet Magazine
He was personal friends with Ed Sullivan. NO ONE was friends with Ed Sullivan!
He had a radio show. No, he had TWO radio shows.
More? And more importantly for our purposes here on Vintage Sleaze...Dan Burley published a GIRLY MAGAZINE!
He published the first serious African-American Men's magazine with sisters posing! DUKE! 1957. That's right...A skin mag with class and Beautiful Black Babes (Not to mention the writing of Chester Himes.) It was a high-fashion lifestyle magazine for the African-American man, a Playboy magazine for the Hood! As such, it SHOULD end my ten-part series on the African-American pin up and should also goose a real writer into a serious biography.
Why was Duke magazine great? Well, it had Bill Ward drawings of dark-skinned women under his pseudonym McCartney. That's right! Bill Ward drew black cartoons of busty black women!
If you search Dan Burley, you'll find him identified as a sports writer. A Journalist. A Jazz Musician. A Poet. And yet he only lived 54 years. His Wiki Biography (which also omits his smut magazine) is HERE
Unfortunately, Duke Magazine lived for only six issues.
Just for the record, he may have been murdered. He knew Jack Ruby and his name is in the Warren Report. Whaaa? Well, I don't know about that, but his daughter speculates as such HERE.
Diane Hanson's History of Men's Magazines has a brief chapter on Duke Magazine, but even they didn't know about the above.
Burley left enough behind to start a foundation, which appears to be run by his family. I am not sure how active the site is, but it is fascinating. The Link is HERE
Black Pinups Afro-Antics is a regular feature of Vintage Sleaze the Blog, this is the number 10 entry in the 10 part series, Make sure to READ THEM ALL. The goal of the series is to tell stories and present a history neglected for too long...the Black Pinup. Credit the author and researcher Jim Linderman and Link to Vintage Sleaze the blog when sharing, thank you very much.
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