fantastic prescience of the 21st century in a ’50s men’s magazine?

Es­ti­mated reading time is 2 min­utes.

SEARCHING FOR IMAGES ON THE INTERNET for one project often leads to some very un­ex­pected dis­cov­eries. In this case, I was looking for some sharp photos of a couple of rather rare Elvis Presley records from the ’50s when I came across True Strange mag­a­zine. There I saw what looked like a hint of prescience.

The cover of the June 1957 issue of True Strange mag­a­zine is a sen­sa­tion­al­ized painting of Elvis from Jail­house Rock—at least the large head in the back­ground looks like it’s from his third movie. The fore­ground image looks like it’s based on one of his tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances from 1956.

The June ’57 issue of True Strange mag­a­zine fea­tures three sto­ries that sound like they are pre­sciently ad­dressing is­sues of the 21st century.

So, after saving the image to my hard drive for fu­ture use in an ar­ticle for my Elvis blog, the ti­tles of the three fea­tured sto­ries on the right side of the cover jumped to my attention.

In­stead of reading them for what they were prob­ably in­tended to be in 1957, I read them as ex­am­ples of prescience—articles that pre­sciently ad­dress 21st-century America.


Prescience: cover of the June 1957 issue of TRUE STRANGE magazine with Elvis Presley.

This is the June 1957 issue of True Strange with its fan­tastic cover art of Elvis Presley. The mag­a­zine was co-founded by body­builder Joe Weider and was like a cross be­tween a men’s pulp mag and a won­der­fully wacky su­per­market tabloid.

Prescience and elite alien reptiles

Here are the three ar­ti­cles with an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of what they could mean to a reader from 2022:

•  “The Shrunken Heads that Talk” could be ad­dressing state­ments made by var­ious in­tel­lec­tual “gi­ants” in Amer­ican po­lit­ical and so­cial life.

•  “The Strange Mystic Power of Hitler” could be ad­dressing the end­less at­trac­tion Der Fuhrer holds for mil­lions of people around the world.

•  “Snake Wor­ship in America” could be ad­dressing the be­lief held by mil­lions of people that an­cient, technologically-advanced, shape-shifting, elite rep­tilian aliens from an­other planet ac­tu­ally rule this world.

Fi­nally, I found the info about True Strange mag­a­zine that is in­cluded in the cap­tion to the cover of the mag­a­zine above on the Men’s Pulp Mags web­site. Staring at the sexed-up covers of men’s mag­a­zines at Max’s Gro­cery Store in Kingston, Penn­syl­vania, was a naughty plea­sure for my brother and me back in the early ’60s.



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Elvis would have been bigger had the critics em­braced him, but the only one who could have turned the tide on this would have been Elvis him­self -- if he had done more in­ter­views, es­pe­cially after the ’68 Singer TV Spe­cial. It wouldn’t be until ’71 that Elvis ap­peared on a major pub­li­ca­tion magazine.

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Fan­tastic cover art of Elvis! Un­for­tu­nately, some haven’t been kind to Elvis.

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Do you say “press-see-yent” or “preshent”?