Official UFO - v3 #8 Oct. 1978

MYRON FASS – DEMON GOD OF PULP

Myron Fass - King of Pulp, and packing heat.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.

  Myron Fass sat at the top of a pulp magazine publishing empire in the seventies that sometimes published as many as fifty titles a month, including such diverse mags as – Official American Horseman, Hall of Fame Wrestling, True War, Official UFO, Show Dogs, Terror Tales, Horror Tales, Rock, Hard Rock, Super Rock, Punk Rock, Acid Rock, Groupie Rock, Son of Sam, Shotgun Journal, Homicide Detective, Murder Squad Detective, Shooting Bible, .44 Mag, Jaguar, Led Zep, Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind, Clones, Space Wars, Space Trek, Private Confessions of Doctors and Nurses, Movie TV Secrets, TV Photo Story, PhotoTV Land, Movie Lies, The World of Sherlock Holmes, ad infinitum. But it hadn’t always been that way.
  There isn’t much information available on Myron Fass and what follows below was pieced together largely from the one article I was able to find on him, specifically “I, Myron” by Mark Jacobson, which was published in the Oct. 23, 1978 issue of the Village Voice when Fass was on top of his game. Various internet references to him, usually from former employees or colleagues, have also been woven in to help complete the picture as much as possible along with other odds and ends of info that I found in my research. The info provided by Jeff Goodman was of great help in putting Myron's later days as the last old time pulp publisher in focus.
  Myron (March 29, 1926 - September 14, 2006) grew up in Brownsville, a section of Brooklyn, NY, his father was an orthodox Jewish immigrant that worked in the sewers of N.Y.C. for the WPA (Work Projects Administration). The following is a description of Brownsville from the 1939 WPA Guide To New York City:


  "Brownsville extends from Ralph Avenue to Junius Street, between Liberty and Hegeman Avenues. With more than two hundred thousand people dwelling in its 2.19 square miles, it is the most densely populated district in Brooklyn. The population is predominantly Jewish. A group of Negroes lives on Rockaway Avenue, Thatford Avenue, Osborn Street between Livonia and Sutter Avenues. The only Moorish colony in New York is on Livonia Avenue between Rockaway and Stone Avenues. Italians live in the northern section of Brownsville; and on Thatford Avenue near Belmont is a small Arabian and Syrian quarter."


  Myron first gained attention with his drawing skills early on, but during WWII his talent and “ideas” got him Public Relations jobs. After the war––starting about 1948 until the Comics Code Authority was implimented in 1955––Myron Fass got work drawing pre-code western, crime, horror, romance and jungle girl comics, illustrating many of the covers, as well as stories. Companies such as Atlas, Trojan, Gleason, Toby, and others paid for his artwork to use in diverse titles like Tales of Horror, Adventures Into Terror, Astonishing, Uncanny Tales, Great Lover Romances, Black Diamond Western, Crime Smashers, Western Crime Busters, Atomic Spy Cases, etc. It was after the Comics Code Authority took effect in the mid-fifties that Myron started his publishing odyssey.
  He was greatly influenced and inspired by Mad’s William M. Gaines and his maverick approach to publishing, particularly the fact that Gaines had turned Mad into a magazine format in 1955 to escape the control of the newly formed Comics Code Authority.
  This led Myron to find backing for Lunatickle, the “Lunatic’s Home Companion,” which was one of the earliest Mad imitators and Myron was its editor. Other contributors included Joe Kubert, Russ Heath and Theodore S. Hecht (who was later the editor for Stanley Publications horror story mags Adventures In Horror and Horror Stories). Lunatickle’s first satire filled issue was published in 1956 by Whitestone Publishing, a subsidiary of Fawcett Publishing. Whitestone also published the scandal and satire mags Cockeyed, SHHH, Cuckoo, and Exposed which was their longest running title. Myron said of Lunatickle “(it) sold a million first issue, was dead by the third.” The third issue never materialized, only two issues were published. Myron used the "Cockeyed" theme in 1976 with his anti-Nixon statement, Nixon Cockeyed, which contained doctored photos that put Nixon's head on other bodies for a humorus look at "Tricky Dick."
  Foto-Rama (pictured is v4 #8 June 1957 with Russ Meyer’s wife Eve on the cover) was another mag Fass edited in the ‘50s, “full of panties crotch shots” as he put it. Mel Lenowitz was listed on the staff as researcher, and most likely was the Mel Lenny who was the advertising manager of the later Eerie Publications. Mel Lenny died in the 1990s from a blood clot according to Jeff Goodman, one of Fass' editors in the late seventies who was the creative talent behind most of the crazier Fass titles from that time.
  Myron Fass never rejected his origin in sleazy pulp magazines, in fact he saw it as a living, while at the same time turning them into an art form. The formula for Myron seemed to be cheesecake, gore, horror, shock, and opportunism, printed on the cheapest newsprint available--and it worked! Utilizing a combination of young writers and artists, fresh out college, and some of his immediate family, Fass published multitudes of pulp mags which put plenty of money into his pockets. Myron has correctly referred to his magazines as “Masterpieces on cheap paper.”
  Myron published Shock Tales in January 1959, riding on the coat tails of the new monster mag, Famous Monsters of Filmland, although Shock Tales wasn’t about films and it didn’t utilize film stills. In fact it was rumored that some of the staff posed in the horror photos used. Shock Tales contents were slightly geared toward a more adult audience as was Thriller also published by Tempest Publications later in 1962. Tempest Publications would again be used as the publisher for the sixties pin-up girlie mags Pic, Buccaneer, Poorboy, Jaguar, etc.
  Another Tempest Publications mag was 1964’s Quick “The Original Newspaper Magazine” which boasted “70 Photo Stories” on the cover even though they were single and half page items that included sexy and shocking pics. Myron was also the publisher of Companion a digest-sized mag that said on the contents page that it was “Formerly Ladies Home Companion” and the publishing company is given as Ladies’ Coronet, Inc. located at 150 Fifth Avenue, the second home of Eerie Publications.
  At the end of 1964 Myron started his tabloid paper National Mirror which ran until 1973. The National Mirror used the wackiest, most eye-catching cover headlines, sometimes with images that had been collaged together of women and animals. Then, in the early months of 1968 Al Goldstein answered an ad in the Village Voice and ended up working for Fass for ten months. In the last months of 1968 Fass started another tabloid title called Hush-Hush News a title he took from the defunct fifties and sixties gossip mag. Al Goldstein worked on both of Fass' tabloids, sometimes writing a story an hour, and also worked on a few of Myron's digest-sized girlie titles like Pic and Bold. Goldstein says he liked working for Fass as there were few restrictions put on his writing where sex and violence were concerned; this was apparent when looking at the headlines alone on these tabloids.
  When Goldstein started his own sex review paper Screw in November of 1968 he was still working for Fass, but was fired by Myron at the end of November that year when he asked for a raise. But Goldstein readily admits that working for Myron was his introduction to the wonderful world of publishing, and he stayed friends with Fass. Later on Fass even became a recipient of the "Al Goldstein Award."
  National Mirror, Inc. was also the name of another publishing company Fass used for some of his sleazier magazine efforts in 1975, publishing titles such as Confidential Report which turned into Confidential Sex Report, True Sex Crimes, and a short lived resurrection of the scandal mag Uncensored.
  One-shot magazines were Myron’s favorites, on which he could use his “gift for mass psychology and bullshit.” The three biggest events that Myron cashed in on were the Beatles invasion, the Kennedy assassination––which he claimed to have made 4 million on––and the death of Elvis Presley.
  Myron’s theory on the Kennedy assassination was that, “it made people feel good. When someone dies, no matter what you thought of him, no matter how much you might have loved him, there’s part of you that’s going to feel good. Because you’re superior to him. Doesn’t matter if he was better than you in life; now he’s nothing. That’s what Kennedy was about. It was a chance for everyone to feel superior to the president of the United States.”
  Fass failed to enter the comic book business in 1966 in an ill attempt with Carl Burgos, the Marvel artist, to reinvent Captain Marvel. M. F. Enterprises published five issues before calling it quits after bad sales and bad reviews by Capt. Marvel fans.
  Myron hired a young Jeff Goodman in 1976 and the craziness began in ernest. Goodman, fresh from writing porn paperbacks as "Wulf Fleischbinder," became the editor-in-chief of many of Fass' mags overnight and gathered a nucleus of other co-conspirators around him--namely his brother Kevin Goodman, Buddy Weiss and Stan Bernstein--in the lunacy that was about to be unleashed on the magazine racks of the world. With Myron's blessing they began putting together some of the craziest mags ever to hit the newsstands. On the rare occasion when Goodman thought he might have gone overboard with the stories in Official UFO's later issues, Fass would tell him to make the stories even crazier! And Goodman and his team were up to the challenge as can be seen from some of the cover blurbs.
  To illustrate Fass' gumption to be the first on the newsstands with a magazine on Elvis, right after The King's untimely death, he had Goodman take a late night flight to St. Louis to the printer to hand deliver the boards for the Elvis mag, so as to beat all other publishers to the stands!
   Larry Flynt of Hustler was the title of a mag Myron had Goodman put together quickly, shortly after the Hustler publisher was shot, and it was chock-full of pics of Flynt’s bullet riddled body as well as some comic strips. It engaged in the same type of scatological humor that Hustler specialized in, this time aimed at Flynt, as Myron explained, “I just wanted to give Flynt a little bit of what he gives everyone else. I thought he’d appreciate it . . . but I guess he didn’t think it was funny. Some people can’t laugh at themselves.” Larry Flynt of Hustler is now a Fass rarity as a horrified distributor reportedly destroyed many of the copies.
  One of the many publishing companies Myron ran was aptly named M. F. Enterprises, utilizing his initials, many of his detractors claimed there was never a more appropriate name for a company run by Myron Fass.
  Putting pictures of himself in his own mags on occasion was another of Myron Fass’ wonderful quirks. In the Fall ‘78 issue of .44 Mag and Magnums, Myron was seen standing next to a picture of Wild Bill Hickock with the caption, “Several nostalgia buffs have said Myron Fass bears a striking resemblance to Wild Bill Hickock.” Myron also showed up on the cover, as well as inside, Official UFO (v3 #8 Oct. ‘78).
  Fass commuted from his house in New Jersey where he resided with his first wife Phyllis, his Mercedes, customized Cadillac, and Corvette. Hanging in his Manhattan office was a portrait of himself as the crucified Christ and a painting of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, as well as numerous drawings of his own (some of which can be seen in the background of the photos in the Official UFO feature).
  On the door into his office, he had the Dun and Bradstreet report stating his company, Countrywide Publications, had grossed $25 million in 1977, in ‘78 he bragged it would double. At the time he was the single largest “multi-title” newsstand publisher in the country. His magazines usually had little, if any, advertising, and he didn’t care about selling subscriptions. His break-even point was selling 35% of a titles print run, if a magazine did much less than that, it was canned and replaced with another title.
  Myron’s philosophy on this was, “As long as you can keep the circulation above 20,000, I don’t care what it’s on, you could do one on toilet seats” as he explained to Howard Smuckler, editor-in-chief of two of Myron’s national magazines, Ancient Astronauts and ESP.
  Ancient Astronauts, the one that bordered on the ridiculous more often than not, was doing exceedingly well, with a circulation approaching 30,000. It was ESP that was falling with a circulation of only about 18,000. “For heaven’s sakes,” Smuckler would say, after returning from a meeting with Myron to plead for yet another issue of ESP, “Show Dogs is doing 27,000, can’t we do better?” Myron did not want to continue with the losing title, but Smuckler argued to combine circulations and so, Ancient Astronauts kept ESP afloat.
  Ken Landgraf, one of the artists working for Countrywide Publications in the late seventies recalled “Myron was a publisher who knew what he wanted, and got it. Jeff Goodman [editor] made sure that everything ran smoothly. They were extremely professional. Jeff received the artwork and would show it to Myron for his approval, I think Myron trusted Jeff’s judgment. [Myron] always paid me on-time for artwork, which was unusual for free lance artists at the time, we used to get stalled by other publishers a lot.”
  Myron’s partner in the publishing business was Stanley R. Harris--whose father had funded Myron's first publishing efforts--and had made a fortune from the invention of the Harris Press, a printing press still in use today. Fass and Harris did not see eye to eye on certain aspects of the publishing business, namely–dealing with the distributors. Harris accused Fass of “unilaterally dealing with distributors . . . and threatening employees if they communicated with the plaintiffs.” Harris also claimed “Mr. Fass . . . threatened my life and made menacing gestures. On other occasions in recent weeks Mr. Fass has come into my office wearing a loaded gun in a holster . . . It is a ploy of Mr. Fass to so display this gun when he is in an argument. I am informed that many of the employees are intimidated by his wearing a loaded gun about the office.” Mr. Fass explained this by stating, “We publish several gun magazines and are constantly receiving guns and ammo in our office, so no one should be intimidated by the presence of a gun.”
  On the “Empire of the Claw” Web site (www.empire-of-the-claw.com) which keeps up an Eerie Publications Archive with the covers of many of their titles, editor Jeff Goodman said “The MOST infamous incident was the one where Myron shot a gun through a wall, almost killing his partner, or the severe beating of Stanley Harris by Myron in front of the whole office.”
  Allegedly Fass had a fist fight with Harris and Harris lost. Harris then left to start his own Harris Publishing, which in turn churned out more of the same type of mags in the 1980s. Harris continued publishing mags as Countrywide Publications into the 1990s and Harris Publications is still going strong today publishing a multitude of mags such as Revolver, Guitar World, Exercise and Health, Tactical Knives, Combat Handguns, Bowhunting, Celebrity Hairstyles, Country Collectibles, Quilt, etc.
  According to Jeff Goodman Myron was running a gun shop in Florida in the mid-eighties and by the mid-nineties had become paranoid and would not talk to anyone.
  Dean Speir, who runs The Gun Zone Web site (www.thegunzone.com) recalled:
  “Fass, who I knew as ‘Chief Merion Riley-Foss,’ was in Ocala, Florida in the mid-’80s when I sold a story to one of his cheaply-produced gunzine titles, USA Guns, and found it published in another one, GunPro. Both titles were under the aegis of ‘CFV Publishers.’
  “Some years later I learned from Phat Phil Engledrum that ‘Chief Merion Riley-Foss’ was in reality one Myron Fass, with whom he’d worked in NYC in the late ‘60s at Harris Publications. Apparently, Fass, upon moving to Central Florida, decided that he would be handicapped with a Jewish name, and since he’d always wanted to be a ‘Police Chief,’ he created something called ‘Bureau of Criminal Investigations,’ appointed himself the head of it with the title of ‘Chief’ and assumed the name of ‘Merion Riley-Foss.’”
  Another former employee of Myron's was Angi Moyer who informed me that Myron and son David were still at it in Florida in 1994 publishing mags such as GadgetWorld and People Today, as well as several gunzines, under an umbrella company called Creative Arts. Myron's name was not listed on any of the mastheads and David Fass was listed as "David Harvard." Myron was still wearing a loaded gun to work according to Moyer, who also says, "There were rumors that [Myron] and David had had a standoff in David's office, pointing loaded guns at each other. I even heard that one of them had fired a shot into the ceiling."
  Moyer had worked for Fass from January 1994 thru November of that same year, she was also a friend of David Fass from early '94 until June '95. Moyer says of her last contact with David Fass, "The last time I spoke with David over the phone, he said that Myron had been 'forced' by the local authorities into some kind of 'facility' because he was shooting his gun off in the tennis courts of his condo in Deerfield Beach. David sounded like a real mess and said he was working as a 'sex operator' but had some 'big projects in the works.'"
  David Fass died June 11, 2000 in Deerfield Beach, Florida, from what exactly I do not know, but everyone who knew him concur that he had a drug/substance abuse problem.
  I'm also sad to report that Myron Fass died on Sept. 14, 2006 at the age of eighty in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The tale of Myron Fass is fascinating––or Fasscinating, if you will--and has yet to be completely told.

Al Goldstein and Myron Fass (giving Kong a dong).
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.

David Fass (Myron's son) and Jeff Goodman at Countrywide Publications.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.

Editor-in-Chief Goodman with strange alien glyphs on hands .
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.


Jeff Goodman in the lair of the Necronomicon.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.

Al Goldstein publisher of Screw and Myron Fass peruser of Screw.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.

Myron pours a cup of java while Al looks on lovingly.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.

David Fass deep in research at Countrywide Publications.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.

Buddy Weiss, in from the cold at Countrywide Publications.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.

Countrywide staff photo: Buddy Weiss, Joann Caravello, Hannah Spitzer, Jeff Goodman, and David Fass.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Goodman.
Flick - v1 #3 Oct. 1975
Flick - v1 #8 July 1976
Heroes and Villains - v2 #1 Oct. 1977
Jaguar - v13 #8 May 1978
Foto-rama - v4 #8 June 1957
Gasm - v1 #1 Nov. 1977
Acid Rock - v1 #1 Nov. 1977
Official UFO - v3 #1 Jan. 1978
Official UFO - v2 #5 July 1977
Official UFO - v2 #6 Sept. 1977
Official UFO - v2 #7 Dec. 1977
Official UFO - v3 #4 May 1978

Pic - v5 #1 Mar. 1969
Poorboy - v1 #1 May 1968
Quick - v1 #1 Oct. 1964

Rock's Nova Bowie - 1976

Rolling Stones Super Rock Spectacular - v1 #3 Fall 1978

Brute - v2 #1 Feb. 1977

Acid Rock - v1 #3 Spring 1978

Companion - v6 #11 Oct. 1967

Confidential Report Jackie Onassis - 1975
Buccaneer - v1 #8 Sept. 1969
Ancient Astronauts - v4 #3 March 1978
Beatles Film Festival - v1 #2 Summer 1978
Shock Tales - v1 #1 Jan. 1959
Son of Sam Caught! - 1977
Space Trek - v2 #1 Spring 1979
Space Wars Heroes - v1 #3 Spring 1979
Strange Unknown - v1 #2 July 1969
Street Car Racer - v2 #5 Oct. 1979
Tales From the Tomb - v2 #1 Jan. 1970
Terror Tales - v1 #8 May 1969
Terror Tales - v2 #6 Nov. 1970
Terror Tales - v3 #4 July 1971
Terrors of Dracula - v3 #1 May 1981
The Best of Flick - Fall 1977
The World of Sherlock Holmes - v1 #1 Dec. 1977
True War - Dec. 1975
True War - v1 #5 Aug. 1975
UFO Confidential - v1 #4 Fall 1981
Weird - v13 #3 Sept. 1980
Weird - v3 #4 Sept. 1969
Weird - v3 #1 Jan. 1968
Weird Vampire Tales - v5 #1 Jan. 1981
Weird Worlds - v2 #4 Aug. 1971
Witches' Tales - v1 #7 July 1969
Witches' Tales - v3 #3 June 1971
Jaguar - v7 #4 June 1973
Jaws of Blood - v1 #1 Fall 1978
Erotica - v1 #5 Dec. 1976
Flick - v1 #11 Oct. 1976
Clones - v1 #1 Summer 1978
Gasm - v1 #2 Dec. 1977
Gasm - Feb. 1978
Ancient Astronauts - v4 #9 Dec. 1978
Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind - v5 #1 April 1978
Crime - v4 #2 May 1978
Duke - v9 #4 June 1977
Jaws of Horror - v4 #1 Spring 1978
Jaws of Horror - v3 #4 Winter 1977

Crime Does Not Pay - v1 #10 Jan/Feb. 1968

Tales of the Tomb - v6 #6 Nov. 1974

Terror Tales - v2 #1 Jan. 1970

JFK's Love Affairs - 1976

Jaguar - v1 #2 Feb. 1965

Brut - v1 #12 July 1976

Official UFO - v3 #6 Aug. 1978

Duke - v3 #1 Feb. 1970
Ancient Astronauts - v3 #5 Sept. 1977
Ancient Astronauts - v4 #6 July 1978

Duke - v2 #4 Oct. 1969

Jaguar - v3 #4 Mar. 1968

Official UFO - v3 #3 Apr. 1978

Official UFO - v3 #5 June 1978

Duke - v1 #9 Aug. 1968

Poorboy - v1 #3 Nov. 1968

Unidentified Flying Objects - v1 #1 Aug. 1981

UFO Confidential - v1 #2 Spring 1981

Many thanks to Jeff Goodman for his generous info and photos
and Ken Landgraf for answering questions about his employment with Fass and Countrywide Publications. Also thanks to Dean Speir for the info he provided on Myron's later gunzines and Angi Collins for getting in touch with much needed info about Myron's publishing in the mid-nineties. Last, but certainly not least, thanks to Al Goldstein for talking to me about his employment with Myron in 1968.

Ancient Astronauts - v5 #3 July 1979

Ancient Astronauts - v4 #4 Apr. 1978

Houdini's Magic Magazine - v2 #2 March 1978

Confidential Sex Report - v1 #6 Aug. 1975

Super Rock - v2 #1 Feb. 1978

Paul McCartney Dead - The Great Hoax - 1978

Official UFO - v3 #7 Sept. 1978
 

Close Encounters with Space Aliens - (Ancient Astronauts) v4 #2 Feb. 1978

National Mirror - v5 #49 May 27, 1969

National Mirror - v8 #4 July 13, 1971

National Mirror - v8 #8 Aug. 10, 1971

Hush-Hush News - v2 #23 March 10, 1970

Hush-Hush News - v2 #19 Jan. 13, 1970

Hush-Hush News - v3 #22 May 4, 1971

Flick - v1 #6 Apr. 1976

Jacqueline Kennedy - 1964
 
     
   

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