Cavalcade, the Iconic
Aussie Digest from the K G Murray Publishing
Aussie Digest from the K G Murray Publishing
text (C) Greg Ray (WANTS
Just ONE page on the Collecting Books and
Magazines web site based in Australia.
Page updated 7th June,
was an Australian publication with an
It is mainly
collected these days by aficionados of
Australian cartooning who seek out the
comic strips by Phil Belbin.
had its origins in an attempt by the
publisher of Man magazine, Kenneth
Murray, to produce a serious news
|The first incarnation of this
effort was called The
issue one of which appeared on June 16,
brief editorial on page 26 of the first issue
explained that The Insider was born in the
Sudeten German town, Eger, on October 3 last
year. For, there, during Nazi occupation of the
territory, came to its publisher, Murray, a
realisation that the TRUTH concerning the whole
situation was vastly different from the
universally accepted, distorted impression that
the world was given.
The Insider would be to Australia what Time was
to the USA and News Review was to England and the
statement of policy that appeared in the first
issue promised information for men and
women who are intelligently interested in the
inner workings of the world, yet whose ears are
revolting against the hysterical screaming of
The first four
issues were attractive productions, with full
colour cartoon covers and printed on high-quality
paper. Among the many appealing features of these
very rare magazines are the beautiful and clever
cartoons and illustrations by top-flight Murray
stable artists including Jack Gibson, Clifford
Barnes and Maurice Cork, as well as photo montage
work by Laurence Le Guay.
appeared weekly until issue four, dated July 7,
when it switched to a monthly publication
number 1 of the new monthly series of The
Insider, with a photographic cover, appeared in
August 1939. The magazine was clearly Ken
Murrays pet, and it powerfully echoed the
same editorial lines he had been pressing in the
columns of Man since its inception in December
1936. It was outspokenly anti-war, but equally
strongly in favour of Australia arming itself in
preparation for possible aggression.
1940 The Insider refocused itself almost
exclusively on the Pacific region, arguing
fervently for peace and understanding between
Japan and its neighbours.
The advent of
the war in the Pacific put paid to the hopes of
The Insider and saw a master-switch thrown at the
Murray publishing organization.
pleas for peace were replaced overnight in the
stables magazines Man and Man Junior with a
In a Murray
group staff journal published after the war, the
impact of Japans commencement of the
Pacific war was recalled:
the inbuilt quality had to go, at first.
More of it went as the pressure became
heavier. There was the other war, in the
Pacific. Quality wasnt the only
thing that went then. Staff went.
publishing empire shrank to five staff, two war
correspondents and three typists, all producing
five remaining publications. Five publications
had to be suspended.
The Insider was
incorporated into the digest-sized Cavalcade,
launched in about April 1941. Cavalcade staggered
into 1943, losing all reference to the Insider,
until it finally went into a short recess, along
with Man Junior and Digest of Digests.
returned from its recess in late 1944, with issue
one of the new series (still digest-sized) being
a combined November-December number.
manifesto of the new Cavalcade (edited by Bill
Delany) was to give busy people . . . a
reflection of today. It has no words
to waste, no old ideas to rehash, the
Cavalcade still had plenty of war news, in words
and photos, and it featured - on the few pages of
glossy art paper it was allowed to mingle with
its postwar pulp - some wonderful artwork by Wiz
and the familiar Murray staffers.
produced the cover art of the first new-series
Cavalcades, but from July 1945 (volume 2) onward,
the magazine settled into its familiar
glamour-girl photo cover format. Most of the
girls were Aussie lasses, and the magazine
carried brief biographical notes about them
Cavalcade ran a high-profile Australia-wide
covergirl contest, publishing regular selections
from the flood of entries it received. The
winner, gracing the cover of the January 1947
issue was 17-year-old Miss Noel McGlinchey, of
Toorak. She won 100 guineas and a Hollywood
1947 artist Phil Belbin joined KG Murray as an
artist and cartoonist and his spectacular
illustrations began to appear along with those of
remained a key artistic contributor too, with
many regular features and spot illustrations.
The whole bevy
of familiar postwar authors began to appear:
Darcy Niland, Raymond Slattery, James Holledge
and Dulcie Deamer, to name a few.
In April 1948
Cavalcade introduced comic strip plotlines of
current RKO movies: the first was The Secret Life
of Walter Mitty, drawn by Belbin, followed in May
by Out of the Past. Other movies given this
treatment by Belbin were Magic Town, Night Song,
Return of the Bad Men, The Bishops Wife,
The Miracle of the Bells, I Remember Mama, Fort
Apache, If You Knew Suzie, Rachel and the
Stranger and The Velvet Touch.
In April 1949
Phil Belbin was given the opportunity to draw
Cavalcades new picture mystery.
This was Flash Cain, private detective. Many of
these strips were scripted by Ray Heath.
In August 1951
Flash Cain gave way to Kath King of Kismet Cove,
a beautiful girl writer and reporter, drawn by
Belbin and scripted by Sydney Ockenden.
lasted until October 1953, and that was the end
of comic strips in Cavalcade, although
Australian-drawn cartoons continued to appear.
By the 1950s
Australia was again flooded with dumped American
magazines and the homegrown publications resorted
increasingly to cheap, syndicated cartoons and
written copy: both to cut costs and also because
Australian tastes had become highly Americanized.
|In 1955 the
magazine switched from digest size to an
A4-sized format, its covers became more
risqué and it badged itself as the
know yourself magazine. It
doesnt appear to have been a very
convincing effort and Cavalcade appears
to have died in 1957, 25 volumes into the
new series that began in 1944. #
Related pages: MAN
| Ion Idriess in MAN | Jack
(John) Gibson | Hardmuth
to 1944 Any but Aug 1941, Feb 1943 or
1946 Jan*, Jul, Aug, Sept, Nov, Dec
1947 Feb, Apr, May, Jun, Sept, Oct,
1949 Jun Oct, Dec*
1950 April, Jul, Aug,
1954 Feb, April,
1955 Oct, Nov, Dec
1956 Jan, Mar, April, May,
1957 Any after March
While browsing through loose material in our Archive, I came
across some loose pages from the issue of May 1948, of the
They were a well written and researched article by D’Arcy Niland,
entitled “New Zealand’s self-made king” ---on an early settler
in NZ, Charles de Thierry, who was to call himself Baron de
Thierry, after the acquisition of 40,000 acres in the Hokianga
enjoyed the article which was a sympathetic account of a man who
has more commonly been ridiculed in our country.
Having Googled Cavalcade magazine, I found your website,
which I also found interesting. I wonder if you or your readers
have any more articles written by D’Arcy Niland, especially any
dealing with NZ’s history?
problems or questions? Email John at
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