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4x Sissi magazine (Spain, June + July 1959)

 

By Josep Rulló / Kari Paju
 
 

01Never been to Spain?
Thanks to Josep Rulló, here’s a chance to take a look at how Elvis Presley was presented in four consecutive Spanish weekly publications of the Sissi magazine in the year of 1959.
 
The magazine was published by Editorial Bruguera, of Barcelona, one of the most important editorials in Spain. In those days, and especially in the 60′s and 70′s, Editorial Bruguera was known for their products aimed at the teenage market.
The words ‘Revista femenina’ (on the frontcover) teach us that we are dealing with a magazine that was specifically intended for the female audience. And the title chosen for this publication, that was in it’s second year at this point (and ran for a total of 6 years), must have surely rang a bell with the most sensitive of all species since it was taken from the hugely popular movie-series with the same name (starring Romy Schneider as the Austrian Queen Sissi) released only a few years earlier.
 
Some not so common (mostly colorized) pictures were used for these mags. Among others, the two pics of the NY premiere of Love Me Tender have hardly been seen since the 50′s.
Especially noteworthy is the Wertheimer-photo of Elvis with Gladys on the cover of issue nr. 68. This pic was retouched in order not to show Elvis bare-chested.
 
All credits, and sincere thanks, for the magazine-scans of Nrs. 68/69/71 go to Josep Rulló (Spain)!
Credit and thanks for Nr. 70 go to Kari Paju (Finland)!
 

The covers of the four Elvis-related ‘Sissi’ magazines, from 1959.

 
 
 

212

 
 
 

01 Front 68

Sissi nr. 68

June 15, 1959

 
Please check out the original photo of Elvis with Gladys (that is shown heavily retouched on this cover) at the bottom of this article.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To the left we have the front-cover.
And below the inner-back and back-cover.

02 Inner Back 68 03 Back 68

 
 
 

212

 
 
 

04 Front 69

Sissi nr. 69

June 22, 1959

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To the left we have the front-cover.
And below the inner-back and back-cover.

05 Inner Back 69 06 Back 69

 
 
 

212

 
 
 

IMG2_0002 Kari Paju

Sissi nr. 70

June 29, 1959

 
Nr. 70 was missing from Josep’s collection. But Kari Paju from Finland was so nice to share his copy of this magazine with us!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To the left we have the front-cover.
And below the inner-back and back-cover.

IMG2_0003 IMG2_0004

 
 
 

212

 
 
 

10 Front 71

Sissi nr. 71

July 6, 1959

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To the left we have the front-cover.
And below the inner-back and back-cover.

11 Inner Back 71 12 Back 71

 
 
 

212

 
 
 

On the frontcover of Sissi nr. 68 we find a picture of Elvis with his mum. The pic is not just colorized, but heavily retouched: the bare-chested son is now wearing a shirt. Next to that, Elvis’ lefthand is cut from the picture in order not to give even more wrong impressions.

Okay. By examaning the original Wertheimer-pic, one can understand why the editor of the magazine decided to alter this photo. But why go through all this trouble and not just settle for a different picture altogether?
However, the main question is: how about the choice of clothes for the altered picture? Well, maybe the ‘artist’ wanted to pay homage to Sissi’s Austrian roots by dressing Elvis up in traditional Austrian clothes!
1001 1002

 
 
 

212

 
 
 

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Josep #

    Regarding the photo with Gladys, here’s a few words of clarification :

    I guess they just wanted to include a photo of mother and son together, and the Wertheimer shot was probably the only one available to them.

    Here’s the approximate translation of the captions of the first two small photos on the front cover of issue 68:

    ** “ELVIS, LIVING PARADOX? His detractors accuse him of being a bad influence on the youth … That is debatable …”

    ** “What’s not debatable is that Elvis is an excellent guy, who adored his mother (recently deceased)”.

    You’ve got to take into account that in 1959, when these mags were published, we were under Franco’s dictatorship (1939 – 1975) – which, among many other bad things, meant that a strong censorship was applied upon everything.

    Every little detail had to be calculated in everyday’s life so you wouldn’t get into trouble.

    That’s why, for example, so many leading figures of the Spanish – no, the world’s! – culture were living, and in most cases dying, outside Spain: Pablo Picasso, Pau Casals, Joan Miró, Luis Buñuel, and so many, many other important names. And thousands and thousands of anonymous people, too.

    So, in 1959 Elvis was not a very famous artist here, not half as much as he was in other parts of Europe. His big moment in Spain came with the premiere of “King Creole” – and this was in … April of 1961!!!

    By 1959, Elvis’ reputation was probably not as safe as in 1961, so I guess the editors of these mags were trying to “sell” him as clean as possible – hence the mention of his mother, and the retouching of the Wertheimer pic, etc. – in order to avoid any problems with the censors.

    I guess this explanation makes everything a bit clearer.

    Thanks!

    August 17, 2013
  2. Looking at the many colorized photos is like all of sudden
    adding a new set of 50s gum cards! Fascinating to find
    some unseen photos in these Spanish magazines!

    Bob, howzabout a discography on early Elvis record
    releases from Spain, sometime in the future? They did
    release some ultra kool EPs and picture sleeve singles.

    Thanks, Josep, for giving us a chance to have a peek
    at Spanish teen culture from the late 50s.

    August 18, 2013
  3. Alan White #

    Great work Josep.

    August 18, 2013
  4. Jans #

    Thanks, great magazines.

    August 18, 2013
  5. Josep #

    My pleasure, guys !!!

    August 18, 2013
  6. Fascinating!! Thanks for sharing.

    August 21, 2013
  7. Well done !

    August 22, 2013
    • Josep #

      Gràcies, Francesc !

      August 22, 2013
  8. Josep #

    We have the complete collection now !

    Thanks, Kari !

    September 18, 2013
    • Kari #

      You´re welcome, Josep.

      September 19, 2013
  9. These mags are nice time-pieces with intersting photos and
    page design. What else was available on Teen-like publications
    back in the 50s and 60s, in Spain, featuring Elvis covers?
    Spain had some killer Elvis record releases back in the 50s, so
    am I wrong in exspecting more Spanish smelly paper? I love to
    see more, when possible?

    October 8, 2013

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