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1926-03 Psychology
1937-12 Modern Movies
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1939-07 Star Comics
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1940-05 Crash Comics
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRANK Z. TEMERSON

(1890-1963)

Frank Zelig Temerson was born on July 4, 1890 in Warsaw, Poland. His father, Jacob Temerson, was born in 1854 in Poland of Jewish ancestry. His mother, Mindel Temerson, was born in 1864 in Poland of Jewish ancestry. His parents married in 1885, and had three children, Simon (b.1886), Frida (b.1888), and Frank (b.1890). The father was a dry goods merchant.

In 1891 the father moved to the United States and settled in Birmingham, Alabama, where a cousin lived.

In 1892 the mother and three children left Poland and sailed from Plotzk, Russia, on the Steam Ship Rhaetia to New York City. They traveled by train to their new family home in Birmingham, AL.

The parents then had four additional children, Moses (b.1898), Esther (1903), Goldie (b.1905), Ethel (b.1913).

The family attended the Temple Emanuel synagogue in Birmingham, whose founding Rabbi was Samuel Ullman (1840-1924).

The Temerson children all attended local public schools, and after each one completed the eighth grade, they entered the work force as young teenagers, which was the usual custom of the time.

In 1910 the father was the owner of Temerson's Dry Goods Store in Birmingham, where twenty-year-old Frank worked as salesmen, along with and his older brother, Simon, age twenty-four.

On August 7, 1912 the father died at the age of fifty-eight. After this tragic death the widowed mother and two oldest sons became responsible for the family of eight.

One year later in 1913 Frank Z. Temerson (age twenty-three) was listed in the City Directory of Chattanooga Tennessee, living at 8 Early Street, as a student at the Chattanooga College of Law. This independent vocational school was headed by Judge W. B. Swaney. Although the school was not accredited by the American Bar Association, it offered classes in basic legal training.

One year later in 1914 (age twenty-four) Frank Z. Temerson was listed as a "Lawyer" with a professional office at 423 James Building, Chattanooga, TN. This is a remarkable accomplishment, considering that there is no record of his having graduated high school, or attended undergraduate college, or received a Certificate of Completion of Studies from the Chattanooga College of Law, or passed the State Bar Association Exam to become accredited to practice law in Tennessee.

One year later in 1915 (age twenty-five) FRank Z. Temerson was listed as "Attorney-At-Law" back in his home town, Birmingham, at office #735 in the Brown-Marx Building.

In 1916 he was listed as an "Attorney" in office #844 of the Brown-Marx Building, and lived at home with his mother and younger siblings at 919 South Eleventh Street in Birmingham. He also helped his brothers at Temerson's Dry Goods Store. He traveled to major industrial cities, where he advertised his presence in local newspapers as a "Buyer of Merchandise" residing at a centrally-located hotel.

One year later in 1917 Frank Z. Temerson was listed as an Attorney in office #705 of the Free Press Building in Detroit, Michigan.

On June 5, 1917 during the Great War he registered with the draft board as required by law. He was recorded at the time to be short, stout, with brown eyes, brown hair, and partly bald.

On May 19, 1918 he was inducted into the Army. He served in Company A, 304 Battalion Tank C. He was sent overseas and honorably discharged at the rank of Private First Class on March 23, 1919.

After his return to civilian life he went back to Birmingham, where he began to work at local the Army Hospital, while he lived with his mother and younger siblings at 1421 Tenth Avenue.

In 1920 he resumed his earlier routine of traveling to major industrial cities as a publicized "Buyer of Merchandise" for the family store. Through this process he forged trusted business relationships within a nationwide syndicate of distributors of dry goods, general merchandise, housewares, candies, tobacco, and magazines.

1920 was the first year of Prohibition, which attempted to legislate temperance, but unintentionally sparked a violent nation-wide turf war for control of distribution. Along with innocent merchandise this system also handled vast fortunes in contraband materials, including alcohol, firearms, tobacco, indecent magazines, quack medicines and contraceptives.

In 1920 Samuel Ullman, the founding rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Birmingham, AL, turned eighty. To commemorate the occasion his family published his collected writings as, "From A Summit Of Years," which included the memorable poem, "On Youth." On this occasion, Frank Z. Temerson reconnected with the rabbi's nephew, Isaac Wise Ullman, who was also a Southerner in the distribution business. He was born January 4, 1873 in Natchez, Mississippi, and moved to New York City at the turn of the century, where he married Elizabeth May Abbott Ullman. They lived at 628 East 5th Street in Brooklyn. I. W. Ullman was a Business Manager of a Brooklyn Printing Company. By 1913 he traveled to London as a Motion Picture Distributor. He first gained notoriety when he was the Manager of Duplex Motion Picture Industries of NYC. He devised a manner to circumvent a U.S. Customs Law that prohibited import of foreign films of Prize Fights. Ullman traveled to the USA/Canada border to set up a tent that straddled the borderline, where he projected a contraband movie on the Canadian side of the tent and re-filmed the projection with a camera on the American side, and thus avoided any overseas shipment. According to newspaper accounts "the resulting movie was shown to sporting circles in NYC with much amusement." By 1928 I. W. Ullman was Advertising Manager of Psychology Magazine, an imitation of Bernarr Macfadden's Physical Culture Magazine, which advocated enlightened ideas about sexuality and contraception.

By the end of the decade, at the time of the Stock Market Crash in 1929, Temerson and Ullman were prosperous associates in the printing and distribution business. They jointly owned Vamos Color Printing of NYC, and Inspirational Publications of Wilmington, Delaware. This was the location frequently listed as the out-of-state origin of several indecent magazines produced by Frank Armer (1895-1965) and Harry Donenfeld (1893-1965). These magazines were handled by Eastern Distributing Corporation, which was owned by Paul H. Sampliner (1898-1975) and Warren A. Angel (1887-1949).

On December 5, 1933 National Prohibition formally ended, but the era had left a powerful impression on the character of the syndicates that controlled distribution in America.

The February 1935 issue of Movie Humor Magazine listed Ultem Publications, Inc. at 1450 Broadway with I. W. Ullman as President, S. J. Campbell as Vice President, and Frank Z. Temerson as Treasurer and Business Manager. The company name "Ultem" is a combination of the first syllables from both names, Ullman and Temerson.

On November 22, 1935 The New York Times reported that Ultem Publications had leased business space at 381 Fourth Avenue, which was on the corner of East 53rd Street and Park Avenue. Five months later Ultem Publications leased a second business space in the same building.

On July 10, 1936 The New York Times reported a legal judgment was filed in New York City Court that F. Z. Temerson and I. W. Ullman, owners of Inspirational Publications and Vamos Color Print, had been ordered to pay $534.95 to the landlord of 381 Fourth Avenue. Vamos Color Print was operated by Frank and George Vamos.

In 1937 Ultem Publications moved to 404 Fourth Avenue. Ultem produced Modern Movies, Movie Stars Handies, Movie Humor, High Heel Magazine and Silk Stocking. Artists that contributed illustrations to these magazines included Peter Driben, Cardwell Higgins, and George Quintana.

Ultem Publications also worked with Harry "A" Chesler as Centaur Comics to produce Star Comics, Star Ranger and Funny Pages. Their printer was located in Mt. Morris, Illinois, which was the company town of the Kable Printing Company and Kable News Company, of which the President was Samuel J. Campbell, The Vice-President was Warren A. Angel. Campbell and Angel also formed C & A Publications, which is listed as co-owner in the fine print of a few issues of these comic books. Artists who contributed drawings to these comics included Martin Filchock, Henry C. Kiefer, Claire S. Moe, Fred Guardineer, and Rafael Astarita.

On June 19, 1939 The New York Times reported that a legal judgment was filed in New York City Court that Frank Z. Temerson and Isaac W. Ullman, owners of Ultem Publications Inc. must pay $160 to Dell Publications.

In 1940 Frank Z. Temerson was listed as a guest of The Hotel President at 234 West 48th Street. His occupation is listed as Magazine Publisher with offices at 220 West 42nd Street.

On March 14, 1941 The New York Times reported that Ultem Publications and Vamos Color Print had satisfied a pending judgment of the New York State Court and paid a creditor $1199.80.

In 1942 during WWII Frank Z. Temerson again reported for draft registration as required by law. He was recorded at that time to be fifty-two, five-five, 170 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair, and a ruddy complexion. He was not married, but the closest associate he listed was his deceased brother's wife, Mrs. Moses Temerson, who lived in his family home at 2914 South 29th Street in Birmingham, AL. He described his occupation as publisher of Army Post Magazine, with offices at 220 West 42nd Street.

The January 1944 issue of Terrific Comics #1 was published by Et-Es-Go Magazines. Although this may seem like an unusual name for a company, it is interesting to note the first syllables in the names of Temerson's three youngest siblings, Ethel, Esther, and Goldie, are Et-Es-Go, so family history is most likely the sentimental origin of this company name. Et-Es-Go was located at 220 West 42nd Street, which was also the location of Temerson's other publishing company, Continental Magazines. Staff members included L. B. Cole, Chris Schaare, Charles Quinlan and Rae Herman.

Several of Temerson's publications at this time include listings of Rae Herman in a variety of executive capacities, including Business Manager, Co-Owner, President, and Publisher.

After WWII the American popular culture publishing industry had to respond to changing tastes. Although Frank Z. Temerson was fifty-five, his business partner, Isaac W. Ullman, was seventy-two and overdue for retirement. Mr. & Mrs. Ullman never had any children, but the relationship between the younger and older business partner must have been rather meaningful, because Ullman was persuaded by Temerson to retire to Birmingham, Alabama.

On July 22, 1946 Elizabeth May Abbott Ullman, the wife of I. W. Ullman, died at the age of seventy-two in Birmingham.

On February 4, 1947 Frank Temerson's mother died at the age of eighty-three in Birmingham.

On October 30, 1947 Isaac W. Ullman died at the age of seventy-four in Birmingham.

Frank Z. Temerson continued to work as a traveling salesman, and cultivated business connections in distribution.

In 1948 he was listed as a Publisher residing at The Hotel Weber in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where the Lancaster Printing Company was located.

That same year he went into partnership with Lieutenant Colonel Mark Braymes (1914-1966), who had operated Armed Forces Radio Stations overseas in WWII. In civilian life Mark Braymes was a popular radio disc jockey as well as an amusement park concessionaire at the famous Steel Peer on the boardwalk at Atlantic City, New Jersey. Temerson and Braymes filed a legal petition to form the Lomar Radio & Television Broadcasting Company of Lancaster, PA. Following Temerson's customary method of inventing a new business name, "Lomar" is composed of the first syllables of the first names of Mark Braymes and his wife, Lois Braymes. Unfortunately the business was obstructed when the FCC permitted a rival company to overtake their assigned broadcast bandwidth. The Lomar Company was eventually bankrupted by several years of costly legal appeals.

In 1960 Frank Z. Temerson still had a business office listed in the Manhattan telephone directory at 1123 Broadway.

Frank Z. Temerson died at the age of seventy-three in Birmingham, AL, on July 25, 1963.

                        © David Saunders 2014

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