Adrian Bernard Lopez was born January 28, 1906 in South Stoneham, England, of Spanish and Irish ancestry. His father, Eugenio Lopez, was born in 1854 in Cudillero, Spain, which is a coastal city 150 miles west of Bilboa. His mother, Elizabeth McArdell, was born in 1870 in Dundalk, Ireland. His parents met and married in England in 1892. They had five children, Eugene (b. 1893), Armand (b. 1897), Lucian (b.1899), Cecilia (b.1903), and Adrian (b.1906). The family lived at 110 Waterloo Road in Southampton.
The father was a salesman, business manager, and co-owner of a cigar manufacturing business, the Calixito-Lopez Tobacco Company of Havana, Cuba. The father's work required frequent travel between London, New York and Cuba.
In 1908 the Lopez family left England and moved to America and settled in Montclair, New Jersey, where they lived at 72 Christopher Street.
In 1912 the entire Lopez family became Naturalized Alien Citizens of the USA.
By 1920 the family had moved to a more prosperous home at 75 Montclair Avenue in Montclair, NJ. The eldest son, Eugene Lopez, had become the manager of the father's Tobacco Export business.
In June of 1924 Adrian Lopez graduated from Catholic high school in Montclair. In September of that year he began to attend the University of Notre Dame, near South Bend, Indiana. His classmates included Hugh Layne (1905-1999). Both students joined the Press Club and enjoyed working for the school's varioius publications, including the newspaper, yearbook, and fraternal pamphlets.
In 1927 Adrian Lopez's father, Eugenio Lopez, died at the age of seventy-three in Montclair, NJ.
In June of 1929 Adrian Lopez graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
After college he returned home to live with his widowed mother and four siblings at 203 Orange Road in Montclair, NJ.
Adrian Lopez entered the work force as a Mechanical Engineer with the Otis Elevator Company. At that time there was a trend in New York City to construct skyscrapers of innovative design, and most included contracts for the Otis Elevator Company.
By 1931 the eldest brother, Eugene Lopez, had become a salesman at a wholesale Texas Oil Company. Armand Lopez was a Camera Engineer at a NYC Newsreel Motion Picture Company. Lucian Lopez was a salesman at a NYC Paper Company.
In 1930 the Great Depression had devastated the banking system and national economy, which halted lending for most construction projects. By 1931 Adrian Lopez was unemployed.
His old pal from college, Hugh Layne, was earning good income as a newspaper and magazine writer, so Adrian Lopez also began to write freelance for The New York American, a newspaper owned by William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951).
Adrian Lopez also submitted short stories to pulp magazines. His fiction was published in Argosy, Black Mask, Dime Detective, and Greater Gangster Stories.
In September 1935 Adrian Lopez joined with Hugh Layne to form Satire Magazine, which resembled the lampoon style of Ballyhoo from Dell Publications. Satire Magazine included sexy pin-ups of starlets, showgirls and strippers, risqué gags, cartoons, and humorous articles. The executive offices were at 45 West 45th Street. The Art Director and cover artist was Arthur Ray "Baldy" McCowen (1893-1959) a freelance commercial artist from Portland, Oregon, who lived in Greenwich Village.
In 1937 Adrian Lopez joined with William M. Cotton at Bilbara Publishing Company, with editorial offices at 18 East 48th Street, to produce Peek Magazine. The name of the company was derived from the two young daughters of William M. Cotton, Billie and Barbara Cotton. By 1940 Peek Magazine was located at 122 East 42nd Street. The magazine was distributed by PDS (Publishers Distribution Services) which was owned by Irving S. Manheimer, and was originally formed by Theodore Epstein, a business associate of Moe L. Annenberg and Harry Donenfeld.
On August 3, 1938 Adrian Lopez won a significant bet at Saratoga racetrack on the horse Volitant, who beat Ariel Toy by a nose at the finish wire to pay-off at seven-to-one, so for instance a $500 bet would earn the gambler $3500.
According to The Washington Post gossip columnist, Leonard Lyons, "It wasn't so long ago that a copy-setter named Adrian Lopez managed to save $200 from his small earnings. He owed $300 to some loan sharks, and decided that his only hope of getting enough money to cancel his debts was to bet on a horse. He wagered his $200 on a horse named Volitant. It won, and netted him $3,300...Lopez paid the loan shark, and then brought his $3000 balance for investment advice to Harry Donenfeld, the publisher of 'Superman Comics'... Donenfeld put up $3000 of his own money, and with the $6000 capital they started a new publishing venture. Lopez now is the co-owner of seven magazines, including four detective publications."
In 1939 Adrian Lopez and Harry Donenfeld formed Volitant Publishing Corporation at 103 Park Avenue on 40th Street.
In 1940 Adrian Lopez was age thirty-four and lived at home with his widowed mother at 49 Morse Avenue in Bloomfield, NJ. The eldest brother, Eugene Lopez, had become a salesman at R. G. LeTourneau, a large-scale heavy-duty land-moving equipment company of Longview, Texas. Armand Lopez had become a Newsreel Camera Photographer for a NYC Motion Picture Company. The sister had married to become Mrs. Cecilia Burgess.
In 1940 Adrian Lopez started Laff Magazine, which was also in partnership with Harry Donenfeld. The author George Shute (1909-19) served as editor.
In 1941 he formed War Books Incorporated at 103 Park Avenue to produce Blitzkrieg Over America Magazine.
In 1942 Adrian Lopez started the magazines Hit! and Sir! The artist Joseph Szokoli contributed extensive material to these magazines.
In 1943 during WWII Adrian Lopez served in the Army. He was honorably discharged in ealry 1946.
In 1946 Volitant Publishing Corporation produced Laff, Vital Detective Stories, True Life Detective Stories, Sir!, Hit!, and Sensational Detective Magazine.
On March 15, 1947 The New York Times reported that Adrian B. Lopez testified in Washington before a Senate subcommittee investigating the industrial crisis of paper shortage resulting from the paper rationing program. Adrian Lopez was quoted, "Due to lack of paper many small magazine publishers have already been forced to drastically curtail print orders or the frequency of issues, and several have gone completely out of business. In my own case, unless relief is found immediately, we will be curtailed from six publications to two." He accused the largest publishers, Hearst and Curtis, of exerting monopoly control of paper supply by the purchase of paper mills or buying up long-term supply contracts. Along with the current shortage due to paper rationing, hardships were aggravated by this monopoly over limited supply. These practices resulted in prohibitively expensive paper that made business unprofitable for smaller publishers. He suggested lawmakers examine possible invocation of anti-trust laws to check this trend towards monopoly control of national paper supply.
In 1947 Volitant Publishing bought a four story brick dwelling at 105 East 35th Street, which became the first private home of Adrian Lopez, at the age of forty-two.
In 1948 Adrian Lopez married Frances Frauenheim. Their marriage ended unhappily in divorce seven months later. According to Adrian Lopez, "She was a terrible snob. For instance, she'd say 'agayne' instead of 'again.' She'd make me a lousy tuna fish sandwich for supper and tell everybody she'd given me sea food!"
In 1950 Adrian Lopez produced Mr. Magazine, a digest for men with sexy pin-ups, gags, and humorous stories. The editorial offices were at 21 West 26th Street.
On July 10, 1950 The New York Times reported that Volitant Publishing Corporation had taken over the magazine interests of William Friedman, which included Pix, Picture Show and a group of comic books. William Friedman was a NYC lawyer representing publishers associated with Harry Donenfeld and Theodore Epstein.
In 1950 Adrian Lopez formed Youthful Magazines Incorporated to produce Picture Fun Magazine and Western Comics Incorporated to produce Atomic Attack!, Beware!, Captain Science, Chilling Tales, and Fantastic Comics. Both publishing companies were located at 105 East 35th Street, which was the four story townhouse owned by Adrian Lopez. His brother Armand J. Lopez served as Business Manager of both companies, and the Editor was George Unger.
During the 1950s he produced mens adventure magazines, such as Man to Man, Mr., Swagger, Sir! and Escape.
In 1953 Adrian Lopez published the comic book, Jack The Giant Killer, under the company name Bimfort Incorporated. That same company also produced Auto Sports Review.
Also in 1953 Adrian Lopez formed Counterpoint Publications Incorporated to produce TV Show Magazine.
In 1954 Adrian Lopez married his second wife, Mary Holstun. She was born February 14, 1913 in Waverly, Alabama. She attended Auburn University and Montevallo College in Alabama. She worked as a NYC public school teacher. They had two sons, Dennis Holstun Lopez (b.1955) and Barry Holstun Lopez (b.1957).
In 1957 he produced Grin! This was a digest magazine of pin-ups, gags and humorous stories.
On April 18, 1964 his mother died at the age of ninety-four in Montclair, NJ.
In 1964 he became the publisher of Movieland Magazine.
In 1966 Adrian Lopez was elected President of the Periodical and Book Association of America.
In 1971 Adrian Lopez became the publisher of Kimtex Corporation, which produced Drag Racing, U.S.A., Popular Imported Autos, Football Round-Up, and Your Car.
Adrian Lopez was a business partner in Magazine Associates Incorporated, which produced a supermarket magazine, Ladies Circle, and a romance magazine, Real Story. Editorial offices were at 21 West 26th Street.
On July 7, 1975 his eldest brother, Eugene Lopez, died at the age of eighty-two.
On August 16, 1975 Adrian Lopez became the Publisher and Editorial Director of True Magazine, which was a long-running men's adventure magazine from Fawcett Publications. In an interview with The Chicago Tribune at the time he said there would be "a little skin in the new True Magazine. It will still be a male-oriented book, but we have to make some editorial changes to keep it up-to-date with what's selling on the newsstands. I'm not opposed to running a photograph or two of nudies in the book."
On July 13, 1976 his second wife, Mary Holstun Lopez, died at the age of sixty-three at Lenox Hill Hospital in NYC.
On December 15, 1984 Adrian Lopez married his third wife, Marcie Shrewsbury. She was born in 1919 in New Jersey, and had graduated from NYU. She worked in NYC as a freelance artist and portrait painter. Their wedding was performed at the historic St. Batholomew's Church at 50th Street and Park Avenue in NYC. The newlyweds moved to Bay Head, New Jersey.
Adrian Lopez continued to produce magazines through the 1990s.
Adrian Lopez died in a hospital in Brick, NJ, on January 27, 2004, which was one day before his ninety-eighth birthday.
© David Saunders 2015