Tijuana Bibles

When it comes to bibles, you've got the King James Version, the Latin Vulgate Version, and numerous revised versions. But you'd have to change the Vulgate to Vulva and forget anything about finding a single good word if you want to know what a Tijuana Bible is.

cover of an actual Tijuana Bible

Sometime during the 1920s, small 8-page booklets that were printed on cheap paper started to find themselves in the knapsacks of soldiers and schoolboys. These crude little booklets (approximately 4" by 6") often poked fun at actors, politicians, and public figures, although their main focus was another kind of poking. They were irreverent, usually humorous, and always dirty--featuring sex-starved characters from Popeye and Donald Duck to baseball heros, with their pants down and penises proud.

How these pornographic pulp parodies got the name "Tijuana Bibles" is anyone's guess, but they were popular in America from the 1920s until after World War II. They were eventually put into paper graves by glossy magazines such as Playboy. The pin-up powerhouse Esquire probably served a death notice or two as well.

Some of you might be wondering what relevance these little pieces of erotica from 80 years ago have on human sexuality today when we've got scientific journals with brain scans of people having orgasms. I can assure you that there's no greater danger to human sexuality than researchers on the cutting edge of technology who don't have an appreciation of sex in history and culture.

I've included a scan below of an actual Tijuana Bible. It is based on a 1926 silent movie titled *Ella Cinders," which was based on a popular comic strip character by the same name. In the movie, the naive Miss Cinders wins a trip to Hollywood that includes a movie screen test--which turns out to be a fraud.

As you can see from the eight pages that follow, these little bibles enjoyed making fun of men as much as women. The cocksure artist-producer Bob ends up with erectile dysfunction by page 7, and it's the naked Miss Cinders who has the last laugh.

Tijuana Bibles displayed a level of irreverence that fell by the wayside with the advent of Playboy and the other softporn glossies that sometimes took themselves way too seriously.

photo of an actual Tijuana Bible
photo of an actual Tijuana Bible
photo of an actual Tijuana Bible
photo of an actual Tijuana Bible
photo of an actual Tijuana Bible
photo of an actual Tijuana Bible
photo of an actual Tijuana Bible
photo of an actual Tijuana Bible

Thanks to Quinn from the very thorough TijuanaBibles.org for permission to use his scans). Another competent resource is the book Tijuana Bibles by Bob Adleman.