Vintage Pulp Apr 17 2014
KILLER SEX
She bent over backwards to please everyone and what did it get her?


The above poster, which is very rare, promotes an American x-rated flick called Farewell Scarlet, starring Terri Hall acting under the bizarre name National Velvet, a decision we’re sure didn’t go over well with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Made during the days when adult films were real cinema, Farewell Scarlet is a porno murder mystery about a woman who is murdered at an orgy. The cause of death? Asphyxiation via a large, wiggly dildo. The moment is actually depicted on the lower left quadrant of the poster, which is fine because the genre requirements here are sex, not suspense, so presumably nobody in Japan cared if the art fingered the killer. You’d think the death of the star at the 5:40 mark would leave a void in the film, but Hall’s many other scenes are shot in flashback as the character of Dexter Sleuth attempts to unravel the mystery.

And of course there are other performers present to fill the running time, notably Kim Pope, who had been ko’d by a mugger prior to filming and had to perform with her jaw wired shut. That’s really no laughing matter, but unfortunately, watching her deliver cheesy dialogue through gritted teeth is unavoidably funny. And on the bright side for her, perhaps being unable to talk was for the better, since it probably prevented her from strongly protesting her key participation in a sado-masochistic Nazi sex scene while wearing swastika pasties. How does the movie get there? Doesn’t matter. Ultimately it’s as much a comedy as it is a mystery, and that’s part of its murky, 35mm charm.

And then there’s Hall. The former ballerina would later flex her muscles in golden age classics like The Opening of Misty Beethoven, Rollerbabies, and the frighteningly titled Gums, in the process becoming one of the era’s most famous stars. We'd show you some promo shots of her, like we usually do with the stars of movies we write about, but she seems to have traversed her career without a single good photo ever being made. Which means her movies are the only real evidence of her work. Are we recommending Farewell Scarlet? Not so much. But it is an interesting curiosity. It premiered in the U.S. in 1975 and had its Japanese debut today in 1976.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 16 2014
PARIS WHEN IT'S GREY
Even when it’s drab it’s beautiful.

This issue of Paris Plaisirs goes back farther than any we’ve featured—to 1924. But the pulp era officially began in the late 1800s, which means this art deco influenced publication fits right in. It debuted in 1922, lasted into the late 1930s, and was published out of Rue Georges-Berger in the Plaine de Monceaux quarter, fashioning itself as a specialty publication for Parisian music halls. Though this issue is very grey, the magazine became more colorful as time went by, which you can see in our other posts. That’s about all we can tell you about Paris Plaisirs because the mastheads in these are not exactly packed with information. We’ll find out more eventually, but in the meantime we’ll just enjoy the racy photographic vignettes and many ink drawings evocative of the Jazz Age. 

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Femmes Fatales Apr 16 2014
FANTASY ISLAND
Your civilized clothes are just too binding, but check it out—those things you call razors worked wonders on my pits.

This promo image of American actress Gene Tierney was made when she was filming the 1942 South Seas adventure Son of Fury: The Story of Benjamin Blake, but based on her wardrobe of revealing tropical foliage, we think the story would have been better if it had been about her. As you can probably guess, Tierney was supposed to be a Pacific Islander, a bit of a stretch, but of course casting lily white girls in those roles was standard practice back then. Actually, it still happens today on occasion. Anyway, we like the look of Tierney in this get-up, so just for good measure, we’ve posted another Son of Fury shot below.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 15 2014
PRETTY IN PINK
I’m glad you think they’re pretty, but they’re not my underwear—they’re yours. One of my red dresses got mixed in with your laundry.

It’s been a while, so here’s another cover from Saber Books, Jack Moore’s Call of the Flesh, published in 1963, with art by Bill Edwards. You can see another cover from Saber here. 
 
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Vintage Pulp Apr 14 2014
PANTIES IN A BUNCH
Art Frahm illustrates the basic principles of gravity.

When we began posting Technicolor lithographs we mentioned that they were designed to replicate pin-up paintings. Today we thought we’d show you several of those traditional prints. These are by Art Frahm circa 1950 to 1955, and are entitled Fare Loser, No Time To Lose, Spare, Shakedown, and Hold Everything. You notice Frahm had a thing about fallen panties—indeed, he made them a trademark of his work. But in four of these you also see another peculiar preoccupation of his, namely celery. The girls carrying groceries all have stalks of celery protruding from their bags. And sometimes Frahm’s models also became encumbered with small dogs, which you see in the last two pieces. There are other quirky characteristics of his work, as well, and when you add it all up it’s a cocktail of Freudian weirdness, but one that made Frahm a top pin-up artist through the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, and keeps his work highly collectible today. We will have more from him a bit later.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 12 2014
LEZ IS MORE
A girl named Joe.

Above, a cover for They Call Me Lez, 1963, authored by Jo Ann Radcliffe. The back of this, which you see below, reveals that Jo Ann Radcliff is in fact popular men’s magazine writer Joe Radcliff. Seems Jo Ann wrote as Joe for years, but outed herself for this book about a “searing social problem.” We doubt either Joe or Jo Ann were anything more than shell personae, as was often the case with this kind of literature, but we can’t confirm that suspicion. We’ll see if we can find more and circle back to this.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 12 2014
COMING CLEAN
An innocent face can hide the dirtiest thoughts.

Each photo we find of American actress Marilyn Chambers seems to reveal a different facet of her. Here she is in an extremely rare, beautiful shot that shows her in scrubbed clean mode. It was this side of her that landed her that now infamous gig as the Ivory Snow girl, a corporate image she turned on its head when she became the biggest porn star in the world. It’s an amazing shot, as is the one below showing her a few years later, still beautiful, but fully into her porn career and with a more knowing light in her eyes that she contrasts against her original, innocent Ivory Snow box. Marilyn Chambers died today in 2009.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 11 2014
WHISPER OF THE KNIVES
Every celebrity’s time comes eventually.

Reading about celebrities in these old tabloids is a bit like reliving their fame in real time, and in this Whisper published this month in 1957 we get to observe Marilyn Monroe in mid-career. You know that stage. It’s the one where she’s no longer a sparkling new star, but hasn’t yet earned the status of a venerable old treasure. It’s the stage where almost overnight the very editors who were partners in constructing the edifice of fame begin to take it apart brick and girder, with sledgehammers and blowtorches. In this issue Whisper editors throw Monroe into their monthly crucible “The Pit,” an unenviable place you may remember from our post on Liberace a while back. Sometimes a celebrity behaves in such a way as to deserve harsh criticism, but generally that isn’t the case—only the narrative has changed, which itself reflects the belief in editorial circles that more magazines can be sold by tearing a person apart than by continuing to build them up. As we’ve mentioned before, we know a little bit about this, having spent many years working in media.

So what had Monroe done? What was Whisper so miffed about? Well, she had declared her craving to act in serious films. We’ll let Whisper hatchet man Tom Everleigh spin it for you in his own words: “And while the only success she’s ever had in films has been by rolling her hips and doing a lightweight Mae West routine, she’s suddenly going to become a “serious actress”—and would even love to render Shakespeare even!” There you have it, complete with two "evens," oddly. Monroe was the pits because she sought artistic growth. Everleigh describes every aspect of her career as crass manipulation and propaganda, which strikes us as pretty harsh, considering she was never in politics. But anyway, it does illustrate the point that when the script is primed to flip the flimsiest of pretexts will do. At this point in her career Monroe probably would have ended up in Whisper’s Pit whether she’d personally thwarted a terrorist attack or thrown a crate of golden retriever puppies in a woodchipper. Or put another way, when it’s your time to suffer the knives of the tabloids it’s simply your time. Monroe eventually did reach venerable old treasure status, but sadly, it was after her death five years after this issue appeared. We have a couple of scans of her, as well as a great page of Diana Dors with her husband Dennis Hamilton, below. 


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Vintage Pulp Apr 10 2014
ELLE OF A VIEW
Shake ya popotin, but watch yourself.

Above, a cover for Elle ondule du popotin, written by Jack Norton for Éditions Le Trotteur’s Collection Paprika and published in 1953. Norton was of course a pseudonym, in this case for Jean de Backer, who also wrote as Jacques Norton, Henry Ghils, and others. The title of this translates rather provocatively as “she sways her ass,” which is exactly what the artist seems to have been trying to depict with this femme fatale in sheer lingerie. That artist was Alex Pinon, a favorite of ours. We haven’t really begun to share his work the way we’d like, but we will, and in the meantime, if you click over to our keyholes collection from last July, you can see a few more Pinons there. By the way, “popotin”? That’s one of the funnier words for butt we’ve heard. Not great as a song lyric, but maybe we can work it into conversation sometime. 

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Musiquarium Apr 9 2014
SUPER BAD
If the song had been anywhere near as good as the cover art it would have sold millions.

Today we’re back to the recently deceased Aslan, aka Alain Gourdon, bringing another of his album sleeves to light. Unlike the amazing Cure bootleg we posted before, this appears to be licensed usage of Aslan’s work by the French group Super Nana for their 1987 maxi single “Lachez les chiens.” The title has something to do with dogs, apparently, which is appropriate, because this song is a bag of flaming poo. Even our fine appreciation for dance music can’t help us enjoy this awful electro disco effort. Just our opinion, though—you can listen for yourself here, if you’re inclined. We’ll have more from Aslan soon. 

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Featured Pulp
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 17
1961—Bay of Pigs Invasion Is Launched
A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees lands at the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro. However, the invasion fails badly and the result is embarrassment for U.S. president John F. Kennedy and a major boost in popularity for Fidel Castro, and also has the effect of pushing him toward the Soviet Union for protection.
April 16
1943—First LSD Trip Takes Place
Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, while working at Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, accidentally absorbs lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD, and thus discovers its psychedelic properties. He had first synthesized the substance five years earlier but hadn't been aware of its effects. He goes on to write scores of articles and books about his creation.
April 15
1912—The Titanic Sinks
Two and a half hours after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage, the British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks, dragging 1,517 people to their deaths. The number of dead amount to more than fifty percent of the passengers, due mainly to the fact the liner was not equipped with enough lifeboats.
1947—Robinson Breaks Color Line
African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson officially breaks Major League Baseball's color line when he debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Several dark skinned men had played professional baseball around the beginning of the twentieth century, but Robinson was the first to overcome the official segregation policy called—ironically, in retrospect—the "gentleman's agreement".

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