If much more of this movie comes true we’re all in serious trouble.
Like any self-proclaimed seer of the future, H.G. Wells gets some predictions correct in his screenplay for Things To Come. World War II? Check. Indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilians? Check. The movie continues to the year 2036, by which time Earth is ruled by a single world government. He’s going to get that one wrong—it’s corporations that will rule the world by then if people don’t wake up (in a very real sense, the subset of corporations known as banks have already displaced many Western governments). Much has been written about the movie so we won’t get into it in detail. We mainly wanted to show you the wonderful promo poster above with its art deco spaceship and battle suit. The movie is worth seeing for visions like these alone, and director/designer William Cameron Menzies really deserves a lot of credit for bringing them to life. Things To Come opened in Europe in February 1936, and made its way to the U.S. today the same year.
Ah, I see it now. It rolled under the sofa.
First we had Danielle Darrieux showing her flexibility
on a trapeze, followed shortly thereafter by Joey Heatherton attempting a more advanced contortion
, now today American actress Constance Dowling—older sister of reliably awesome
actress Doris Dowling—shows she needs no device at all to turn herself into a pretzel. Dowling got her start on Broadway and later appeared in films such as Black Angel, Stormbound
, and the unforgettable sci-fi thriller Gog
. This pose is called a backbend today, but when the photo was made in 1944, it was known as a backstand. In either case, it looks like a pretty useful position.
Okay, okay, I owe you five bucks—you can do more pull-ups than me.
John Richards offers up striking cover art for UK imprint Corgi Books’ edition of Bill S. Ballinger’s The Longest Second. The story concerns a man who wakes up in a hospital bed with amnesia and a slashed throat who must go about finding his identity and situation. Unable to speak, and with no way to tell who is friend or foe, he digs for clues. He discovers his name is Vic Pacific, he was found naked save for his shoes—one of which contained a thousand dollar bill—and things just get weirder from there. Two women quickly become involved, but one of them… well, she ends up hanging around a bit too long. The Longest Second was originally published in 1957, was nominated for an Edgar Award in 1958, and the Corgi edition above is from 1960. It’s considered one of Ballinger’s best.
That silly grin of yours reminds me of some guys you'll meet in D-block whose humor is really infectious.
Burglary suspect James Frantz, top right, tries to look unworried while LAPD officers sort through a pile of time pieces and jewelry they believe he pilfered. No word on whether Frantz went down for the crimes. The photos were made today in 1951.
Needle and threat.
A Taste of H is supposed to be a cautionary tale, but of course coming from the author of Swap ’n Sisters, Whore from Maupin Street, and Hotel Playgirls, it’s really just a sleaze romp. Basically, a party girl is kidnapped and forcibly addicted to heroin so her captors can have their way with her. The cover art is uncredited. 1966 copyright.
I know I’m supposed to inspire awe and terror. I totally get that. But is it weird that I feel like dancing right now?
England’s tabloid newspaper/website Daily Express has an interesting story today about the discovery of a Nazi propaganda book Hitler had banned because its photos made him look undignified. The book was called Deutschland Erwache, aka Germany Awaken, and was written in the 1930s by Baldur von Schirach, the former Hitler-Jugend leader who died in Spandau Prison after his conviction at the Nuremburg Trials. His book had been mostly forgotten, but now it’s about to be republished after an intact edition was found amongst the war souvenirs of a deceased British private. The volume was aimed at younger readers, which is why Hitler was portrayed in lighthearted fashion, such as in the above rural photo showing him in shorts working his Uncle Adolf vibe.
As dedicated documenters of Hitler’s horrors, we welcome the republication of Deutschland Erwache. Anything that shows der Führer as human rather than a monster is useful, because it can hopefully remind people that he didn’t arrive here by oozing through an orifice from an alien dimension, but was rather a member of Earth’s human race—and one from just a single lifetime ago, when people had the exact same needs, fears, pressures, desires, lusts, hatreds, and political confusion as they do right now. Which means if we aren't careful and diligent everything that happened during Hitler’s rule could happen again. And we don’t mean in some benighted corner of the planet, but anywhere—even in the well-lit, well-paved, heavily-policed havens some people call home. The top photo is a good reminder that Hitler put his shorts on one leg at a time—just like the rest of us.
Precocious octopus graduates from twisting the lids off jars to twisting the lids off jarheads.
Above, twenty scans from True Men Stories, including a classic man against nature cover, published April 1957. Neither the cover nor the interior art is credited, but we spotted Earl Norem’s signature on one piece. As for the written content, you get adventure and war tales, an exposé on model Debbie Jones, and a dash of true crime—notably a stomach-turning feature on the violence men inflict on women, complete with sensationalistic splatter photos. We’re still catching up on sleep a bit after our travels, so we won't go into more detail right now. But the good news is the international mails delivered ten more tabloids and men’s magazines, including some classic issues of Confidential, and we’ll get those up soon.
An itty bitty glimpse of Vitti is almost as good as the whole thing.
It’s not what you reveal, but how you do it. This shot showing about ten percent of actress Monica Vitti is one of the more provocative images we’ve seen of her. It comes from 1966 and was made when she was filming the adventure Modesty Blaise in Italy.
Russ Meyer turns what he loves most into a career.
This rare Japanese poster promotes the American movie French Peep Show, which was boob aficionado Russ Meyer’s first sexploitation film in a long, infamous series of them. Shot at Oakland, California’s El Rey Burlesk Theater, it was ostensibly a documentary about dancer Tempest Storm’s quest to make it as a performer, but of course was really just an excuse to film a burlesque show and use the medium of cinema to export it to the masses. The film is presumed lost, which is too bad, because in addition to Storm, it featured Lily Lamont, Terry Lane, Shalimar, Marie Voe, and others. The poster is composed of three famous shots of Storm, one of which we shared a while back, the others of which you see below. You can read a bit more about French Peep Show here. It premiered in the U.S. in 1950, but reached Japan this month in 1954.
, El Rey Burlesk Theater
, French Peep Show
, Russ Meyer
, Tempest Storm
, Lily Lamont
, Terry Lane
, Marie Voe
Bond—James Bond. But Jimmy is fine. Some people call me Jim, Jimbo, J-Man, J.B. My mom calls me Jimminy Cricket. I’m cool with whatever.
The story is well known—Popular Library insisted upon changing the title of Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale to what you see above. They even went so far as to call 007 “Jimmy Bond” on the rear cover blurb. Fleming retaliated by selling the U.S. publishing rights to Signet at first opportunity, leaving only a small run of very collectible copies of You Asked For It on the market. Fleming must have learned from the episode, though, that titles don’t really matter, because he later wrote Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car. Anyway, You Asked for It appeared in 1955, with unsigned and uncredited cover art. The blog Killer Covers has a bit more info about the book here.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1945—Mussolini Is Arrested
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, his mistress Clara Petacci, and fifteen supporters are arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, Italy while attempting to escape the region in the wake of the collapse of Mussolini's fascist government. The next day, Mussolini and his mistress are both executed, along with most of the members of their group. Their bodies are then trucked to Milan where they are hung upside down on meathooks from the roof of a gas station, then spat upon and stoned until they are unrecognizable.
1933—The Gestapo Is Formed
The Geheime Staatspolizei, aka Gestapo, the official secret police force of Nazi Germany, is established. It begins under the administration of SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police, but by 1939 is administered by the Reichssicherheitshauptamt, or Reich Main Security Office, and is a feared entity in every corner of Germany and beyond.
1937—Guernica Is Bombed
In Spain during the Spanish Civil War, the Basque town of Guernica is bombed by the German Luftwaffe, resulting in widespread destruction and casualties. The Basque government reports 1,654 people killed, while later research suggests far fewer deaths, but regardless, Guernica is viewed as an example of terror bombing and other countries learn that Nazi Germany is committed to that tactic. The bombing also becomes inspiration for Pablo Picasso, resulting in a protest painting that is not only his most famous work, but one the most important pieces of art ever produced.
In Detective Comics #27, DC Comics publishes its second major superhero, Batman, who becomes one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, and then a popular camp television series starring Adam West, and lastly a multi-million dollar movie franchise starring Michael Keaton, then George Clooney, and finally Christian Bale.
1953—Crick and Watson Publish DNA Results
British scientists James D Watson and Francis Crick publish an article detailing their discovery of the existence and structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, in Nature magazine. Their findings answer one of the oldest and most fundamental questions of biology, that of how living things reproduce themselves.
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