Intl. Notebook Oct 10 2014
TIME TO FLEA
Bargains are few when the best flea market in Paris becomes the trendiest, but there's always hope for pulp diggers.


Vintage book seekers in Paris often focus their efforts on Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, or the Saint-Ouen Flea Market. Operating since 1870, as you see in the vintage postcard above, the seventeen-acre site is located north of the 18th arrondissment, outside the Boulevard Périphérique encompassing the historic center of the city. Here thousands of vendors sell every item imaginable—furniture, board games, musical instruments, électrodomestiques, vinyl records, jewelry, art and more. There are also many cafés on site, and the combination of all this makes the market a popular destination. If you’re headed to Paris we recommend the place. Some unfavorable reviews focus on the prices, which we agree are not low, but this is less a true flea market than a rarities market—i.e., bargains are thin on the ground. But for pulp diggers it’s nice. Even sellers who don’t specialize in vintage publications sometimes keep a stash of books and magazines around because they’re just the sort of low cost items that bring browsers into the stalls.

Also on the subject of reviews, we saw some suggesting the market is unsafe. You have to scratch your head at some people’s fears. 120,000 people visit the Saint-Ouen during its busiest weekends and in no part of it could you manage to be more than twenty feet from other shoppers. It’s possible pickpockets may lurk, but that's true in any crowded spotin any big city in any country. Take the standard precautions, and then enjoy yourself—that's the only advice needed here. Oh, and bring good shoes. If this is indeed a flea market—disputed, as we mentioned earlier—then it's the largest in the world.

So, what did we buy? We came across a huge stack of Paris-Hollywood magazines, several tattered issues of Ciné-Revue, and plenty of old books. Budget mattered, but luckily the books and magazines were reasonably priced and every vendor we interacted with bargained willingly, even cheerfully. In the end we managed several good purchases, supplemented by crisp digital photos of the covers of items we couldn’t afford to acquire. A tweak in Photoshop and they’re almost as good as scans. We’ll share all of those in upcoming days.


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Vintage Pulp Oct 10 2014
DOWNWARD SPIRAL
Where she stops nobody knows.

Where we stayed in Paris near the famed Sorbonne seemingly dozens of comic book shops had sprouted. Here’s an amazing cover that caught our eye—Dans les spirales du temps, from Elvifrance, number 103 in its Serie Verte, 1973. See more Elvifrance here, here, here, and here.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
ENTRE NOUS
Deux for the price of one.

The above photos show the wares of one of the vintage booksellers known as “bouquinistes,” Parisian vendors found on the right bank of the River Seine from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre, and on the left bank from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire. Amazingly, they have been there in one form or another since the 1700s. We were lured to this specific bouquiniste by some issues of the weekly Nous Deux and grabbed a couple at half the asking price. Nous Deux was a version of a wildly successful Italian magazine called Grand Hôtel, and was established by the brother of the two men who had launched the Italian imprint. The cover art on Nous Deux is always spectacular. Since it was a reiteration of the Italian magazine, the art was often Italian in origin, mainly by Walter Molino and Giulio Bertoletti, and inside each issue appeared a few more illustrations and twenty pages of photo fiction. This particular cover from 1951 is by Bertoletti for the story “Incident sur la Canebiere,” and features the charming scene of a woman with her heel stuck in a trolley track being rescued by a passing stud. Interestingly, later issues of Nous Deux were illustrated by Aslan, and those are rare indeed.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
ROMA AMORE
You can't spell romance without Rome.

Nous Deux was an ongoing concern that spawned dozens of romance novels. Éditions Mondiales-Del Duca put out a Collection Nous Deux, of which the above, Sous les platanes de Rome, aka Under the Trees of Rome, is number 95, appearing in 1958. It was written by Lucienne Peverelly, aka Luciana Perverelli, aka Greta Granor, who penned several Nous Deux novels. Peverelly was possibly the same person as Lucienne Royer, but we’re still trying to confirm that. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
SPECIAL INVITATION
Sometimes a look says everything words can’t.

Below you see an issue of Folies de Paris et de Hollywood that was published yesterday in 1966. The cover star is popular glamour model Margaret Nolan, aka Vicki Kennedy, who also appears inside. More on her and Folies later. 


 
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Intl. Notebook Oct 8 2014
PARIS IS FOR READERS
You're nobody in Paris if you aren't carrying a book.

We're back from Paris. And indeed we did find some wonderful treasures, including many issues of Folies de Paris et de Hollywood, lower right in the above photo. We were struck once again by the extent of the reading culture in Paris. In the evenings people stop by the hundreds to browse the outdoor discount racks of the many bookstores, and you see people carrying books everywhere, stealing a few pages of enjoyment at the cafes or on the banks of the Seine. We're just a bit exhausted today, so nothing to show, but beginning tomorrow or the next we'll share some of the items we acquired. 

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Intl. Notebook Oct 2 2014
FLIPPING FOR PARIS
We’ve always been head over heels about the place.

So, it should come as no surprise after today’s French content that we’re headed to France. Paris, to be exact. It’s been five years since we were there. Last time was during summer, but this time we’ll see the leaves changing color along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. As we’ve mentioned before, we've found France to be second only to the U.S. for excellent pulp, so expect us to return with amazing treasures. We’ll be back in a week.  

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Vintage Pulp Oct 2 2014
GOLDEN GIRL
What did she have to show for her three years in Hollywood? Little more than a colorful description of it.


Paris Plaisirs was devoted to lifestyle and arts, with an emphasis on dance. We’ve featured it several times, such as here and here. The above issue appeared this month in 1925, and the cover shows golden Ginette Maddie, who in addition to performing at the Cinéma Français appeared in twenty films between 1922 and 1958, including under the direction of Alfred Machin and Julien Duvivier. At one point she scored a contract with MGM, and was whisked to Hollywood where she sat in a villa waiting for work that never came. Her complaints confused her acquaintances—after all, she was drawing a salary, so what did it matter if she worked? She wasn’t even the only idle foreigner on the scene. Russian actor Ivan Mosjoukine was also wandering about town drawing checks while waiting for roles that never materialized.

But Maddie had been a shining star in the City of Light. Transforming into an earthly nobody in Hollywood didn’t sit well. Eventually she fled back to her home. She dismissed Hollywood as a “ville factice et sans âme peuplée de gens superficiels et insignifiants.” Loose translation: a dummy-populated city without soul, for superficial and insignificant people.” Joke’s on her, though—that’s what everyone from Hollywood thinks too. The time away had kept Maddie idle for three years, damaging her career, but she finally scored a new role in 1930 and acted in two films that year and the next before pretty much fading from the cinema scene. Inside Paris Plaisirs you get more dancers, some photography, plus art deco style drawings from Mario Laboccetta, J. Bonnotte, and others. All below. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 2 2014
EATING OUR FILLE
Do you ever crave something so much you can almost taste it?


You know what we love? A really good fille mignon. Rare? Of course! You want them to be a bit salty outside, but tender inside. Soft as butter. See, the juices are the key. Pay attention, because we’re telling you something important here. The difference between a juicy fille and a dry one is, well, it’s really a matter of skill. You need a deft touch. Actually, it doesn’t go too far to call it an art, getting one so the juices are just brimming in there. Even thinking about the aroma makes our mouths water. We’re uh… We… Hold on—we just need to plug “fille” into the translator. Just one sec. Ah. Er, let us go back and see what we wrote. Okay… yeah, all good.

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The Naked City Oct 1 2014
DIFEDE TO BLACK
Be careful what you wish for—you may have to kill for it.


These two issues of Crime Detective, which appeared today in 1962 and 1964 respectively, both feature the same cover photo—each a reverse of the other—of Jean DiFede and Armando Cossentino. DiFede and Cossentino, who were thirty-six and nineteen, were May-December lovers convicted of murdering DiFede’s husband Dr. Joseph DiFede in order to collect a $72.000 life insurance policy (about $560,000 in today’s money). Dr. DiFede was attacked in his bedroom with a hammer and carving knife, and the disarray of the scene showed that he had battled fiercely for his life before succumbing to multiple blows and seven stab wounds. A third person on the scene later turned eyewitness against the lovers, claiming Dr. DiFede gasped to his wife with his last words, “I forgive you everything… Don’t kill me.” Meanwhile Cossentino stood over him and shouted, “Die! Die! Die!”

The eyewitness account (he said the extent of his participation had been helping to clean the crime scene because he feared for his life) was damning enough on its own. Police also discovered that Jean DiFede had bought Cossentino a new convertible, rented an apartment for him, and went on public dates with him. And just for good measure the all-male jury was repeatedly reminded that Cossentino was only two years older than Jean DiFede’s oldest son, who had been instructed to refer to her by her name rather than “mom.” When the guilty verdicts came down, Cossentino was sentenced to die in the electric chair and DiFede got twenty years. Upon hearing her sentence she screamed, “If I have to spend twenty years in jail I’d rather be dead!” As it turned out, neither of them died in prison. Cossentino’s sentence was commuted to life, and both eventually earned parole.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
October 19
1989—Guildford Four Exonerated
The men known as the Guildford Four, who were imprisoned for a series of bombs attacks on British pubs that left five dead and 100 injured, are decreed not guilty after an investigation reveals that police colluded in doctoring statements that appeared to incriminate the defendants.
October 18
1968—Olympic Committee Suspends Carlos and Smith
The U.S. Olympic Committee suspends African-American track & field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos for saluting the crowd with raised, gloved fists during a medal ceremony at the Mexico City games. The salutes represented the black power and civil rights movements in the United States. Both athletes also received their medals shoeless to represent black poverty.

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