Help you drag him to the car? Are you high or did you simply not notice that my dress is Givenchy?
The artist isn’t credited, but what a great femme fatale on this cover for The Deadly Miss Ashley, authored by Stephen Ransome as the first entry in his Schyler Cole and Luke Speare detective series (gotta love those names). In this one Miss Ashley is actually a missing person who Cole and Speare need to locate. The book was originally published in 1950 in the U.S. under the writer’s real name Frederick C. Davis, with this Panther Books edition appearing in England in 1959.
Japanese toy guns of yesteryear conjure the future while reflecting the past.
Yesterday’s Things To Come poster got us thinking about retro-futurism, so above and below you see a collection of 1950s through 1970s toy guns. Although some are tied into American or British television shows or serials, these particular guns are of Japanese manufacture and come from companies like Nomura, Yoshiya, and Daiya. The one above, for example, is a tin water gun from Crown Co. of Japan, and was designed as a tie-in with the British television series Space Patrol. You may notice the strong art deco influence—that’s common in these items and is a major reason they’re so attractive. The one just below, made of tin and plastic, ties in with the American television show Bronco, and features hero Bronco Layne’s face on the grip. Just below that is a machine gun promoting the Japanese anime hero Ōgon Bat, aka Golden Bat. And so forth.
While some of these are water guns, and others use battery power to produce lights and sounds, the ones we like best are friction guns, which means pulling the trigger causes flint-like mechanics in the chassis to produce sparks that make the gun flash and glow. The latter variety, as you might imagine, also produce a grinding/gearing noise to go along with the visual effects. We had one of these just a few years ago and couldn’t put it down. Back then though, we had no idea it was a collectible and so we lost track of it, sadly. It may still be in a relative’s garage Stateside, though, so all hope is not lost. Anyway, in addition to being fun, beautifully designed, and coveted on the collection circuit, these toys also make excellent props for provocative femme fatale photos, like here. That should put a little fuel in your rocket, and we have thirteen guns below that’ll bring out your inner space trooper.
, Space Patrol
, Ōgon Bat
, Golden Bat
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.
Times may change but sex always sells.
Above is the front of a copy of Uncensored magazine that appeared today in 1965 with cover stars Jackie O., Blaze Starr, and—in a sign of changing times—the Beatles. Inside the magazine you get sin and skin in the form of East German sex camps, nudity in international cinema, exotic dancer Marlene MacLane, transgender entertainer Christine Jorgensen, and call girl Christine Keeler, who, Uncensored reminds readers yet again, had lovers with skin darker than hers. And according to journalist Bill Jeffree, so did thousands of other British women. What had the world come to? These old tabloids often contain photos that haven’t made it online yet, and from this one we’re happy to upload a cool shot of Keeler, a snap of John F. Kennedy, Jr. as a toddler, and a rare vision of Elizabeth Taylor strolling a Mediterranean boardwalk in her bikini. We have about twenty scans below and more from Uncensored to come.
, Jacqueline Kennedy
, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
, The Beatles
, Blaze Starr
, Brigitte Bardot
, Elizabeth Taylor
, Marlene MacLane
, Eleanor Roosevelt
, Christine Jorgensen
, Johnny Edgecombe
, Lucky Gordon
, John F. Kennedy Jr.
, Caroline Kennedy
, Sydney Lawford
Okay, okay, I get it—you refuse to eat the dry food.
llustrator Denis McLoughlin had a seven-decade career during which he produced close to 800 paperback covers and dust jackets. His front for Nancy Rutledge’s, aka Leigh Bryson’s, Blood on the Cat is one of more unusual efforts you’ll see. It depicts the moment a small town newspaper editor finds that his cat Smoky has tracked blood into the house. A search outside turns up not the expected disemboweled unfortunate from lower on the feline food chain, but a beautiful woman passed out in a blood-splattered car. The mystery races onward from there, with suspects that include the town librarian, the bookish schoolmarm, a rich man’s disinherited son, and numerous other smallville types. Blood on the Cat was published initially in 1946, with this Boardman paperback appearing in the UK in 1950.
British adventure magazine takes readers to the ends of the Earth.
The British men’s adventure magazine The Wide World debuted in 1898 and lasted all the way until 1965. That’s not quite National Police Gazette or Argosy longevity, but it’s still very good. During that entire time, a span encompassing two global conflagrations and various economic fluctuations, it failed to print only four issues—including once when a German aerial bomb flattened its pre-press facility.
The magazine’s founder was George Newnes, who also published The Strand Magazine, Tit-Bits and other titles. With The Wide World he hit upon an audacious marketing gimmick—he assured readers that every word in the magazine was true, and made “Truth Is Stranger than Fiction” the publication’s slogan. This claim was hot air, of course, but that idea—and the conceit that adventurers were a sort of global club that owed allegiance to one another—helped make the magazine a success among readers who considered themselves men of the world, or longed to be.
A strong focus on exotic lands and inscrutable dark-skinned inhabitants resistant to the white man’s ordained incursions likewise played well with readers, as Britain’s colonial era evolved into a post-colonial one. That makes The Wide World a repository of some ugly attitudes, however the magazine also managed such feats as being the first publication to report the death of Butch Cassidy in Bolivia, and publishing stories by many literary notables. Above and below you see a collection of covers, nicely rendered in pulp style by various artists.
, South Africa
, New Zealand
, The Wide World
, Butch Cassidy
, George Newnes
, magazine art
She really isn’t dressed for this, but luckily neither is he
Andrew Garve’s The End of the Track was published in 1955, with this Berkeley Books paperback appearing in 1958. Garve, who was actually British author Paul Winterton and also wrote as Roger Bax and Paul Somers, livens up the thriller formula a bit here by pitting a forest ranger and his wife against two blackmailers, then mixing in a wilderness blaze that kills one villain but leaves the other missing. When police suspect the ranger of incinerating the blackmailer intentionally, he’s suddenly the focus of a murder investigation even as the other crook needs to be dealt with. The stunning, almost sepia toned art here brings to mind the infamous Slenderman, don't you think? It's uncredited—a crime in itself.
What’s scarier than National Informer Reader? Actually daring to look inside.
On the opposite end of the tabloid spectrum from yesterday’s Top Secret, we have an issue of National Informer Reader published today in 1971. You may remember our previous entries on National Informer Weekly Reader. What you see above is simply the earlier, monthly iteration of the same rag. You wanna be scared on Halloween? Just peel back the cover on this baby.
Reader editors start by donning their anthropology hats and telling readers that by the year 2000 there will be 2.5 women on Earth for every man. You know what that means right? “In the year 2000 men will be catered to by women as in no other era in the history of mankind. Every week will be a special week dedicated in some way to the male sex. For instance, one week will be called National Sex Week, and if a man gives at the office he doesn’t have to give at home. 2000 is the start of the era when men will have the whip hand.”
Because men need more control, right? Well, if that prospect isn’t frightening enough, Reader tells us California is a breeding ground for devil-worshipping cults, drugs are destroying family life via osmosis from bad neighbors, virgin women are lamentably impossible to find anymore, and psychopathic outlaws and sex perverts have invaded America’s freewheeling outdoor music festivals. Readers also get to solve a murder mystery (which you can try below). All very scary.
Elsewhere in the issue, readers get Raquel Welch (just below) in a promo shot from Myra Breckenridge, and two photos of Malta-born British twins Mary and Madeleine Collinson, who posed together for Playboy’sOctober 1970 centerfold and were the first (but not last) identical twins to do so. Both also appeared in movies, always together, because, well, twins. Their most remembered feature is Hammer’s schlock vampire classic Twins of Evil (although only one twin is a vampire in the movie). Sadly, Madeleine Collinson died last month on Malta
Lastly, Sophia Loren urges women to have sex before marriage. Loren describes women as “ridiculously moral. So they go out and marry a man without having a love affair first to find out if they are compatible.” Any potential husband, she says, might be anything from a sadist to a eunuch, and she recommends premarital sex, trial cohabitation, and state mandated probationary marriage that doesn’t legalize until three years have passed.
We have a few scans below, about fifteen issues of National Informer and National Informer Weekly Reader we’ve already shared (we’ll get you started in the archives here, here, here, and here), and we have nine more issues we hope to get through eventually. If that prospect doesn’t scare you nothing will.
, Twins of Evil
, National Informer Weekly Reader
, National Informer Reader
, National Informer
, Myra Breckenridge
, Raquel Welch
, Sophia Loren
, Madeleine Collinson
, Mary Collinson
No, not gill like a fish—gill like a Gillian.
Gillian Duxbury was a British actress who appeared in only a few television shows, but she managed another type of fame, starring on many magazines, tabloids, album covers, and—importantly for this website—1970s crime paperbacks. Movie stardom it isn’t, but it’s good enough for us. We have a few examples below.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
1938—Alicante Is Bombed
During the Spanish Civil War, a squadron of Italian bombers sent by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to support the insurgent Spanish Nationalists, bombs the town of Alicante, killing more than three-hundred people. Although less remembered internationally than the infamous Nazi bombing of Guernica the previous year, the death toll in Alicante is similar, if not higher.
1977—Star Wars Opens
George Lucas's sci-fi epic Star Wars premiers in the Unites States to rave reviews and packed movie houses. Produced on a budget of $11 million, the film goes on to earn $460 million in the U.S. and $337 million overseas, while spawning a franchise that would eventually earn billions and make Lucas a Hollywood icon.
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