You should have seen it. It was unbelievable. From base to tip it was like this. I swear.
Originally published in 1952, this paperback edition of Hank Janson’s Conflict came from British publisher Alexander Moring in 1957. The art is uncredited and unsigned, but it’s undoubtedly Reginald Heade, who stopped putting a name to his work after seven of Janson’s books brought about an obscenity trial and guilty verdicts. Though Janson’s writing was racy, we doubt that this cover is supposed to convey what we imply. But you have to admit—it’s a really curious pose from the female figure. See a bit more Heade here.
One of the last two functioning examples of revered World War II fighter plane hits the auction block today.
Today in London, Christie’s auction house is selling off one of the only two flyable, original spec Vickers Supermarine Spitfire fighter planes left in the world. One of the most elegant of World War II fighters, the Spitfire played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain, going up against the German Luftwaffe and its comparable Messerschmitt fighter craft. This particular Spitfire made an emergency landing on a beach at Calais, France in 1940, and was quickly covered by tidal sands. The sands receded in 1980 to expose the aircraft once more, and it went into the Musée d’l’Air at Le Bourget, Paris, before being acquired and restored by the British company Aircraft Restoration Company/Historic Flying Ltd. Christie’s estimates the plane will sell for at least US$2.3 million, and could go for close to US$4 million.
, Musée d’l’Air
, World War II
, Battle of Britain
, Vickers Supermarine Spitfire
Be careful who you kill—sometimes homicide comes full circle.
Unrelated to the 1967 film Deadlier Than the Male, Paul Chevalier’s novel More Deadly Than the Male came years earlier and is no breezy Mediterranean spy tale, but rather the story of an American in Britain who murders the husband of a woman he desires in order to clear the way for his advances. The scheme, of course, backfires, but in an unexpected way—the object of his affection becomes bent on revenge. There was a 1959 movie by the same name, screenwritten by Chevalier, but we found no listings of the novel other than for this 1960 WDL paperback. Thus, this appears to be a novelization of the film. We think the cover art here is quite nice. It's uncredited.
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
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
Penguin Books is launched by Allen Lane and begins publishing cheap, no-frills paperbacks. Lane's idea of selling books not just in bookstores, but in train stations, pharmacies and corner stores, quickly revolutionizes the publishing market.
1957—Paar Takes Over Tonight Show
Today in 1957 Jack Paar begins hosting The Tonight Show
. During Paar's five year stint, his unpredictable antics
and strong comedic style help turn the program into a ratings juggernaut and a national institution.
1981—Charles and Diana Marry
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer marry at St Paul's Cathedral before 3,500 invited guests and an estimated global television audience of 750 million, making it the most popular program ever broadcast.
1945—Plane Hits Empire State Building
A B-25 bomber crashes into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 79th and 80th floors. One engine plows entirely through the structure, lands on a nearby apartment building, and sparks a fire that destroys a penthouse. The other engine falls down an elevator shaft. Fourteen people are killed in the incident.
1965—Vietnam War Heats Up
U.S. president Lyndon Johnson commits a further 50,000 US troops to the conflict in Vietnam, increasing the military presence there to 125,000. Johnson says about the increase, "I do not find it easy to send the flower of our youth... into battle."
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