|Sex Files||Nov 15 2012|
The National Insider was a second tier tabloid, but even it sometimes got the facts correct. The headline on this cover is true—Diana Dors did have a two-way mirror in the bedroom ceiling of her house in Maidenhead, just outside London. Insider didn’t break the story. Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World had done that six years earlier and had shared all the tawdry details with British readers in a heavy breathing 12-week serial. But a good sex story can always be reprised, so Insider decided to dredge the details up again for American readers today in 1964.
At age nineteen Diana Dors had married a man named Dennis Hamilton, who turned out to be a paranoid, violent, and domineering louse who smacked her around and took over the management of her career. Professionally, he steered her away from serious drama into fluff cinema, while privately he initiated her into a life of sex parties and voyeurism. In addition to the two-way mirror in the bedroom ceiling, there were also assorted 8mm motion picture cameras scattered around the house so they could film their bacchanals and later review the action in their leisure time.
|Hollywoodland||Nov 13 2012|
Above is a publicity photo of American singer/actor/comedian Sammy Davis, Jr. with his Swedish bride, actress May Britt. The shot dates from today in 1960, and as you might guess, that was a very bad time for mixed couples. Sammy had for years been making tabloid headlines for dating white women ranging from Tinseltown icon Kim Novak to Canadian singer Joan Stuart, but when he announced plans to marry Britt, a chunk of the general public lost its collective mind. He faced racist banners and chants in London, received rafts of hate mail, and was confronted in Los Angeles with the bizarre spectacle of three men marching outside the Huntington Hartford Theater in nazi regalia. Even two admirers, John and Robert Kennedy, allegedly asked Frank Sinatra to tell Davis to delay the wedding until after the 1960 presidential election.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 18 2011|
We love this poster for the British-produced prison drama Yield to the Night, aka Blonde Sinner, which is the tale of a woman languishing on death row for committing murder. Diana Dors stars, and before you decide you can’t buy her as a death row inmate, know that she isn’t playing a hardened criminal, but rather a spurned woman who has committed a rash act of passion. As written, the role works fine for the glamorous Dors. In fact, you kind of get two versions of her, the first a platinum-maned knockout, the second a sunken-eyed, dishwater blonde wreck (although the wreck is still quite nice looking, of course). There’s no question of whether her character committed the crime—we see her pull the trigger in the first minutes of the film. The tension derives from whether she will win a reprieve from the death chamber. We won’t tell you. But we will say that for fans of mid-century cinema, this one is a worthwhile expenditure of time. And as a bonus, for fans of mid-century design, the credit graphics are kind of cool. Yield to the Night had its U.S. premiere today in 1956.
|Vintage Pulp||Oct 10 2011|
Sex, celebs, and swindles make up the bulk of this Inside Story from October 1958 with Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg starring on the cover. All tabloids had a snappy slogan. Inside Story’s is “Tells the facts about people, the news, and the world we live in.” Doesn’t exactly send chills down the spine, does it? Maybe that’s why Inside Story was always strictly a middle of the pack tab, never achieving the rarefied heights of Confidential or Police Gazette. But on to the stories. In this issue readers are told that a relationship with Anita Ekberg comes at a high cost—not in money, but in frayed nerves due to her demanding behavior, alleged examples of which are detailed from London (caught by police having sex in a parked car) to Rio de Janeiro (abandoned her boyfriend and flew back to Sweden without a goodbye). Inside Story also expounds on Marlon Brando and Anna Kashfi, as well as Gloria de Haven and the unnamed Central American dictator’s son (Ramfis Trujillo, discussed last year) who was so struck by her beauty that he spent a fortune in time and money trying to get her into bed. Errol Flynn's supposedly inflated reputation as a lover also takes a hit, and both the horse racing industry and restaurant business provide material for insider horror stories. All in all, it’s a nice slate of articles, well worth the twenty-five cent asking price. We have twenty pages of all this for your enjoyment below, including a large scan of Diana Dors, because, well, she’s Diana Dors.
|Vintage Pulp||Aug 17 2010|
|Musiquarium||Apr 8 2010|
The other day we realized that nearly all of our femmes fatales released records at some point, so we have a megapost of sleeves today representing a fraction of these multi-talented women’s musical output. We’ve heard most of the music, believe it or not, and while its quality varies, we do suggest you check out both Marilyn Chambers and Reiko Ike—their simulated orgasms are quite pleasing to the, er, ears.
|Hollywoodland||Jan 19 2010|
Above is a January 1957 Confidential with Joan Crawford in the spotlight and Elvis in the wings. The Crawford story involves her playing cougar with a boytoy bartender. She’d call, or have an assistant call, and he’d drop everything, scurry over to her house, and be seen leaving the next morning. Pretty salacious claim, but of course, the bartender is never named and so the story is impossible to prove. The Elvis article is in a similar vein. Basically, Presley signed an autograph on a girl’s bare skin, and she ended up going home with him. The next morning the girl called a friend to have the signature photographed before she showered it off.
You can get a sense from these two pieces just how extensive Confidential’s network of spies was, and who they were—cabbies, switchboard operators, busboys, mailmen, and doormen. You can also, if you imagine yourself as a movie star, get a sense of how paranoid Hollywood players must have been. Every misstep—no matter how small—was splashed across Confidential’s pages.
For a while, the stars simply hoped against hope they could stay under the radar, but eventually they went on the offensive and ran Confidential into the ground with lawsuits. But in 1957, the magazine was still at the height of its power, selling millions of copies and being read secondhand by millions more who were too prim to be seen buying a scandal sheet. Confidential’s actual circulation may have been quadruple its sales figures. Humphrey Bogart said it best: “Everybody reads it but they say the cook brought it into the house.”
|Femmes Fatales||Jan 6 2010|
Publicity still of English actress Diana Dors made her role in 1957's The Unholy Wife. Her real last name was Fluck, and she joked about that unfortunate fact, famously quipping, “They asked me to change my name. I suppose they were afraid that if my real name Diana Fluck was in lights and one of the lights blew...”