Vintage Pulp Apr 15 2013
AUDIENCES PREFER BLONDES
And as far as gentlemen go, they’ll take whatever they can get.

Above is a brilliant poster for the film musical Gentlemen Marry Brunettes starring Jane Russell and Jeanne Crain. Both Brunettes and 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes had begun as novels written by Anita Loos, in 1927 and 1925 respectively. Blondes (it was actually the second time the book had been filmed) was of course a smash with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in the leads. A year later Monroe was unavailable to reprise her role as Lorelei Lee, so both leads were rescripted into entirely new characters and Jeanne Crain scored the new part opposite Russell. Gentlemen Marry Brunettes appeared in 1955, but the result wasn’t quite as electric as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Same old story—it’s almost always pointless trying to capture lightning in a bottle twice, and a sequel without Monroe was destined to disappoint, at least artistically. But it did become one of the top box office movies of 1955. Amazing, considering it’s almost forgotten today. Seems the audience has stated its preference rather clearly. Well, even if Brunettes fell short of Blondes in the memorability department, there’s nothing forgettable about its Japanese poster.

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Hollywoodland | Vintage Pulp Apr 16 2011
THE LAST LEGEND
1963 post mortem on Marilyn Monroe’s life and career leaves plenty out but is still worth a viewing.


This nice poster was made for the Yugoslavian release of Marilyn, a 1963 documentary about her life and death. When Monroe died during the filming of Something's Got To Give, this feature was hastily cobbled together and rushed into cinemas to fill the gap that had appeared in Twentieth Century Fox's release schedule. It was narrated by Rock Hudson, which is why he appears on the art, and featured Monore's most memorable screen moments, including her song and dance "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. These days, more is known about Monroe’s life than was the case in 1963, so those looking for tabloid style dish will be disappointed. This is a tribute intended to burnish her legend, rather than a real documentary designed dig into it. But it’s a good movie, not least because it gives a clear portrait of her unmatched stature as a celebrity at that time. Marilyn premiered in the U.S. today in 1963. As a bonus, below are some images of Monroe at her most alluring. 

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Femmes Fatales Aug 26 2010
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
Your kiss is on my list of the best things in life.

Promo photo of American film actress Alice White, née Alva White, who appeared in around forty films, including the original Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, seen here circa 1928 in the mode of Clara Bow, to whom she was often compared. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 28 2010
DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND
But with friends like these, who needs enemies?

The National Insider gets meta- physical in this fanciful story published today in 1963 about a cursed gemstone killing Marilyn Monroe. They’re talking about the Moon of Baroda, left, a 24-carat yellow diamond found in western India and owned for almost five-hundred years by a royal dynasty known as the Gaekwad Maharajas, and briefly by Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, who was the only female monarch of the Hapsburg Dynasty. Sounds like something that absolutely needs to be stolen, right? But before you break out your ski mask and suction cups, you should know that the diamond supposedly brings grave misfortune to anyone who carries it across the sea. Maybe that explains why its eventual American owner, Meyer Rosenbaum of Detroit’s Meyer Jewellery Company, gave the stone to Marilyn Monroe. Monroe wore it while filming Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, during which she performed her immortal materialist ditty “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” That was in 1953. Monroe lived nine more years, and we’re pretty sure she had some laughs during that span, so it’s a stretch to say the diamond did her in, but it makes a great story.
 
In our research we actually discovered that most famous diamonds have curses associated with them, including the Hope Diamond (whose first owner was supposedly torn apart by wild dogs), the Kahinoor Diamond (which can only be safely worn by women), and the Black Orlov (three of whose owners committed suicide). Interestingly, all of these diamonds came from India, and two are said to have been pried loose from the eyes of Hindu gods. So basically, you mess with Brahma and you get the horns. We love the idea of karma, the possibility that evildoing will get you killed and reincarnated as a louse in the ass of a water buffalo, but perhaps a more scientific way of looking at all this is simply that diamonds are forever and we are not. Thus misfortune of one sort or another is always waiting for us humans, while our diamonds always survive to be passed along to the next mere mortal. But just to be on the safe side, we’ve told our girlfriends that we will never give them diamonds, or for that matter jewelry of any sort. It’s for their own good, really.
 


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Vintage Pulp Jul 15 2009
BLONDE AMBITION
Their eyes were watching bod.

We love this cover for Anita Loos’ 1925 novel of ambition and materialism Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Brilliantly rendered by Earle Bergey, the so-called gentlemen here are leering caricatures evincing monstrous thirst for the beautiful young blonde. The book became a bestseller, and twenty-three years later a film with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. The book’s cover image helped establish Bergey’s reputation as an illustrator without peer, and more than eighty years later it’s one of the most common pulp images on the internet. As a bonus we’ve posted one of his Gay Book Magazine covers below, and you can see it sports an identical motif. In addition, below that, we have the American poster for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, because the film opened in the U.S. today in 1958. We’ll post more Bergey art later, and also talk about Anita Loos, who lived a turbulent, thoroughly pulp-worthy life.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 26
1917—First Jazz Record Is Made
In New Orleans, The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band was frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", but in reality all the members had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a group of racially mixed performers who helped form the basis of Dixieland while playing under bandleader George Laine.
February 25
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
February 24
1920—The Nazi Party Is Founded
The small German Workers' Party, or DAP, which was under the direction of Adolf Hitler, changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Though Hitler adopted the socialist label to attract working class Germans, his party in fact embraced mainly anti-socialist ideas. The group became known in English as the Nazi Party, and within the next fifteen years expanded to become the most powerful force in German politics.
1942—Battle of Los Angeles Takes Place
A object flying over wartime Los Angeles triggers a massive anti-aircraft barrage, ultimately killing 3 civilians. Initially the target of the aerial barrage is thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it is later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects remains unknown to this day, but the event is known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
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