Vintage Pulp Mar 13 2014
CRAZY KIND OF LOVE
A change of title helped turn an overlooked film into a revered classic.

Above, a West German promo pamphlet for Gefährliche Leidenschaft, which was the American thriller Gun Crazy. If you read German, then you know the German title means “Deadly Is the Female,” and that’s in fact what the film was called in the States upon its initial release. But after lackluster box office, King Brothers Productions changed the title and marketing campaign, and success followed. Today the movie is in the U.S. Library of Congress’s National Film Registry, an honor reserved for movies of special cultural, historic, or aesthetic significance. This pamphlet was made by Illustrierte Film-Bühne, and you can see more examples of that company’s work here and here. Gun Crazy premiered in the U.S. in 1950, and in West Germany today in 1951. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 12 2014
SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
When it comes to suicide there’s nothing like the real thing.


It’s been a few months, so we’re bringing Hitler back on The National Police Gazette. This example from March 1951 is the twenty-first Hitler cover we’ve located, all of them from the 1950s and 1960s, which means he starred for the Gazette at least yearly for two decades. But of course, that’s just an average based on the issues we’ve found so far. We know for certain there were others, and ultimately we’ll probably determine that he was featured closer to twice a year. As you can see yourself, this time Gazette is concerned with Hitler’s fake suicide, which journo Harvey Wilson says was propaganda put out by the Soviets to cover for their failure to capture him as Berlin burned.

Leaving aside the question of who’s really doing the propagandizing here, it’s a clever little pivot by the Gazette, which went from merely claiming Hitler had escaped to blaming the escape on Moscow, resulting in a nifty mash-up of two of post-War America’s biggest boogeymen—Hitler and Khrushchev. Later the Gazette would claim Hitler or his henchmen were tight with other enemies of the American power elite, including Abdel Nasser and Juan Peron. One year after the above issue came out, Gazette turned around and in its May 1952 issue, at right, blamed Hitler’s escape on the Allies. And let's not forget the infamous Hitler-in-Antarctica story, truly one of the all-time creative highlights of mid-century tabloid journalism. Well, wherever Hitler fled, the Gazette’ll straighten it out for us in due time. We just have to keep digging up issues. Meanwhile, a couple of scans below, and more from the Gazette to come.


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Vintage Pulp Feb 18 2014
A HARD DAY'S NIGHTMARE
Have you ever had a terrible dream and couldn’t wake up?


This West German poster for Der Scharlatan, aka Nightmare Alley shows Twentieth Century Fox pretty boy Tyrone Power in his role as The Great Stanton, a conniving psychic. Power felt constricted by the romance and adventure parts he’d played up to that point, so he bought the rights to William Lindsay Gresham’s novel and dirtied himself up. He plays a lowly carnival barker who realizes that an ingenious verbal code is the key to reaching the heights of fame. The code allows a seer to work in tandem with an assistant to correctly answer the questions of spectators. You know the drill: “I’m sensing that there’s a Mr. Abernathy here and he’s... wait… it’s coming… Sir, you’re concerned about your wife’s health. Isn’t that right? Well let me tell you, she’s already on the mend. You’ll get good news from the doctor tomorrow!” Though the code’s owners aren’t using it, they plan to sell it to fund their retirement, and that looks to be some years off. This forces Power to either to steal it or sweet talk his way into it. As it turns out, he doesn’t have to do either, but once he has the code and has built an act around it, the fame and riches it brings fail to quench his greed.
 
Nightmare Alley was not warmly reviewed upon release, but many of those reviews simply found the movie too gritty. Such criticisms tend to make their authors look out of touch. For example, Bosley Crowther was demoted from his position as the New York Times’ main critic in large part for slamming Bonnie and Clyde in three separate articles, despite the film’s obvious quality. Nightmare Alley had similar detractors—it was just too downbeat for some, even for a film noir. But within its fictional milieu it's highly successful. Our world has every kind of depravityand cruelty, and movies that depict them must be judged on their own terms. So ignore the haters—Nightmare Alley is excellent. Power puts on an award-worthy performance, and Joan Blondell and Colleen Gray are great in support. There’s a pivotal moment in the film when it seems possible Power’s character has some actual psychic ability. Too bad he can’t see his own future. Nightmare Alley premiered in 1947, and finally made its way to West Germany today in 1954.
 
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Musiquarium Jan 12 2014
GOOD FOR WHAT AILS YOU
Aslan art makes unlikely appearance on Cure album sleeve.

A couple of weeks ago we said we’d get back to more Alain Gourdon, aka Aslan album sleeves, so above is a rather eye-catching one for a collection of Cure songs entitled The Spell’s Unbroken. It’s a live release that was recorded in Birmingham, England in 1985 and pressed in Germany in 1986, and it’s got such Cure goodies as “Kyoto Song,” “Let’s Go to Bed,” and the excellent “In Between Days,” as well some more obscure tracks. The album is unofficial—or a bootleg, if you prefer that term—so in theory it was pressed and sold without the band’s participation. We also assume Gourdon hadn’t a clue about the art. And wouldn’t you know it—the record sells for exorbitant amounts of money, routinely over a hundred dollars. We don’t know about you, but that’s enough to cure us of any urge to buy it.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 20 2013
VENGEANCE IS MINE
Always be careful or you may get carried away.

Today we have the November 1971 issue of our favorite vintage magazine—Australia’s Adam—with a cover illustrating Anthony Barker’s story “The Double Cross.” The scene shows the climax of Barker’s tale, when a torrent of water bursts through the wall of a mine and carries the hero’s two betrayers away. Inside the issue is the usual mix of fact, fiction, and cheesecake, and of special note is a three-page photo feature on Uschi Obermaier, who was already well known as a scion of West Germany’s political group Commune 1 and was on her way to even greater fame as a model, actress and rock groupie. As the latter she bagged two Rolling Stones, and of Jimi Hendrix once said, “He was the most beautiful of all my men. Making love with Jimi was one of the most profound experiences for me.” We bet it was pretty profound for him too. The photos we’ve scanned of Obermaier, which you’ll see at the bottom of the post, come from a famous beach session, images of which appeared in several magazines in the early 1970s. But these Adam shots have never been uploaded to the web before. So that’s our big accomplishment for today. See those sultry pix and thirty more scans below

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Vintage Pulp Nov 11 2013
BERLIN WALL ART
 
Before moving back to items from other countries, we thought we’d share a few more pieces related to Germany—this time vintage posters. Below are seven excellent examples of thriller and film noir promo art that appeared in that country from 1932 to 1955. They are, top to bottom, Highway 301, Night and the City, Thunder Road, Notorious twice, because both posters are great, Night of the Hunter and Blonde Venus.
 

 
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Femmes Fatales Nov 10 2013
INI MOMENT NOW
Actually, we’re more legmen ourselves...

Above, German actress Ini Assmann—yes, Assmann—who appeared in such films as Blonde Köder für den Mörder, aka The Blonde Connection and Schulmädchen-Report 6, aka Campus Pussycats, seen here on the rear cover of Girls of the World magazine circa 1970.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 8 2013
WILDWEST GERMANY
All work and no gunplay makes Joe a very dull boy.

We have more German goodness for you today. Above is a cover of Big Joe’s Wildwest-Abenteuer number 5, Joe gründet eine ranch, which means Joe Sets Up a Ranch. We know little about this series, except that it debuted in 1955, and Joe was usually chasing and shooting guys, rather than doing chores. Most of these seem to have been written by someone calling himself Glenn Stirling, but others were the work of Marc Relling. We found no references to the series in English, so we’re assuming these are West German originals, rather than reprints of American work, and judging by the €2 asking price these are not particularly rare. We’ll see if we can find out more, and whatever we uncover we’ll certainly share.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 7 2013
GERMANY BY GONDOLA
It isn’t the fastest way to travel but the scenery sure is pretty.

Well, that was fun. Berlin is an interesting city, dynamic, hectic and ultramodern, but also much greener than we expected. Certainly a recommendable destination, though we did encounter an €8 glass of white wine, which makes us happy to be back where the same pour costs exactly eight times less. We’re a bit tired today, so we’re just going to do a couple of brief shares, just so you know we’re still alive. Above is the cover from the West German celeb magazine Gondel (Gondola) featuring Elisa Mainardi. Inside you get shots of Teresa Velasquez, Lisa Gastoni and more, and on the rear cover you get goddess Elke Sommer. Most of the shots are unimaginative portraits that don’t do the subjects justice, but the images are rare, which makes them worth sharing. You can see more Gondel covers here. This issue came out in 1964. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 7 2013
FREUNDE WITH BENEFITS
What do Germans do better than just about anyone?

Based on what we saw, the supposedly serious Germans are as capable of wild partying as any other people you care to name. We are highly intrigued by their blasé approach to nudity. In fact, when someone recently claimed to have unearthed a nude photo of a youthful Angela Merkel parading her bush around a summery German seafront, the news was greeted in her home country with a collective shrug. Even if it were true, Merkel would have been merely part of a longstanding nudist tradition. That tradition was well represented in print. Through the 1950s and 1960s reams of naturist publications such as Sonnenstrahl, O Humana, and Unser Dasein appeared in West Germany. The above cover is from Sonnenfreunde (Sun Friends), one of the earliest and most popular of such magazines, launching way back in 1949. We have a few scans below, and if you think you see Angela Merkel, well, we disavow any such suggestion. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 23
1986—Otto Preminger Dies
Austro–Hungarian film director Otto Preminger, who directed such eternal classics as Laura, Anatomy of a Murder, Carmen Jones, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Stalag 17, and for his efforts earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, dies in New York City, aged 80, from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
1998—James Earl Ray Dies
The convicted assassin of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., petty criminal James Earl Ray, dies in prison of hepatitis aged 70, protesting his innocence as he had for decades. Members of the King family who supported Ray's fight to clear his name believed the U.S. Government had been involved in Dr. King's killing, but with Ray's death such questions became moot.
April 22
1912—Pravda Is Founded
The newspaper Pravda, or Truth, known as the voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg. It is one of the country's leading newspapers until 1991, when it is closed down by decree of then-President Boris Yeltsin. A number of other Pravdas appear afterward, including an internet site and a tabloid.
1983—Hitler's Diaries Found
The German magazine Der Stern claims that Adolf Hitler's diaries had been found in wreckage in East Germany. The magazine had paid 10 million German marks for the sixty small books, plus a volume about Rudolf Hess's flight to the United Kingdom, covering the period from 1932 to 1945. But the diaries are subsequently revealed to be fakes written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Both he and Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann go to trial in 1985 and are each sentenced to 42 months in prison.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.

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