Leigh Christian is just right.
In the Goldilocks fable too hot and too cold are both unacceptable, but in our opinion there's no such thing as too hot, at least not when it comes to vintage actresses. Leigh Christian's credits were mostly on television, where she appeared on Hawaii Five-O, McCloud, Barnaby Jones, Starsky and Hutch, and many other shows. Among her few films were low budget efforts such as The Doll Squad and Beyond Atlantis. Her most recent role was as herself in 2010's Machete Maidens Unleashed, a brilliant and funny documentary about ’70s schlock cinema. The golden photo above is from early in Christian's career, 1969, when she was probably dreaming of bigger things than cheesy network cop shows. But ultimately she acted for twenty years, and that isn't a bad run by any measure.
Five iconic paintings depict the Ruelhs of aviation.
During the 1930s Wisconsin born artist Ruehl Heckman executed five aviation themed paintings for the Thomas D. Murphy Calendar Company illustrating the reach and romance of aerial machinery by juxtaposing it against far flung natural and urban U.S. vistas. There were five total, all collectible, and you see them above: “Dawn of a New Age,” featuring lower Manhattan and New York Harbor, “Racing the Sun,” featuring an unspecified area of the west, probably Arizona, “The Spirit of Progress,” showing San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge, “Flying over Avalon,” featuring Santa Catalina Island at twilight, and “Where Progress and Romance Meet,” showing pre-statehood Hawaii. These paintings are all iconic yet Heckman himself remains barely known. This could be because his career was cut short—he was killed in a car accident in 1942. As of right now he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page. But we think these pieces are quite nice. Like the early Pan Am posters we shared a while back, they capture a romance in aerial transport that is deader than a doornail today.
From Here to Oscar night.
American actor Burt Lancaster posed for the promo photo you see above when he was filming the World War II drama From Here to Eternity in the Hawaiian Islands in 1953. The movie, based on James Jones' novel, was one of the highest grossing productions of the 1950s, and film noir vet Lancaster in the lead as Sergeant Warden was a prime reason why. The movie also starred Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed, Frank Sinatra, and Ernest Borgnine, making for a supremely talented cast. In the end From Here to Eternity scored thirteen Academy Award nominations and won eight, including Best Picture.
Excuse me—there’s a guy in my soup.
Sticking with the recent tabloid theme, above is a National Informer Weekly Reader that hit newsstands today in 1974. Inside is a rather funny story about a Honolulu restaurant called Dunes, which was allegedly staffed by nude waiters. Do we buy this tale? We didn’t at first, but we checked online and sure enough—there was such a place and owner Jack Cione did indeed feature nude waiters during lunch service. We’re for nudity of any sort, male included, but we don’t want any stray dick tips in our shrimp salad, so maybe we’d pass on the actual lunch aspect.
Also in the issue editors ask, “What Ever Happened To June?” That would be British pin-up June Wilkinson, who not been seen on the showbiz circuit since starring with her husband—NFL star Dan Pastorini—in the film Weed: The Florida Connection. After Weed Wilkinson didn’t appear onscreen for eleven years. Occasionally, that’s a sign you’ve made a disastrous movie, and Weed is indeed terrifically bad. We’ll talk about it a bit later. We have eleven more scans from National Informer Weekly Reader below, including a nice shot of Italian sex symbol Nadia Cassini.
Avon turns over a new Leaf for a Maugham classic.
Above, pulp art treatment for W. Somerset Maugham by Avon Books for its Modern Short Story Monthly line. The Trembling of a Leaf was a collection of six tales set in Samoa, Tahiti and Hawaii, and dealing the essential incompatibility of colonial Europeans to island life, and a bit about the nature of travel, something Maugham would return to for his immortal novel The Razor’s Edge. It was originally published in 1921 with a more conservative cover, and Avon produced this sexed-up edition in 1946.
Now she's feelin’ fine, got summer on her mind.
Photo of Hawaiian-born actress, singer and model Agnes Lum, aka Lum-chan, who during the late 1970s was a star in Japan and one of the most recognizable sex symbols in the world. She specialized in "gravure", a Japanese style of provocative but nudity-free modeling, and most images feature her in the above mode—as an embodiment of summertime.
All she needs now is a push in the right direction.
Gravure model Cathy was born in Hawaii but made her career in Japan. She became famous during the 1970s, and modeled through the ’80s and into the ’90s, appearing in photo books such as Toast Girl, Kathy's Jumbo Africa, and Love Cathy. The spelling changed on the covers of her books—sometimes it was Kathy, other times Cathy, and occasionally it was even Catty. Such are the struggles of the Japanese tongue with western names, a struggle that is more than reciprocated by western tongues trying to master Japanese names. These photos are later period Cathy/Kathy/Catty from 1994.
Accurate shooting starts with the diaphragm, baby. Let me show you what I mean.
We posted a couple of Michael Avallone covers a while back and decided to return to him today for a more detailed treatment. Avallone called himself the fastest typewriter in the east, cranking out nearly two hundred books between 1953 and 1989, including entries in the Hawaii Five-O, Planet of the Apes, and Man from U.N.C.L.E. series. But speed exacted a heavy toll in quality, which may be why Avallone is considered by some to be one of the worst writers of all time. We can’t possibly dispute that—after all, he wrote the novelization of Friday the 13th in 3D—not exactly a résumé highlight. But even if he was undiscriminating, he was also bold. His output eventually shifted from detective fiction to pure flights of fancy. In the surreal Shoot It Again, Sam a group of Chinese brainwashers disguised as old Hollywood stars make lead character Ed Noon believe he’s Sam Spade. The series grew even weirder, and by the last few books Noon was trying to thwart an alien invasion. Quality of the prose aside, Avallone was a unique—if occasionally obnoxious—member of the pulp pantheon. Check him out yourself and you’ll see what we mean.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday
records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
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