Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2018
REVEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
It's not a party until someone gets broken.


Ramona Stewart's The Surprise Party Complex is a mostly forgotten tale of West Coast weirdness, with wannabes, once-weres, and their children mixing in and around a Hollywood boarding house called the Pyrenees. The goings-on of a particular summer are chronicled by fifteen-year-old Pauline, who's been dragged out to Tinseltown by her father, a man intent on restoring a lost fortune by making a big score on a silver mine. Pauline ends up chumming aimlessly around with two other Pyrenees teens, both of whom have bad parents and lots of idle hours. They have some comic misadventures, and naturally one of them has problems a bit darker than the other two. The basic theme here is all that glitters in Hollywood is not gold, and the young generation has issues. Yes, it sounds like the same novel that has been written about every generation since at least World War I, but this is one of the better efforts, we think, and cleverly written too. It captures a place and mood that, as former L.A. residents, really enthralled us. This 1963 Pocket Books edition initially caught our eye because of the excellent cover art by Harry Bennett. This happens to us a lot—i.e. come for the art, stay for the story. Well, Harry certainly did his job here. We've talked about him before, and he once again shows what a unique painter he was.


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Hollywoodland Jun 21 2018
SIGNS OF THE TIME
Forget it, Jake. It's Tinseltown.


We were poking around the architecture forum skyscraperpage.com and ran across this interesting photo of a billboard advertising the film Chinatown. This was located in Los Angeles at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Marmont Lane, and as you can see it touts the opening of the film today in 1974. We lived on the west side of L.A. for four years, and used to pass this spot occasionally. Marmont Lane winds to the right toward the famed Chateau Marmont Hotel, where luminaries such as Howard Hughes, Natalie Wood, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean once made the scene, and a couple met their ends, including Helmut Newton and John Belushi.

We knew the intersection was one of the city's most important billboard spots and wondered what else had been advertised there. So we had a look. We expected to find an assortment of examples, but it turns out the locale was so coveted a relative few companies monopolized it. The first was the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas, which erected a sign there in 1957, complete with a rotating showgirl and an illuminated marquee listing the headlining acts.

The sheer novelty of the sign helped establish the heavily trafficked intersection as one of L.A.'s go-to spots for promotion, and the sign itself became a landmark. In fact, in 1961 Jayne Mansfield unveiled a Rocky and Bullwinkle statue across the street that was inspired by the Sahara showgirl. It was commissioned by Jay Ward, producer of the television series Rocky and His Friends, for the opening of his office complex.

After the Sahara moved on in 1966 the location was divided into two-tiered advertising. For almost three decades the iconic Marlboro Man towered above the intersection on the higher billboard, first on a horse, and later sans mount. During the time Chinatown was advertised Mr. Marlboro was standing vigil above. The lower location hosted ads for Stroh's and numerous other products, but was a particularly popular home for movie billboards. We found shots of billboards for Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Black Sunday, and other popular films of the 1970s.

Tens of thousands of billboards dot the Los Angeles landscape, especially around Hollywood. An uptick of political billboards has some Angelenos considering whether these objects are more akin to visual pollution. They're already illegal in entire U.S. states, including Hawaii and Maine. We always thought they further cluttered an already chaotic landscape, but we imagine they will survive in Los Angeles longer than almost anywhere else in the U.S. Tinseltown is a place where you don't get people's attention unless you scream for it. Nothing screams better than a well placed billboard.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 8 2018
FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Bilateral cooperation produces great results.

Above are assorted scans from Paris-Hollywood #109 published in 1951. The cover is an Ektachrome photo credited to Mac Arthur, who's a new name for us. The centerfold déshabillable (undressable)—which is the main selling point of this magazine—was painted by Raymond Brenot under his pseudonym Carols. The rest of content features photos by Serge de Sazo, Stephen Glass, and others, of French cabaret dancers, nearly all of them forgotten today, but fondly memorialized thanks to this magazine. We have more. Just click the keywords below.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 12 2017
FRENCH FLAIR
Thank you! Thank you very much! I agree! I'm amazing!

Above is another issue of our favorite classy skin mag Paris-Hollywood, this time with Betty Grable on the cover, and no, you haven't developed cataracts—the genitals of all the nudes have been erased, as per normal for this publication. The main attraction with these early 1950s Paris-Hollywoods are the déshabillable centerfolds, which were painted by notable artists of the day. The example in this issue is from Roger Brard, and you can see more of his work by clicking his keywords below and scrolling down. How many of these magazines do we have to upload still? A lot. A deep stack we picked up during a trip to Paris a few years ago, faithfully documented. Stay tuned.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 19 2017
KICKING BACK
How do you relax in nature? Folies de Paris et de Hollywood demonstrates.


This edition spéciale issue of Folies de Paris et de Hollywood with an unidentified cover model sitting on a rock of the bay is subtitled Mer et Montagne, which means “sea and mountain.” Inside you get exactly that—the usual suspects posed in the promised idyllic settings, their genitals erased as required by French decency laws of 1960. Ever been to the mountains and not seen a single bush? Now's your chance. Folies produced these special editions fairly often, and we have a few others we'll get around to sharing a bit later. In the meantime we have something like twenty issues scattered around the website, and they're all worth a look. If you want to do that, click here and scroll down.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 6 2017
TREATS DES NUITS
Every night in Paris is a treasure hunt.

This “Paris la nuit” themed issue of Folies de Paris et de Hollywood from 1959 has, in addition to the usual dancers and showgirls, a list on the cover of the clubs at which they worked. We already knew some of the places, like The Crazy Horse Saloon and Pigall's, but there are many more, all with amazing names: Boule Blanche, Drap d'Or, Shako, Grisbi, Shocking, Le Sexy, et al. If we had to choose just based on the name we'd go with Shocking. It can't be too wild in 1959, right? Anyway, the list gave us the idea of digging up photos of these venerable entertainment halls, but you'd be surprised how few historical shots exist. We're going to keep working on that. In the meantime, enjoy the photos below of the artists who occupied those stages. They include Dolly Bell, Kitty Tam-Tam, Nicole Dore, Carole Riva, and more.

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Femmes Fatales May 28 2017
WEST SIDE GIRL
Best ever reason to brave crosstown traffic.


Sultry Puerto Rico born actress Rita Moreno, who many remember from her role as Anita in the 1961 Hollywood adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story, is one of the few performers to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards—i.e. the Oscar, the Emmy, the Grammy, and the Tony. She's also won a Golden Globe, been awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a National Medal of the Arts, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and been bestowed the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. There are even more awards, too numerous to list, and on top of all of them, she was also awarded some awesome genes, because not only is she very beautiful in the top photo from around 1960, but she still looks good today at age eighty-five.
 
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Vintage Pulp May 10 2017
HELLO FOLIES
It's so nice to have you back where you belong.

Above, assorted scans from Folies de Paris et de Hollywood #331, published in 1965, with an unknown cover star and assorted Parisian showgirls in the interior, including Julie Jourdan. We have quite a few of these in the website, and you can see them by clicking here and scrolling down.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 27 2017
FOLIES POP
Sweet treats in assorted flavors.

Above is a cover of Folies de Paris et de Hollywood, part of a trove we picked up in Paris several years ago. The rear cover is given to a model we've seen before. She calls herself Arabelle and graced the front of Folies #346, and the cover of Cancans de Paris, both from 1966. This issue of Folies, #350 for the long-running publication, is also from 1966, so Arabelle was pretty busy that year. Inside, other beautiful models pose with whipped cream, a lawn mower, and an antique rifle. All genitals have been removed by Folies airbrushers to protect the innocent. But how much do you wanna bet unretouched prints regularly went home with magazine staffers? We have 30+ scans below.

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Femmes Fatales Mar 27 2017
WITCHY WOMAN
I could do this with magic, but I really enjoy cooking.

Elizabeth Montgomery, a rare Hollywood-born actress, is best known for her role as Samantha on the long running 1960s-1970s television series Bewitched. But she actually goes way back. She was born in 1933 and broke into show business in ’53, later appeared in such films as the gangster thriller Johnny Cool, and on television in Alfred Hitchcock Presents and 77 Sunset Strip. This shot of her is from the Japanese showbiz magazine Roadshow and is from around 1968. 

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 18
1920—U.S. Women Gain Right To Vote
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified despite heavy conservative opposition. It states that no U.S. citizen can be denied the right to vote because of their gender.
1958—Lolita is Published in the U.S.
Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita, about a man's sexual obsession with a pre-pubescent girl, is published in the United States. It had been originally published in Paris three years earlier.
August 17
1953—NA Launches Recovery Program
Narcotics Anonymous, a twelve-step program of drug addiction recovery modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, holds its first meeting in Los Angeles, California.
August 16
1942—Blimp Crew Disappears without a Trace
The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappears on a routine patrol over the Pacific Ocean. The blimp drifts without her crew and crashes in Daly City, California. The mystery of the crew's disappearance is never solved.
1977—Elvis Presley Dies
Music icon Elvis Presley is found unresponsive by his fiancée on the floor of his Graceland bedroom suite. Attempts to revive him fail and he's pronounced dead soon afterward. The cause of death is often cited as drug overdose, but toxicology tests have never found evidence this was the case. More likely, years of drug abuse contributed to generally frail health and an overtaxed heart that suddenly failed.
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