Vintage Pulp Mar 28 2016
GENTLEMAN'S DISAGREEMENT
Wait, wait, wait! Why don't we settle this like real men? By blaming the woman!


Howard Baker, born Arthur William Baker, is an Irish author sometimes referred to as W. Howard Baker, and who also wrote as Peter Saxon, William Arthur, W.A. Ballinger, and Richard Williams. The Big Steal involves a typical cast of misfit thieves trying to make off with a cache of gold bullion from Heathrow Airport, mixed with a plot thread about a killer on the loose. Baker also wrote war fiction, sci-fi and supernatural tales. The great cover art for the 1964 Mayflower Dell paperback you see here was painted by Peff, aka Sam Peffer. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 7 2016
STIFF SENTENCE
How I got here is a long story. It starts with me not knowing how “penile” is spelled.


Above, the cover of Penal Colony, written for Ace Books by Robert S. Close, 1957. The story was inspired by real life Irish convict Elizabeth Callaghan, who in the 1820s was sentenced to the incredibly harsh sentence of death for forgery, then had the sentence commuted and was shipped off to colonize Australia along with one hundred other criminals. She stayed in trouble most of her life and was finally stomped to death in a barroom brawl in 1852 in Geelong. This “lusty” novel is, of course, only loosely based on fact, which is good, because what a downer that'd be. Cover art by uncredited. 

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Femmes Fatales Aug 5 2015
FIGHTING IRISH
She may not be a champion of the ring, but she’s a winner just the same.

This photo of Elsie Connor looked to us as if it had been Photoshopped in a very interesting way but it wasn’t—we found a version on Getty Images and it was identical to what you see above. The image and the fact that she’s identified as an Irish boxing champion on various websites made us curious about her career, but after a bit of digging we discovered that she was actually a dancer and chorus girl, and appeared in the 1930 musical Earl Carroll's Sketch Book, the 1929 shows Fioretta and Earl Carroll’s Vanities, and the 1928 production Here’s Howe. That’s a pretty short career, and one that lacked any starring roles, but thanks to the internet she’s famous again, looking like a real world beater. The only thing is, we doubt she was ever a boxer. We can’t be 100% sure, but with no evidence that she ever stepped into a ring, as well as a very clear understanding of how often the world wide web is world wide wrong, we suspect this is just a very, er, striking publicity photo. It dates from 1931. 

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Hollywoodland Feb 1 2015
SMART GUY
Some decisions don’t need explaining.


Top Secret packs several top celebs onto the cover of this issue published today in 1958, but gives center position to the relatively unknown Elsa Sorensen, the 1955 Miss Denmark referred to here as “that nude model.” Sorensen was indeed a nude model—she was a 1956 Playboy centerfold under her own name, and afterward continued to model nude as Dane Arden. Top Secret editors claim to know why multi-million-selling pop singer Guy Mitchell married her, but we don’t need their help to figure that out. See below:

 
The magazine also spins the tale of how the calypso/caribbean themed NYC club the African Room sued Eartha Kitt for more than $200,000. Allegedly, one night while Kitt and some friends were in attendance to see house act Johnny Barracuda, aka the King of Calypso, she flew into a rage, poured Champagne on patrons, shattered glassware, and kneed one of the owners—an ex-homicide dick named Harold Kanter—in the gonads. The lawsuit claimed Kitt shouted, “This is nothing but a clip joint! You are nothing but thieves!” Supposedly, this was all over a $137.00 bar bill. In case you’re wondering, that’s about $1,100 in today’s money.
 
Kitt’s side of the story was simply that her group ordered three or four splits (mini-bottles) of champagne—though none for her, as she never drank alcohol—and when presented with an exorbitant tab asked for an itemized bill, only to be met with major static. We’re siding with Kitt on this one, since Kanter, who somehow had enough money to leave the police force and buy a share of the African Room three years earlier at age twenty-five, had already been busted for watering down his liquor, then trying to bribe his way out of trouble. Kitt said succinctly of the episode, “To me a $137 bill was preposterous. I asked for the bill so I could have it sent to my office. They would not give it to me. That’s all there is to the whole story.”

And that’s all there is from Top Secret today, except to say that for us the most interesting part of the Kitt saga—aside from the tantalizing allegation by Kanter that she “disported herself onstage in a lewd and suggestive manner”—is the fact that she’s pasted-up on the mag’s cover with Sidney Poitier, when in fact her date at the African Room that night was Canadian actor John Ireland. Poitier was nowhere in sight. We'd love to know why Top Secret tried to drag him in, however obliquely, but we're not counting on ever getting the answer. When you dig through the past, unanswered questions are not the exception, but rather the rule.

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Femmes Fatales Mar 14 2013
GREENE ENERGY
Her infrastructure needs no upgrade whatsoever.

Above, Irish born actress Angela Greene, who appeared in movies but really made her career as a television actress during the 1950s and 1960s. This image is most likely from around 1947 or 1948. 

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Mondo Bizarro Nov 15 2011
SAVING FACE
Irish rock formation believed by some to be image of Jesus.

Every few weeks like clockwork, someone claims they’ve seen an image of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, and if it’s a slow press day and the art is good enough, the sighting goes viral. Our favorite examples of these, by far, are the astounding Griddle Virgin™ of May 2009, which narrowly edges the miraculous Connecticut Calf born in December of the same year. And what the hell, as long as we’re dispensing kudos, let’s not forget the uncanny, two-headed El-ganzoury calf born in Egypt in 2010. However, yesterday’s sighting of Jesus on the side of the Cliffs of Moher in Clare County, Ireland, has all the hallmarks of a frontrunner. After American tourist Sandra Clifford snapped the above image during an aerial sightseeing tour, she declared, “To me it was Jesus Christ straightaway.” Which leads us to ask, rather inconveniently we suspect, “How do you know what he looked like?” In every other Jesus sighting of which we’ve heard, identification was helped by the fact that the image wore robes, or a cowl, or maybe even a crown of thorns. But to declare that the vaguely simian rock formation above is Jesus strikes us as overreaching a bit. And if it is him, we’re worried that he manifested in a place where only people who can afford sightseeing flights can see him. That doesn’t seem like a very Christ-like move. But then we breathed a sigh of relief, because we finally realized the image in the Moher rocks isn’t Jesus—it’s Jesus Christ Superstar, as played by actor Ted Neeley in the 1973 blockbuster musical. It’s all just a run-of-the-mill case of mistaken identity. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 18 2009
BLOOD & ROSES
Vadim explores the dark in his gothic vampire flick.

If this looks like a poster for some sort of gothic lesbian vampire romance, well, you should start up your own psychic friends network, because you’re right. Alternatively, maybe you aren’t psychic, and this is just extremely successful promo art. Directed by Roger Vadim, Il sangue e la rosa is loosely based upon Irish author Sheridan LeFanu’s classic tale Carmilla, which appeared in his 1872 anthology In a Glass Darkly. Vadim’s adaptation was originally released in France under the title Et mourir de plaisir, but later renamed and paired with the fantastic art you see above. It premiered in Italy in… well, if you’re psychic you already know.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 18
1968—Olympic Committee Suspends Carlos and Smith
The U.S. Olympic Committee suspends African-American track & field athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos for saluting the crowd with raised, gloved fists during a medal ceremony at the Mexico City games. The salutes represented the black power and civil rights movements in the United States. Both athletes also received their medals shoeless to represent black poverty.
October 17
1933—Capone Sentenced to Prison
Chicago organized crime boss Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion after all other attempts to tie him to an assortment of crimes, from the mass murder of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre to widespread violations of the Volstead Act, fail. He is sentenced to eleven years in federal prison and, cut off from the outside world while on Alcatraz Island, his power is finally broken.
October 16
1964—China Detonates Nuke
At the Lop Nur test site located between the Taklamakan and Kuruktag deserts, the People's Republic of China detonates its first nuclear weapon, codenamed 596 after the month of June 1959, which is when the program was initiated.
1996—Handgun Ban in the UK
In response to a mass shooting in Dunblane, Scotland that kills 16 children, the British Conservative government announces a law to ban all handguns, with the exception .22 caliber target pistols. When Labor takes power several months later, they extend the ban to all handguns.
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