Tabloid gets blue inside and out.
Above is another cover from the famed blue period of National Spotlite. Actually, all the covers are blue. We've literally never seen one that wasn't. The stories are predominantly blue, too, among them a piece by Jay Shanley titled “Girl Seduces Men for Homo Clients.” In addition to being sexual it's of course offensive as hell toward the gay community, but as phony tabloid stories goes it's more inventive than most. Shanley writes about a woman named Tina Conway who has a business seducing men for gay clients. She doesn't actually have sex with them. “I just get them heated up so that they'll take any form of sexing they can get.” Did this actually happen? We seriously doubt it, but Spotlite editors had to make sure they ticked the anti-gay box with each issue. For people who claimed to dispprove, they sure were obsessed. Just saying. This issue hit newsstands today in 1971.
Wherever celebrities misbehave National Spotlite is on the scene.
This National Spotlite published today in 1968 features cover star Naemi Priegel, a West German television actress and singer who reached the height of her fame during the 1970s. Inside are many interesting Hollywood tidbits, including former child star Hayley Mills allegedly describing herself as a tigress in bed, Marlon Brando beating up two party crashers, Elvis Presley breaking the arm of someone to whom he was demonstrating a karate hold, Richard Burton being pursued by a chorus girl who claimed he fathered her child, Gene Tierney and her husband Howard Lee getting into a public spat, and John Wayne slugging an autograph seeker who mistook him for Robert Mitchum. Was any of this stuff true? We have no idea, but it sure is interesting reading. You can see more in the same vein at our tabloid index, located at this link.
Raquel Welch represents a high water mark for the low rent National Spotlite.
Her body drives men wild. But it isn’t Raquel Welch being quoted on the cover of this National Spotlite published today in 1967, though the juxtaposition of text makes it seem so. No, the line came from a little known actress named Donna Selby, who National Spotlite scribe Hugh Wells interviewed in London. The story is rather amusing, as Wells tells readers how Selby appeared in only a bathrobe, made a pass at him, gave him an unwanted kiss and even licked his ear. He claims to have fled the room, saying to the actress, “I predict that you’ll go places—and quickly too!” But he was wrong about that—try as we might, we can’t find mention of an actress named Donna Selby anywhere.
But getting back to Raquel Welch, the cover shot comes from one of her most famous photo sessions, the same one that produced this excellent image and many others. Welch had gone briefly blonde, and the resultant photos are the only ones we’ve seen of her with golden hair. You know what would make her presence here even better? An interview. But no such luck. National Spotlite is simply making good use of a handout photo. Moving on, readers are treated to a nice shot of Patsy Ann Noble, aka Trisha Noble, just below, who we discussed back in 2009, and alsoappearing in the issue is German actress Dagmar Hank, who acted in several movies between 1958 and 1965. Lastly, in the centerfold you get Molly Peters, who was a Harrison Marks model and whose most notable cinematic output was a bit part in Thunderball.
You have to give National Spotlite credit—unlike many middle tier tabloids of the period this one managed to actually feature relevant and semi-relevant personalities. That comes as a surprise, since it was owned by the infamous Beta Publications of Spotlite Extra and Close-Up Extra fame. But as the flagship paper, National Spotlite doubtless had a higher budget. The masthead tells us it even had offices in New York City and Montreal, which is kind of impressive. Within a few more years, though, the paper regressed to the same form as Beta’s cheaper imprints and was reduced to putting out issues like this one. Like Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, for a while National Spotlite coulda been a contenduh. It just never quite made it.
The possibilities were simply endless.
At National Spotlite headquarters, probably about a week before this issue hit the streets, the editors were in crisis mode. They had no ideas for the cover. None at all. They had a photo. It’s the photo you see above. But they were blocked for headers.
Editor 1: “Woman desperate for husband says she’ll parade naked through town until someone marries her!”
Editor-in-Chief: “The Lady Godiva routine’s been done. Show some imagination. What the fuck am I paying you for?”
Editor 1: “This white beauty only makes love to blacks!”
Editor-in-Chief: “What, do you live in a cave? Can’t you see we’ve finally achieved a post-racial utopia where people don’t even see ethnic differences? Hell, I banged practically a rainbow of girls at last week’s love-in.”
Editor 2: “Doctors baffled! White beauty’s breasts give chocolate milk!”
Editor-in-Chief: “What did I just say?”
Editor 2: “But I’m emphasizing the science angle more than—”
Editor 1: “How about this idea? Hitler’s secret hippie granddaughter Sunflower Braun.”
Editor-in-Chief: “Bold, but Hitler doesn’t push sales anymore. Listen, what do I always explain? The photo tells the story. The girl is already naked, right, so how did she get that way?”
Editor 1: “Well, because that photographer guy Morty told her she needed nude shots if she was ever gonna break onto Broadway.”
Editor 2: “Pro photographer reveals ways you can lie to make desperate actresses strip for dirty pictures!”
Editor-in-Chief: “Not bad. Now listen to me edit-in-chief it. Take out “lie” and “desperate actresses.”
Editor 1: “Genius, boss.”
Editor-in-Chief: “Yup. That right there is why I make the big bucks.”
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1967—First Space Program Casualty Occurs
Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when, during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere after more than ten successful orbits, the capsule's main parachute fails to deploy properly, and the backup chute becomes entangled in the first. The capsule's descent is slowed, but it still hits the ground at about 90 mph, at which point it bursts into flames. Komarov is the first human to die during a space mission.
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.
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.
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