Intl. Notebook Feb 27 2018
ALWAYS A PLAISIR
Pulp and art deco. Two great tastes that rarely went together.


The pulp era is generally agreed as having commenced the last several years of the 19th century and having ended during the 1950s. Art deco is agreed to have begun around 1900 and ended around the beginning of World War II. Despite co-existing, they occupied the same place surprisingly little. You would see crossover in cinematic adaptations of pulp material such as Flash Gordon, with its deco styled spaceships and costumes. Some pulp magazines had art deco influenced fonts, and some hardbacks had art deco sleeve art, such as those designed by Edna Reindel for W.R. Burnett's novels Iron Man and Saint Johnson. But when popular paperbacks and magazines began to focus on high quality cover art they developed their own visual style which we think of today as good girl art, or GGA.

But even if pulp and art deco didn't mix much back then, they mix here. Today we have an issue of Paris Plaisirs published in 1929 with drawings, paintings, studio photography, French wit and more. The cover photo-illustration was shot by Lucien Waléry, also known as Stanisław Julian Ignacy Ostroróg. Though his name was Polish he was a British citizen, born in London after his father Stanisław Julian Ostroróg—also a famed photographer—emigrated there in 1856 and became a citizen in 1862. The younger Ostroróg took the pseudonym Waléry and thus forever created confusion with earlier photographers who had used the same name. We won't bother unwinding all those Walérys. You can see another of our Waléry's beautiful art deco covers here, and we have other issues of Paris Plaisirs you can see by clicking the keywords at bottom.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 11 2016
THE PLEASURE IS MINE
I'd like to thank all my fans—particularly the one I'm holding.


It's been a while since we shared an issue of Paris Plaisirs, so today we have a nice example for you with Lily Damita, aka Liliane Marie-Madeleine Carré, on the cover. Mid-century paperback art generally features tough guys and femmes fatales, and that aesthetic has become intertwined in most people's minds with the idea of pulp, but during the movement's actual heyday in the early 20th century the visual style most commonly seen in publications was art deco. This art deco styled issue of Paris Plaisirs hit newsstands in Paris in November 1929, which is when U.S. magazines like Life and Vogue were also busily churning out art deco covers, and newspapers were filled with the exploits of gangsters and flappers. At the same time, legendary pulp publications like Argosy, Amazing Stories, and Black Mask were on their way to establishing a different visual style, and that would in turn evolve into the lurid paperback art of tough guys and femmes everyone knows and loves. We're quite fond of Paris Plaisirs and have quite a few more of them which we'll try to share down the line

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Vintage Pulp Sep 1 2015
THE PARIS OF YOUR DREAMS
Where the pleasure never seems to end.

Though they are at a glance aesthetically very different, the pulp era and the art deco era were contemporaneous, both in full bloom during the 1920s. Above you see the dreamy cover of a 1925 issue of the art deco style magazine Paris Plaisirs, i.e. Paris Pleasures, which was published from 12 Rue Georges-Berger in Paris. The cover star is dancer Isabelitta Ruiz, shot by R. Sobol. It looks to us as if Sobol provided the original image, but it was tinted by a second artist in the employ of the magazine. At least that’s our suspicion. We think that because we can see a second signature on the cover at lower left—it looks like, maybe, Cuaillant? No, that sounds wrong even for French. Maybe C. Jaillant? Better, but still quite possibly wrong. Here we go again with these French artists. And the magazines never seem to bother with masthead credits either. Too prosaïque maybe. We can hear our French friends say, “Comment typique! You Americans, always wanting to know exactly who did what. Learn to embrace uncertainty!” Okay, then. Twenty-two scans below, and you can see a lot more Paris Plaisirs art at the excellent webpage aucarrefouretrange.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 2 2014
GOLDEN GIRL
What did she have to show for her three years in Hollywood? Little more than a colorful description of it.


Paris Plaisirs was devoted to lifestyle and arts, with an emphasis on dance. We’ve featured it several times, such as here and here. The above issue appeared this month in 1925, and the cover shows golden Ginette Maddie, who in addition to performing at the Cinéma Français appeared in twenty films between 1922 and 1958, including under the direction of Alfred Machin and Julien Duvivier. At one point she scored a contract with MGM, and was whisked to Hollywood where she sat in a villa waiting for work that never came. Her complaints confused her acquaintances—after all, she was drawing a salary, so what did it matter if she worked? She wasn’t even the only idle foreigner on the scene. Russian actor Ivan Mosjoukine was also wandering about town drawing checks while waiting for roles that never materialized.

But Maddie had been a shining star in the City of Light. Transforming into an earthly nobody in Hollywood didn’t sit well. Eventually she fled back to her home. She dismissed Hollywood as a “ville factice et sans âme peuplée de gens superficiels et insignifiants.” Loose translation: a dummy-populated city without soul, for superficial and insignificant people.” Joke’s on her, though—that’s what everyone from Hollywood thinks too. The time away had kept Maddie idle for three years, damaging her career, but she finally scored a new role in 1930 and acted in two films that year and the next before pretty much fading from the cinema scene. Inside Paris Plaisirs you get more dancers, some photography, plus art deco style drawings from Mario Laboccetta, J. Bonnotte, and others. All below. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 16 2014
PARIS WHEN IT'S GREY
Even when it’s drab it’s beautiful.

This issue of Paris Plaisirs goes back farther than any we’ve featured—to 1924. But the pulp era officially began in the late 1800s, which means this art deco influenced publication fits right in. It debuted in 1922, lasted into the late 1930s, and was published out of Rue Georges-Berger in the Plaine de Monceaux quarter, fashioning itself as a specialty publication for Parisian music halls. Though this issue is very grey, the magazine became more colorful as time went by, which you can see in our other posts. That’s about all we can tell you about Paris Plaisirs because the mastheads in these are not exactly packed with information. We’ll find out more eventually, but in the meantime we’ll just enjoy the racy photographic vignettes and many ink drawings evocative of the Jazz Age. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 6 2014
ROUGH PLAY
She just earned herself a major penalty for enticing.

Above is the cover of a March 1932 issue of the French “esthétique, humoristique, théâtral” monthly Paris Plaisirs with cover star Marjorie King cheerfully wielding a field hockey stick from a position that suggests she’s been knocked on her ass. If you tilt your head you can see that she was really striking. When this issue appeared she seemed to be on the cusp of a cinema breakthrough, having appeared in four films in quick succession. But she only made two screen appearances after this cover—1933’s My Weakness and 1936’s J’ai gagné un million. However, she had some Broadway roles and appeared on and in many magazines, so when you add it all up she seems to have had a nice career. Regarding Paris Plaisirs, it launched in 1922 and ran until at least 1938. We’ve shared several of these before and you can see those by clicking here. And we also found another photo of King from the same field hockey session, as well as a nice shot of her by photography legend Alfred Cheney Johnston which we’ll share a bit later. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 27 2013
GRAPE EXPECTATIONS
Ripe and ready to harvest.

Above, the cover and some scans from Paris Plaisirs issue #137, published in 1933. You get a nice photo from Studio Manassé in panel four, photo-illustrations of various “types feminins,” a cool shot of French actress Marianne Stanior, and more.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 24 2012
HIGHS AND LOWS
So if you'll all glance behind me, you'll see I've prepared this helpful chart to represent our current dilemma.

Above is a nice little artifact from the Jazz Age, a cover of Paris Plaisirs, numbered 88 and published in October 1929, the month disaster struck when a massive speculative bubble that had built up within the lightly regulated New York Stock Exchange burst and led to a collapse that dragged the world into a global depression. The background pattern here looks like superimposed bar charts, but since it comes about thirty days before the actual crash, we’ll just go ahead call the graphic coincidental. But how eerie. The cover star is a Folies Bergère dancer known only as Eva, and inside you get the usual assortment of flappers, showgirls, art, and photography from Studio Manassé.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 31 2011
PLEASURE SEEKERS

Below, the polo-themed cover and several interior images from Paris Plaisirs magazine July 1932. See more Paris Plaisirs here. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 21 2010
REGLES DU PLAISIR
On the first day of Christmas your pulp blog gave to you...


Below, selected scans from the French erotic magazine Paris Plaisirs, which consisted of photos and photo-illustrations of various cabaret dancers, 1932. See another issue here. 

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
October 19
1989—Guildford Four Exonerated
The men known as the Guildford Four, who were imprisoned for a series of bombs attacks on British pubs that left five dead and 100 injured, are decreed not guilty after an investigation reveals that police colluded in doctoring statements that appeared to incriminate the defendants.
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.
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