Vintage Pulp Jul 20 2017
HOMICIDE BLONDE
She's not bad. She's just painted that way.

Peter Driben illustrated relatively few book covers compared to his magazine output. We showed you a rare paperback from him a few years ago, and above you see another—his work on W. T. Ballard's 1943 thriller Say Yes to Murder, for publisher Martin Goodman. The book is part of a series starring Ballard's character William Lennox, who was a detective-like troubleshooter for fictitious General Consolidated Studios. He investigates the murder of an actor found stabbed and lying under the bed of actress Jean Jeffries, who is the granddaughter of one of Lennox’s close friends. As a troubleshooter, Lennox's first duty is to move the body to avoid scandal for the studio (that's the difference between a detective and a troubleshooter) and only then does he try to unravel the mystery. Lennox appeared in three other Ballard novels—1946's Murder Can’t Stop, 1948's Dealing Out Death, and 1960's Lights, Camera, Murder, which he wrote as John Shepherd. Martin Goodman, you probably know already, later went on to create Marvel Comics. You can see that other nice Driben cover we mentioned here, and three brilliant Dutch covers here. We'll keep an eye out for more. 

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Vintage Pulp Jul 3 2017
THAT'S HOW SHE ROLLS
This is great! I feel so free! This thirty seconds is totally gonna be worth six months in a body cast!

The Novel Library 1950 paperback edition of Maxwell Bodenheim's 1930 book Naked on Roller Skates has one of the most famous covers from the mid-century era, thanks to master illustrator Peter Driben. This image has appeared on prints, postcards, and even bottles of wine. You'll notice it's cut off on the right edge so that Bodenheim's name is incomplete. That's the cover, not the scan. Call it a design defect, or a miscalculation at the printer. The book is about a fifty-something traveling salesman who meets a carefree young woman who has never seen the big city but wants to experience life's thrills unfiltered—i.e. to live naked on roller skates. She uses the phrase, “Punched in the face.” She wants to be punched in the face by life. And so the two make a deal to hook up for a year and head off to New York City, where they meet gangsters, brawlers, indulge in the nightlife of Harlem, run a food stand, and try to deal with the unscrupulous characters that descend upon them. Bodenheim seemed to live as fast as his characters. Despite writing at least three bestsellers, he was broke later in life, homeless along with his wife, and they ended up murdered in a slum rooming house. We may get into that sordid tale later. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 10 2014
TOP HAT, WHITE TIE, AND TAIL
Under the circumstances you’d be singing too.

Maurice Dekobra’s Bedroom Eyes was originally published in 1932 as La biche aux yeux cernés (which means “doe eyes identified”), and this retitled Novel Library paperback appeared in 1949 with excellent Peter Driben cover art of a nightgown-clad temptress. We can’t see her companion, but he’s left a top hat, cane and gloves in view. We think it’s Fred Astaire. Like his song from that era goes, “I just got an invitation through the mails: Your presence requested this evening. It’s formal—a top hat, a white tie, and tail…” Or, er, tails.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 22 2014
TITTER FEED
Sixty-five years ago Titter featured a different but very effective kind of messaging.

Peter Driben cover art for Robert Harrison’s Titter, October 1949. Inside, showgirls, showgirls, showgirls, including Jessica Rogers, who was known as the Wow Girl. We're getting a distinct message from this, which is that Harrison was a horny guy. See more Peter Driben art here, here and here.

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Vintage Pulp May 4 2013
KEYHOLE LARGO
This new apartment is great. Big kitchen, nice bathtub. There’s always a bit of a draft, though.

Sometimes, when you’re looking at a stack of vintage magazines about a hundred high the work of scanning seems overwhelming. For days like those, the website Darwination is truly a lifesaver. It used to post full scans of vintage magazines but the site has been idle for nearly a year. In any case, here’s another of their great offerings, a copy of Whisper published in May 1950. Cover artist Peter Driben uses a common pulp/men’s magazine motif—the big ass keyhole. In fact, we’ve been putting together a collection of these keyhole-themed covers we’ll show you later. The link to download this Whisper has died, but we’ve got a bunch of great scans below for your enjoyment this Saturday. We’ll return to scanning our own magazine stack soon.

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Vintage Pulp May 31 2012
A NAUGHTY WINK
Robert Harrison shows his kinky side.

Above, a Peter Driben cover for Robert Harrison’s Wink magazine published this month in 1949. Wink was pretty much identical to Harrison’s Beauty Parade, except with an element of kink. For instance, in panels 26 and 27 you’ll see the bondage themed comic strip “Sweet Gwendoline.” Pretty racy stuff for the time. See below. And see Beauty Parade here.

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Vintage Pulp May 11 2012
PURE BEAUTY
Everyone loves a Parade.

Since we were just talking a couple of days ago about websites where it’s possible to download vintage magazines, we thought we’d shine the spotlight on two more. Vintage Girlie Mags and Dad’s Stash, which are basically alter egos of each other, both have full scans. The main difference is vintagegirliemags gives away the scans for free, while dads-stash charges a minimal amount for downloads. The May 1950 issue of Beauty Parade you see above is available at the latter site, though ours didn’t come from there. The cover art on this issue is by the great Peter Driben, and inside you get Yvonne de Carlo, Denise Darcel, Ann Sheridan, Lana Turner, and page after page of other beauties. Many scans below for your Friday enjoyment. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 29 2012
EXPERT DRIBEN
Caution: miles of dangerous curves.


Below, a small selection of Peter Driben covers featuring his trademark full-bodied beauties, which he painted for six Robert Harrison-owned imprints, 1940s and 1950s.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 2 2011
DUTCH TOUCH
Peter Driben’s cover girl is all thumbs, but Driben himself was the opposite.

Above are three Dutch pulp covers for Collection Faun and Conald Leüger painted by the famed American pin-up artist Peter Driben. Sex Appeal en Bloedzuigers (Sex Appeal and Extortionists) and Sex Appeal Liefde en Hormonen (Sex Appeal Love and Hormones) date from 1957, and De Pekelzonde (The Peccadillo) with its charming image of a girl having trouble hanging a picture dates from 1963. If you’re inclined you can see more Dutch pulp at this Flickr group. 

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Vintage Pulp May 14 2010
WHISPER FROM THE PAST
Driben covers and clever interior design made the early Whisper a visual treat.

Whisper magazine from May 1951. This is the first time we’ve posted an issue of the early Whisper, with its classic cheesecake covers painted by Peter Driben. Inside, the designers do good work with a three-color format, using judicious swaths of red to spice up the visual interest. The women pictured—Joy Madison, Cindy Sullivan, Pat Swanson, and the curiously named Kevin Daley—left nary a ripple in the historical record. Too bad the internet didn’t exist then—they could have leaked a sex tape and had nice careers in reality television. We have more of these old Whisper mags we’ll be posting soon. 

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 24
1963—Ruby Shoots Oswald
Nightclub owner and mafia associate Jack Ruby fatally shoots alleged JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of Dallas police department headquarters. The shooting is broadcast live on television and silences the only person known for certain to have had some connection to the Kennedy killing.
1971—D.B. Cooper Escapes from Airplane
In the U.S., during a thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper, aka D. B. Cooper, parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines flight with $200,000 in ransom money. Neither he nor the money are ever found.
November 23
1936—First Edition of Life Published
Henry Luce launches Life, a weekly magazine with an emphasis on photo-journalism. Life dominates the U.S. market for more than forty years, publishing scores of iconic photographs that remain some of the most recognizable ever shot, and peaking at one point with a circulation of more than 13.5 million copies a week.
1963—Doctor Who Debuts on BBC
The BBC broadcasts the first episode of Doctor Who, starring William Hartnell as a mysterious alien who time travels in his spaceship, the TARDIS. With his companions, he explores time and space while facing a variety of foes and righting wrongs. The show would become the longest-running science fiction series ever broadcast.
November 22
1963—John F. Kennedy Is Assassinated
In Dallas, Texas, U.S. President John F. Kennedy is killed and Texas Governor John B. Connally is seriously wounded as they ride in a motorcade through Dealy Plaza. Lee Harvey Oswald, an employee of the schoolbook depository from which the shots were suspected to have been fired, was arrested on charges of the murder of a local police officer and was subsequently charged with the Kennedy killing. He denied shooting anyone, claiming he was a patsy, but was killed by Jack Ruby on November 24, before he could be indicted or tried. Today, Americans who believe JFK was killed as the result of a conspiracy are routinely dismissed in the press, yet the vast majority of them believe Oswald did not act alone.
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