Russ Meyer's tale of killer cats from Southern California is absurd but entertaining.
Though the text is in English, this promo for Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! was made for a 1994 re-release in Japan. You can see that the flipside at right is partially in Japanese. Faster Pussycat is one of those movies—everyone has heard of it, but fewer than you'd suspect have actually seen it.
So what's the deal? Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams drag race, wisecrack, and roughhouse their way around Southern California. But because they're bad tempered and sociopathic, they eventually kill a guy, which then requires abducting the only witness, and in turn leads to a scheme to cheat a wheelchair bound old man out of his disablement stash. It's an uneasy alliance between these three kittens, destined for implosion, an inevitability helped along by Satana's unending torrents of shouty abuse.
You really have to hand it to Meyer—what he did, he did really well. Faster Pussycat is a completely overdone tale of reckless youth and the lawless west, but ripping around the Mojave Desert with these girls is consistently fun. The type of moral decay and geographical desolation showcased here is one of American film's time-honored motifs. Meyer's entry in the genre holds up pretty well. The movie originally premiered today in 1965.
Delivering thrills all year round.
Stan Borack painted the cover of this issue of Male from January 1958, and the interior art comes from Samson Pollen, Bob Schultz, John Leone, James Bama, Bob Stanley, John Kuller, and Tom Ryan. Not a slouch in the bunch. The magazine contains a preview of Shane author Jack Schaefer’s novel Company of Cowards, the Civil War tale of a group of Union officers who have all been busted down to the rank of private, but who are formed into a special unit and given a chance to earn back their honor. That chance takes them into Comanche country where they face an assortment of deadly challenges.
Also in this issue you get famed model Diane Webber/Marguerite Empey—who we’ve been seeing a lot of recently—doing a nice photo feature and complaining that since being elected Queen of the Nudists by a national sunbathing association all anyone wants to talk about is her naked lifestyle. But we think that’s just the editors trying to come up with an angle for the text. Webber was an official advocate of nudist lifestyle and even promoted her special brand of spiritual nudism in television interviews, so we doubt she was fed up with it at this point. The photos were shot by Russ Meyer, and we’re pretty sure they’ve never been on the internet before, which is always a fun moment for us. Please enjoy. Twenty scans below.
Russ Meyer turns what he loves most into a career.
This rare Japanese poster promotes the American movie French Peep Show, which was boob aficionado Russ Meyer’s first sexploitation film in a long, infamous series of them. Shot at Oakland, California’s El Rey Burlesk Theater, it was ostensibly a documentary about dancer Tempest Storm’s quest to make it as a performer, but of course was really just an excuse to film a burlesque show and use the medium of cinema to export it to the masses. The film is presumed lost, which is too bad, because in addition to Storm, it featured Lily Lamont, Terry Lane, Shalimar, Marie Voe, and others. The poster is composed of three famous shots of Storm, one of which we shared a while back, the others of which you see below. You can read a bit more about French Peep Show here. It premiered in the U.S. in 1949, but reached Japan this month in 1954.
Soaking up the last rays of summer.
We mentioned last week that our collection of Technicolor pin-ups will hopefully be a worthy replacement for our Goodtime Weekly Calendar photos, which makes this image, entitled “Relaxing,” a perfect tie-in because it’s from the same Goodtime Weekly sessions that produced this shot and this one. Typically, Technicolor pin-ups used unknown models, so this may be the last time we’ll be able to identify a subject, but this happens to be British model and actress June Wilkinson. She was photographed by Russ Meyer and the year was 1962.
Ringing in the New Year in style.
Survived another year. And so have you. So let’s open 2013 by catching up with the Goodtime Weekly Calendar. We missed two weeks while we were in Morocco, and those pages are below. Above you see the January 1 page of this great publication, which also happens to be the cover, and it features model/actress/centerfold June Wilkinson shot by film director Russ Meyer. The photo is a variation of another Wilkinson image that appears inside the calendar later in the year. The images below are credited to Ron Vogel and L.W., whoever he is. Obviously, there's a three week backlog of jokes, but by now we’ve established that most of them are not in any way amusing, so rather than transcribe the entire collection, we’ve selected what we hope are the most interesting. Enjoy.
“A pedestrian: The man who didn’t believe his wife when she said the family needed two cars.”—Cannonball Adderley
“Many a man who would never think of gambling goes out and gets married.”—Sig Sakowicz
At Christmas time, every girl likes her past forgotten and her presents remembered.
Women are like modern paintings: you’ll never enjoy them if you try to understand them.
“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”—William Shakespeare
“People Who throw kisses are mighty near hopelessly lazy.”—Bob Hope
“Short skirts have a tendency to make men polite. Have you ever seen a man get on a bus ahead of one?”—Mel Ferrer
She’s having a hanging party and you’re the guest of honor.
Imagine our surprise. The Goodtime Weekly Calendar of 1963 has offered up its first fully clothed model of the year. The bad news is she’s also wearing a wicked expression and holding a rope. The model is unknown to us, but since she was photographed by filmmaker Russ Meyer, it’s possible she appeared in one of his films and we simply don’t recognize her. Anyway, lovely shot, cool jeans, great hair, scary rope. As for this week’s observations, you have to marvel at the Goodtime guys’ self confidence in using original material. And really, why not? Who needs Shakespeare? Why quote Oscar Wilde? No sir. When you can come up with the word “nutwork” all by yourself, clearly classical wit and wisdom have been outshone. And that one about how a waitress catches more passes than a football player? Sub. Lime. More quips below, but shield your eyes. This is incandescent stuff.
Nov 17: “Hard cash makes life soft.”—Freddie Flintstone
Nov 18: “Some of the prettiest girls in television sell the dullest products.”—Mae Maloo
Nov 19: Now you know why TV stations called themselves nutwork.
Nov 20: “The hardest decision for a woman to make is when to start middle age.”—Warren Hull.
Nov 21: “Overheard: ‘If my boss thinks I’m going to work 35 hours a week, he’d better look for another girl.’”—Irv Kupcinet.
Nov 22: A waitress catches more passes than a football player.
Nov 23: One world: Where America has most of the world’s automobiles and Russia has the most parking space.
Update: All we have to do is ask. A reader identified the model for us, and even pointed us toward another image, which you see below. She is a British model named Iris Bristol, and besides posing awesomely for photos she had several uncredited roles in movies and television, including a blink-and-you-miss-it bit in My Fair Lady. Thanks to Jo B. for digging up that info.
Guess nobody told her using cosmetics sparingly gives the best results.
Russ Meyer is back with another shot for the Goodtime Weekly Calendar of 1963, and there are immediately two points of interest here. First, Meyer found a model he liked that didn’t have double-d boobs, which is very equal opportunity of him, considering his track record. Second, the model went nuts around the eyes with her makeup. Words of advice—you know you’ve drawn a little too much arch in your eyebrows if random people keep looking at you and saying, “I’m sorry, did you just ask me something?”
Oct 6: The blue sky and golden leaves are really beautiful—even the wind whistles at them.
Oct 7: “Domestic harmony is music produced only if the husband plays second fiddle.”—Freddie Flintstone
Oct 8: “I have my wife well trained; she never opens my letters—unless they’re marked ‘personal’.”—Jack Herbert
Oct 9: An expensive wife is like a commanding officer at war. Whatever store she is in, she yells, “Charge!”
Oct 10: Yawning is a device of nature to enable husbands to open their mouths.
Oct 11: “All domestic trouble stems from two things—women and their mothers.”—Sam Cowling
Oct 12: “Today we honor Christopher Columbus—only in America could it happen!”
Modern bikini science proves no match for millions of years of female evolution.
The Goodtime Weekly Calendar of 1963 offers up a shot for the end of July of famed glamour model June Wilkinson, who seems ready to fall out of her bikini. A couple of the week’s quips touch on the subject of that garment as well, and the interest is understandable. Bikinis had been introduced in their modern form seventeen years earlier in Europe, but it took Brigitte Bardot to make them widely known with her 1950s film appearances, Ursula Andress to truly bring them into the American mainstream with her debut in 1962’s Dr. No, and apparently Russ Meyer—the photographer behind this shot—to test their tensile limits by wrapping one around a woman who was known as "The Bosom." Of course, Meyer being Meyer, if the bikini did actually manage to hold together, you can bet he simply put it on increasingly larger models until—snap!—Houston, we seem to be experiencing structural failure, please advise. Who said science can’t be fun?
July 28: Sometimes the less you give the more you’ll see of her. Such is the case with a bikini.
July 29: No sickness makes a man sicker than to be sick during his vacation.
July 30: A headwaiter’s tip to a blonde waitress: “Take good care of the guy. He tips at toll bridges.”
July 31: “A Las Vegas dancer is a walking telephone switchboard. When she works all her lines are busy.”—Jerry Vale
August 1: Sign on a display of bikinis: “If nothing else succeeds, try next to nothing.”
August 2: “When a girl’s youth has been well spent she starts to look around for another.”—Joe Hamilton
August 3: “My uncle takes a drink now and then, just to steady himself. Sometimes he gets so steady he can’t move.”—George Gobel
Above, the page for this week in the Goodtime Weekly Calendar of 1963, with photography by none other than big breast maven Russ Meyer. Meyer was, of course, the man behind such fare as 1965’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, 1966’s Mondo Topless, 1968’s Vixen, and the 1970 schlock masterpiece Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. More Meyer photography to come.
June 16: Marriage is a partnership if both parties know when to be mute.
June 17: “A wedding ring is just like a telephone ring; in both cases you’ve got to have a receiver.”—Sam Cowling
June 18: Happiness in marriage is a miracle because only one of the couple feels miserable at a time.
June 19: The woman cries before the marriage; the man afterward.—Polish Prov.
June 20: A woman’s tears and a dog’s limping are not real.—Spanish Prov.
June 21: “Those who marry where they do not love will love where they do not marry.”—Thomas Fuller
June 22: Overheard at a wedding: “Seems silly to say ‘I do’ after what we already did.”
The year of living d’Angerously.
This January 1967 issue of Whisper digs up dirt on Gina Lollobrigida, Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens, and tells us why Uncle Sam wants to deport a topless dancer. The latter is actually an interesting story. The topless star in question is Iranian-born burlesque dancer Yvonne D’Angers, aka Yvonne Boreta, and the reason she was being deported was for obscenity. D’Angers, who was also known by the nickname the Persian Lamb, had already been involved in a 1965 obscenity trial over the employment of topless waitresses and dancers by various San Francisco nightclubs and had gotten herself on the radar of political bluenoses scandalized by her act at the Off Broadway. When the deportation order came, d’Angers waged a very public battle against it and finally, in 1967, chained herself to the Golden Gate Bridge in protest. The press turned out in droves for the bizarre spectacle, and all the publicity made her nationally famous. At that point she was able to make the leap into motion pictures, appearing in 1968’s Sappho Darling, 1970’s Move with Elliot Gould, and the 1971 Russ Meyer flick The Seven Minutes. And in the end d’Angers was never deported, so, in this case at least, protest paid. So there's a lesson for all of us.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1981—Ronnie Biggs Rescued After Kidnapping
Fugitive thief Ronnie Biggs, a British citizen who was a member of the gang that pulled off the Great Train Robbery, is rescued by police in Barbados after being kidnapped. Biggs had been abducted a week earlier from a bar in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by members of a British security firm. Upon release he was returned to Brazil and continued to be a fugitive from British justice.
2011—Elizabeth Taylor Dies
American actress Elizabeth Taylor, whose career began at age 12 when she starred in National Velvet
, and who would eventually be nominated for five Academy Awards as best actress and win for Butterfield 8
and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
of congestive heart failure in Los Angeles. During her life she had been hospitalized more than 70 times.
1963—Profumo Denies Affair
In England, the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, denies any impropriety with showgirl Christine Keeler and threatens to sue anyone repeating the allegations. The accusations involve not just infidelity, but the possibility acquaintances of Keeler might be trying to ply Profumo for nuclear secrets. In June, Profumo finally resigns from the government after confessing his sexual involvement with Keeler
and admitting he lied to parliament.
1978—Karl Wallenda Falls to His Death
World famous German daredevil and high-wire walker Karl Wallenda, founder of the acrobatic troupe The Flying Wallendas, falls to his death attempting to walk on a cable strung between the two towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wallenda is seventy-three years old at the time, but it is a 30 mph wind, rather than age, that is generally blamed for sending him from the wire.
2006—Swedish Spy Stig Wennerstrom Dies
Swedish air force colonel Stig Wennerström, who had been convicted in the 1970s of passing Swedish, U.S. and NATO secrets to the Soviet Union over the course of fifteen years, dies in an old age home at the age of ninety-nine. The Wennerström affair, as some called it, was at the time one of the biggest scandals
of the Cold War.
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