Femmes Fatales Oct 10 2016
DORIS IN THE CHORUS
Sometimes in show business you need to make sure to cover your ass.

This lovely photo shows Doris Mitchell, a New York City showgirl and singer who was a member of Nils Thor Granlund's NTG Revue, a chorus line that was the first of its kind in Las Vegas, originating in 1943 at the El Rancho Hotel and Casino. The NTG Revue eventually came to New York City, where Mitchell presumably joined. But reviews were mixed, with some critics liking it, but a Variety scribe noting Granlund's habit of slapping the chorus girls on their asses, to which they rolled their eyes and drawled scripted quips like, “Ain't he a card?” Granlund was uncouth, but he was also famous and wealthy, so he got away with it. Sound like anyone you know? As far as Mitchell herself, this photo seems to be the only evidence of her career that exists. 

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Vintage Pulp May 2 2013
INVASION EARTH
Maybe they're angry they weren't invited to the slumber party.

This chaotic scene of terrified earthlings in their pajamas being swarmed by UFOs is one of the cooler vintage book covers you’ll see. Behind the Flying Saucers was Frank Scully's discussion of the origin of extraterrestrials, with a finger pointed squarely at the U.S. government for covering up evidence of their existence. He first aired his views in 1949 in his column in the publication Variety, and the next year expanded upon them in book form. The art, which was painted by Earle Bergey, is from the 1951 paperback edition. Behind the Flying Saucers was one of the first UFO books and its influence has been enduring. Scully inspired the name of Gillian Anderson’s immortal character on The X-Files, and we’ve seen the book online going for as much as $150. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology you don’t have to pay that much, or anything, for that matter, because you can read the entire text online here, or download it just about anywhere. As to whether any of what Scully wrote was true, like we’ve said before, if aliens could fly here from millions of light years away we’re pretty sure they’d have mastered the ability to go unobserved. We also think that an advanced race—after seeing how we kill each other by the millions, destroy our habitat, tolerate mass starvation, and are locked in a bizarre system of debt peonage designed to enrich an entrenched few—would not only do a screeching U-turn back to the far reaches of the cosmos, but would put up a giant intergalactic advisory sign telling travelers to steer clear of Earth at all costs. But we digress. Since the universe is too vast not to contain extraterrestrial life of some sort, maybe visitors have been here. You never know.

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Hollywoodland Apr 4 2012
GRANT'S TOMB
The porn industry welcomed her with open arms. Two years later she was dead.


Above is a cover of Variety magazine published today in 1984 reporting the death of porn starlet Shauna Grant the previous month. Born Colleen Applegate in Minnesota, she became a top-earning adult film performer over her two-year career in Los Angeles, but was also a heavy cocaine user and was ambivalent at best about her work. In fact, despite her popularity with the paying public she sometimes had difficulty acquiring roles because directors were well aware that she had no zest for what she did and they believed it showed in her performances. But her lack of enthusiasm wasn't just for her work—it was for her entire life, which was fueled by cash and parties, but also filled with hangers-on, bad men, and dodgy friends.

At some point she contracted herpes, and though many accounts assume it came from her career, it's just as likely she got the disease from her many outside-the-industry acquaintances, considering the incredibly high infection rates among the general public. In any case, with a drug habit and an STD, as well as an abortion and a broken relationship weighing on her, not to mention a career that she was ashamed of, Grant shot herself in the head with a .22 rifle on 23 March, and appeared posthumously on the Variety cover above. We chose the photo below because she seems so isolated in it, even lonely. A while back we shared an amazing Japanese poster with her, which you can see here, and we'll get back to more promo material from her later.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 14
1912—U.S. Invades Nicaragua
United States Marines invade Nicaragua to support the U.S.-backed government installed there after José Santos Zelaya had resigned three years earlier. American troops remain for eleven years.
1936—Last Public Execution in U.S.
Rainey Bethea, who had been convicted of rape and murder, is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in what is the last public execution performed in the United States.
August 13
1995—Mickey Mantle Dies
New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle dies of complications from cancer, after receiving a liver transplant. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, but he was also an alcoholic and played drunk, hungover, and unprepared. He once said about himself, "Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been."
August 12
1943—Philadelphia Experiment Allegedly Takes Place
The U.S. government is believed by some to have attempted to create a cloak of invisibility around the Navy ship USS Eldridge. The top secret event is known as the Philadelphia Experiment and, according to believers, ultimately leads to the accidental teleportation of an entire vessel.
1953—Soviets Detonate Deliverable Nuke
The Soviet Union detonates a nuclear weapon codenamed Reaktivnyi Dvigatel Stalina, aka Stalin's Jet Engine. In the U.S. the bomb is codenamed Joe 4. It is a small yield fission bomb rather than a multi-stage fusion weapon, but it makes up for its relative weakness by being fully deployable, meaning it can be dropped from a bomber.
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