Intl. Notebook Mar 23 2015
TEMPLE OF DOOM
Secret Nazi lair found deep in Argentine jungle.


Archaeologists have uncovered a set of stone ruins in Argentina they believe were constructed to serve as homes for Nazis fleeing Europe during the aftermath of World War II. The buildings are located in a mountainous, barely accessible area of the Teyu Cuare national park in northern Argentina where it meets the border with Paraguay. The archaeologists believe these are Nazi structures because they uncovered German coins minted between 1938 and 1941, and fragments of a plate made in Germany. The fact that such structures were found in Argentina isn’t a surprise—another stone house found years ago (below) in the same park is believed to have been built for Parteikanzlei chief Martin Bormann, who never got to use it. In the end the Nazis never really needed their Teyu Cuare lairs—as many as 9,000 of them fled to Argentina openly, welcomed by the government of Juan Peron.

Argentina was hardly unique in that respect. Thousands more Nazis settled in Brazil, Chile, and in the fascist dictatorship of Paraguay. Hundreds fled to the Middle East.  At least one resided for a brief time inQuebec. Via Operation Paperclip, high ranking Nazi party members such as Wernher von Braun, Kurt Debus, and Arthur Rudolph were welcomed into the U.S., mainly due to their knowledge of physics and rocketry. Hubertus Strughold (at right) was also brought over. He had a different kind of knowledge—direct awareness of and possible involvement with fatal medical experiments relating to extreme environments and atmospheric pressure. All four men were given jobs at NASA.

There’s no word yet on what the Argentine government plans to do with the newly discovered Teyu Cuare structures. The alleged Borman house still stands and even has a sign noting its unusual history. However most countries prefer to wipe out evidence of government or citizen collaboration with the Third Reich by opting to raze Nazi structures.

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Intl. Notebook Mar 17 2015
HARD NUKE LIFE
Annie was a big hit in the desert long before the Broadway musical came along.


In the photo above, department store manager Hillman Lee checks out a group of battered mannequins he had helped the U.S. government use in a nuclear test. The mannequins were placed inside House No. 1 at the Nevada Proving Grounds and subjected to the blast effects of the sixteen-kiloton shot codenamed Annie, which was part of Operation Upshot-Knothole. The images below show up on all sorts of websites identified with all sorts of tests, but these come from the Nevada Department of Energy website and are identified there as the actual House No. 1 that wasblown to smithereens along with Hillman’s mannequins (those may seem in strangely good shape to you, but keep in mind that fiberglass melts at about 37,000°F, whereas human flesh burns at about 120°F and melts shortly thereafter).

For an interesting indication of the bizarro world some people lived in during the nuclear 1950s, consider this quote from Hillman concerning the use of mannequins (which, by the way, he dressed differently as a tribute to American individuality and choice): “The outcome of this test is unpredictable, but the results of the evaluation may be a powerful factor in deciding fashion trends in the years to come.” That’s right—he thought he could learn from the test how to make nuclear blast-resistant clothes, market them, and make money selling them. Kind of makes you wonder whether humans are simply destined to fail on this planet, doesn’t it? Nuclear test Annie occurred at 5:20 a.m. today in 1953. 

Note: We got an e-mail, and the question was whether the mannequin photo was really made after the test, or before. If the photo were larger you'd be able to see that the mannequins are, in fact, a bit battered. Of course, that raises the question of whether they're radioactive. Being the morbid guys we are, we did check historical records on Hillman Lee to see if maybe he developed health problems, but there's nothing on him. Presumably he made a fortune on his nuke resistant garments and retired to a life of quiet but comfortable obscurity. Or not.

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Intl. Notebook Mar 5 2015
WHISKEY DECISIONS
Too much booze leads to terrible decisions about military secrets—and music.


Everyone knows booze makes people shoot their mouths off, so what better way for a liquor company to support the Allied effort during World War II than by producing a propaganda poster that says—basically—don’t let our product affect you the way our product affects people? The Montreal based whiskey distiller House of Seagram did exactly that when it hired artist Essargee, aka Henry Sharp Goff, Jr. to paint the above poster warning of the potentially disastrous combo of booze, chattiness, and military secrets. You can see Essargee’s signature just about in the middle of the poster.

This piece is pure genius, not just because it features a highly stylized, almost new wave Führer, but because it could be produced today with slightly different text and instead of talking about Hitler it could be cautioning that drinking too much can make you listen to punk-ass Justin Bieber. This is a message the people need today. We had no idea Hitler and Bieber resembled each other so closely, but you see that, right? Like twins, these two. Now if only all Bieber’s music could be doused with petrol and incinerated we’d be getting somewhere.

In any case, the House of Seagram and Essargee cooked up several of these propaganda pieces together, all of which are highly collectible today. We have another two of their collaborations below for you to check out, and you can see a third—entitled “Starve Him with Silence”—at our previous post on World War II propaganda from Germany, Japan, Russia, England, and the U.S. here.


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Intl. Notebook Feb 27 2015
FINAL FRONTIER
Sci-fi icon Leonard Nimoy dies in Bel-Air, California.

Above is a promo photo of American actor Leonard Nimoy. We’ve been working our way through the original Star Trek and last night just finished the episode “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” Watching the show for the first time since childhood, it’s easy to see now that Nimoy was the best part of it. Shatner is great in that cheesy way of his, but Nimoy is the center of the Trek universe. He was especially good when his purely logical Mr. Spock was allowed to show emotion. In “Is There in Truth No Beauty?” while possessed by a cloud-like alien named Kollos who'd never occupied a physical form before, he waxed, “How compact your bodies are. And what a variety of senses you have. This thing you call language though—most remarkable. You depend on it for so very much. But is any one of you really its master? But most of all, the aloneness. You are so alone. You live out your lives in this shell of flesh. Self-contained. Separate. How lonely you are. How terribly lonely.” Star Trek was greater than the sum of its parts. It was escapism, but it managed stunning insights into the human condition. Leonard Nimoy was often the conduit. He died today in Bel-Air, California of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease aged eighty-three.

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Intl. Notebook Feb 4 2015
L-A-N-D THAT TIME FORGOT
Before Hollywood there was Hollywoodland.

Los Angeles has always been a place where gaudy signage and programmatic architecture reigns, so when a real estate company decided in 1923 to erect a giant Hollywoodland sign on Mount Lee to publicize a chic housing development in Beachwood Canyon people hardly blinked an eye. In 1944, the development’s owners deeded the sign to the city, which by then had begun to symbolize the motion picture industry. In 1949 a storm blew down the H, and with the sign now reading “ollywoodland” debate took place about whether to demolish the rest. But the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce ponied up $5,000, contracted the Department of Parks and Recreation to repair the H and, while they were at it, take down the L-A-N-D, thus matching the landmark to the name of the city it promoted, resulting in the sign’s current, world famous form. Above and below you see a collection of photos made from the time of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s makeover and before. The sign is very small in some of the shots, but it’s there.

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Intl. Notebook Jan 16 2015
STAR NOIRS
San Fran film fest once again celebrates the best and brightest of mid-century crime cinema.

Today, once again, the U.S.’s premier film noir festival begins in San Francisco. Well, we aren’t impartial—we used to live in Berkeley, just across the Bay, and San Fran was our nocturnal playground—but we think the Noir City Film Festival is the best, that its locale the Castro Theatre is awesome, and that San Francisco, with its iconic hills, clanking cable cars, and rogue fogs, is the also the best possible host city. This year the art produced for the festival in its thirteenth year references worn pulp paperbacks, which we can appreciate, and we also love the festival line-up.

The extravaganza opens with Woman on the Run, a film we discussed recently. Apparently the last known print burned in a fire, and this year’s showing represents the culmination of years of restoration work. Since the film was in the public domain, we imagine some secondary sources existed and needed to be tracked down and cobbled together. Other classics to be screened include Clash By Night, The Thin Man, Shockproof, Cry Terror!, and twenty others. Hopefully a few of our Bay Area friends will attend the festival and report back. And to Pulp Intl. readers in that part of the world, this is your official reminder—any chance to see film noir on a big screen is an opportunity not to be wasted.

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Intl. Notebook Jan 11 2015
LIFE IS SWEET
Anita Ekberg dies in Italy.

She was born Kerstin Anita Marianne Ekberg in Malmo, Sweden, but became famous as simply Anita Ekberg. Some of her screen roles included 1955’s Artists and Models, and 1956’s Zarak Khan and Back from Eternity, films that made her very famous. But it was 1960’s La Dolce Vita and her portrayal of the wild starlet Sylvia for which she’s most remembered. The uniquely talented Anita Ekberg, dead in Rocca di Papa, Italy, aged 83

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Intl. Notebook Jan 8 2015
HOW TO SELL A MILLION
Were they selling the movie or only its star?

Do they still run ads in newspapers for motion picture releases? The one above ran in dozens of U.S. papers during the run-up to the release of One Million Years B.C., the Raquel Welch lost world flick that cemented her status as a leading sex symbol. The ad (which seems to promote mainly Welch, since we don’t learn the name of the film until we read the fine print at bottom), appeared today in 1966, and One Million Years B.C. followed in February. Bikinis haven’t been the same since.

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Intl. Notebook | Politique Diabolique Dec 19 2014
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER
Mandy Rice-Davies dies of cancer.

Mandy Rice-Davies, one of the central figures in the John Profumo Affair of 1963, died of cancer early this morning. Most accounts of the scandal describe Rice-Davies as a prostitute, and indeed Stephen Ward, one of the principals in the fiasco, was imprisoned for living off the earnings of Rice-Davies and other women—another way of saying he pimped. But Rice-Davies spent a good portion of her final years denying she was a call girl, saying she didn’t want her grandchildren to remember her that way. 

Whatever her means of support during the Profumo Affair, what is certainly true is that she was young and beautiful and somehow found herself at the nexus where rich, entitled men and beautiful women always seem to meet. The Profumo Affair's world of secret parties, middle-aged male egos, and a lurking Soviet spy came into being during the most paranoid years of the Cold War, and John Profumo’s role in it cost him his position as Secretary of State for War in the British government.

After the scandal Rice-Davies sang in a cabaret in Germany, lived in Spain, moved to Israel where she opened nightclubs and restaurants in Tel Aviv, released music and books, appeared on television and in film, including the The Seven Magnificent Gladiators and Absolute Beginners, and was involved in the development of a Stephen Ward-based Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. She accomplished plenty. But as long as she is remembered it will be for Profumo, Christine Keeler, the parties and scandalous revelations, and the near-collapse of the British government in 1963. If you’re interested in reading more, we talked about Rice-Davies in a bit more detail here and here.


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Intl. Notebook Dec 18 2014
LAST LOOK
Virna Lisi dies in Rome.

Italian actress and revered beauty Virna Lisi has died aged seventy-eight of cancer. Her film career began in 1953 and she has acted on televison in 2014 and in a film to be released next year. We’ve featured her quite a bit here. You can see a couple of entries here and here. 


 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 05
1939—U.S. Declares Neutrality in WW II
The Neutrality Acts, which had been passed in the 1930s when the United States considered foreign conflicts undesirable, prompts the nation to declare neutrality in World War II. The policy ended with the Lend-Lease Act of March 1941, which allowed the U.S. to sell, lend or give war materials to allied nations.
1972—Munich Massacre
During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, a paramilitary group calling itself Black September takes members of the Israeli olympic team hostage. Eventually the group, which represents the first glimpse of terrorists for most people in the Western world, kill eleven of the hostages along with one West German police officer during a rescue attempt by West German police that devolves into a firefight. Five of the eight members of Black September are also killed.
September 04
1957—U.S. National Guard Used Against Students
The governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, mobilizes the National Guard to prevent nine African-American students known as the Little Rock Nine from enrolling in high school in Little Rock, Arkansas.
September 03
1941—Auschwitz Begins Gassing Prisoners
Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of Nazi Germany's concentration camps, becomes an extermination camp when it begins using poison gas to kill prisoners en masse. The camp commandant, Rudolf Höss, later testifies at the Nuremberg Trials that he believes perhaps 3 million people died at Auschwitz, but the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum revises the figure to about 1 million.

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