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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Intl. Notebook Dec 8 2014
ALL A BORDELAIS
It’s sometimes called Petit Paris but it’s a unique city all its own.

Despite the nickname people from Bordeaux aren’t Petit Parisiennes. Instead, they’re Bordelais, and one thing Bordelais (and Bordelaises, who are female) really appreciate is old books. We found some nice items we’ll begin posting soon, but for today all we have time to show you is a couple of interesting Bordelais snapshots. We took the top photo next to a bookstore, which was closed, but which had mounted a free book crate on an adjacent door. We found nothing there, but in the center of the city in a seasonal market on the Place de Quinconces we dug through stacks of printed matter and uncovered a few choice nuggets. There was also a flea market—a bit more of a bohemian, Arab, and African undertaking—on the Place Maynard in the shadow of the amazing Basilique and Clocher Saint-Michel, and there we came across a few interesting magazines, some pretty cool vendors, and a whole row of nice cafes. Next mission—find a scanner.

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Intl. Notebook Nov 28 2014
ETERNALLY GRATEFUL
Thank you! That was the best Thankgiving turkey ever!


We totally forgot to acknowledge Thanksgiving yesterday, because, well, we don’t have that holiday here. Here, that day is nothing more than the day after hump day. But for the last five years we’ve hosted friends the Saturday after Thanksgiving and amazed and thrilled them with U.S.-style feasts, after which they say, “No wonder Americans are so fat.” We always have to special order the turkey, but everything else is readily available here, though used in different ways. For example, mashed potatoes? Forget it. Candied yams? Wait, you’re gonna do what with those? Anyway, to the U.S. readers of Pulp Intl., happy belated Thanksgiving.

We also let another milestone pass unnoticed—Pulp’s anniversary. It was on November 1, 2008 that this site went live, so we’re into our seventh year of operation. There were some bumps along the way. Black Bomber once had to flee San José City to avoid a machete attack, and P.S.G. Pumpometer had to manuever his way through a hairy confrontation in an alley in Marrakech. And then there were the really scary moments—server problems. But we’re still here and the site is drawing healthy traffic. Not bad for something we came up with as a timekiller. While drinking. Heavily.

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Intl. Notebook Nov 11 2014
INTERNET SILENCE
At least they mean well.

Above you see Helmut, Thorbjorn and Uwe, three technicians from our server company, toiling in bitter sub-zero temperatures keeping Pulp Intl. live. In the last few months we’ve experienced periodic outages, but only because sometimes these guys’ hats slip down over their eyes. If you visit here a lot, you’ve noticed the outages. And if you don’t visit a lot, you got a page with a cryptic message and never came back. We apologize for the troubles, thank you for your patronage, and ask you to remember that if Pulp Intl. isn’t here when you visit, don’t worry—we’re away for only a few hours at most. We still have way too much to share, and plenty of time on our hands. When we retire this website it’ll be on our terms, not because our techs would rather ice-fish than maintain service. 

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Intl. Notebook Oct 26 2014
DESERT DE BACA
Sounds a lot like debacle to us.

The De Baca nuclear test was part of Operation Hardtack II, a series of thirty-seven Nevada Test Ground blasts squeezed into seven weeks in order to beat a looming deadline—the beginning of a U.S./U.S.S.R. nuclear moratorium. The test ban failed when the Soviets began testing again three years later, a political crisis precipitating that failure, specifically a showdown concerning the status of East Berlin. The test ban would have failed anyway, though, as all test bans have failed, and all future test bans will fail, because nuclear weapons are seen by weak nations as the ultimate defense against invasion by stronger nations. And of course, they’re right. Since only the year 2000, nuclear-armed nations have invaded non-nuclear nations nine times. Conversely, since the dawn of the nuclear era in 1945, a period comprising nearly seventy military encroachments, no nuclear nation has had its mainland invaded. The De Baca test occurred today in 1958.

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Intl. Notebook Oct 23 2014
MCQUEEN AND THE QUEEN
Steve and Marilyn. Steve and Lola. It’s a great pairing either way.

Steve McQueen and Marilyn Monroe may or may not have met in real life (some sources say they, uh, knew each other), but pairing them in print is still a bit of an inspired move. Or maybe you think the significant pairing is McQueen with a Lola T70 MKIII B race car. Hey, whatever turns you on. In any case, this is a December 1972 foldout poster from Japan’s Screen magazine, with McQueen (and Lola) on one side and Monroe on the reverse. The McQueen photo was made during the filming of Le Mans the previous year, and the Monroe shot is obviously the one made famous by Playboy back in 1953. Screen produced many posters, all of which are rare today (for instance, the amazing Raquel Welch image here). We have more of these somewhere and we’ll get them online eventually.

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Intl. Notebook Oct 10 2014
TIME TO FLEA
Bargains are few when the best flea market in Paris becomes the trendiest, but there's always hope for pulp diggers.


Vintage book seekers in Paris often focus their efforts on Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, or the Saint-Ouen Flea Market. Operating since 1870, as you see in the vintage postcard above, the seventeen-acre site is located north of the 18th arrondissment, outside the Boulevard Périphérique encompassing the historic center of the city. Here thousands of vendors sell every item imaginable—furniture, board games, musical instruments, électrodomestiques, vinyl records, jewelry, art and more. There are also many cafés on site, and the combination of all this makes the market a popular destination. If you’re headed to Paris we recommend the place. Some unfavorable reviews focus on the prices, which we agree are not low, but this is less a true flea market than a rarities market—i.e., bargains are thin on the ground. But for pulp diggers it’s nice. Even sellers who don’t specialize in vintage publications sometimes keep a stash of books and magazines around because they’re just the sort of low cost items that bring browsers into the stalls.

Also on the subject of reviews, we saw some suggesting the market is unsafe. You have to scratch your head at some people’s fears. 120,000 people visit the Saint-Ouen during its busiest weekends and in no part of it could you manage to be more than twenty feet from other shoppers. It’s possible pickpockets may lurk, but that's true in any crowded spotin any big city in any country. Take the standard precautions, and then enjoy yourself—that's the only advice needed here. Oh, and bring good shoes. If this is indeed a flea market—disputed, as we mentioned earlier—then it's the largest in the world.

So, what did we buy? We came across a huge stack of Paris-Hollywood magazines, several tattered issues of Ciné-Revue, and plenty of old books. Budget mattered, but luckily the books and magazines were reasonably priced and every vendor we interacted with bargained willingly, even cheerfully. In the end we managed several good purchases, supplemented by crisp digital photos of the covers of items we couldn’t afford to acquire. A tweak in Photoshop and they’re almost as good as scans. We’ll share all of those in upcoming days.


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Intl. Notebook Oct 8 2014
PARIS IS FOR READERS
You're nobody in Paris if you aren't carrying a book.

We're back from Paris. And indeed we did find some wonderful treasures, including many issues of Folies de Paris et de Hollywood, lower right in the above photo. We were struck once again by the extent of the reading culture in Paris. In the evenings people stop by the hundreds to browse the outdoor discount racks of the many bookstores, and you see people carrying books everywhere, stealing a few pages of enjoyment at the cafes or on the banks of the Seine. We're just a bit exhausted today, so nothing to show, but beginning tomorrow or the next we'll share some of the items we acquired. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 06
1937—The Hindenburg Explodes
In the U.S, at Lakehurst, New Jersey, the German zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire and is incinerated within a minute while attempting to dock in windy conditions after a trans-Atlantic crossing. The disaster, which kills thirty-six people, becomes the subject of spectacular newsreel coverage, photographs, and most famously, Herbert Morrison's recorded radio eyewitness report from the landing field. But for all the witnesses and speculation, the actual cause of the fire remains unknown.
May 05
1921—Chanel No. 5 Debuts
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel, the pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist philosophy, menswear-inspired styles, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion, introduces the perfume Chanel No. 5, which to this day remains one of the world's most legendary and best selling fragrances.
1961—First American Reaches Space
Three weeks after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to fly into space, U.S. astronaut Alan Shepard completes a sub-orbit of fifteen minutes, returns to Earth, and is rescued from his Mercury 3 capsule in the Atlantic Ocean. Shepard made several more trips into space, even commanding a mission at age 47, and was eventually awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
May 04
1953—Hemingway Wins Pulitzer
American author Ernest Hemingway, who had already written such literary classics as The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls, is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novella The Old Man and the Sea, the story of an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream.
1970—Mass Shooting at Kent State
In the U.S., Ohio National Guard troops, who had been sent to Kent State University after disturbances in the city of Kent the weekend before, open fire on a group of unarmed students, killing four and wounding nine. Some of the students had been protesting the United States' invasion of Cambodia, but others had been walking nearby or observing from a distance. The incident triggered a mass protest of four million college students nationwide, and eight of the guardsmen were indicted by a grand jury, but charges against all of them were eventually dismissed.

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