The Naked City | Vintage Pulp Jul 29 2014
PAYBACK IS A HITCH
They say vengeance is a dish best served cold, but we recommend passing entirely.


Above is a very nice True Detective from July 1959 with a Brendan Lynch cover depicting a woman startled by the arrival of a criminal. It’s actually a perfect cover, because inside the issue you get an interesting story related by Elma Baldwin, who was kidnapped by a paroled convict named Richard Arlen Payne. Payne snatched Baldwin and three her kids at gunpoint as part of an ill-conceived plan to trade them for the release of his former cellmate Burton Junior Post, aka Junior Starcher, who was serving time at West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville. Payne didn’t want Starcher out because they were buddies. Quite the opposite—he had vowed to kill the man, and threatened to torture and murder the Baldwins if his demands weren’t met. He wrote in a note to Governor Cecil Underwood, “My purpose is to kill and take the head of my worst enemy, who is now out of reach. I must kill him or go mad.”

You’re probably asking why Payne never did anything to Starcher while they were cellmates. Payne’s answer was simple: “I could have killed him at any time, and I thought about it very seriously. At times I had a blade to his throat. But he was as good as done for anyway, because I knew once I got in the free world there were ways that I could get at him.”

Well, maybe not so much. In any case, the kidnapping was big news in 1959, probably owing to its sheer incomprehensibility. Today it’s mostly forgotten but remains a good case study of the benefits of being able to let go one’s anger. The entire event lasted only twenty hours, ending with a brief shootout in which nobody was injured, followed by Payne’s admittance to a mental asylum. Asked if Starcher had done anything specific during their time at Moundsville to engender such hatred, Payne said, “Well, nothing I can put my finger on. It was just a sort of natural hatred.”

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Vintage Pulp Jul 28 2014
ANY GIVEN UNDIES
Panties go down, skirt goes up, and physics go out the window.

This Art Frahm pin-up painting, entitled “A Sudden Letdown,” lacks Frahm’s trademark bag of groceries with protruding celery stalk, but the infamous fallen panties are there, presumably shaken loose by the same gust of wind that lifted the woman’s skirt. But was the same breeze responsible for pushing the car off the jack? We know the car was elevated because its owner got two lug nuts off the wheel at some point, but that would be quite a gust, wouldn’t it? And why would the jack still be falling? If a gust pushed the car off its jack, wouldn’t the jack hit the pavement the same time as the car? Maybe the car fell spontaneously and created a gust that lifted the skirt and knocked down the panties. But if that’s the case, again, why is the jack still falling? Maybe it isn’t falling. Maybe it’s bouncing. Maybe it hit a particularly springy patch of asphalt, a substance known for its elastic properties—at least in Frahm’s world. Well, he was a painter not a physicist, so let’s just give him credit where it’s due—he originated an entire genre of fallen panty art that was imitated by many other artists and beloved by the public at large.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 27 2014
WHO'S LE BOSSU?
All roads lead to Renato.

Today we have yet another excellent cover from Benedetto Caroselli—Anima e corpo, aka Body and Soul, written by Lucien Le Bossu for Edizioni Periodici Italiani’s I Capolavori della Serie KKK Classici dell’Orrore, 1965. Le Bossu, perhaps unsurprisingly, was one of about twenty literary pseudonyms belonging to Renato Carocci. In fact, Carocci even wrote under the name Tom Ewell, who was a well-known American actor of the period. How he got away with that we don’t know. Anyway, you can find out a bit more about Carocci here, and see more art from Caroselli by clicking his keywords below.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 22 2014
QUICK FIXLER
Fred Fixler once again elevates Brandon House sleaze with virtuosic art.

A few years ago we shared eight Fred Fixler covers he had painted for Brandon House. Today we thought we’d fill out the collection a bit with another group of Fixlers, above. Some of these you can see elsewhere online, whereas others you can’t, but they all fall into that our-website-is-not-complete-without-them category we’ve mentioned before. Problem solved. Over time Fixler has become one of our favorite paperback illustrators, and these pieces show why. In fact, they’re probably way too good for an imprint like Brandon House, which published books like The Rape Machine and Sex on Welfare. It’s proof that even excellent artists often barely manage to make a living in this crazy world of totally upside down values. You can see the other Fixler collection at this link.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 21 2014
CLAMMY HANDS
Dive-in cinema at its best.

This poster is for Shiofuki ama, aka Clam-Diving Ama. You of course remember that an ama is a woman who dives for valuable undersea items, typically abalone or pearls. Like the other ama movies we’ve discussed, this one is from Nikkatsu, and it stars Akiko Hyûga as a neglected ama named Saki whose truck driver husband is inconveniently away for long periods. When he dies in an accident the men of Saki’s village turn their attention to her, and a resultant affair leads to trouble. This one has a secret pregnancy, a miscarriage, and betrayal, and while Hyûga is the lead it’s actually co-star Yûko Asuka who does most of the down and dirty. For those interested in viewing the movie, it will prove impossible to find, probably, but at least we can show you the poster. Oh, and the promo shot below. Shiofuki ama premiered in Japan today in 1979.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 20 2014
LADY AND THE SCAMP
Life is like a can of whup-ass—you never know what you’re gonna get.

Basil Heatter’s The Captain’s Lady is the story of a World War II vet who moves to a Florida fishing town and opens a charter boat business. It had been the dream of he and his buddy, Forrest Gump-style, and just like in Gump the buddy was killed in battle, so the protag Greg Cape has to go it alone. At least until he meets a tough woman named Billie, and it’s good she’s tough, because the local boating cartel plans to run Cape out of town. But when he decides to fight, Billie helps, and all hell breaks loose. It’s still a bit like Forrest Gump, but with Gump as a badass. The art for these editions, 1950 and 1953, is uncredited.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 11 2014
STAG NATION
War is hell. Unless you get paid to paint it.

Today we have a bunch of scans from a July 1960 issue of the American men’s magazine Stag. The cover is by Mort Kunstler, and features the type of large scale war tableau that was pretty much his trademark. Inside you get art from the usual suspects Samson Pollen and James Bama, and photos of actress Vikki Duggan, aka Vikki Dougan, who made a splash in the 1950s by wearing backless dresses that plunged to ass-crack height (or below, sometimes). The idea was to compete with Monroe, Mansfield and the like using her back, because she didn’t have large breasts. Stag offers a couple of images, though not her most scandalous examples. You can see one of those by clicking here. You can also have a look at more of Mort Kunstler’s art by clicking here, as well as by visiting the comprehensive pulp magazine site menspulpmags.com. Twenty scans below for your enjoyment. 

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Vintage Pulp Jul 10 2014
ABBETTING AFTER THE FACT
A long overdue collection of Bob Abbett covers.

We’ve compiled a collection of Bob Abbett covers, something we should have done years ago. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, working in a couple of distinct styles, he produced some of the most striking book fronts to be found on newsstands. See eighteen pieces of evidence below. 

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Vintage Pulp Jul 9 2014
STIRRING IT UP
Rub-a-dub-dub, a girl and her tub…

By now you know we’re really into these promos for Japanese ama movies, so here’s one for Kuikomi ama: Midare-gai, aka Marked Ama: Stirred Up Shell. The poster is instructive because it’s the only one we’ve seen that offers a good look at one of the ama’s most important tools. No, not that, silly. We mean her wooden tub, which floats on the water's surface attached to its owner by a rope. Typically they’re a bit larger than the one pictured, and are used to hold whatever she finds. One source said they were used as buoys that she clung to in order to rest between dives, but we’re not too sure on that. By chance we ran across some black and white ama photographs from the 1950s and we’ll put those up soon. But getting back to the movie, basically you get the standard plot here of illicit sex in a small fishing village triggering jealousy and revenge, and upsetting the delicate local equilibrium. The movie stars Ryoko Watanabe and was directed for Nikkatsu Corporation by Atsushi Fujiura. It premiered in Japan today in 1982.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 7 2014
BRUSH FIRE
Blaze consumes acres of grassland. Authorities seek cause.

Above, the cover of March Hastings’ The Heat of the Day, one of many lesbian themed novels published by Midwood-Tower. It’s the story of two girls whose blackened skeletons are found in a fire-scorched field. Well, not really. It’s actually about two girls who meet at a summer camp and develop a scorching attraction for each other. 1963 on this one, with art by Paul Rader. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 30
1935—Penguin Launched
Penguin Books is launched by Allen Lane and begins publishing cheap, no-frills paperbacks. Lane's idea of selling books not just in bookstores, but in train stations, pharmacies and corner stores, quickly revolutionizes the publishing market.
July 29
1957—Paar Takes Over Tonight Show
Today in 1957 Jack Paar begins hosting The Tonight Show. During Paar's five year stint, his unpredictable antics and strong comedic style help turn the program into a ratings juggernaut and a national institution.
1981—Charles and Diana Marry
Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer marry at St Paul's Cathedral before 3,500 invited guests and an estimated global television audience of 750 million, making it the most popular program ever broadcast.
July 28
1945—Plane Hits Empire State Building
A B-25 bomber crashes into the north side of the Empire State Building, between the 79th and 80th floors. One engine plows entirely through the structure, lands on a nearby apartment building, and sparks a fire that destroys a penthouse. The other engine falls down an elevator shaft. Fourteen people are killed in the incident.
1965—Vietnam War Heats Up
U.S. president Lyndon Johnson commits a further 50,000 US troops to the conflict in Vietnam, increasing the military presence there to 125,000. Johnson says about the increase, "I do not find it easy to send the flower of our youth... into battle."

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