Vintage Pulp Apr 11 2014
WHISPER OF THE KNIVES
Every celebrity’s time comes eventually.

Reading about celebrities in these old tabloids is a bit like reliving their fame in real time, and in this Whisper published this month in 1957 we get to observe Marilyn Monroe in mid-career. You know that stage. It’s the one where she’s no longer a sparkling new star, but hasn’t yet earned the status of a venerable old treasure. It’s the stage where almost overnight the very editors who were partners in constructing the edifice of fame begin to take it apart brick and girder, with sledgehammers and blowtorches. In this issue Whisper editors throw Monroe into their monthly crucible “The Pit,” an unenviable place you may remember from our post on Liberace a while back. Sometimes a celebrity behaves in such a way as to deserve harsh criticism, but generally that isn’t the case—only the narrative has changed, which itself reflects the belief in editorial circles that more magazines can be sold by tearing a person apart than by continuing to build them up. As we’ve mentioned before, we know a little bit about this, having spent many years working in media.

So what had Monroe done? What was Whisper so miffed about? Well, she had declared her craving to act in serious films. We’ll let Whisper hatchet man Tom Everleigh spin it for you in his own words: “And while the only success she’s ever had in films has been by rolling her hips and doing a lightweight Mae West routine, she’s suddenly going to become a “serious actress”—and would even love to render Shakespeare even!” There you have it, complete with two "evens," oddly. Monroe was the pits because she sought artistic growth. Everleigh describes every aspect of her career as crass manipulation and propaganda, which strikes us as pretty harsh, considering she was never in politics. But anyway, it does illustrate the point that when the script is primed to flip the flimsiest of pretexts will do. At this point in her career Monroe probably would have ended up in Whisper’s Pit whether she’d personally thwarted a terrorist attack or thrown a crate of golden retriever puppies in a woodchipper. Or put another way, when it’s your time to suffer the knives of the tabloids it’s simply your time. Monroe eventually did reach venerable old treasure status, but sadly, it was after her death five years after this issue appeared. We have a couple of scans of her, as well as a great page of Diana Dors with her husband Dennis Hamilton, below. 


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Vintage Pulp Apr 10 2014
ELLE OF A VIEW
Shake ya popotin, but watch yourself.

Above, a cover for Elle ondule du popotin, written by Jack Norton for Éditions Le Trotteur’s Collection Paprika and published in 1953. Norton was of course a pseudonym, in this case for Jean de Backer, who also wrote as Jacques Norton, Henry Ghils, and others. The title of this translates rather provocatively as “she sways her ass,” which is exactly what the artist seems to have been trying to depict with this femme fatale in sheer lingerie. That artist was Alex Pinon, a favorite of ours. We haven’t really begun to share his work the way we’d like, but we will, and in the meantime, if you click over to our keyholes collection from last July, you can see a few more Pinons there. By the way, “popotin”? That’s one of the funnier words for butt we’ve heard. Not great as a song lyric, but maybe we can work it into conversation sometime. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 8 2014
LITTLE RED GAZETTE
The National Police Gazette packs a bigger punch than its size would suggest.

This April 1944 National Police Gazette totals a mere sixteen pages, including both covers. During the early 1950s the page count would rise, pretty much doubling and remaining that way for most of the next three decades. But small though this issue may be, it still contains some interesting items, such as blurbs on singer Frank Sinatra and baseballer Bob Feller, as well as an attractive cover featuring Betty Duval, and interior photos of other beauty queens. The most notable item is probably the centerfold, which is reserved for Marjorie Tallchief, a full-blooded scion of the Osage Nation who as a ballerina rose to the lofty position of première danseuse étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet. Some online sources say Marjorie Tallchief was aka Maria Tallchief, while others say the two were sisters. It’s the latter group that have it correct—Marjorie and Maria were separate people, and both were acclaimed ballerinas. They were also part of a generation of Native American ballet dancers—including Yvonne Chouteau and Rosella Hightower—to achieve widespread fame around the same time. Scans below.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 7 2014
HOMELY SWEET HOMELY
With a face like that he must have a hell of a personality.

Above, a cover of The National Insider published today in 1963 with an inset of an adulteress, along with her husband and her lover, the latter of whom is so ugly we have to wonder if these three are from a carnival and he’s the monkey-faced boy. Can’t tell you, though, because we don’t have the interior of the issue. See a few more Insider covers here. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 5 2014
THE FOX AND THE HOUNDS
They might catch her but they can never tame her.

There’s nothing we can write about Pam Grier’s blaxploitation thriller Foxy Brown that hasn't already been written. But our site wouldn’t be complete without an entry on this film, so above are two American promo posters, and below are some production stills. Foxy Brown was made using the same basic blueprint as 1973’s Coffy, and in fact was originally written as a sequel to the earlier film. Why American International ditched the sequel concept and denied itself a franchise is unclear, but the movie was a hit anyway. We love it, but in honesty, it’s clunkily written and badly acted, however we can also sense how visceral and different it must have felt at the time. At the very least, it’s worth seeing for Grier’s groovy opening dance number. Foxy Brown premiered today in 1974.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 4 2014
SPREAD THE LOVE
Eyes still closed? Good. Remember I said I brought something special for you to eat? Okay, open your eyes.

This none too subtle paperback front comes from Robert Bonfils for 1969’s The Pink Box, published by Greenleaf Classics for its Candid Reader line, and credited to imaginary house author John Dexter so as not to incriminate the guilty party. What we like most about this cover is how half of it is taken up by a featureless white blanket. It’s almost as if Bonfils painted the fun part, then shrugged and said, “Eh, that’ll do.” We agree. It does just fine.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 3 2014
CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Japanese cinema invades Eastern Europe.


You know we love Japanese movie posters. We’ve shared at least a hundred. Today, for something different, we have a set of posters made during the 1950s and 1960s to advertise Japanese movies that played in the now defunct country of Yugoslavia. It was a place that had one of the most distinct design aesthetics in vintage promo art, as you can see in these examples, as well in other pieces we’ve shared here, here, and here. Ex-Yu memorabilia goes for a pretty penny, and some of these posters would cost upwards of $400.00 to buy. The movie above is Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and the ones below are Yasuzô Masumura’s A Wife Confesses, Umetsugu Inoue’s Man Who Causes a Storm, Haku Komori’s Soldiers’ Girls, and Oichi Beware of Samurai.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 2 2014
WEIGHT AND SEE
In this case a scale of one to ten isn’t high enough.

Most of the times we post a Technicolor lithograph the model is unknown to us, and this redhead about to step onto a scale is no exception. However, we have gotten good at identifying them after the fact, such as with our most recent post, so maybe the same will happen here. Whoever she is, we recommend she ditch the robe and heels to get her true weight. 1956 on this one.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 1 2014
TWICE THE VICE
The only better thing than vintage sleaze is double the vintage sleaze.

Above, two cool double novels, front and back covers, from Universal Publishing & Distributing Corp., part of their Giant series, editions 4 and 7, early 1950s. Since we have two double novels here, it's actually four times the vice, but you get the idea. Steve Harragan, by the way, is both the author and main character of Dope Doll and The Bigamy Kiss, as well as other books, and was actually a Brit named William Maconachie. We’ll get back to him. The art here is uncredited. 
 
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Vintage Pulp Mar 31 2014
BOUNCING BABY BOY
This isn't child abuse. It's more like destruction of property.


We know this poster looks vicious, but you can relax—Un mondo maledetto fatto di bambole is about a future world where, in order to control the population, couples are given robot babies. Sounds kind of nice to us—or at least less screamy and less poopy, but it’s clearly not a popular policy with at least one woman. The movie was a British production starring Oliver Reed and Geraldine Chaplin, and was originally entitled Z.P.G., which stands for “Zero Population Growth.” Pretty lame title, but on the other hand, the Italian title translates as “a world made of cursed dolls,” which we think gives a little too much away. In any case, excellent art here from the Italian painter Renato Casaro, a legend who’s created scores of memorable movie promos. You can learn more about him here.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 25
1939—Batman Debuts
In Detective Comics #27, DC Comics publishes its second major superhero, Batman, who becomes one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, and then a popular camp television series starring Adam West, and lastly a multi-million dollar movie franchise starring Michael Keaton, then George Clooney, and finally Christian Bale.
1953—Crick and Watson Publish DNA Results
British scientists James D Watson and Francis Crick publish an article detailing their discovery of the existence and structure of deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, in Nature magazine. Their findings answer one of the oldest and most fundamental questions of biology, that of how living things reproduce themselves.
April 24
1967—First Space Program Casualty Occurs
Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when, during re-entry into Earth's atmosphere after more than ten successful orbits, the capsule's main parachute fails to deploy properly, and the backup chute becomes entangled in the first. The capsule's descent is slowed, but it still hits the ground at about 90 mph, at which point it bursts into flames. Komarov is the first human to die during a space mission.
April 23
1986—Otto Preminger Dies
Austro–Hungarian film director Otto Preminger, who directed such eternal classics as Laura, Anatomy of a Murder, Carmen Jones, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Stalag 17, and for his efforts earned a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, dies in New York City, aged 80, from cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
1998—James Earl Ray Dies
The convicted assassin of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., petty criminal James Earl Ray, dies in prison of hepatitis aged 70, protesting his innocence as he had for decades. Members of the King family who supported Ray's fight to clear his name believed the U.S. Government had been involved in Dr. King's killing, but with Ray's death such questions became moot.

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