Vintage Pulp Aug 12 2022
PURE GENIO
Franco Picchioni is bad as in good.


Franco Picchioni's hits keep coming. Above is another cover from the respected Italian artist, this time for Georges H. Boskero's Il genio del male, number twenty-two in the crime series Il Cerchio Rosso from Edizioni MA-GA, 1965. The title translates to “evil genius.” In terms of Picchioni, we'll certainly go with genius. See more from him starting at this link.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2022
SONG REMAINS THE SAME
Even Powell and Loy's legendary act was bound to get tired eventually.


There's nice Roger Soubie art on this French poster for Song of the Thin Man, the last of six movies in the Thin Man series, which premiered in the U.S. in 1947 and reached France today in 1948. After six sessions the concept might seem a little worn to some viewers, but it still has William Powell and Myrna Loy as the leads. The mystery involves the death of an orchestra musician and the search for a missing bandleader, which leads to Powell and Loy exploring New York City's jazz underground. It's an all-white underground spread across various clubs, gambling boats, and parties, populated by at least fifty musicians, none of them of color. Of all the sight gags in the movie, the barring of black musicians from a film revolving around the art form they invented is the most notable one of all, but that's mid-century moviemaking for you.

The jazz gimmick is useful anyway, because it gives the filmmakers the opportunity to have Powell—as upper class supersleuth Nick Charles—play the role of a fish out of water. He understands neither the hipster jazzcats nor their customs and slang, and in about half a decade probably turns into the white-haired bartender from The Wild One. Even so, he needs to find and unmask a murderer in order to free a wrongly accused acquaintance from police custody. In true Thin Man fashion, he quips his way through the proceedings, plays cagey with femmes fatales Marie Windsor and Gloria Grahame, and finally unveils the killer in a nightclub populated by all the suspects. Loy is reliable as always in the sidekick role, and even amusingly picks up a few words of hep lingo.

While Dashiell Hammett originated the two characters of Nick and Nora Charles, he didn't touch Song of the Thin Man. Instead it was written by veteran crime novelist Steve Fisher and comedy writer Nat Perrin. Their union, unlike Nick and Nora's marriage, is an uneasy pairing, though it's hard to put a finger on what exactly is wrong. The mystery has an interesting backdrop, but is never compelling, while the humor seems clunkier than in the past. Powell and Loy do their best, but the movie failed to earn back its production budget, and the franchise came to an end. There were screenwriting and production issues, but we suspect that the real culprit was simple boredom—slayer of movie series and marriages alike. Audiences had simply moved on. World War, generational cynicism, and the emergence of grittier cinema will tend to cause that. Song of the Thin Man premiered today in 1947.
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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2022
THE FIRST OF JUN
Sometimes you can't even give it away.


This poster was made for the Japanese roman porno flick Kanjirundesu, known in English as I Am Aroused and I Can Feel It, and it stars the lovely Jun Izumi, making her film debut. She plays a beautiful young virgin who's fearful of sex. Her friend Panko is already sexually active, but Jun—who's learning how to be a seamstress or tailor at a local vocational school, a fact that causes us to assume she's at least eighteen—is strictly hands off. We can sympathize. We were hands off at eighteen too, though most assuredly not by choice.

When Jun catches her brother Chin masturbating to her, she decides to facilitate the relief of his tensions by asking the always eager Panko to have sex with him. From there the movie evolves into a sort of softcore coming-of-age comedy, with the usual crossed signals and sexual failures. The whole thing has a juvenile feel to it, and no wonder—it's based on Daihachi Izumi's youth sleaze novel Jun-chan. If you're looking for the film's western analog, think Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Sex Drive. We mean in terms of mood, not plot. Kanjirundesu has more nudity, lesbian undertones, and far more premature ejaculation.

Does Jun finally find someone to be the first entry on her ledger? Well, it wouldn't be a softcore movie if she didn't. A little face-sitting—someone else's face, not hers—gets her started down the road to pleasure. That may sound weird, but actually the best thing about this movie is that it's from Nikkatsu Studios but doesn't get too crazy. There's some peeing, though. Whaddaya gonna do? If you've read our other write-ups of Nikkatsu's output you know how far beyond the pale those folks could venture, so a little urine is acceptable. Kanjirundesu is dumb but worth a watch. It premiered in Japan today in 1976.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 10 2022
CINDERELLA LIBERTY
Why am I on the beach this morning in lingerie and one shoe? Let's just say the ball didn't end at midnight.


This piece of art for Lee Roberts' If the Shoe Fits was painted by Robert McGinnis and it's one you see around often, probably because it's a top effort, at least in our view. In addition, the lettering is wonderful, with its two red dots over each “i.” The Crest Books paperback, we understand by looking around online, is usually copyright 1960, but our copy carries a date of 1959. The art relates to the novel only tangentially—missing high heels and whom they might fit are a key element, however they were worn by a fully dressed woman, not by a lingerie clad femme fatale. But as always the final result from McGinnis is amazing. It's possible he custom painted it for the story—with a bit of artistic license taken.

Between the covers, Roberts, aka Robert Martin, spins the tale of a smalltown murder. Young playboy Paul Anway has his head bashed in while sitting lakeside in his convertible, and certain people had reason to hate him—the gamblers to whom he owed four grand, the two women he was dating, the jilted boyfriend of one, a sleazy detective hired for strongarm work, and possibly others. As it happens, all of them had the opportunity to kill Anway, a feat achieved though the gimmick of having him tailed to the secluded site of his eventual murder by three cars at the same time, with two of the drivers unaware that they're involved in a coincidental caravan. It sounds strange, but it works, particularly because the existence of these tails is revealed only in flashback.

The one person who isn't tailing Anway is the protagonist Clinton Shannon—local doctor, county coroner, and all around nice guy. Conceiving Shannon as both a trusted doctor and a city official allows Roberts to provide the character access to almost every event that occurs, a useful trick in a murder mystery. Shannon makes a couple of decisions that might raise an eyebrow—rashly disclosing confidential evidence to the victim's father, for example—but for the most part Roberts writes him as exactly the sort of capable hero stories like this rely upon. With its likeable lead and involving plotline, we think If the Shoe Fits will fit your reading list. 

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Femmes Fatales Aug 10 2022
THE WOMAN IN BLACK
She's dressed for a funeral—yours.


U.S. actress Bonita Granville appears to shoot from hip in this fun promo image made for her 1946 film noir Suspense, in which she starred with Barry Sullivan and Belita. In addition to the unusual pose and the shiny black dress, which we love, the lighting on this creates the illusion of the gun being fired. Granville was an acting prodigy. She began her career on stage at age three, was successful in cinema by age ten, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in 1936's These Three at age fourteen. We talked about Suspense several years ago, so if you're interested you can read about it here.

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Intl. Notebook Aug 2 2022
SUMMER NIGHT MAGIC
It's time to let the south of Spain weave its spell.


Hello, Pulp Intl. visitors. We've scanned and uploaded so much recently, you had to know an intermission was coming, right? We have some friends over from the U.S., so we're going to leave our base of Cadiz, have a wander, and show them a few amazing sights. This will actually be the sixth time we've gone wandering this year, but our first website hiatus. We know the province pretty well now, and there's plenty for our friends to see. Roman ruins? Pristine beaches? The best bars in Spain? Let's go with all of the above. There are even some vintage bookstores scattered around, and we've picked up a few pulp items but not shared them yet. We'll get to that. Regarding our break, since there's plenty of recent content we won't bother with our usual links to old posts. Okay, maybe a few. Check out this, this, this, and this. Or just have a scroll. Our intervalo will be finished within a week or so. 

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Vintage Pulp Aug 2 2022
RANCH UNDRESSING
When you think about the enormity of the sky and the vastness of nature doesn't it make taking off your blouse seem insignificant?


Above, a cover for Chris Harrison's sleaze novel Sex Ranch, published by Midwood Books in 1968, the last year the company was active. The art is unsigned but it's the work of the masterful Paul Rader, who we just saw yesterday. But we brought him back because he's one of our favorites. Hell, he's a favorite of anyone who follows vintage paperback art. Not only is he a top notch illustrator, but his work has given us many opportunities for enjoyable riffing. You can find some amusing efforts here, here, here, and here

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Vintage Pulp Aug 1 2022
FISHWATER BLONDE
Whatever floats your corpse.


Art by Paul Rader fronts this copy of Samuel A. Krasney's A Mania for Blondes, a police proceedural dealing with two women drowned in Philadelphia's Delaware River, and the investigation to bring a killer to justice. The protagonist here is vice detective Ben Krahmer, who learns that both victims appeared in nudie reels. The clues lead down the rabbit hole of illicit porn and toward a mysterious suspect witnesses think looks like Zorro—but who Krahmer soon realizes may be a member of Pennsylvania's traditionally garbed Dutch community. Procedurals sometimes—as is the case here—fail to provide deep characterizations, but the mechanics of the investigation are interesting. Krasney constantly refers to his protagonist as “the Morals man”—capital M—which we found weird, but we thought this outing was solid overall and we liked the Zorro imagery. Even so, we probably won't go looking for more from Krasney unless we run across him cheap. There are, after all, so many paperbacks, and so little time.

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Intl. Notebook Aug 1 2022
REIKO AND RE-REIKO
She's been around to visit once or twice.


You may think we posted this kneeling image of Japanese actress Reiko Ike back in November, but it isn't the same. We had to reverse it to match the previous shot to see the subtle differences. The facial expression, details of the hair, the angle of the camera, and especially the position of her hands are all new. Reiko has also covered herself more fully in today's pose. In the earlier one—let's just say censorship standards were being pushed. In addition, this photo is more retouched. In the previous one you can see the blue veins in her skin. That image was published in Weekly Playboy in 1974, but this one appeared two years earlier as part of the magazine's 1972 Reiko Ike calendar, which we've been documenting since January. There are only four short months to go until that project ends, but fret not, Reiko lovers—we have enough photos of her to last long past December.
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Vintage Pulp Jul 31 2022
FIRST RESPONDERS
We better hurry if we're still going to give her mouth to mouth. She's starting to come around.


Above: Harry Schaare art for John Bartlow Martin's Butcher's Dozen, a true crime paperback dealing with six real world cases. Martin was well known as a political speech writer, diplomat, and ambassador, but true crime is an area into which he delved several times as an author, and to generally good reviews. This one was originally published in 1950, with the Signet paperback coming in 1952. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 18
1920—U.S. Women Gain Right To Vote
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified despite heavy conservative opposition. It states that no U.S. citizen can be denied the right to vote because of their gender.
1958—Lolita is Published in the U.S.
Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita, about a man's sexual obsession with a pre-pubescent girl, is published in the United States. It had been originally published in Paris three years earlier.
August 17
1953—NA Launches Recovery Program
Narcotics Anonymous, a twelve-step program of drug addiction recovery modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, holds its first meeting in Los Angeles, California.
August 16
1942—Blimp Crew Disappears without a Trace
The two-person crew of the U.S. naval blimp L-8 disappears on a routine patrol over the Pacific Ocean. The blimp drifts without her crew and crashes in Daly City, California. The mystery of the crew's disappearance is never solved.
1977—Elvis Presley Dies
Music icon Elvis Presley is found unresponsive by his fiancée on the floor of his Graceland bedroom suite. Attempts to revive him fail and he's pronounced dead soon afterward. The cause of death is often cited as drug overdose, but toxicology tests have never found evidence this was the case. More likely, years of drug abuse contributed to generally frail health and an overtaxed heart that suddenly failed.
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