Vintage Pulp Jul 29 2015
RISE OF THE COBRA
Cutting the head off the snake.


Above and below, a July 1956 issue of Real Adventure magazine with uncredited art on the cover and throughout the issue. Inside you get model Peggy Ray, and a self-written feature by boxer Sandy Saddler in which he denies being a dirty fighter. The article includes a photo, which you see in panels three and four below, of Saddler mugging Willie Pep. That’s not the first appearance on Pulp Intl. for that image. Police Gazette featured it on one of its covers in February 1951 with a little photo-illustrative tweak. It’s worth glancing at and you can see it here.

So was Saddler a dirty fighter? Consensus seems to be that if he felt victimized himself, he tended to cross the line. According to theboxingmagazine.com, this happened during Saddler’s fourth fight with Pep, which featured, “elbows, butting, heeling with the glove and lacing, they were everything-gos foul-fests from start to finish. While Pep and Saddler wrestled on the inside, Saddler thought nothing of putting Willie in a headlock before throwing him to the floor. Even the referee was knocked to the floor several times in an attempt to separate the two fighters. Needless to say, the boos and jeers shook the joint to the rafters. Saddler said afterward that he felt insulted by those who insisted he was a dirty fighter.”

Saddler won 144 bouts against only 16 losses, which would seem to indicate a considerable amount of talent. He retired in 1956, at the earlyish age of thirty, after he hurt his eye in a traffic accident. Afterward her became a trainer and counted among his clients a young George Foreman. He died in 2001 but was honored by The Ring magazine a couple of years later when editors ranked him as the fifth greatest puncher of all time. We have about twenty scans of Saddler, Pep, and others below.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 12 2013
SWEDE TEMPTATION
Anita Ekberg single-handedly changes the ethnic makeup of an entire country.

The cover of this November 1956 issue of True Adventures is great by itself, but as a bonus readers are treated inside to a photo feature on superstar Anita Ekberg, who had been filming the adventure flick Zarak, aka Zarak Khan. The movie concerned the exploits of an Afghani outlaw (or resistance fighter, depending on one’s point of view), and Ekberg, rather amusingly, played an Afghani girl named Salma. Criticisms were voiced concerning the blue-eyed Swede’s casting in the role, but these rang hollow, considering the presence of Kentucky-born Victor Mature in the lead. In any case, the film’s producers Irving Allen and Cubby Broccoli didn’t care if Ekberg made an unlikely Afghan—to them having her shimmy around in a midriff-baring harem outfit was worth it. Were they right? You can be the judge of that for yourself by checking this link.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 15 2012
TERRIBLY HAPPY
Nothing brings a smile to my face like seeing you beg for your life, gringo.

Above, a great cover of Mammoth Western from March 1949 with art by Arnold Kohn illustrating Alexander Blade’s novelette “Prepare To Die, Amigo!” Kohn did quite a bit of work for Ziff-Davis Publishing, which in addition to the above imprint owned Mammoth Detective, Mammoth Adventure, and Mammoth Mystery. Kohn's work also appeared in Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures, Playboy, and many other magazines. See a few more of his covers here, and check him pin-up mode here. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 15 2010
VICTORY AT SEA
Two’s company, three’s dead weight.

Pulp books and magazines reused art quite a bit, and the piece above—by Julian Paul—is a good example. Here you see a tough soldier of fortune and a native girl floating on dangerous waters, but on a version we posted from Action for Men back in March, there were three figures. We joked that whenever two men and one woman were involved, a disagreement was soon to follow. Looks like the guy with the gun won. 

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Intl. Notebook Sep 8 2010
PLANE CLOTHES
Putting a positive spin on things.

Here’s a great random shot of Alma Heflin we found in a 1940 copy of Click magazine. Heflin was a test pilot for the Piper Aircraft Corporation, and was one of the first women—if not the first—to make a living testing commercial craft. We assume she didn’t fly in pumps, so this is probably a staged publicity shot. Heflin got to be pretty famous, and even published a book in 1942 titled Adventure Was the Compass. We also found a reference to her in a book called History’s Best Test Pilots, so clearly she was tops in the field. But all of this is just background info. The reason we're sharing this photo is simply because it perfectly captures the romance of flight during the last century. If we run across any more images like these we’ll definitely post them. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 29 2009
HANGING LOOSE
Women who shed excess weight can enjoy a brighter future.

The above cover can be interpreted a couple of ways. It’s possible the man is the hero, and he’s trying to lead the women on an escape from prison, but it seems more likely he’s just a coward who, in his terror, is about to drag the women to their doom. The metaphors go deep, but whatever the case, we love the art. Adventure began publishing in 1910, and was home to many respected artists and authors, not least among them novelist Sinclair Lewis, who in 1930 became the first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature (he had won the Pulitzer earlier but declined it). While he was an editor at Adventure he helped create a novelty identity card that was included in issues of the magazine. Readers carried the card, and if they were killed, whoever found the card would notify the magazine, who would in turn notify the reader’s next of kin. The idea was a flight of pure fancy, but also a stroke of genius, and the cards became such a powerful idea that a group of reader-travelers formed the Adventurers Club of New York in 1912. That club led to similar clubs being formed in other cites. A cursory check on the trusty interweb reveals that at least one—the Los Angeles chapter—survives today, so if the magazine cover has inspired you, there’s a place you can meet with like-minded types. Who knows? With a little effort and good fortune, maybe you’ll get to escape from prison on a bed sheet yourself one day.     

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Vintage Pulp Dec 15 2009
ANIMAL MAGNETISM
If I could squawk with the animals.

Adventure pulp magazine, first published today in 1931, with fiction by Ared White, Thomson Burtis and others, plus an excellent cover from Gerard Delano. More Adventure covers here.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 4 2009
BEYOND THE PAIL
Tell us what we want to hear or the waterboard is next!

If this isn’t the most diabolical cover art ever painted, we don’t know torture when we see it. Of course, that’s entirely possible—the memo we got from the Bush justice department a while back still has us really confused on the issue. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 19 2009
HAIRY OTTER
and the chamber of get this fucking thing off me!

Assorted pulp magazines, circa 1950s. Once again nature gets tired of being eaten and decides to eat back.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 29 2009
MYTHREPRESENTED
Art and racism in mid-century men's mags.


In case you had any doubts that pulp literature was often used by authors as a catharsis for their racial fears, here’s a representative sampling of vintage magazines featuring assorted cultural stereotypes. Pulp—where men are men and natives can’t get women without kidnapping white ones.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 22
1950—Althea Gibson Breaks the Color Barrier
Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American woman to compete on the World Tennis Tour, and the first to earn a Grand Slam title when she wins the French Open in 1956. Later she becomes the first African-American woman to compete in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
1952—Devil's Island Closed
Devil's Island, the penal colony located off the coast of French Guiana, is permanently closed. The prison is later made world famous by Henri Charrière's bestselling novel Papillon, and the subsequent film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman.
1962—De Gaulle Survives Assassination Attempt
Jean Bastien-Thiry, a French air weaponry engineer, attempts to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle to prevent Algerian independence. Bastien-Thiry and others attack de Gaulle's armored limousine with machine guns, but after expending hundreds of rounds, they succeed only in puncturing two tires.
August 21
1911—Mona Lisa Disappears
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, is stolen from the Louvre. After many wild theories and false leads, it turns out the painting was snatched by museum employee Vincenzo Peruggia.
August 20
1940—Trotsky Iced in Mexico
In Mexico City exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe (not an ice pick) by Soviet agent Ramon Mercader. Trotsky dies the next day.
1968—Prague Spring Ends
200,000 Warsaw Pact troops backed by 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to end the Prague Spring political liberalization movement.
1986—Sherrill Goes Postal
In Edmond, Oklahoma, United States postal employee Patrick Sherrill shoots and kills fourteen of his co-workers and then commits suicide.
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