Vintage Pulp Jan 31 2014
SUNSHINE PEOPLE
American Sunbather uses its 1960 calendar and twelve nude women to sell the idea of paradise.


Yes, we still have a few items from that trip to the U.S. we took a couple of years ago, and today we’re finally getting around to this baby. It’s a calendar put together by American Sunbather in 1960. We were actually going to post it on January 1, but we were still too busy fuming over our bank snafu to get it done. So instead you get it on the last day of January. All the tri-toned images are great, but sadly the January page is missing—that must have been a very good month. American Sunbather magazine was one of the main nudist publications. It was published by the Outdoor American Corporation of Spokane, Washington, and ran from the 1950s until about 1967. Like other nudist magazines, it espoused a rationale for why nudism was a desirable lifestyle and you can get a sense of their philosophy from each month’s accompanying text. If it’s too small to read, here’s an example from September:

When men begin to think that the Golden Age belongs solely to ancient history, that the future holds no radiant beauty, no effulgence of glory for the human race, mankind will be in a state of dotage. We nudists know the joy of conviction that “the best is yet to be,” and we feel certain that our preachment and program will contribute much to the sum-total of human welfare and earthly happiness.

There’s so much we could say about this. For instance, in 1960 we seriously doubt that everyone was actually welcome in American Sunbather’s utopia, but leaving that aside, we basically agree with the calendar’s sentiments. In fact, there’s no need to get mystical—it feels good when nature comes into contact with the body. That’s really the long and short of it. Where we live most people don’t get too bothered about naked bodies on the beach, which is nice, even if we don’t typically join in. American Sunbather believed humanity would become more uninhibited as time went by, and its beliefs were underpinned by an idea that we would all have more time, more money, and more freedom. But a funny thing happened on the way to utopia—once the 1970s ended there was suddenly less time, less money, and less freedom for about 90% of Americans. And now—for the moment at least—utopia is just a speck in the distance.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 28 2009
WOOD NYMPH
Newspaper survey says skin is in, but we have our doubts.


We talked a bit about the nudist movement before, and mentioned that the concept of nudism as a healthy lifestyle choice really took off during the pulp heyday of the 1950s. Above you see the August 1962 edition of American Sunbather. One thing you’ll notice—other than the cover model risking serious splinterage by posing on a tree stump—is the stamp of the American Sunbathing Association. The group still exists, surprisingly, albeit under the name American Association for Nude Recreation. But it’s the same org and they’ve been around since 1931. 

We wrote in that previous post that we thought nudism was possibly less accepted now than fifty years ago, but based on a visit to the AANR website, we retract that. The site quotes a USA Today poll result claiming that 15% of Americans “would consider a resort that offers a nude recreation experience or a clothing-optional beach experience” a very desirable part of a vacation. Of course, the key words in that poll question are “beach” and “vacation.” People will vote for anything having to do with those, no matter how weird it may be (consider that a little free advice for 2012, Sarah Palin).

Still, one in six Americans is willing bare all in front of strangers? We think this is a prime example of the chasm between polls and reality. Because while many people say they would strip in front of strangers, most get cold feet when it comes actual time to do the deed. We know whereof we speak—anytime we ask a girl to strip she flat out refuses. Usually while kneeing us in the groin at the same time. But now we’re going to join the AANR, receive a couple of membership cards, and make our requests in an official capacity: “Ma’am, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to strip—it isn't just natural and healthy, it’s the law.” More totally healthy AANR-approved nakedness below.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 24
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
September 23
1952—Chaplin Returns to England
Silent movie star Charlie Chaplin returns to his native England for the first time in twenty-one years. At the time it is said to be for a Royal Society benefit, but in reality Chaplin knows he is about to be banned from the States because of his political views. He would not return to the U.S. for twenty years.
September 22
1910—Duke of York's Cinema Opens
The Duke of York's Cinema opens in Brighton, England, on the site of an old brewery. It is still operating today, mainly as a venue for art films, and is the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.
1975—Gerald Ford Assassination Attempt
Sara Jane Moore, an FBI informant who had been evaluated and deemed harmless by the U.S. Secret Service, tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford. Moore fires one shot at Ford that misses, then is wrestled to the ground by a bystander named Oliver Sipple.
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