|Vintage Pulp||Apr 17 2021|
I really hope they keep this up. It's only when men are busy fighting over me that they actually leave me alone.
Above is another issue Adam magazine, published April 1970, with the type of cover art that is a trademark of the brand. It's pretty hard to keep thinking of quips for these when every cover features two or three men fighting and a femme fatale standing apart from the action. Somehow we've managed to do it sixty-eight times. Inside you get a signed illustration from Jack Waugh, numerous stories and models, and, just above, a slight variation on the time-honored desert island cartoon, a tradition we commemorated in exhaustive detail last year. Check here for fifty more examples.
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 31 2021|
But Dad, you said we were here to show them what the outside world has to offer!
Today's issue of Adam magazine, the sixty-seventh we've shared, was published this month in 1977, and has an interesting cover illustrating J.W. Anderson's adventure tale, “The Valley of Kaha.” Adam has a unique style of covers, nearly all painted by either Phil Belbin or Jack Waugh, but this example is unusually nice, we think, with its monochrome background meant to capture the look of jungle mists. Those mists are supposed to be in New Guinea, and in Anderson's story a rich, cruel, and aging industrialist catches wind of a legend that makes him think he can find the fountain of youth. Does he find it? We have no worries telling you, since the story is so obscure. He does indeed, and it turns him into a baby. We love a short story that has a punchline. Actually, he goes even further than infancy. Eventually he plain disappears—pop! The story isn't well written, but it amused the hell out of us. Also amusing, on the final pages of the issue are topless archers. You'll probably assume the text explaining why they're topless was omitted by us, but you'll be wrong. Adam offered no explanation. And really, who needs one? Scans below.
AustraliaNew GuineaAdam MagazinePhil BelbinJack WaughWalter StackpoolJ.W. Andersonmagazine artliterature
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 23 2021|
Horwitz Publications puts a Hollywood starlet to bed.
Above is a cover from Australian imprint Horwitz Publications for Marc Brody's thriller Lay Out My Lady, published in 1956. We've long featured Horwitz covers because they used photo-illustrations of famous or soon-to-be-famous actresses. This time the company chose U.S. actress and beneficiary of lucky genes Joi Lansing, clad in the sort of extravagant bedtime wear that was popular during the era, and whose time-defying beauty we've marveled over here and here. And here too. The face in the background is also an altered photo, though not of Lansing. We can't identify her. If you have any ideas feel free to inform us.
Moving on to Marc Brody, he was both the author and star of these yarns, and claimed to be an intrepid crime reporter. That would be fascinating if it were true, but it wasn't. He was actually author William H. Williams, aka Bill Williams, and he wrote novels while sitting in a shed in his garden, which is about as far from the mean streets as anyone can get. But you have to give him credit—he churned out something like eighty of these books. We'll be revisiting him later. In the meantime you can see a bit more from him—including photo-illustrations of another beautiful actress—at this link.
AustraliaHorwitz PublicationsMarc BrodyWilliam H. WilliamsBill WilliamsJoi Lansingcover artliterature
|Vintage Pulp||Dec 23 2020|
You two stop fighting. I don't love either of you. I only sleep with you for the body heat.
We have another issue of Adam magazine today, the sixty-sixth example of this Aussie treasure we've uploaded to our website, with a cover illustrating Ken Welsh's tale, “A Friend in Greed.” Welsh has done well in the past, but not this time. In the story, a couple of thieves who are sent by a mastermind to perform risky robberies, only to receive a minimal slice of the take as payment, decide to cheat their boss, but immediately turn on each other. This happens thanks to the liberally shared sexual favors of a femme fatale, as seen in the cover art. In the story she didn't wear a tiger-striped minidress, but we appreciate the artistic license. Unfortunately, “A Friend in Greed” is short on tension and scant on effort, hardly worth the illustration. We can't believe this is the same Welsh who wrote the excellent “Dirge for Darling.”
The highlight of the issue turned out to be Jules Archer's, “The Wildest Gun in the West.” It's supposed to be a factual story, and tells how two cowboys with a grudge to settle worked together to dig a grave seven feet deep, four feet wide, and eight feet long, then dropped into the hole to have a close-quarters knife fight to the death. The idea was that neither would have to bother burying the other after the fight. Just push some dirt in and leave. Easier said than done, since both are wounded before the matter is settled, but indeed one cowboy is left behind while the other rides back to town, pretty much naked because he had to use his clothes as bandages. Did it really happen? Well the word “fact” is used loosely in these men's adventure magazines, but we guess anything is possible when it comes to the old west. Thirty-plus scans below.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 24 2020|
One woman, two men, and a plane that won't fit three add up to the most unavoidable brawl in history.
We stopped scanning our magazines and small treasures a while back because our scanner started putting a bright blue stripe on every scan. With the pandemic on we didn't get around to buying a new one, and it was also more difficult than it needed to be because of operating system issues—i.e. forced obsolescence by Apple, which is the nadir of modern evil. Months went by. Then we decided to move, then we packed, then we we moved. A couple more months were lost there. We were going to leave the old scanner behind but we figured it might come in handy for documents, lease agreements, etc. Well, the change of electricity has done it good, because the blue stripe has gone from intolerable to somewhat faint. So today you get fresh scans from your favorite men's magazine and ours, Australia's Adam. This issue is from November 1977 with a cover that illustrates the story “The Rogue,” a surprisingly good effort by Norman G. Bailey, who would go on to write a couple of war novels in the 1980s. Elsewhere inside you get the usual reliable array of art, photography, and cartoons. More from Adam soon.
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 11 2020|
Famed director ends up with too many cooks in his kitchen.
The film noir The Lady from Shanghai, starring Hollywood icons Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles, and directed by Welles, premiered in 1947 but reached Australia today in 1948, with this stunning promo poster having been distributed Down Under to help attract audiences. This film had amazing promos in many countries, some of which we'll show you later, and they all spelled Welles' last name correctly, which this one didn't. All the brilliant poster work around this movie is ironic, because Harry Cohn, who was the shot-caller at Columbia Pictures, hated it. He even shelved the flick for a year while he waited for what he deemed to be the best date to release it. When he finally did, what audiences saw was a radically altered version of Welles' original edit.
What did Cohn specifically hate about the film? Foremost there was its length, which was 155 minutes, and which Cohn ordered condensed, with the final running time coming to a mere 88 minutes. He also felt Hayworth didn't have enough close-ups, so he had those shot during extensive re-takes. Hayworth also didn't have a song, which was standard for film noir leading ladies, so Cohn had a number added and had Hayworth's voice dubbed. He hated the lighting, which he felt was a negative result of Welles choosing location work over controlled studio conditions. And he especially hated that Hayworth had agreed to chop off her auburn hair and dye it platinum. The list goes on but you get the point—clashing creative visions. Nothing new in Hollywood.
The Lady from Shanghai finds Welles playing a typical film noir schmo who falls in love with a femme fatale and is drawn into a murder plot. Other familiar film noir tropes include a trip to Mexico (not in the original novel by Sherwood King) and a tense court showdown. But what's decidedly uncommon here is Welles' visual mastery of the cinematic form. His abilities there have been exhaustively discussed and are in no way overrated, but visuals are only part of the filmic equation. There's also narrative pace and story cohesion and emotional tone, and those are areas where the movie runs into a bit of trouble. Since Welles' cut was so much longer (and presumably better) than what has ever been seen by the public, many of those problems were probably introduced by clumsy third parties.
But we can only judge what we see. Since all that missing footage is thought to have been destroyed, it takes a major leap of faith to see a masterpiece in what Welles himself thought was a diced up travesty of his original vision. We don't understand how anyone can truly revere him, yet disregard his artistic opinion. But that's exactly what some contemporary film writers do. We recently read a review that discussed how well the visuals and music work together, but Welles hated the score, which he had no control over and which lacked the subtlety he wanted it to have. We suggest that a critic is trying way too hard when they lavish praise upon a director for something he didn't even do. Welles was a genius—agreement on that point is universal. But even geniuses are not so magical that their abilities can overcome the artistic myopia and careless scissors of studio heads.
The Lady from Shanghai received mixed reviews when released, and ultimately, those reviews strike us as fair. There's plenty here worth seeing, particularly the ravishing Hayworth and nice location work in Acapulco and Sausalito, and of course Welles makes shots like Steph Curry makes 3s. But even so, the final result is good but not great. Not a failure, but not a top notch film noir. Calling The Lady from Shanghai one of the best of the genre is just unfair to the many, many great noirs that were made. Still, if you're a noir fan you should see it. And we're confident you'll enjoy it like we did. On the other hand, if you've never watched a film noir and this happens to be first one you see, we can easily picture you giving a shrug and drifting away from the genre, never to return.
AustraliaMexicoSausalitoColumbia PicturesThe Lady from ShanghaiRita HayworthOrson WellesHarry Cohnposter artcinemafilm noirmovie review
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 4 2020|
I don't know who he is, but if I could wait a year to get you in bed, he can wait until morning to get to the morgue.
Above, a cover for Louis Trimble's 1946 thriller Inconvenient Corpse, re-published in 1955 by Australian imprint Star Books. The art is uncredited, but looking at this scene we can imagine the conversation that happens after the shock wears off. We hear the groom going, “We could still do it. It's not like he'd actually be watching us. He'd want us to do it. For him. He'd want us to be happy.” You're thinking no woman would ever be crazy enough to have sex with a corpse in the room. And you'd be oh so very wrong.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 18 2020|
The key to a successful assassination? Time management.
Just that quickly we have another Adam for you today. This issue is from this month in 1978, with a cover illustrating Norman G. Bailey's story, “The Assassination.” We're still trying to make sense of this take on the classic international hitman motif. If we understood it correctly, a highly skilled killer is hired for a hellishly difficult hit on a head of state in the fictional country of Damahomey. He travels by plane, boat, and train, cases the job, beds the femme fatale, pulls off the job, and returns home carrying a valise bulging with Damahomeen currency. But once back in the U.S., he finds he can't exchange this money for dollars because it went out of usage in 1930. Well, that's weird, considering everyone was using it in Damahomey. He subsequently finds that the man he assassinated was killed in 1930. So, seemingly, unbeknownst to him—or the reader—he traveled back in time and shot a guy. All without a machine or any bells and lights of any sort. We went through the tale again to see if we missed the part where he pushed a big red button marked, “Press Here To Travel Back in Time,” but nope, wasn't there. So the assassin was hired by time travelers, and somehow also time traveled through no agency of his own. Fine, we guess. Give Bailey credit for thinking outside the box. We have thirty-plus scans below, including rarities of Sharon Tate and members of the Manson Family, accompanied by Adam's take on the infamous Tate-LaBianca murders.
AustraliaAdam MagazineSharon TateCharles MansonAbigail FolgerLynette FrommeSqueaky FrommeSusan AtkinsPatricia KrenwinkelLeslie van HoutenDouglas MacArthurNorman G. Baileymagazine artliterature
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 17 2020|
He promised her a smashing time on safari but this was nothing like she had in mind.
Adam magazine's covers are nearly always the same—two to four people and a pivotal action moment. This front from February 1970 is a typical example. It shows an unfortunate hunter learning that elephants sometimes won't simply stand still and let you shoot them through the heart so you can turn their tusks into paperweights. The nerve, really. The painting is great. It's probably by Jack Waugh, but it's unsigned, so there's no way to know. He did sign a couple of the interior panels, though. The cover was painted for Ken Welsh's story, “Dirge for a Darling,” which deals with a woman on safari who wants her hunting guide to kill her rich, alcoholic husband. Risky, but when you stand to inherit fifty million dollars, what's a little risk?
We try to avoid spoilers, but since you're never going to have a chance to read this obscure story, we'll just tell you what happens. The husband is a terrible guy, and he spends his days shooting badly at wildlife, and his nights drinking himself into a stupor. The fact that he's always insensate by dark is what allows the wife to start bedding the hunter right in camp in the first place. Once the hunter has been convinced to do the job, he realizes he must devise a foolproof yet suspicion free murder. He plans and schemes for days, looking for an angle, and finally tells the wife he has an idea, but the less she knows the better. Her job is to convincingly play the grieving widow when it happens, so for the sake of realism it's better if she's in the dark.
One morning the hunter comes to fetch the husband for a foray into the bush. Elephants are near. Today is the day the husband will finally get a big tusker. But the husband is hung over like never before. He wants a trophy, but can't possibly go shooting. He asks the hunter to bag an elephant for him. As the cover depicts, the hunter gets trampled to death. When the news comes to camp, the husband smiles evilly. The hangover had been an act. He'd discovered his wife's affair and, while she and her lover were otherwise occupied, had filed down the firing pin on the hunter's rifle. The gun didn't work when needed, resulting in a squashing.
The husband has a celebratory drink and forces his wife—who hates liquor—to join him. The husband cramps, convulses, and dies in excruciating pain. The wife realizes the hunter's foolproof murder method was to poison her husband's beloved liquor in such a way as to make authorities think it had been a bad batch. Then she cramps, convulses, and dies in excruciating pain too. The story ends: “It was all very sad when you considered the talent of those involved, but there it was. The principals, no doubt, went to hell. The $50,000,000 went to charity.” We've read a lot of Adam stories, and this was one of the more entertaining efforts. We have numerous scans below, with Claudine Auger in the second panel, and more Adam coming soon.
|Vintage Pulp||Jan 27 2020|
American star adds pizzazz to a pair of Aussie thrillers.
Today we have two more paperbacks from Australia's Horwitz Publications, a company that, as we've documented often, opportunistically used numerous Hollywood celebs on its covers. This time it's Jan Sterling, who appears on 1955's Blueprints for Murder and 1956's The Bride Wore Black, both written by the prolific Marc Brody. Sterling was never a top tier actress but she was in a lot of good movies and earned an Oscar nomination for The High and the Mighty. She also posed for some stunning photos, including the two at this link. These book scans float around online, which means we don't know where they originate, but if we had to guess we'd say Flickr, so thanks to the first uploader.
AustraliaHorwitz PublicationsAcademy AwardThe High and the MightyMarc BrodyJan Sterlingcover artliteraturecinema