Nadia Cassini is just what the witch doctor ordered.
There's no erotica quite like 1970s sexploitation. With a focus on pure pleasure, fanciful plots, and a touristic approach toward lush locations, films from the genre are usually pretty fun to watch. Il dio serpente stars Nadia Cassini as a woman who moves to Colombia with her rich, older husband in order to spice up their relationship. She partakes of the regional beaches, the local shopping, and sights such as Cartagena's Castillo de San Luis de Bocachica, before being told by local friend Beryl Cunningham about the cult of a serpent deity named Djamballà, the god of love.
Cassini has little interest in island religion, but Djamballà has an interest in Cassini—at least that's what Cunningham tells her when Cassini says she was approached by a huge snake while on the beach. She begins to develop an interest in the cult after all, attends a voodoo style ritual presided over a by witch doctor, and ends up the star participant along with Cunningham. Cassini's husband then chooses that moment to fly away on business and leave her alone in paradise, which no right thinking man would do unless compelled by a script, and a lonely Cassini starts to get into those Djamballà rituals—and Djamballà inevitably gets into her.
Cassini is blazing hot and sensual as hell, so you can't blame the snake god for his fascination. The film's director Piero Vivarelli also knows he has someone special on his hands, and spends plenty of time in loving close-ups of his star, but in our opinion his direction is far too chaste for what's basically supposed to be a ninety-minute turn-on. In addition, the film seems padded, with its extended ritual drumming sequences. In the end, what you get is just another movie about island religion and a white girl cutting loose. We've seen versions of it before. If this one is worth watching at all, it's only because Cassini's rare beauty makes it thus. Il dio serpente premiered in Italy today in 1970.
It's a tough job but some tabloid has to do it.
Above is the cover of a March 1953 issue of Sir! magazine, and in an example of the ephemeral nature of such items, shortly after we scanned this we spilled a glass of red wine on it. So behold! It's even more rare than it was when we bought it. Above the slash you see boxer Kid Gavilan, he of the famed bolo punch, and on the right is model Joanne Arnold, who we've featured before here, here, and here. She doesn't appear inside. But what you do get is a jaunt through such exotic locales as Melanesia, Tahiti, and Lisbon in search of knowledge and thrills.
We were drawn to the Lisbon story, which the magazine describes as a capital of sin. To us the word “sin” means late nights, good intoxicants, fun women, and excellent entertainment. To Sir! it means being cheated, robbed, framed, and arrested. To-may-to to-mah-to, we guess. We've spent some time in Lisbon and we love it. We don't know what it was like in 1953, but Europe was still coming out of World War II, which means many countries—even non-combatants like Portugal—were wracked by poverty. So we wouldn't be surprised if thieves were out in droves.
Elsewhere inside Sir! you get art from Jon Laurell and Joseph Szokoli, photos of model Jean Williams and Tahitian beauty queen Malie Haulani, a story on the danger of nuclear weapons, anthropological snobbery in exposés about New Caledonia and the Kogi people of Colombia, and fanciful theories about Russian scientists working to keep Josef Stalin alive for 150 years—which didn't work, because he died a mere five days after this issue of Sir! hit the newsstands. Clearly, the magazine is cursed. It certainly cursed our wine glass. We have thirty-five scans below for your enjoyment and other issues of Sir! here and here.
Cinematic encounters of the worst kind.
The sci-fi adventure Starcrash was made to copy the success—as well as the basic blueprint—of Star Wars. But the only aspect of the movie that's comparable is the promo art. We already showed you the great U.S. poster. This is the Colombian poster made for the movie's premiere there today in 1979 as Ataques estelar del tercer tipo. Elsewhere in Latin America the film had titles like Infierno en el cosmos (Argentina), and Starcrash: Ataque interstelar (Mexico).
Looking more closely, you'll notice a ship similar to the Millennium Falcon. The engines are at the opposite end, but it's basically the same design. These guys were shameless. In addition, Ataques estelar del tercer tipo would translate as “star attacks of the third type.” Obviously, not content to merely rip off Stars Wars the producers decided to also borrow from Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But what you get is a cinematic encounter of the worst kind, though a very funny one. We talked about it already. Check here.
The saying goes that no parent should have to bury a child. Somebody didn't hear the saying.
The above Colombia Pictures promo photo of U.S. actress Eloise Hardt first appeared in 1941, when she was still performing in uncredited roles. Her first star turn came in 1947 in the twenty minute short The Luckiest Guy in the World, followed by a role in Homecoming in 1948. But her career in movies never really took off. It was in television that she made her mark, appearing in dozens of series beginning in 1956. Some of those included Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Miami Undercover, and Dr. Kildare. But for all her acting credits, it was for events outside of show business that she seems to be remembered today.
In 1968 Hardt's daughter Marina Habe was kidnapped, murdered, and her body left in the woods off Muholland Drive. Speculation over the years is that one or more members of the Manson Family did the deed. This would have made Habe an early victim, as their famous murder spree didn't occur until 1969, but according to Ed Sanders, author of The Family, members of Manson's circle admitted they knew Habe, and newspaper reports in 1969 suggested the same weapons that killed Habe were used on Sharon Tate. However no arrest was ever made in the murder. As for Hardt, she's still alive and residing in California, which means she's outlived her daughter by nearly fifty years.
Hitler takes a Caribbean cruise.
We’re back to Hitler today, as The National Police Gazette finally stops beating up poor Argentina in this June 1968 issue and decides the Führer is instead alive and well Colombia. Nowhere is Argentina mentioned, although the magazine had claimed at least twenty times previously that Hitler was there. Antarctica isn’t mentioned either, though Gazette had also told readers Hitler was plotting a new Reich from those icy reaches. Instead, Hitler’s u-boat is said to have landed in Bahia Honda on Colombia’s lush Caribbean coast, whereupon, garbed as a peasant, he was conducted by “rustic Indians” to a jungle ranch. Bogotá, by the way, also doesn’t enter into the story, despite its mention in the cover text.
In previous Gazette tales Eva Braun also made it to South America, but this time she died aboard the u-boat of a brain hemorrhage and was buried at sea. The story, which by the way is once more the work of Hitler-obsessive journo George McGrath, ends with this: “Only his closest German servants knew his real identity. The ranch hands thought him a mine operator. He wore a beard and eyeglasses. It was a complete disguise.” We see the disguise just above, in a photo supposedly taken at a u-boat base in Norway prior to his long submarine journey. We assume Gazette will have more on Hitler’s South American adventures in other issues. After all, this is the twenty-seventh Hitler Gazette we’ve found, and we have no expectation that it’s the last. Stay tuned.
Age ain’t nothing but a number, baby.
This January 1957 cover of The National Police Gazette introduces America to Javier Pereira, a Zenú Indian from Colombia who claimed to have been born in 1789, a birth year that would have made him 167 at the time the magazine hit newsstands. Pereira had been unknown to the world until he crossed paths in 1955 with a Colombian journalist named Suarez Santander Branger, who ran a paper called Ecos de Córdoba. Branger announced his stunning discovery and very quickly everyone in Colombia wanted to meet the world’s oldest man. Branger orchestrated public appearances for Pereira all over the country, where he was feted alongside the likes of Miss Colombia titleholder Luz Marina Zuluaga, and acclaimed author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
Around this time, Douglas Storer, the president of Believe It Or Not, Inc.—which was the parent corporation of Ripley’s—was touring South America looking for strange and unexplainable oddities for the Ripley's Museum in Florida. Storer caught wind of Pereira and swung by Colombia to have a gander at the old man for himself. He must have liked what he saw, because shortly thereafter, Storer flew Pereira to New York City for what he said would be a medical examination. But by “examination” Storer also meant spectacle. He had hordes of press waiting on the tarmac for Pereira when the plane landed, and later paraded him down Fifth Avenue atop a Rolls Royce as New Yorkers turned out to gawk.
Though international fame seemed to suit Pereira just fine, it wasn’t okay with Suarez Santander Branger, who’d received no advance notice of Pereira’s sudden departure from Colombia, and feared losing control of his discovery. Leaving aside the presumptuousness of Branger considering another person to be his property, it's worth noting that he wasn’t just being paranoid. U.S. papers labeled Pereira as Douglas Storer’s discovery. Branger’s name was nowhere to be found. He retaliated by writing an editorial entitled “Javier Pereira es mío,” or, “Javier Pereira Is Mine,” which appeared in most of Colombia’s dailies. In the editorial, he threatened to sue Storer for $167 million—i.e., one million dollars for each year of Pereira’s life. Whether Storer was cowed by Branger or was simply finished with Pereira we don’t know, but he sent the old man back to Colombia and a crisis was averted.
During all of Javier Pereira’s travels he was, of course, asked one question over and over: How have you lived so long? Pereira had a simple answer—he said he chewed cocoa beans, drank lots of coffee, smoked the occasional large cigar, and didn’t worry too much. As to whether he was really 167, the youngest any doctor ever estimated his age to be was 120, and even that doctor prefaced the estimate with the qualifying phrase “at least.” However, the anecdotal evidence for Pereira being older was interesting. For example, though he could not read or write, he had detailed knowledge of historical events that had taken place when he would have been in his twenties and thirties. And many third parties confirmed his age, for example an eighty-six-year-old woman from his town, who recounted meeting him when she was a little girl and he was already an old man.
Pereira's stint in the spotlight had faded by the end of 1957. For a time he resided in a nursing home, but we can’t confirm his whereabouts or the exact circumstances of his death, in March 1958, of heart failure. Today, age-wise, he falls into the inconclusive category. But whatever the actual number, for a while he amazed the world. In Colombia he was sorevered that the government even introduced two 1956 postage stamps bearing his likeness. For those who’d like to see Pereira in action, here's a video clip of his 1955 arrival in New York City, and at this link you can see a silent film of him smooching a flight attendant—the very moment the Police Gazette used for its excellent cover photo-illustration.
He inspired a movie and a book—now he faces life in prison.
Today in Thailand, Viktor Bout took the stand in his trial to fight extradition to the United States for conspiring to provide weaponry to Colombian FARC rebels. Bout, who is a Russian national, allegedly made an arms deal with men he thought were potential customers, but who were in reality American undercover agents. If Thai authorities decide to turn Bout over, he faces charges in America of conspiring to kill U.S. officers, employees and citizens, conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiring to acquire and use an anti-aircraft missile.
Bout said in court, when asked his profession, that he is a businessman involved in aviation and construction. However U.S. authorities, as well as the United Nations, claim he is an international arms dealer known as The Merchant of Death who has provided weaponry to warlords and dictators in Afghanistan and Africa, and is so well known that he was the subject of a book, and provided inspiration for Nicholas Cage’s character in the film Lord of War.
Among Bout’s alleged exploits are the hijacking of 200,000 assault rifles en route from Bosnia to Iraq, and the breaking of an arms embargo to Liberia. Bout said he traveled to Bangkok to relax and to meet with a Thai businessman about an airplane deal, and claimed he was arrested because he is a pawn in an American plot. He denied any wrongdoing, saying, “I did not commit any terrorist acts. The US is trying to use this to cover up its internal problems and prevent good relations between Thailand and Russia.” Bout faces a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1967—Apollo Fire Kills Three Astronauts
Astronauts Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee are killed in a fire during a test of the Apollo 1 spacecraft at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Although the ignition source of the fire is never conclusively identified, the astronauts' deaths are attributed to a wide range of design hazards in the early Apollo command module, including the use of a high-pressure 100 percent-oxygen atmosphere for the test, wiring and plumbing flaws, flammable materials in the cockpit, an inward-opening hatch, and the flight suits worn by the astronauts.
1924—St. Petersburg is renamed Leningrad
St. Peterburg, the Russian city founded by Peter the Great in 1703, and which was capital of the Russian Empire for more than 200 years, is renamed Leningrad three days after the death of Vladimir Lenin. The city had already been renamed Petrograd in 1914. It was finally given back its original name St. Petersburg in 1991.
1966—Beaumont Children Disappear
In Australia, siblings Jane Nartare Beaumont, Arnna Kathleen Beaumont, and Grant Ellis Beaumont, aged 9, 7, and 4, disappear from Glenelg Beach near Adelaide, and are never seen again. Witnesses claim to have spotted them in the company of a tall, blonde man, but over the years, after interviewing many potential suspects, police are unable generate enough solid leads to result in an arrest. The disappearances remain Australia's most infamous cold case.
1949—First Emmy Awards Are Presented
At the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles, California, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presents the first Emmy Awards. The name Emmy was chosen as a feminization of "immy", a nickname used for the image orthicon tubes that were common in early television cameras.
1971—Manson Family Found Guilty
Charles Manson and three female members of his "family" are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders, which Manson orchestrated in hopes of bringing about Helter Skelter, an apocalyptic war he believed would arise between blacks and whites.
It's easy. We have an uploader that makes it a snap. Use it to submit your art, text, header, and subhead. Your post can be funny, serious, or anything in between, as long as it's vintage pulp. You'll get a byline and experience the fleeting pride of free authorship. We'll edit your post for typos, but the rest is up to you. Click here
to give us your best shot.