Vintage Pulp Jun 9 2024
THE WAY SHE MOVES
Mambo, rumba, merengue—you're great at them all. Have you by chance ever done a lap dance?

James Meese was responsible for this nice front for David C. Holmes' 1958 thriller The Velvet Ape. The art features the alpha pose we've highlighted before, where the main subject is straddled by a-shaped legs. Here, the woman dances in the foreground, the man observes from an easy chair, and a gun-wielding shadow creeps toward them beyond the background doorway. Is the woman in league with the shadow? Or are both man woman and man in big trouble? Whatever the answers, Meese has taken an oft used motif and produced a nice example of it. You can see our alpha collection here.

The book tells the story of former naval aviator Buck Tankersley, who after disgrace and a lost career has fetched up in Panama, where he mainly drinks. When another aviator working for a company called Gulf Export takes a fatal header off a balcony into an empty pool, the local CIA chief, who's concerned about communist incursions in Central America, enlists Tankersley to apply for the dead flyer's vacancy and be eyes and ears inside the company. Tankersley soon meets Marley Kentner, sister of the dead aviator, who's looking for answers. Those answers, somehow or other, hinge upon a set of Indian ape dolls made from velvet, gourds, and monkey fur.

Overall, we'd say The Velvet Ape falls into the strictly average category. For one thing, the Panamanian setting isn't exploited as well as it could be. In fact, in an effort to establish that setting, Holmes mangles the first Spanish phrase he tries to use. That isn't entirely his fault. His editors were supposed to catch such errors. But it encapsulates the issues with the book, which feels a little lazy. Its plot is from the anti-commie handbook and its characters aren't compelling. But on the plus side, the climax involves Tankersley flying a Grumman Mallard seaplane directly into a hurricane. Points for that. 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 20
1967—Muhammad Ali Sentenced for Draft Evasion
Heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, who was known as Cassius Clay before his conversion to Islam, is sentenced to five years in prison for refusing to serve in the military during the Vietnam War. In elucidating his opposition to serving, he uttered the now-famous phrase, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”
June 19
1953—The Rosenbergs Are Executed
Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted for conspiracy to commit espionage related to passing information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet spies, are executed at Sing Sing prison, in New York.
June 18
1928—Earhart Crosses Atlantic Ocean
American aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, riding as a passenger in a plane piloted by Wilmer Stutz and maintained by Lou Gordon. Earhart would four years later go on to complete a trans-Atlantic flight as a pilot, leaving from Newfoundland and landing in Ireland, accomplishing the feat solo without a co-pilot or mechanic.
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