Modern Pulp Jun 6 2009
A STAR IS UNBORN
Was Dorothy Stratten really a superstar in the making? Her only film offers few clues.

The sole film foray by oft-eulogized Playboy model Dorothy Stratten, Galaxina is a low budget sci-fi farce that is to space operas what Steven Wright once was to stand-up comedy—which is to say, it presents the absurd with an utterly straight face. If not for Stratten it’s safe to say this film would be entirely forgotten by now. She plays the icy android caretaker of a deep space cruiser who reprograms herself so she can experience physical love. But this is no Just Jaeckin or Jesús Franco sex romp—director William Sachs plays it coy, and Stratten’s form-fitting jumpsuit stays firmly zipped throughout. Perhaps that is a sign of how seriously people took her talent—though she had already been nude for all the world to see, her handlers didn’t want to make the sexploitation flick everyone expected. How much of Stratten’s star potential is spun from thin air by Playboy’s aggressive self-promotional machine is difficult to say, because Galaxina is itself too thin to offer much evidence either way. But if we imagine for a moment that she had not been shotgunned to death and this film had been followed by a successful Hollywood career, Galaxina wouldn’t have been an embarrassment for Stratten to look back upon. Some of the greatest actors of all time can’t claim the same. Galaxina opened in the U.S. today in 1980.

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Femmes Fatales Feb 28 2009
A GALAXINA FAR FAR AWAY
All stars burn bright but some don't last long.

Canadian centerfold, actress and cult celebrity Dorothy Stratten in four publicity stills from the film Galaxina. She was born today in 1960, and murdered by her estranged husband in 1980.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 13
1933—Eugenics Becomes Official German Policy
Adolf Hitler signs the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, and Germany begins sterilizing those they believe carry hereditary illnesses, and those they consider impure. By the end of WWII more than 400,000 are sterilized, including criminals, alcoholics, the mentally ill, Jews, and people of mixed German-African heritage.
1955—Ruth Ellis Executed
Former model Ruth Ellis is hanged at Holloway Prison in London for the murder of her lover, British race car driver David Blakely. She is the last woman executed in the United Kingdom.
1966—Richard Speck Rampage
Richard Speck breaks into a Chicago townhouse where he systematically rapes and kills eight student nurses. The only survivor hides under a bed the entire night.
July 12
1971—Corona Sent to Prison
Mexican-born serial killer Juan Vallejo Corona is convicted of the murders of 25 itinerant laborers. He had stabbed each of them, chopped a cross in the backs of their heads with a machete, and buried them in shallow graves in fruit orchards in Sutter County, California. At the time the crimes were the worst mass murders in U.S. history.
July 11
1960—To Kill a Mockingbird Appears
Harper Lee's racially charged novel To Kill a Mockingbird is published by J.B. Lippincott & Co. The book is hailed as a classic, becomes an international bestseller, and spawns a movie starring Gregory Peck, but is the only novel Lee would ever publish.
1962—Nuke Test on Xmas Island
As part of the nuclear tests codenamed Operation Dominic, the United States detonates a one megaton bomb on Australian controlled Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. The island was a location for a series of American and British nuclear tests, and years later lawsuits claiming radiation damage to military personnel were filed, but none were settled in favor in the soldiers.
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