Vintage Pulp Jan 13 2016
PRIVACY ISSUES
I found these pjs in your closet. Hope you don’t mind. I also found your porn stash, some Jergens, and a lot of crusty socks. We better talk.


Harry Kurnitz’s Invasion of Privacy has one of the more ingenious set-ups—a movie mogul buys a script about a man who murders his wife, and well into production of the film is sued for copyright infringement. The person suing him? That happens to be the man who committed the murder. Not only is the story stolen, but true. But how did the screenwriter know about the crime? And how can the producer avoid losing the lawsuit? Maybe, possibly, by proving the murder actually happened. Complicated and fun, this edition is from 1957, with excellent art by James Meese. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 9 2015
DADDY ISSUES
Aren’t you a little old for this sort of thing?

Bernard Wolfe is known for several reasons, not least of them for being Leon Trotsky’s personal secretary in Mexico City, but he was also a novelist of wide-ranging interests. Come On Out, Daddy was his Hollywood book, about a New York author who moves out west to cash in on an easy screenwriting job. While making a couple thousand dollars a week for doing very little he runs into the usual assortment of jaded Tinseltown characters—from big stars to little wannabes—and trysts with an assortment of disposable beauties before of course meeting the woman of his dreams. It’s episodic due to it being partly cobbled together from short stories published in Playboy and Cavalier, but reasonably well regarded as a cultural satire. Life described it as “garrulously and surrealistically told by a huge cast of people in varying stages of corruption.” 1963 on the hardback, and 1964 on the above, with cool cover art by James Meese.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 26 2015
CLIMATE DENIALISM
Your honor, defense concedes the victim died of suffocation by pillow, but we contend it had no human cause.

The Deadly Climate is a 1955 mystery by Ursula Curtiss, the story of a woman who thinks she’s seen a murder in the woods, but since she can’t identify the killer, and the body has vanished, nobody believes her. But of course meantime the murderer is lurking with plans to eliminate her as a witness. There are many good reviews around the internet on this one. Art is by James Meese. 

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Vintage Pulp Jun 8 2013
BEAST IN HUMAN SKIN
Mike Hammer lets his inner predator come out.


Mickey Spillane's iconic private dick Mike Hammer is a lethal weapon and he wants everyone to know it. He constantly tells others and the reader how tough he is, how willing he is to kill, how afraid others are of him, and why they're right to be afraid. At some point that changed in crime novels and these days the toughest characters almost never boast about their abilities, or it's done in a leftfield way, such as in Lee Child's novels, in which Jack Reacher sometimes explains clinically how he's going to get the better of somebody. But Hammer just comes out with it: “I'm mean, I'm tough, I'm better than you, I have a code you can't possibly understand, and I'm going to kill you and everyone who tries to help you.”

This is never more true than in 1952's Kiss Me, Deadly, which revolves around Hammer accidentally becoming the patsy in a murder plot and seeking revenge, not only for the murdered woman (who's Swedish and has the awesome name Berga Torn), but also because anyone who would dare try to put him on the spot, and anyone who would wreck his custom built car, simply deserves to die. Spillane is great. This is still genre fiction, so it's never perfect, but the writing is visceral and the tightness of the plotting is unbeatable. When Hammer gets violent it's serious business. He rips a guys eyes out. He rips another guy's jaw loose. The man is a hammer alright, only his first name should be Jack.

Film buffs should note that Kiss Me, Deadly diverges significantly from the 1955 film version. There's no suitcase of— Well, if you haven't seen the movie we won't tell you what there's no suitcase of, but those who've seen it will know what we were going to say. Here the MacGuffin is drugs with a street value of two million dollars. Kiss Me, Deadly is fast, clever, unexpected, and quite a pleasure to read. It's basically preposterous, of course, the male antipode to the romance novel, with Hammer fulfilling male desires to be tough, unbeatable, irresistible, but still basically a good guy. We don't care if it's male wish fulfillment. It's a ton of fun.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
January 26
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.
January 25
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.
January 24
1961—Plane Carrying Nuclear Bombs Crashes
A B-52 Stratofortress carrying two H-bombs experiences trouble during a refueling operation, and in the midst of an emergency descent breaks up in mid-air over Goldsboro, North Carolina. Five of the six arming devices on one of the bombs somehow activate before it lands via parachute in a wooded region where it is later recovered. The other bomb does not deploy its chute and crashes into muddy ground at 700 mph, disintegrating while driving its radioactive core fifty feet into the earth, where it remains to this day.
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