Femmes Fatales Apr 20 2015
SWEPT AWAY
McBroom pokes a toe in the Hollywood waters.

Marcia McBroom’s film résumé is sparse—seven roles total, including in Willie Dynamite and the underrated The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings. She’ll likely never be forgotten, though, because she portrayed Petronella Danforth, one third of the beautiful girl group The Kelly Affair, later called The Carrie Nations, in the eternal camp classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. When we first saw the movie in college it helped make the distinction between bad and “bad” crystal clear. Today it remains a Friday night dorm room favorite and an indispensable gateway into the realm of bad-as-in-hilarious cinema. This photo dates from around 1970. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 11 2008
VALLEY GIRLS
Girl band’s musical dream ruined by pills, booze and abject lack of talent.

Here we have a beautiful German poster for the classic sexploitation film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. It starred a cast of dozens, and was directed by boob maven extraordinaire Russ Meyer. But believe it or not, the most important fact here is that the script was written by film critic Roger Ebert when he was young and, apparently, horny. Dolls follows the misfortunes of an all-girl band called the Carry Nations, as they’re sucked into the usual Hollywood vortex of drugs, booze, and soft-focus sex. Ebert may or may not want to lay claim to this effort, but we gotta tell you, the man is a frickin’ genius with dialogue. Everyone who’s seen the movie loves when Z-Man exclaims, “This is my happening and it freaks me out!” And it’s a good line. You’ll hear no demurral from us on that point. It isn’t farfetched to imagine Ebert saying that about his own creation. But as dialogue goes, we present for contemplation the less-cited Z-Man line: “You will drink the black sperm of my vengeance!” That is spun gold. In short, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is one of the most fantastically entertaining bad films ever made, and we suggest you go rent it right now, and smoke a joint before you cue it up, because it’s even funnier when you’re stoned. The West German premiere was today in 1970.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 02
1930—Selassie Becomes Emperor
Haile Selassie I, whose birth name Tafari Makonnen and title "Ras" give the Rastafarian religion its name, is proclaimed emperor of Ethiopia. Selassie would become one of the most important leaders in African history, and earn global recognition through his resistance to Italy's illegal invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Selassie died in August 1975 under disputed circumstances.
April 01
1984—Marvin Gaye Dies from Gunshot Wound
American singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye, who was famous for a three-octave vocal range which he used on hits such as "Sexual Healing" and "What's Going On," is fatally shot in the chest by his father after an argument over misplaced business documents. Gaye scored forty-one top 40 hit singles on Billboard's pop singles chart between 1963 and 2001, sixty top 40 R&B hits from 1962 to 2001, and thirty-eight top 10 singles on the R&B chart, making him not only one of the most critically acclaimed artists of his day, but one of the most successful.
March 31
1930—Movie Censorship Enacted
In the U.S., the Motion Pictures Production Code is instituted, imposing strict censorship guidelines on the depiction of sex, crime, religion, violence and racial mixing in film. The censorship holds sway over Hollywood for the next thirty-eight years, and becomes known as the Hays Code, after its creator, Will H. Hays.
1970—Japan Airlines Flight 351 Hijacked
In Japan, nine samurai sword wielding members of the Japanese Communist League-Red Army Faction hijack Japan Airlines flight 351, which had been en route from Tokyo to Fukuoka. After releasing the passengers, the hijackers proceed to Pyongyang, North Koreas's Mirim Airport, where they surrender to North Korean authorities and are given asylum.
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