This one is paved with bad intentions every inch of the way.
When we saw these two Italian posters for 1966's I selvaggi our eyes deceived us and we thought—for a wonderful split second—that they were for a film starring Frank Sinatra and Jane Fonda. But then we realized it was Nancy Sinatra and Peter Fonda, who are pretty big downgrades, quality-wise. No offense intended toward them. Fonda is an icon of cool, but not because he can act. We aren't aware of Nancy Sinatra wowing people with her thespian chops either. But we watched the movie anyway.
It's better known as The Wild Angels, and it's Roger Corman directed schlock from American International Pictures about a group called the Hell's Angels ripping and bombing around Southern California, causing problems to law abiding folk and the police. While it's obviously a take on the infamous motorcycle gang, in real life the gang spells its name without an apostrophe. Why that makes a difference in terms of trademark infringement we have no idea, but we assume that's why it was put there. Or maybe it's just a correction of an assumed typo in the real gang's name. Or maybe nobody even noticed the difference.
Whatever the case, the Hells Angels couldn't really have claimed that the racist and violent Hell's Angels portrayed by Fonda, Sinatra, Bruce Dern, and company differed greatly from reality. The real Angels may not have clobbered preachers and taken over churches for all night bacchanals, but they did some terrible shit. Despite the incendiary verisimilitude of the movie, it's mostly a bore—but one that helped establish the outlaw biker genre and pave the way for 1969's Easy Rider. For that it deserves a little credit. Now we're going to try and find out if Jane Fonda and Frank Sinatra ever acted together, because that's a movie we'd like to see.
We’re really cooking with gas now.
You can probably discern at a glance that this poster for A tutto gas was made for the Italian run of the American musical Speedway. This isn’t really pulp material, but we liked the art, so there you go. A tutto gas translates to “at full throttle,” and that’s where the cheese-o-meter is pegged in this musical romp starring Elvis Presley as an indebted stock car racer and Nancy Sinatra as the tax agent who falls in love with him. The movie is silly but it has its charms, and Elvis fans will certainly like it. Be forewarned, though, that it was released at the height of his fame but still tanked at the box office. There are reasons for that. A tutto gas opened in Italy today in 1968.
We’ve got something special up our sleeves.
Above and below are the front and rear sleeves of four Japanese soundtrack pressings for the 1960s James Bond films Thunderball, From Russia with Love, You Only Live Twice, and Goldfinger. The themes were sung by Tom Jones, Matt Munro, Nancy Sinatra, and Shirley Bassey respectively, and pictured along with Sean Connery you see Bond beauties Claudine Auger and Shirley Eaton. Ms. Eaton, as wrong-place wrong-time Jill Masterson, had the dubious honor of being suffocated under a coating of gold paint, certainly one of the most infamous deaths of any Bond femme. We think these sleeves are great, and if you agree and want to see a lot more excellent 007 soundtrack art, check our previous posts here, here, and especially here.
On a related note, the Bond franchise’s fiftieth anniversary is next month, and in honor of the occasion former star Roger Moore, along with co-stars Britt Ekland and Richard Kiel, are touring around England with a Blu-ray box set of all the films, which are stored inside a gold case that is in turn comfortably riding in one of Bond’s preferred vehicles, an Aston Martin DBS. Actors, auto, and discs are visiting some of the iconic locations of the Bond series in advance of the release of the next film, which is entitled Skyfall. You can read more about all that here.
Confidential gets out its trusty airbrush.
We like this fun blue cover of Confidential from January 1968, but it’s just a bit misleading. The image of Nancy Sinatra is doctored to imply that she's naked. The original, which you see below, was shot around the time she was filming her 1966 comedy caper The Last of the Secret Agents? In the movie there’s a scene in which her dress gets snagged on something and accidentally torn off. The moment is played for laughs, in a public setting. The ensemble she wore in that scene is exactly what she has on in the photo, which suggests it was probably shot to promote the film.
Nancy in her undies could not save The Last of the Secret Agents? from bad reviews and an underwhelming run, but while the movie was a dud, the undies photo became quite famous and was used on many magazines, including a cover of The National Police Gazette that we showed you a couple of years ago. Leave it to Confidential to suggest that more came off during the filming of Secret Agents than ended up in the final version of the film, but as far as we know, Sinatra never appeared fully nude in any medium until 1995, when she was 54 years old and did a layout for Playboy. Before that she had shot a promo photo in which she appeared to be bare, but with arms and legs arranged to hide the naughty bits. The Playboy spread, by contrast, hid nothing. And Confidential? It hid the truth.
Nancy Sinatra sets Guinness record for world’s biggest panties.
We had planned to share more Dutch pulp today, but we can't manage the work after last night, an eventful foray into the Amsterdam social scene that included getting tossed from a bar called Royalty. And we don't mean tossed like politely asked to leave. We mean tossed like bouncers putting us in arm locks and bum rushing us out the door. So we won't be going back there. Anyway, here's our backup post, an August 1969 issue of The National Police Gazette, with Nancy Sinatra rocking the retro bod and granny panties. Notice her missing navel—in 1969 exposed navels were still considered risqué, which is why they had only just begun to appear in movies, weren’t shown on respectable magazine covers, and were entirely banned from television. At first we thought it was possible Nancy’s naughty little button was tucked inside her bottoms, but then we began to suspect it had been airbrushed away. Finally, we decided she’s an alien with no navel at all. Which also would explain the wink—that’s what aliens do when they’re about to probe you. But then we found two more photos from the same session, which are proof positive the airbrushing theory is correct, and that she isn’t an alien. A shame, really. After last night, we could use a good probing.
Mansfield makes any tabloid a major event.
February 1961 Top Secret cover with Jayne Mansfield getting the prime spot, plus Lucky Luciano, Suzy Parker, and Nancy Sinatra. See ploenty more from this tabloid here.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1912—Pravda Is Founded
The newspaper Pravda, or Truth, known as the voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg. It is one of the country's leading newspapers until 1991, when it is closed down by decree of then-President Boris Yeltsin. A number of other Pravdas appear afterward, including an internet site and a tabloid.
1983—Hitler's Diaries Found
The German magazine Der Stern claims that Adolf Hitler's diaries had been found in wreckage in East Germany. The magazine had paid 10 million German marks for the sixty small books, plus a volume about Rudolf Hess's flight to the United Kingdom, covering the period from 1932 to 1945. But the diaries are subsequently revealed to be fakes written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Both he and Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann go to trial in 1985 and are each sentenced to 42 months in prison.
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday
records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
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