|Intl. Notebook||Jan 2 2023|
America's worst tabloid pops the bubbly and starts the year strong.
Above is a cover of the tabloid National Informer that hit newsstands today in 1972 featuring an unidentified Champagne toasting model. We love how the editors emphasize the word “truthful” in the second banner, beneath the name of the paper. That's a bold claim from one of the ultimate bottom shelf tabloids of the era, one that traffics in faux news and sensationalism more than actual journalism. But we won't argue the point. Whenever one's reputation is less than stellar don't leave it to chance: tell people what opinion to have of you. National Informer says it's truthful, fine.
There are a couple of stories of note in this issue. According to Informer, German high wire artist Karl Traber died when he lost his balance during a walk between the towers of two Munich churches and fell two-hundred feet onto a spiked fence. We couldn't find a single reference to anyone named Karl Traber online, though we did to a Traber family who remain famous today as aerialists. We did a Boolean search within German websites and still found no Karl Traber who suffered this grisly death. It's no surprise. Cheap tabloids often leave you with more questions than answers. We'll blame it on sloppy journalism (maybe they got a name wrong?) rather than false reporting. But since we don't want to spend our Monday searching the internet, we'll just move on.
Later in the issue Informer's resident seer Mark Travis produces a slate of predictions, and one of them qualifies as his wildest ever: I predict the invention of a serum which is injected into the bloodstream to create more pigmentation of the skin and turn a white person black. It will be very popular among the young college students. This serum [snip] will enable white youngsters from affluent homes to really see what life in the ghetto is like. Since the results will wear off in a few weeks if the injections are discontinued, it will be quite an adventure to “go black” for a short period of time. Only a wig will be necessary to complete the disguise. And since another drug which works in reverse—lightens the skin—will enable any Negro who desires to do so to pass for white, it will soon be impossible to tell who is white, who is black, and who is one in the disguise of the other.
We think we know how that would turn out: the caste-destroying serum would be banned in all fifty states, plus overseas U.S. territories, and bring penalties for usage ranging up to execution. We're only half kidding. Imagining the possible fallout from such a form of recreation makes us want to pitch the idea to some of our Hollywood friends. Can you imagine the television show that could be produced? Travis has made some blah predictions over the years, but we bet this one hit a nerve among Informer's readership. Unfortunately, we don't have the next few issues to check the infuriated responses in reader mail. Maybe it's better that way. As a side note, this is the thirtieth issue of Informer we've shared.
West GermanyMunichNational InformerBrigitte BardotKarl TraberLaila LeedsWendy SityMark TravisJanet BakerBarbara Fenneytabloidburlesque
|Sex Files||Jul 29 2022|
Supply and demand in the unfree market.
Oh no! It's another National Informer. You're thinking, “Three days in a row? How many of these rags do they have?” Well, more than several, clearly, since we always post them on their publication dates and these ended up being consecutive. This issue, which hit newsstands today in 1973, offers a report on the so-called sex slave markets, which according to Informer were in existence in Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and Ghana. This is not exactly a newsflash. Just recently, the Credite Suisse leak, which we wrote about, revealed that sex traffickers were using Swiss banks to stash funds. Shockingly—and we know this will knock you for a loop—it's extremely difficult to eradicate anything that generates enough profits to interest the international banking sector. Business, real estate, oil, weapons, human trafficking, drugs—it's all of a piece to the banks.
To go along with its sex slave reporting Informer offers up a side helping of bdsm content, including a blurb on Bella Silverman, who was allegedly Miss Nude Dominant Female of 1973. You see her just below, complete with a terrifying mask that doesn't exactly scream erotic thrills. Or is that just us? We looked up Bella, but there was no info at all. Maybe she's a banker now. Elsewhere Informer tells readers that age is no barrier to sex, nudist camps really swing, and foreign diplomats are sex maniacs. And lastly, resident psychic Mark Travis makes a set of surprisingly prosaic predictions, including about future shoe fashion, breakthroughs in spray paint, and the California housing market. We suppose even psychics get tired of talking about Bigfoot and UFOs. Well, here's a prediction: there will be no National Informer tomorrow. Enjoy the scans.
|Sex Files||Jul 28 2022|
Notable show business encounters: the Pelvis meets the Throat.
Issues of National Informer on back-to-back days? Sure, why not? The above example, published today in 1974, is five years older than yesterday's, and in the intervening timeframe the editors seem to have stopped woman bashing. They're still treating them as complete sex objects, but that's what Informer was all about. They've also replaced the (not so) Great Criswell with new psychic Mark Travis. We're still curious who actually bought these mags (we do it for scientific purposes, so we don't count), and exactly how seriously they took it. Our guess is not very.
The main attraction in this issue is the story on swivel-hipped musical star Elvis Presley and Linda Lovelace, centerpiece of the xxx smash Deep Throat. Lovelace, who was purportedly involved—at least for a few hours at a time—with such aging stars as Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, and (of course) Frank Sinatra, as well as young Hollywood rebels Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Dennis Hopper, is alleged to have met up with Presley in Las Vegas. You could be forgiven for assuming that nature took its course, but it didn't. At least, according to reports.
What on Earth could have stopped these two sex elementals from joining forces? Presley allegedly told Lovelace he was temporarily hors de combat because he had hurt himself having sex with Natalie Wood the previous week. Hey, we just relay this stuff. We make no claim that any of it is true. And we thought Natalie was so sweet. Well, you should never judge a book by its cover. Tabloids, on the other hand, you can safely evaluate at a glance. Informer is just as down and dirty as it looks.
Las VegasDeep ThroatNational InformerElvis PresleyLinda LovelaceRichard BurtonRex HarrisonBob HopeDean MartinPaul NewmanMarlon BrandoDennis HopperTony CurtisFrank SinatraNatalie WoodMark Travistabloidnudityxxx
|Intl. Notebook||Jul 27 2022|
If it's facts you want you've bought the wrong paper.
Above is a cover of the tabloid National Informer published today in 1969 with a feature on "watch-a-rape clubs," and we remind you again, these stories are fake. Tabloids at the level of Informer are closer to The Onion than any real newspaper, with the difference being that The Onion is actually funny. While it is absolutely certain that men have stood idly by and watched women be raped (all you have to do is read the news), it's equally certain that there were no watch-a-rape clubs. The story is written as cheesy softcore porn, and the image used is a promotional still from the 1968 movie Les oiseaux vont mourir au Pérou, aka Birds in Peru, with Jean Seberg. It was a controversial film, which is probably why Informer editors borrowed the shot.
They continue their anti-woman campaign in the story, “How To Tell When Someone Feeds You a Pack of Lies.” The pertinent section from author E.W. Steele: “Among the most notorious of liars are fishermen, golfers, salesmen, politicians, and women. The last-named are, perhaps, the most expert of the lot, because they find it so easy to assume an air of maidenly sincerity and absolute innocence. In addition they are less scrupulous than men. Not troubled to the same extent with qualms of conscience, lies flow from their lovely lips like lava.”
Less scrupulous than men? Apparently, this particular Informer is not so much a tabloid, but an encyclopedia of male grievance. They even try to drag Groucho Marx into it, somehow enticing him (if it really is him) into authoring an essay, “Groucho Marx Speaks Out on Love, Lust and Passion.” Marx, globally acknowledged comic genius, doesn't generate many laughs here. But it's late in his career, and maybe the written word simply wasn't his medium. After all, there are no prop eyeglasses and mustache to help him out.
While we enjoy major scandal sheets such as Confidential and Whisper, these bottom tier tabloids go against our ethical grain. But we scan and upload them because we consider them useful historical artifacts. Others have agreed. We've been contacted several times over the years and asked to provide full-sized scans for research papers and indie documentaries—though we've never seen the final results of those projects. Hey, you scholars and filmmakers, remember you said you'd send us copies when you were finished? Still waiting.
Elsewhere in Informer the (not so) Great Criswell puts in an appearance. He gives readers his usual set of preposterous psychic predictions. Our fave: I predict that an American writer will win the Nobel Prize for Literature very soon. Criswell probably thought he needed to mix an easy one in there, something he was sure to get correct, and guess what? He was way off! It took seven whole years for an American to win—Saul Bellow in 1976. Does seven years count as very soon? If you're a Galapagos tortoise maybe, but not as far as we're concerned. Back to the drawing board, Criswell.
National InformerLes oiseaux vont mourir au PérouBirds in PeruJean SebergThe Great CriswellGroucho Marxnuditytabloid
|Sex Files||Feb 17 2022|
Just a little something to help pass the time.
Above is the cover of an issue of National Informer Reader published today in 1974. Some people will tell you that the trans community is a new thing, but it isn't, and we know because vintage tabloids have been obsessed with the subject for more than sixty years. If you don't believe us check here, here, here, here, and here. Reader visits the topic with a story on trans entertainer Jennifer Fox. In cheap tabloids the stories were often made up, but Fox existed. She underwent gender reassignment in 1968 and became a burlesque dancer in Las Vegas. In other stories she's noted that once knowledge of her change became widely known, interest in her exploded and she became a star attraction. The only thing is, we don't think the photo Reader printed is Fox. Her face looks wrong, Fox was usually blonde, and not many burlesque dancers posed frontally nude after becoming famous—it would have devalued the moneymaker. Probably Reader never actually spoke to Fox. The editors simply knew a useful story when they saw it, and used a handout photo that looked good. When it comes to tabloids in this tier almost nothing is 100% accurate. Scans below.
Las VegasNational Informer ReaderNational InformerNational Informer Weekly ReaderSteve ReevesJames CoburnLee Marvintabloidnudityburlesquelgbt
|Hollywoodland | Sex Files||Jan 20 2022|
Informer digs for Hollywood dirt but comes up empty.
Above is the cover of a National Informer published today in 1974, and unlike other issues, this one has an actual, real life, major celebrity inside—none other than Paul Newman. How did he end up inside a cheapie sex tabloid? Good question. Reading the story—which discusses his relations with female fans—you get the sense that the magazine managed to get itself admitted to a press junket interview session, at which a group of journalists together ask questions of a star. We've participated in ones with Ron Perlman, David Caruso, Renee Zellweger, and others. Group sessions with small and lesser known press outlets saves the stars and publicists time, and the promotional companies aren't terribly discriminating as long as the publication has the right credentials.
But even if you don't know how press junkets work, you'd notice that Informer's interview doesn't read like a one-on-one sit-down. It's a few basically innocuous answers from Newman. Informer journo Tex Harmon wants to tell readers that Newman is slinging dick all around Hollywood, but can't because he has only a few quotes with which to work. So he writes an article with a mildly sexual slant, calls it a day, and probably hits the local watering hole for whiskey shots. Newman does talk about his wife Joanne Woodward a bit, but respectfully. You can read the whole piece yourself below.
Elsewhere, Informer offers up its usual style of quasi-journalism, with the claim that illicit affairs can be good for marriages, a piece on a woman who was a sex slave of the mob, and a chat with a Dutch policewoman named Anita Hausmann who encountered a flasher in Amsterdam who was “letting it all hang out.” Hang isn't the word we'd use for him, but whatever. Informer also has its usual set of predictions from Mark Travis, and of course there are photos of pretty young models. We've gotten good at identifying them, but this issue is tricky. Andrea Rau is in panels six and seven, but the rest we're blanking on. Feel free to give us an assist if you have any answers.
Update: French actress and model Karin Petersen is in the last panels.
|Sex Files||Jan 9 2022|
National Informer gives sex advice—and if you take it don't blame anyone but yourself.
We love National Informer. We love it like a relative who makes off-color comments and is wrong about half of what they say, but is also bizarrely funny and indispensable at barbecues. This issue published today in 1972 illustrates the point perfectly. It's filled with nonsense. You get a primer of sexual deviations, an endorsement of incest, and predictions for the future from Mark Travis—including his assertion that cock-fighting will become a major American pasttime. That didn't come true—unless we're confused about the type of cocks, in which case cockfighting has been the primary force in American politics for decades.
The paper also has bits on actress Ira von Furstenberg, burlesque dancer Rebel Carr, treats readers to plenty of sexist cartoons, and touts phony medical breaktrhoughs, but the most interesting feature is probably its forty-five question true-or-false sex quiz. "How sharp is your sexual knowledge?" it asks. Well, sharp enough for our girlfriends, is all we can say. The quiz offers up a few surprise factoids. Our favorite? “Studies show that men with tattoos are actually worried about their varility. T or F?” Studies also show that editors of tabloids should worry more about their spelling.
Informer and its little sister Informer Weekly Reader were among the earliest tabloids to prove that being regularly incoherent is no barrier to generating a mass following in America. In fact, it may even help, if the last half decade is any indication. This is the thirty-eighth issue we've shared, and finally, we're starting to run low. That's bad news, we know, and worse, we probably won't buy more. They're priced a bit high now. Maybe that happens when fifty or so issues are bought by someone in a two-year span. But don't worry—there are many other tabloids out there, and some of them are even crazier, as a traipse through our tabloid index will reveal. Have a look. Meanwhile, Informer scans below.
|Sex Files||Nov 3 2021|
National Informer guest columnist bares his soul and more.
This issue of National Informer was published today in 1974. In these later editions the editors seem to have discovered the value of a little dick, which is to say they began featuring male frontal nudes. The Pulp Intl. girlfriends used to wonder why we had so few nude men on the site. They actually thought it was up to us. We were like, “Baby, vintage actors didn't do nude promo shots.” Well, except for Fred Williamson, but he's Fred Williamson. Burt Reynolds did it for Cosmopolitan, but we don't have that shot because we don't collect Cosmo. So the best you get is these randos in low rent tabloids.
The models, whoever they were, got to experience what women had been experiencing for a long time, which was the shock of realizing their secret nudes had hit daylight on a drugstore newsstand without their knowledge—or financial remuneration. And as with the women, the photos were used in articles that had nothing to do with them. In this case the accompanying feature is about a porn actor who wants to move into legit cinema. It's a silly article filled with nothingness written by J.W.—presumably Johnny Wadd, aka John Holmes. At least that's what readers were supposed to think.
Do we buy it? Not really. For one, it reads like the same house hacks who wrote all Informer's articles (we love the part where he defines the term “persona non grata”), but second, why would a guy who's flashed his gooch to millions need to hide his identity? But it's very specific in terms of the hints the author drops, so maybe it really is him. But with or without Holmes, there's quality schlong on the anonymous model. The Pulp Intl. girlfriends say he could use a circumcision, but whatever, they can't say we never tried to give them some eye candy. More Informer coming later.
|Sex Files||Oct 6 2021|
All the news that's fit to sucker people out of their cash.
Yellow press is a term for newspapers that presented little or no legitimate news, instead attracting readers with empty sensationalism. While the term was most widely used a century ago, 1960-70s tabloid National Informer may qualify. This issue was published today in 1974 and is pure sex from cover to cover. Among the jewels: “Is It Normal To Be a Girl Watcher?” and “Do Older or Younger Women Make the Best Sex Partners?” As always, the photos accompanying these stories are random handouts, but sometimes they feature semi-famous figures. In this case, one of the photos accompanying the girl watcher story is of glamour model Lois Mitchell. The other two models on that page are probably well known too, but we can't place them. In true yellow press tradition, there's nothing substantial in Informer at all, but as always, its nothingness is well worth documentation, which we've done with nineteen scans below. And yes, we have still more issues. We'll get to those later. Meanwhile, if you want to see more from National Informer, National Informer Weekly Reader, and more than four hundred other tabloids we've already uploaded, just click here.
|Sex Files||Jul 15 2021|
Clear your schedule. National Informer is back.
National Informer Weekly Reader is one of the more amusing vintage tabloids we've collected. This one is from today in 1973, and has time killing features such as two narrative brainteasers and a slate of predictions for the future by the inimitable seer Mark Travis, he of the 6.9% accuracy rate. It also has what purports to be an interview about zany fame with television and film star Goldie Hawn, but it's just a few lines and we didn't bother to scan it. But we did scan a hilarious story on Gloria Simpson, who editors tell us is in love with own body. Shouldn't we all be in love with our bodies? We mean in a perfect world, as the great rhythmic philosopher George Benson put it when he said that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all? Well, we haven't yet achieved that utopia, so you'll have to be told about self love by Gloria. We made a nice box containing her tale so that, for strictly educational purposes, you can read some hardcore porn masquerading as journalism. Enjoy that, and the boner it's supposed to give you. National Informer Weekly Reader will return.