When is a watershed not a watershed? When the water runs backward.
Above is a cover of National Star Chronicle from today in 1967 that references an event from our old HQ the Philippines. At that time the country, which has always had a problem with regressive males who view women as property, was going through a particularly bad stretch of gang rapes. In June of 1967, four men targeted, abducted, and, over the course of more than a day, raped a popular Filipina actress named Magdalena de la Riva. They freed her afterward, probably feeling safe from repercussions. Among the reasons were: they all came from influential families, men all over the country were getting away with similar crimes, and de la Riva probably would have to sacrifice her social standing and career to come forward.
But the quartet—Jaime Gómez José, Basilio Pineda, Edgardo Payumo Aquino, and Rogelio Sevilla Cañal—underestimated de la Riva's courage, and they also misread the mood of the Philippine public. De la Riva did indeed step forward, and the people were overwhelmingly behind her. The four men, as well as three accomplices who helped plan the abduction, were all arrested. After a sensational trial, convictions for all involved, and a few years of legal wrangling, three of the men who committed the actual rape were executed, with the fourth escaping his fate by dying of a drug overdose in prison. The proceedings were broadcast on Philippine national radio in May of 1972.
At the time the case was considered a watershed for women's rights in the Philippines, a sign of progress on the problem. The quotes in National Star Chronicle offer insight into the prevailing sentiment. One police official said, “These young hoodlums will think twice before carrying on the way they've been. The public is so enraged now, any would-be rapist knows he stands a chance of being torn limb from limb if he's caught.” But the problem persists all these years later, even despite a ramping up of penalties for the crime.
Recent backward movement on the issue is surely due to the fact that some influential people aren't interested in improving the situation. In 2016, then-presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte commented about the infamous 1989 rape of Australian missionary Jacqueline Hamill, taken hostage by inmates at Davao Prison, “I was mad she was raped, but she was so beautiful. I thought the mayor should have been first.” Duterte was mayor in 1989, so he was talking about himself. He went on to win the 2016 presidential election, despite his comments. In 2017 he said he would congratulate anyone who raped a Miss Universe, and in 2018 he said Davao City had the highest number of rape cases in the country because there were so many beautiful women there. Needless to say, watersheds are not always what they're cracked up to be—especially in the Philippines.
Most parents would do anything to give their kids a good education. Or would they?
Today in 1964, when this National Star Chronicle hit newsstands, the headline was supposed to be outrageous. Today it's just sound fiscal strategy. The average U.S. college student graduates with more than $30,000 in debt. Figure about $200 a go and the average mother would have to prostitute herself 150 times to generate thirty g's. Of course thirty grand is the outstanding debt. That amount doesn't count what's spent apart from going hat in hand to a bank or loan company. So let's break it down from the top to get a better sense of the actual costs of higher education in the currency of tricks.
Say you have a daughter who wants to go to a good school. Tuition at the school we attended, for example, is $51,000 per year now, so let's round that down to 250 tricks. Plus room and board, figure another 100 tricks. Add in occasional doctor visits, court costs, and freebies extracted by dirty cops and you're looking at probably another 100 tricks. Ancillary costs, such as condoms, Astroglide by the case, a fly wardrobe to attract clients, various stints in therapy, figure another 100 tricks. Or maybe the therapist takes payment in sex. They certainly do in pulp fiction. Could be a bit of a savings there.
The final tally scales up or down based on level of attractiveness, reputation for good service, self-promotional ability, etc., but pencil in 550 tricks—a rough average—to send your daughter through a good school. If it's a son you're sending add another 175 tricks because he'll turn into a total fuck-up at some point before straightening his shit out and managing to graduate late. Say you go though all that effort. Know what happens at the end? The thankless kid never fulfills their career ambitions and accuses you of ruining their life. That's the worst trick of all. But hey—nobody ever said parenting was easy.
After two long years of unsolved killings National Star Chronicle points the accusatory finger at—nobody.
This edition of National Star Chronicle appeared today in 1964, and as you can see it blares the claim that the Boston Strangler had been caught. Eleven women in the Boston area had been slain during the early 1960s, with the victims ranging in age between nineteen and eighty-five, nearly all of whom were sexually assaulted or raped before bring killed. Boston police felt they were drawing close to a break in their marathon investigation, but the confessed killer Albert DeSalvo was not apprehended until the autumn of 1964. He was actually arrested for a different set of crimes known as the Green Man rapes, but he eventually claimed, while a patient at the Bridgewater State Hospital in southern Massachusetts, to have committed the Boston Strangler rape/killings.
The admission came in April 1965. In addition to the eleven killings police had tentatively linked, DeSalvo confessed to two more killings, bringing the unofficial total of his victims to thirteen. So Chronicle jumped the gun on their headline by a year, but we've all learned by now never to trust low rent tabloids, right?
At the time this Chronicle hit newsstands Boston police in fact still had dozens of suspects. The police sketch does resemble DeSalvo somewhat, who you see in his mugshot at bottom. Of course, the sketch also resembles other suspects in the case. In fact, it even resembles big brained Tany Kominski in the above post.
The police didn't immediately consider all the strangulations to be the work of one person. The age range of the victims, as well as some variations in the method of dispatch, had slowed them in seeing a connection. Later, after DeSalvo confessed, many observers doubted the real killer had been caught. In 2013 DNA testing definitively tied DeSalvo to the last victim in the murder chronology, 19-year-old Mary Sullivan, but public doubt over who killed the others continues to this day. Of course, the public is always doubtful. Meanwhile the prosecutors are certain they got the right guy. Of course, prosecutors are always certain. One thing's beyond doubt—National Star Chronicle didn't help clarify matters.
The feeling is probably mutual.
National Star Chronicle scores again with an absurd sour grapes headline on this cover from today in 1964. We checked to see if an illness that makes men sick when they're around women exists but came up with nothing. Nothing clinical at least. Our non-clinical diagnosis is he's a terminal wimp. Interestingly, though, we did find that this phenomenon happens to women. The website circleofmoms.com has an entire discussion thread about women whose husbands make them physically ill. No joke. It's a lengthy thread too, filled with woman after woman writing things like, “My God! I thought I was the only one.”
Their symptoms relate to hygiene, so the jig is up, guys. Shower every day, even days you just lay on the sofa watching sports. Wash your stinky crevices. Cut your toenails regularly and dispose of every last clipping. Trim your nose hairs and don't walk around with them on your shirt afterward. Floss, carry mints, avoid beer breath, and possibly even beer. Let's just say you need to generally get your shit together and accept the harsh truth that achieving non-repulsiveness will take constant effort. Ironic isn't it? Each time Chronicle's stricken man sees a woman his day is ruined; and the only time we've seen this Chronicle our lives were ruined. It's a cold, cold world.
Nothing impresses a girl like nice hard rod.
Jack Ruby was a nightclub owner, which of course meant he knew many women. After he shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald several formerly obscure or mildly famous women became widely known for their associations with Ruby, including Gail Raven, Candy Wells, and Candy Barr. This cover of National Star Chronicle from yesterday in 1964 shines the spotlight on another Ruby acquaintance—Tammi True. Born Nancy Myers, True danced at Ruby's Dallas nightspot the Carousel Club. She kept her career under wraps, but when Ruby shot Oswald she was identified as a Ruby associate and her anonymity evaporated. National Star Chronicle is one of many tabloids that delved into True's life.
Is its headline about her touching the gun that killed Oswald factual? Well, Ruby was arrested at the scene of the shooting. The only time True could have touched the gun was before the murder. Ruby always carried a weapon because he always had club receipts on him, so it's very possible he let True handle it at some point, but True has never confirmed the story. The main reason we tend to doubt it is because she has always been vocal about how angry she was to be outed as a stripper. Before the shooting only her friends and family knew she danced. We can't imagine her sitting down and giving Chronicle an interview. But you never know. See more from National Star Chronicle by clicking here or here.
Remember how mom always used to say she wasn't a dog person?
Above, a minimalist yet arresting cover from the always envelope-pushing National Star Chronicle, published today 1965. This sort of brilliant simplicity—shocking headline, no color, virtually no art—was the paper's trademark during this period. See examples of what we mean here and here.
Love and the single robot.
This National Star Chronicle published today in 1965 doesn’t stand up well against the more colorful Keyhole (above), but it does have Julie Newmar, which is something. The photo that editors opt to use is just a handout, and it’s actually several years older than the issue, having appeared in glamour magazines as far back as 1961. When Newmar says she’s no robot, she’s referring to her role in the television series My Living Doll, in which she played an android named AF 709. In the show she’s created as a blank slate, which prompts her maker to partner her with a psychiatrist played by Robert Cummings, whose job is to program her to behave like an actual woman. We know. We know. The job should probably be given to… erm… a woman, but where’s the fun in that? Anyway, AF 709 is redubbed Rhoda Miller, given over to Cummings, and he tries to teach her things like obedience to males, and to not talk back—yes, really—but she of course develops a few quirks independent of her programming, and hilarity ensues. The show didn’t last long, shockingly, but it did contribute an enduring catchphrase to the American lexicon: “Does not compute.”
Chronicle of a death foretold.
We’ve shown you a lot of early- and mid-1960s examples of the American tabloid National Star Chronicle, but for a change we have late stage Chronicle, published today in 1973. A decade on we see no substantial differences except that the layout is cluttered and hard on the eyes. Compared to other tabs of the time Chronicle is incredibly tame—there’s only a smidge of nudity, very little mayhem, and not even one story about monkeys performing oral sex on strippers. It almost feels like Chronicle is on life support, like all the trusted scribes and typesetters were let go in favor of cheapie replacements—and indeed we strongly suspect 1973 was the paper’s last year.
Chronicle’s death was probably a good thing, not just because of all the sloppy margins and crooked insets they began passing off as actual graphic design, but because when Sally Struthers and Alice Cooper are your frontline celebs there’s little doubt your peak journalistic years have passed. But even if there’s a serious dearth of good tabloid fodder in this issue, we did note the article that touted tax reform by citing instances of 24,000 wealthy Americans paying only 4.13% and 276 paying 0%, thanks to assorted loopholes for the rich. Back then such cases were outliers, whereas today, alas not so much. But fret not. There will always be bread and circuses for all us overtaxed middle masses—and we’ll do our part here on Pulp Intl. by continuing to share plenty of distracting tabloids.
Chronicle of a death foretold.
Above, the cover of a National Star Chronicle published forty-five years ago today with prostitution, sex games, and the murder of a recalcitrant wife. And of course a horny, manhunting model. All in all, pretty tame for the Chronicle. We have twelve more covers you can see by clicking here.
But with fiends like these who needs enemies?
National Star Chronicle generally didn’t bother with fluff or humor. That was for other tabloids. Chronicle’s thing was torture, gore, murder, rape, incest, and tragedy, and if you couldn’t handle it that was your own damn problem. On this cover from today in 1965 readers learn that a little girl forgave the fiend who imprisoned her and shot out her eye. Amazing, considering most people won’t even forgive the guy who forgot to hold the pickles last time they ordered a sub at Quizno’s. But is the story true? We doubt it. As always, we’re amazed people actually bought this tabloid, considering the competition offered nudity, celebrity gossip, and humor, but there’s no accounting for taste. More Chronicle to come.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1989—Anti-Feminist Gunman Kills 14
In Montreal, Canada, at the École Polytechnique, a gunman shoots twenty-eight young women with a semi-automatic rifle, killing fourteen. The gunman claimed to be fighting feminism, which he believed had ruined his life. After the killings he turns the gun on himself and commits suicide.
1933—Prohibition Ends in United States
Utah becomes the 36th U.S. state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus establishing the required 75% of states needed to overturn the 18th Amendment which had made the sale of alcohol illegal. But the criminal gangs that had gained power during Prohibition are now firmly established, and maintain an influence that continues unabated for decades.
1945—Flight 19 Vanishes without a Trace
During an overwater navigation training flight from Fort Lauderdale, five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo-bombers lose radio contact with their base and vanish. The disappearance takes place in what is popularly known as the Bermuda Triangle.
1918—Wilson Goes to Europe
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails to Europe for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, France, becoming the first U.S. president to travel to Europe while in office.
1921—Arbuckle Manslaughter Trial Ends
In the U.S., a manslaughter trial against actor/director Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ends with the jury deadlocked as to whether he had killed aspiring actress Virginia Rappe during rape and sodomy. Arbuckle was finally cleared of all wrongdoing after two more trials, but the scandal ruined his career and personal life.
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