|Femmes Fatales||May 31 2020|
|Hollywoodland||Feb 15 2017|
Anita Ekberg graces the cover of this February 1957 issue of Sir! magazine, laid back, colorized, and looking good. She gets in depth treatment inside, with a focus on a nude statue of her made by Hungarian sculptor Sepy Dobronyi. The story was perfect for Hollywood gossip rags, and accordingly they all reported breathlessly that Dobronyi wanted to make the statue a nude, and since he was headed back to his studio in Cuba and couldn't have Ekberg sit for him, took a series of nude reference photos. Dobronyi was a scuba diver in his spare time and had collected gold coins from sunken Spanish galleons to use in his art, some of which he applied to Ekberg's likeness, leading to this boob-related witticism from Sir! editors: “Anita's statue has a real honest-to-goodness treasure chest.” The sculpture was mostly bronze, though, and became known as the Ekberg Bronze, which when last seen was in a Norwegian museum, though Ekberg was actually Swedish.
Elsewhere in Sir! you get the short feature, “A Homo Speaks Out.” The title alone. Really. The author, working in confessional form, admits to deep feelings of regret, shame, self-loathing, and so forth at his “condition”—basically writing everything mid-century homophobes would have wanted to read. It ain't pretty, so we won't transcribe any of it. Readers also learn about marriage rites on the Pacific islands of New Hebrides (now Vanuatu), where tribal ceremonies involve all the male members of the groom's family having first crack at the bride. Is that true? We have no idea, and really aren't inclined to find out. To each culture their own, we say—as Americans, we come from the weirdest one on the planet. Other stories deal with Elvis Presley, burlesque, and prostitution. While Sir! wasn't one of the top mid-century tabs, it outdid itself with the Ekberg cover alone, which we consider one of the most eye-catching images of her we've seen.
|Femmes Fatales||Nov 10 2016|
Our first thought upon seeing this was that the shirtdress really needs to return to the fashion scene. Our second thought was that since Wenche Myhre is from Norway, days warm enough for her to wear one may have been few and far between. Myhre appeared in numerous films beginning in 1963 but is perhaps better known as a singer. She released many albums and charted numerous hits—mainly in Germany—throughout the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. This memorable image of her is from 1966.
|Vintage Pulp||May 16 2016|
|Femmes Fatales||Dec 16 2014|
|Vintage Pulp||Apr 18 2013|
This Japanese poster for 1971’s Creatures the World Forgot is different than the style of Japanese art we usually share, but the bold yellow color really struck us. The movie was produced by Hammer Studios, the same company that made the popular Raquel Welch lost world epic One Million Years B.C., and the follow-up When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth. But where the previous two movies chose to show early humans interacting with dinosaurs, Creatures—spoiler alert for Creationists—went the scientifically factual route and had no giant lizards. Hammer probably did it not out of truthfulness, but out of cheapness. But in any case science wins again.
As far as the actual movie goes, there’s nobody of Raquel Welch’s stature involved, but Norwegian actress Julie Ege does about as good a job as any actress could in a production with no actual dialogue. And yes, she wears one of those fur bikinis and looks pretty good in it. Can we recommend the movie? Not really. But if you’re bored try watching it with a few of your cleverest friends and see who invents the best dialogue. By the way, if you’re the observant type you’ve probably deduced, by virtue of the fact that somehow the number 100 has snuck its way onto the poster, that the Japanese did not call the movie Creatures the World Forgot. The text actually says “one million years primitive man.” Or something like that. Creatures the World Forgot premiered today in 1971
|Intl. Notebook||Feb 1 2013|
This February 1966 National Police Gazette marks the eighteenth time we’ve found Hitler on the venerable publication’s cover, and this is not the last we’ll see of Der Führer on the Gazette—we have three more that will bring his total to twenty-one, and we’re sure there are others out there. This time around, the world’s greatest medium Madame Luce Vidi has seen Hitler not crisped to a cinder in Berlin, but alive and kicking in the tropics. The Gazette attempts to quell any doubts about Vidi's divinatory prowess by informing readers that she foresaw “the assassination of President Kennedy and had predicted the time of the tragedy, and had also seen the death of French boxer Marcel Cerdan, the former middleweight champion, in a plane crash.”
After establishing Vidi’s bona fides, Gazette editors tell us their independent research showed that Hitler escaped Germany aboard a submarine on April 10, 1945, and traveled to a base in Norway where he and a female companion boarded a second sub, laden with millions of dollars in treasure, and sailed for Argentina. Hitler eventually fetched up in the vicinity of San Carlos de Bariloche, where Nazis had years earlier purchased 10,000 acres of land. Vidi describes what Hitler looks like in 1966 (hint: not good—see below). The story ends by claiming he resides in a tropical fortress, where “the aged despot, his heart brimming with hatred and his mind full of the days when his voice shook the world, lives out his time in misery.”
As we’ve pointed out, anyone who thinks conspiracy theories are a new phenomenon needs to read more history. Americans in particular have always given credence to alternate versions of important events, so next time you see someone on television saying Barack Obama was born in Kenya, just remember it’s nothing new. As it turns out though, the town of San Carlos de Bariloche was exposed as a hideout for at least one Nazi when former SS Hauptsturmführer Erich Priebke was found there in 1995. He had been running the local German school. As recently as 2004 claims that Hitler had also lived in the area were aired in an internationally published book, and of course slammed by mainstream historians. But since something like 9,000 former Nazis fled to various parts of South America, we'd be lying if we said we didn't wonder if Hitler couldn't have managed the feat.
Though Luce Vidi supposedly utilized a crystal ball for her Hitler visions, her true specialty was reading ink blots—i.e., she required her clients to throw ink on a surface and she would divine the future from the resultant shapes. We can’t help wondering if she ever divined that she would go from being the “world’s greatest medium” to almost completely forgotten. We doubt it. They never seem to see that coming. Weshould also note that her vision did not jibe with the beliefs of those who theorized Hitler living near San Carlos de Bariloche. Vidi saw Hitler living in a tropical place—in the background was a turtle dozing on a sandy beach. San Carlos de Bariloche is nestled in the foothills of the Andes, an area where people go to ski, trek and climb. There isn’t a beach anywhere in sight.
|Mondo Bizarro | Swindles & Scams||Aug 10 2012|
You can add Norway to the list of countries with a mysterious sea serpent. Or not. Last week Andreas Solvik and two friends were in a small boat on Lake Hornindalsvatnet in the southwestern part of country when they saw a disturbance on the water. Solvik snapped the photo you see above. We’ve taken a good look it and we gotta say, what we think Solvik saw was a disturbance in his bank account and he cooked up a hoax to make a few kroner on the side. Lake Hornindalsvatnet actually does have a legend about a kjempeorm, or monster, associated with it, and because it’s the deepest lake in Europe, there’s a feeling among some locals that a monster might be able to survive uncaptured, but only among laymen. When a local scientist was asked for his take, he theorized that because the area has an extensive logging industry, what Solvik photographed and what people have seen for many years are probably either logs, or masses of sawdust that sat on the lakeshore for a while collecting algae before finally floating into deeper water. That's an interesting theory, but we don’t think Andreas Solvik photographed something that turned out to be wood. We think he Photoshopped something that he hoped would turn into money. Check below and see what you think.
|Vintage Pulp||Aug 24 2011|
Rave, for which you see a cover above, was a low budget U.S.-based magazine that launched in 1953 as a celeb publication, quickly moved into scandal and gossip, but didn’t survive beyond 1956, as far as we can tell. The graphic design was revamped twice, and so we suspect it just never found its niche in a crowded tabloid market. But it wasn’t for lack of providing celebrity rumormongers what they craved. This August 1955 issue discusses Serge Rubinstein’s murder, Anita Ekberg’s bombshell status, Jackie Gleason and more, but of special note are two stories: one about Sonja Henie, and another about Sheree North.
Sheree North, not well known today, was a dancer-turned-actress who in the mid-1950s was groomed (like so many other women) as the next Marilyn Monroe. She even made the cover of Life with the caption: “Sheree North Takes Over from Marilyn Monroe.” But it didn’t happen. Though North had a couple of hit films, her on-deck status was quickly usurped by another bottled blonde named Jayne Mansfield. North had done some burlesque early in her career, and Rave claims she had a few stag reels floating around. We don’t know about that, but there was a 1951 clip called the “Tiger Dance” that certainly pushed the bounds of contemporary sexiness. We found an upload of it, and you can see it here.
The story on Sonja Henie is a bit more interesting. A Norwegian-born world and Olympic champion figure skater, Henie shot to international fame at age fourteen and turned that recognition into a Hollywood career. She became extremely popular as a screen star, and the same drive that sparked that success fueled her personal life. She married three times and had numerous affairs, including with Tyrone Power and allegedlywith champion boxer Joe Louis. But the mystery man Rave hints at on its cover is none other than piano player Liberace, just above. If you know anything about Liberace then you know his dates with Henie were just for show. But as a gay or bi celebrity—and both were designations he denied until his dying day—dating women would have been a completely understandable strategy to avoid being outed by the time's vicious tabloids and losing his musical career.
Henie, on the other hand, rarely let controversy get in the way of her decisions if she thought the result would ultimately be a net gain. This is possibly why she publicly greeted Adolf Hitler with a Nazi salute at a Berlin exposition in 1936, and why she sought Joseph Goebbels’ help in distributing one of her films in Germany. Yet you have to assume that anyone who would hang out with and possibly sleep with Joe Louis didn’t have rock solid racist views. But as millions died, her behavior can only be seen as shameful. However she returned to Norway with Holiday on Ice in 1953 and again the year Rave published the above cover and was warmly greeted, if not quite totally forgiven. Henie died of cancer in 1969, but as another fascinating product of a complex time, we suspect her name will come up on this website again.
|The Naked City | Vintage Pulp||Oct 28 2010|
Above is an October 1930 issue of The Master Detective with an article on “Chicago’s Female Bluebeard,” aka Belle Gunness, a Norwegian-born serial killer who offed practically everyone she ever knew over the course of eight years between 1900 and 1908. Records are spotty, but what is known of the story is mightily intriguing. Her first victim may have been her husband, a butcher named Mads Ditlev Anton Sorenson, who took sick and died on the only day when an expiring insurance policy and a new one happened to overlap. However, it’s possible Belle might have already killed two of the couple’s four kids. Officially, the children died of colitis. Colitis has symptoms similar to those for certain types of poisoning, but no inquest was convened, even though Gunness owned insurance policies on both kids. In the case of her husband, questions were asked, but forensic science being what it was back then, no evidence of foul play was uncovered. Cleared of wrongdoing, Gunness left Chicago.
In 1902, now living on a farm in LaPorte, Indiana she had bought with insurance money, Gunness met and married another Norwegian—Peter Gunness, a local butcher. This man who already shared her last name had two young daughters. One of the girls died of a sudden stomach ailment shortly after the wedding, then Peter himself died when a sausage-grinding machine fell on his head, splitting his skull and killing him instantly. At least, that what it looked like. But what had actually happened is that Belle Gunness had hit him with a cleaver. It should be mentioned that she was about five-nine, went 200 pounds and was physically strong. Belle Gunness was charged with murder, but in the absence of solid forensic evidence, the case hinged on hearsay—namely, that of Gunness’s adopted daughter Jennie Olson, who had told a classmate, “My mama killed my papa. She hit him with a cleaver and he died.” But Olson refused to repeat the statement in court and, since Belle was pregnant, the jury acquitted her. Not long after, young Jennie Olson vanished.
Belle Gunness had acquired butchery skills, and these would soon come in handy. In a local paper she bought an ad in which she described herself as a widow looking for a gentleman. The suitors came calling and the corpses began piling up. It’s impossible to say for sure how many she murdered. Only one fact is certain—she began ordering lots of steamer trunks. The only reason Belle Gunness was ever caught is because her live-in farmhand, a man named Ray Lamphere, had fallen in love with her. Lamphere was well aware of Belle’s activities, and began to make thinly veiled threats when it became clear she wasn’t interested in him. Belle retaliated by firing him then trying to get him locked in an asylum, and Lamphere retaliated in turn by arousing the suspicions of a man whose brother had gone missing on the farm. In the end, she had no choice to but to agree to a police search of the place. The game was up, but that didn’t mean she had to stick around for the conclusion.
On April 28, 1908 the Gunness farmhouse caught fire. By the time emergency crews arrived the place was cinders. In the basement four bodies were found—those of Gunness’s three children and the body of a woman that couldn’t be identified because it was headless. The headlessness pointed to murder, and so police arrested Ray Lamphere. They believed he had killed Belle Gunness and her children, then set the fire to cover up his crime. Continued digging in the basement finally unearthed Belle Gunness’s dental bridge near where the unidentified corpse had been found. It seemed Gunness was dead. Meanwhile, evidence of serial murder emerged when excavations in the farm’s hog pen, pictured above, uncovered a mass grave. Inside was interred the body of Jennie Olson and many other victims. The morbid case became a nationwide sensation.
At trial Ray Lamphere had a novel defense—he said he wasn’t guilty of murder because Belle Gunness wasn’t dead. The jury agreed there was indeed reasonable doubt about this—the body from the fire was about six inches shorter than Gunness, even accounting for the missing head. Lamphere was acquitted of murder but jailed for arson. He would last in prison only for a year before dying of consumption, but before his death he told the whole story. According to him, Belle had been killing for years, usually with a cleaver to the skull or chloroform. She would then dismember the bodies using her butchery skills, and he would help bury the pieces. The motive was simple—Belle was hungry for money. The killings sometimes triggered insurance payments; other times Belle killed after suitors had lent her large amounts of cash.
Ray explained that when the LaPorte police began nosing around, he and Belle forgot their differences and worked out a plan to escape town together. She killed her three children and a local woman whose body would serve as a decoy, left them in the basement of the farmhouse with her dental bridge, and dumped the decapitated head in a swamp. Lamphere torched the place, and they were to meet at a crossroads likeeloping lovers and venture forth toward their new lives. Instead, Lamphere claimed Gunness cut across a deserted wood and ditched him. According to him, she escaped with all the cash from her various insurance murders and scams—some $250,000, or about 7 million in modern money. A check of local banks revealed that her accounts had been emptied just before the fire. Belle Gunness—killer of forty-two people according to Ray Lamphere—had outsmarted everyone and vanished for parts unknown with a fortune.
The Gunness case is one of particular interest to murder historians, partly because the lack of solid records leaves so many gaps in the narrative. The summary you’ve just read follows one line of reasoning, but in truth, there is doubt about where she lived and when, who she met and when, and even how many children she had. There are many questions over whether she actually escaped. Some believe Lamphere killed her and ditched the body. There is also a theory, supported by intriguing circumstantial evidence, that she went on to kill more people in California. DNA tests on Gunness descendants might clear up some questions, but these are pending as of today. In any case, it’s safe to say that Belle Gunness is one of the most accomplished killers who ever lived. Her story—whichever one you prefer—proves once again what we always say here at Pulp Intl. The world hasn’t grown crueler. It was always that way.