Vintage Pulp Apr 3 2024
MEAN GIRLS
Gloria Grahame is a bad mamma scamma.


We had to watch Mama's Dirty Girls, not because it's a 1970's grindhouse movie (though that helped), but because none other than 1950s femme fatale Gloria Grahame got snared in this low budget affair. Sometimes the bills simply need to be paid. Or maybe she thought the script was dynamite. Either way, she gets top billing in this drive-in quality drama that premiered today in 1974, which tells the story of a scam artist mother and her three daughters who are honeytrap serial killers dispatching men for their money.

When Grahame gets another rich man on the hook, she foolishly poses as a well-to-do widow without realizing that her target is likewise seeking to kill someone for their money. This twist is ironic, and the mutual murder attempts that follow can be read as black comedy if you peer deeply between the lines, but in our opinion Mama's Dirty Girls doesn't have enough brainpower to be satire. Grahame probably wished it were, though—then she'd have had an excuse for starring in it. Sadly, it's just an amusingly bad movie. Everyone is terrible in it—even Grahame. And there isn't near enough eroticism to save it.

But you may want to watch it anyway. The cast is beautiful, particularly Currie, and there's an interesting value-added co-star too. Fifteen minutes into the movie's running time you'll see an actress that'll make you go, “Who is that?” You'll be reacting to the radiant beauty of bit player Annika Di Lorenzo, née Marjorie Lee Thoreson, who was a Penthouse centerfold in 1973 and later carved out a career in b-cinema. Besides Mama's Dirty Girls she appeared in such films as 1974's Act of Vengeance and The Centerfold Girls, 1980's Dressed To Kill, and 1979's big budget porn epic Caligula.

She later sued Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione, claiming that he forced her to have sex with business associates, and tricked her into the infamous Caligula orgy. She won a $4 million punitive judgement, but lost it in an appeal. Guccione took revenge by publishing a lesbian pictorial of Di Lorenzo. Afterward, she stepped away from the limelight, but in 2011 hit newspapers again when she washed up dead on Camp Pendleton Beach in San Diego under baffling circumstances. Police suggested suicide, but her family contended that it was foul play, possibly perpetrated by someone from the military base. In the end, her case was closed as unsolved, and today remains another Hollywood mystery.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 20 2015
TUTU CRUEL
She’s finally going to make her mark on Broadway.

The comic book-like art isn’t of good quality, but we had to share this because it fits into the collection of falling covers we put together a while back. The Penthouse Killings was written by Horace Brown for Toronto based Newsstand Library in 1950. If you actually want to know why this ballerina is tossed off a building, check the detailed review here. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 30 2013
THE BRIGHT WHITE LINE
They say once we cross it the end is near.


Today on Britain’s respected Guardian webpage, writer Mariella Frostrup muses about the prevalence of pornography in modern society and asks whether it’s harmful. At Pulp Intl., with few exceptions, our nude images are merely quaint, which raises the questions of whether they were ever considered harmful, and if so, why and when they came to be seen as artful. We are well aware that the airbrushing away of womens’ genitalia—something that was general practice at the time these images appeared—was seen by many rights advocates as a type of violence against women. After all, what was so dirty about female genitalia? Didn’t their erasure peel back the mask from a male-dominated society’s desperate efforts to control female sexuality?

Then along came Playboy, which challenged archaic laws designed to prevent mass production and mass mailing of pornography. Compared to what you see here today, Playboy represented a quantum leap. Its women looked less like Renaissance paintings and more like real human beings. By increments it beat back legal challenges, and eventually Penthouse, Playboy, and other newsstand magazines began toshow pubic hair, and then actual sex organs. Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner was hailed as a First Amendment hero as well as a defender of womens' right to control their own sexuality. But pretty soon it was clear that women had won only the right to sell their sexuality—the control remained exclusively male.

Mariella Frostrup’s Guardian piece is like others written before. It suggests, like all those articles from earlier decades, that there’s a bright white line in erotica that has been crossed and that society is suffering for it. We can’t comment on the harm aspect, but we do see a line. Basically, old porn, because of its paper format, depended upon the labor of dozens of outside people—printers, film developers, pre-press personnel, postal workers, newsstand owners—and required such an investment of capital that 95% of its producers served the middle ground of taste and depicted acts that, with perhaps the added twist of one or two extra participants, were taking place in private anyway.

The internet changed all that. So if there’s a bright line, it lies where the internet atomized porn and turned much of it into a performance art, a sideshow that somehow has taken over center stage with acts that are most certainly not already occurring in private. Call us crazy, but even though these images were produced before we were born weprefer them to the new stuff. They don’t depict merely bodies or an act, but an entire lifestyle of beaches and gardens and all the warm thoughts and simple desires such places entail. This issue of Folies de Paris et de Hollywood appeared today in 1966. If it was ever offensive or harmful it isn’t anymore, so enjoy it as an artifact of an earlier age—not a better one by any means, but certainly a more artful one.

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Femmes Fatales Dec 18 2011
DONNER PARTY
Where do we go from hair?

The amazing woman you see in this unabashed frontal nude photo is Camella Donner, also known as Camella Thomas, a popular glamour model of the late 1970s and early 1980s. She appeared in Mayfair and other magazines, and managed one movie role, a blink-and-you-miss-her moment in 1983’s Octopussy. It was an effort the producers didn’t even bother to credit. But we give her all the credit in the world—if her loosely curled afro isn’t history’s best hair it sure comes close.

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Reader Pulp Apr 13 2011
CARDBOARD CUTIE
I see your Bond girl and raise you a Penthouse cut-out.


Hello guys. When I saw your Ursula Andress doll last week I remembered I had this laying around and scanned it for you. This actually isn’t mine. It’s something my father had in a box in his garage. It’s a Penthouse “livin’ doll”, which is a cardboard woman you dress up in a variety of outfits, and she even has six different faces, like my ex-wife. Anyway, the outside of the cardboard sleeve it came in is labeled “booby prize”, so maybe it was something my dad won in a contest or something back in the 1960s. I’m not actually to going to say it’s better than your Ursula Andress doll, but you have to admit she’s pretty great. 

Submitted by Kurt W.

She's lovely, Kurt. If your cardboard cutie is based on an actual centerfold, we'd be curious to know who she is. For those who missed the Andress doll he's talking about, check here.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 21
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.
April 20
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.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
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