Russ Meyer and Co. do it in the desert.
Above is a Japanese poster made for Cherry, Harry & Raquel, on which the local distributors splash that magical English word “Sex.” Twice we've discussed this practice and shared examples, here and here. The movie is one of numerous exploitation efforts from Russ Meyer, who graced American grindhouse cinemas with such dubious classics as Wild Gals of the Naked West, Motorpsycho!, Mondo Topless, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, and Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Cherry, Harry & Raquel deals with a bordertown sheriff and his sidekick who smuggle marijuana, and are instructed by their drug boss to kill a former partner who's gone into business on his own. The hunt-and-kill operation goes wrong, as the prey quickly becomes the predator. In Meyer's hands the film is something of a desertified hallucinogenic short, intercut with random scenes of nudity and seduction to stretch it to feature length. The sexual content is mostly played for laughs, and none of it is erotic. At least as far as we were concerned.
It was the poster and Meyer's name that drew us, and we were also a bit curious to check out b-movie legend Charles Napier in one of his earliest roles, but none of what we saw impressed us. When Meyer was on his game his movies could be entertaining. Faster Pussycat and Valley of the Dolls are both worth a watch just for their self-conscious silliness. But unless you're a Meyer completist, we recommend skipping Cherry, Harry & Raquel. It opened in the U.S. in 1969, and eventually reached Japan today in 1976.
Obscure men's magazine roars but has no bite
Tiger was a Chicago based men's magazine launched in 1956 by George Fox, Jr. that had as its premise the dubious idea that great men are tigers. It had features on “tigers of the past,” and “modern tigers,” and we suppose this was Fox's attempt at clever branding. Sounds a bit forced, right? It didn't seem to work for the public, because though Wikipedia claims that the publication lasted into the mid-sixties, we found no evidence anywhere that it lived past 1957. But we'll keep an eye out and see if we're wrong about that.
In the meantime, above you see the front of an issue that hit newsstands this month in 1957, and the cover star is famed nudist and model Diane Webber, aka Marguerite Empey, who we've seen a whole lot of around here. She's also featured in four pages at the back of the issue, and along with her are photos of Zahra Norbo, Gunnar Gustafson, obscure actress Melinda Markey, an unknown model lensed by Russ Meyer, and shots of Nona Van Tosh by Earl Leaf. In the writing department, Fox swapped out his editor/publisher hat for a journalist's fedora and contributed a profile on George S. Patton, one of those so-called tigers of the past. If Tiger was anything like the magazine we once ran, Fox probably wrote the story in a panic to fill space after one of his writers torched a deadline. His writing is fine, but overall the magazine doesn't have any spark, literarily, artistically, or pictorially. We hate to say it, but it's a pretty tame tiger. But it's worth a look just because of Webber's presence. You'll find thirty-some scans below.
Who does she ruin? Anyone who gets in her way.
Letícia Román was born in Rome as Letizia Novarese, but launched her film career in the most American way imaginable—in an Elvis Presley movie. That was G.I.Blues, which she followed with such films as La ragazza che sapeva troppo, aka The Evil Eye, Russ Meyer's Fanny Hill, and The Spy in the Green Hat. Román never became a big star, but we think this photo is major. It was made as a promo for the 1966 movie Comando de asesinos.
Digard and friend discover they're a wrestling match.
This curious photo shows Swedish softcore actress Uschi Digard and American porn actress Candy Samples posing for a photo with a wrestling theme, which was a strange little niche of the nudie market. In fact, it was a niche of the Super 8 home movie market too, which is why you can find loops of these staged clashes for sale even today. We don't particularly dig wresting pix or movies, but to each their own, right? Another niche Digard and Samples filled was the titanic boob market, as both were famous for their endowments. Digard became a star in sexploitation movies, working with directors such as Ed Wood and Russ Meyer. You don't have to pay auction prices for vintage loops of these two squirming and wrasslin' with each other. If you look you can find some online, uploaded to YouTube et al. We have seven more shots from this session below. These date from 1971.
Edit: we got an email from our friend Herman: "Sorry, but I've got to call an audible on this one. Uschi, yes, Candy, no! I don't know who she is but she is not Candy Samples. I've looked and don't find her with any of Russ Meyer's groupies. Uschi & Candy were among his favorites to hang with Kitten Natividad, his companion during the 80s and early 90s."
Thanks for writing in, H. As you probably already know, we call these mistakes, when they happen, internet replication errors, and you can't spell irritated without i-r-e. Basically, how IREs work is one website gets something wrong, so everyone else does too because nobody bothers to confirm the info. If enough sites repeat the mistake, error literally becomes fact. We've caught numerous IREs and thus avoided adding to the chain of incorrect info, but sometimes one slips through. Now we think this blonde wrestler could be Kyra Dyba Young, and she's about as obscure as it gets. But we can't say 100% it's her. For now, wrestler 2 goes in the unidentified bin.
Russ Meyer's tale of killer cats from Southern California is absurd but entertaining.
Though the text is in English, this promo for Russ Meyer's Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! was made for a 1994 re-release in Japan. You can see that the flipside at right is partially in Japanese. Faster Pussycat is one of those movies—everyone has heard of it, but fewer than you'd suspect have actually seen it.
So what's the deal? Tura Satana, Haji, and Lori Williams drag race, wisecrack, and roughhouse their way around Southern California. But because they're bad tempered and sociopathic, they eventually kill a guy, which then requires abducting the only witness, and in turn leads to a scheme to cheat a wheelchair bound old man out of his disablement stash. It's an uneasy alliance between these three kittens, destined for implosion, an inevitability helped along by Satana's unending torrents of shouty abuse.
You really have to hand it to Meyer—what he did, he did really well. Faster Pussycat is a completely overdone tale of reckless youth and the lawless west, but ripping around the Mojave Desert with these girls is consistently fun. The type of moral decay and geographical desolation showcased here is one of American film's time-honored motifs. Meyer's entry in the genre holds up pretty well. The movie originally premiered today in 1965.
Delivering thrills all year round.
Stan Borack painted the cover of this issue of Male from January 1958, and the interior art comes from Samson Pollen, Bob Schultz, John Leone, James Bama, Bob Stanley, John Kuller, and Tom Ryan. Not a slouch in the bunch. The magazine contains a preview of Shane author Jack Schaefer’s novel Company of Cowards, the Civil War tale of a group of Union officers who have all been busted down to the rank of private, but who are formed into a special unit and given a chance to earn back their honor. That chance takes them into Comanche country where they face an assortment of deadly challenges.
Also in this issue you get famed model Diane Webber/Marguerite Empey—who we’ve been seeing a lot of recently—doing a nice photo feature and complaining that since being elected Queen of the Nudists by a national sunbathing association all anyone wants to talk about is her naked lifestyle. But we think that’s just the editors trying to come up with an angle for the text. Webber was an official advocate of nudist lifestyle and even promoted her special brand of spiritual nudism in television interviews, so we doubt she was fed up with it at this point. The photos were shot by Russ Meyer, and we’re pretty sure they’ve never been on the internet before, which is always a fun moment for us. Please enjoy. Twenty scans below.
Russ Meyer turns what he loves most into a career.
This rare Japanese poster promotes the American movie French Peep Show, which was boob aficionado Russ Meyer’s first sexploitation film in a long, infamous series of them. Shot at Oakland, California’s El Rey Burlesk Theater, it was ostensibly a documentary about dancer Tempest Storm’s quest to make it as a performer, but of course was really just an excuse to film a burlesque show and use the medium of cinema to export it to the masses. The film is presumed lost, which is too bad, because in addition to Storm, it featured Lily Lamont, Terry Lane, Shalimar, Marie Voe, and others. The poster is composed of three famous shots of Storm, one of which we shared a while back, the others of which you see below. You can read a bit more about French Peep Show here. It premiered in the U.S. in 1949, but reached Japan this month in 1954.
Soaking up the last rays of summer.
We mentioned last week that our collection of Technicolor pin-ups will hopefully be a worthy replacement for our Goodtime Weekly Calendar photos, which makes this image, entitled “Relaxing,” a perfect tie-in because it’s from the same Goodtime Weekly sessions that produced this shot and this one. Typically, Technicolor pin-ups used unknown models, so this may be the last time we’ll be able to identify a subject, but this happens to be British model and actress June Wilkinson. She was photographed by Russ Meyer and the year was 1962.
Ringing in the New Year in style.
Survived another year. And so have you. So let’s open 2013 by catching up with the Goodtime Weekly Calendar. We missed two weeks while we were in Morocco, and those pages are below. Above you see the January 1 page of this great publication, which also happens to be the cover, and it features model/actress/centerfold June Wilkinson shot by film director Russ Meyer. The photo is a variation of another Wilkinson image that appears inside the calendar later in the year. The images below are credited to Ron Vogel and L.W., whoever he is. Obviously, there's a three week backlog of jokes, but by now we’ve established that most of them are not in any way amusing, so rather than transcribe the entire collection, we’ve selected what we hope are the most interesting. Enjoy.
“A pedestrian: The man who didn’t believe his wife when she said the family needed two cars.”—Cannonball Adderley
“Many a man who would never think of gambling goes out and gets married.”—Sig Sakowicz
At Christmas time, every girl likes her past forgotten and her presents remembered.
Women are like modern paintings: you’ll never enjoy them if you try to understand them.
“Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.”—William Shakespeare
“People Who throw kisses are mighty near hopelessly lazy.”—Bob Hope
“Short skirts have a tendency to make men polite. Have you ever seen a man get on a bus ahead of one?”—Mel Ferrer
She’s having a hanging party and you’re the guest of honor.
Imagine our surprise. The Goodtime Weekly Calendar of 1963 has offered up its first fully clothed model of the year. The bad news is she’s also wearing a wicked expression and holding a rope. The model is unknown to us, but since she was photographed by filmmaker Russ Meyer, it’s possible she appeared in one of his films and we simply don’t recognize her. Anyway, lovely shot, cool jeans, great hair, scary rope. As for this week’s observations, you have to marvel at the Goodtime guys’ self confidence in using original material. And really, why not? Who needs Shakespeare? Why quote Oscar Wilde? No sir. When you can come up with the word “nutwork” all by yourself, clearly classical wit and wisdom have been outshone. And that one about how a waitress catches more passes than a football player? Sub. Lime. More quips below, but shield your eyes. This is incandescent stuff.
Nov 17: “Hard cash makes life soft.”—Freddie Flintstone
Nov 18: “Some of the prettiest girls in television sell the dullest products.”—Mae Maloo
Nov 19: Now you know why TV stations called themselves nutwork.
Nov 20: “The hardest decision for a woman to make is when to start middle age.”—Warren Hull.
Nov 21: “Overheard: ‘If my boss thinks I’m going to work 35 hours a week, he’d better look for another girl.’”—Irv Kupcinet.
Nov 22: A waitress catches more passes than a football player.
Nov 23: One world: Where America has most of the world’s automobiles and Russia has the most parking space.
Update: All we have to do is ask. A reader identified the model for us, and even pointed us toward another image, which you see below. She is a British model named Iris Bristol, and besides posing awesomely for photos she had several uncredited roles in movies and television, including a blink-and-you-miss-it bit in My Fair Lady. Thanks to Jo B. for digging up that info.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1954—Joseph McCarthy Disciplined by Senate
In the United States, after standing idly by during years of communist witch hunts in Hollywood and beyond, the U.S. Senate votes 65 to 22 to condemn Joseph McCarthy for conduct bringing the Senate into dishonor and disrepute. The vote ruined McCarthy's career.
1955—Rosa Parks Sparks Bus Boycott
In the U.S., in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city's racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The boycott resulted in a crippling financial deficit for the Montgomery public transit system, because the city's African-American population were the bulk of the system's ridership.
1936—Crystal Palace Gutted by Fire
In London, the landmark structure Crystal Palace, a 900,000 square foot glass and steel exhibition hall erected in 1851, is destroyed by fire. The Palace had been moved once and fallen into disrepair, and at the time of the fire was not in use. Two water towers survived the blaze, but these were later demolished, leaving no remnants of the original structure.
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