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 Apr 13 2023
KNIT WIT
Here's a hint—it's for keeping something warm, it'll be really useful in about eight months, and by then we'll have the same last name.


Above: the front cover of Our Flesh Was Cheap by Eve Linkletter, 1959, for Fabian Books. Linkletter, whose photo appears on the back cover, wrote a handful of books with sensational titles, such as Dime-a-Dance Hustler, B-Girl Decoy, Lesbian Orgies, and The Gay Ones.

We've heard that Our Flesh Was Cheap is far better than it looks. It's a first-person narrative about an eighteen-year-old Tijuana prostitute named Rosa, and the American woman who brings her San Diego with fake papers and gives her a job as maid. Unfortunately, though Rosa tries to let go of her past, her past doesn't want to let go of her. We may buy this one if it appears at a reasonable price.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 19 2022
STRIPPED OF HIS CASH
You paid the cover charge to get in. Now you have to pay the uncover charge or get out.


The brush behind this cover for Wade Miller's 1946 debut thriller Deadly Weapon was paperback vet Bob Abbett, and it's one of his better pieces in a portfolio filled with top efforts. The book is good too. It's about an Atlanta detective who drives to San Diego to avenge the death of his partner, and as befits such a concept, features excellent Sam Spade-like repartee between main character Walter James and a local cop named Austin Clapp. Some of the action is centered around a burlesque theatre and its headlining peeler Shasta Lynn, but the deadly weapon isn't a femme fatale, as implied by the art, but Walter James himself. The man is hell on wheels. He even uses his car to ram another auto and its occupants over a cliff. Overall, Deadly Weapon is well written, well paced, and well characterized (if a bit saccharine in the romantic subplot). Wade Miller—who was really Bob Wade and Bill Miller acting as one—started his/their career on a good note with this one. 

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Femmes Fatales Apr 23 2021
LEIGH'S BIG CITY TRIP
We wonder if anyone warned her she was running out of sidewalk?


Because we're always seeing the ridiculous in even the most innocuous situations we can't stop imagining U.S. actress Leigh Snowden continuing to walk looking over her shoulder until she falls off the end of the sidewalk. Which would be ironic because she was famous for her graceful walk. These three promo images were originally made in 1956 as a single triptych to demonstrate precisely that grace. We've helpfully broken the original composite down to its constituent elements. Does Snowden look unusually graceful? Sure, we guess so—right up until the faceplant.

The full story is on the rear: Leigh Snowden demonstrates the walk which started her on the road to movie stardom. Jack Benny gave the first slight shove to the young actress who not long ago was singing in the choir in Covington, Tenn. He took her along as feminine interest for a performance of his tv show at the naval base in San Diego, early in 1955. All she did was walk on. Twenty thousand sailors let out with whistles and wolf calls which were heard in Hollywood. Leigh, unknown a few days earlier, had her choice of 11 studios and independent producers.
 
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Vintage Pulp Apr 20 2020
TRADE SECRETS
Laura Gemser makes an emancipation proclamation.


As you've deduced from the above Italian poster for La via della prostituzione, also known as Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade, we've performed a quick turnaround to Laura Gemser, last seen two days ago. In this flick she plays a journalist, a role she inhabited often, and heads to exotic Nairobi with sidekick Ely Galleani. In a Nairobi market Gemser sees a man hurrying a woman through the throng. She'd seen the same pair in the airport, except then the woman was in a wheelchair and the man was pushing it. Gemser asks her local tour guide, “Do you know that man?” His response: “That one? Only by sight. I only know that he's American, and that he comes on business, but I don't know what kind of business. Someone mentioned white slavery. But why do you ask?” Did you just cringe a little? We did too, but we get it—the white kind is far more important than the regular kind, init?

Anyway, while were still marvelling over the sad but somehow uproarious tone deafness of those dialogue exchanges, Gemser was busy jetting from Nairobi to New York City to find more info about this American slaver. After promising her editor the biggest scoop of her career, she manages to charm her way into a slave auction taking place—in an amazing stroke of luck—right there in the Big Apple. She watches as girls as young as seventeen are sold to hairy-knuckled jetsetters, including that mysterious Yank, played by hirsute Italian Gabriele Tinti. Now that she knows the basic shape of the wrongdoing taking place, she needs evidence. How does she gather it? That's right—by infiltrating the slave racket as product. She's accepted as a high priced prostitute, and from NYC she's off to San Diego to work in a private club, where she hopes to blow the racket wide open.

You may be asking yourself, Wait, how is this all voluntary for her if it's a slave ring? That question is never fully answered. Somehow, though, she's accepted in the game as a freelancer, while all the other girls seem to be wholly owned chattel. It doesn't matter. This is sexploitation cinema, and what matters are nudity and sex, which means that mixed into the confounding plotline are an amazing number of sex scenes, which consist of cast members slithering softcore style against each other like salamanders while soporific music drifts across the soundtrack. It's all very silly, but the entire point of these films is to create gauzy eye candy, not dazzle you with cinematic mastery or make social statements more than a micron deep. Emanuelle and the White Slave Trade fulfills all the requirements of the genre, not brilliantly, but certainly adequately. It premiered in Italy today in 1978.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 27 2015
RUBBER THE WRONG WAY
Totally lifelike. Just like a real woman. Limited warranty. Do not get wet—shock danger. Possible choking hazard. Vendor not liable for injuries resulting from friction burns.


Above, the rather interesting cover for Jack Kahler’s Rubber Dolly, published by San Diego based PEC, aka Publishers Export Co., in 1966. So, what you get here is the owner of a Hollywood advertising agency called Premium Art who is surrounded by beautiful women 24/7 yet builds the most lifelike love doll ever made. Why? Well, he’s never satisfied. His name is Sam Bollen, after all. Hah hah. Ball-en. Anyway he builds his dolls—"so lifelike in action and substance they shocked even hardened business executives"—and everything is peachy at first, but he soon has problems of various bizarre sorts and even runs afoul of Hollywood communists. Amazing that Kahler could fit that in, but he was a genius—we’re talking about the same guy who came up with Passion Sauce (not be confused with The Lust Lotion). Though rubber doll sleaze may seem fringe, Rubber Dolly was actually a reissue of Kahler's successful Latex Lady from two years earlier. And of course this isn't the first mechanical love doll we've had on the site. The art is uncredited. Go figure.

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Intl. Notebook May 11 2011
GONE FISSION
The swordfish and the sorcerers.

Two photos of the American nuclear test codenamed Swordfish, which was a rocket launched atomic depth charge, detonated in the Pacific Ocean about 400 miles west of San Diego, today in 1962. 

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Vintage Pulp May 22 2009
WHAT A UNITARD
Yes, you’re definitely fabulous, but I said to bring a wetsuit, not a jumpsuit.


Nightmare Cruise, aka The Sargasso People, was written by Wade Miller, who was not an actual author, but rather a pseudonym for collaborators Robert Wade and Bill Miller. The two also wrote as Will Daemer, Whit Masterson and Dale Wilmer. During the ’40s and ’50s they published about three-dozen novels, including Kitten with a Whip, which became a celebrated piece of camp cinema starring Ann-Margaret. They also wrote Badge of Evil, which was adapted into Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, a film usually considered the last true noir produced. Miller died prematurely of a heart attack in 1961, but by then the duo’s place in pulp history was assured. Wade continued writing, eventually winning the Private Eye Writers of America’s 1988 Lifetime Achievement Award, and 1998 City of San Diego Local Author Achievement Award. We’ll discuss his noteworthy solo output at a later date.

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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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