Vintage Pulp Mar 30 2010
YEN FOR SUMMER
Living on Tokyo time.

Assorted frolicsome images from Japanese celeb magazines, with “Sharlon” Tate in panel four and Sylva Koscina in panel eleven.     

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Intl. Notebook Mar 4 2010
CLOTHES AND THE MAN
Kennedy artifacts pulled from Las Vegas exhibit.

The Los Angeles Police Department has apolo- gized to the family of Robert Kennedy and pulled from display items of clothing worn by the Senator the night he was shot in L.A. in 1968. The items—a tie, shirt, and jacket stained with blood—had been part of an exhibit hosted at the Palms Casino, and created for the 2010 California Homicide Investigators Assn. Conference.

The Kennedy family claims to have requested the return of Robert Kennedy’s effects more than ten years ago, to no avail, and called the LAPD’s official apology "insufficient." Department spokesmen claim to have been trying merely to put together a professional and educational display, not a “freakshow.” The exhibit does contain crime scene evidence rarely seen in public, including hundreds of photographs dating back as far one hundred years, but it also features sensational items such as the rope used to restrain Sharon Tate the night of her murder, and various O.J. Simpson artifacts.

Asked whether they would agree to the request made by the Kennedy family and return the items—a move that would comply with California state law regarding personal effects of murder victims—a spokeswoman for the L.A. County District Attorney’s office declined to answer in the affirmative about the potentially valuable collection, instead saying only that they were “looking into it.”

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Intl. Notebook Jan 31 2010
SURPRISING EXPLOITS
Even the ultra low-rent Exploiter is valuable as a window into history.

Here’s another issue of The Exploiter, from today in 1971. First off—and you’ll want to be sitting down for this—there’s no such thing as an orgy inspector. The story is actually about Ken Russell’s movie The Devils, and consists of stills from the set along with quotes stolen from interviews in better magazines. And concerning the Raquel Welch item, that story is about a movie too—her 1967 French comedy Les plus vieux métier du monde, aka The Oldest Profession. Inside The Exploiter you get more of the same cockteasing, including a story about Sharon Tate. But just when we were about to pronounce this issue a total loss, we reached a story entitled “Girl Killer Escapes from Prison.”

Apparently, in 1969 an eighteen-year-old girl named Margo Freshwater was sentenced to 99 years in prison for the murder of a Tennessee man named Hillman Robbins, Sr. He’d been shot five times in the head by Freshwater’s boyfriend as she stood by and watched. But not long after she was sent to the Tennessee Prison for Women in Nashville, Freshwater escaped (supposedly by sexually servicing the guards, but we take that with a grain of salt considering the highly dubious source). The Exploiter’s coverage ends there, like an old-fashioned cliffhanger: we know that Freshwater is at large, and that she achieved it by (maybe) blowing some guards.
 
Well, we were curious, so we used a handy new research tool called the Interweb—you may have heard of it—and discovered that, amazingly, Freshwater remained at large, established a new life as a model citizen, married, had children and even became a grandmother. Authorities finally tracked her down in 2002, arrested her in front of her shocked family, and sent her back to the same Tennessee prison from which she had escaped. In July of 2009 she was denied a new trial for the third time, and unless she gets a chance to face a jury and prove she was nothing more than a helpless witness to her boyfriend’s crime, it looks like she’ll be spending the rest of her life in jail.

So the lesson here is even the lowest rent tabloid—and The Exploiter is as low as they get—is worth reading from cover to cover because you never know what enlightening historical tidbits might be tucked inside. Oh, and crime doesn’t pay. That’s a lesson too. Well, it doesn’t pay unless you’re clever. Then you can get away with almost anything. Also, if you’re rich. You can pretty much call your own shots if you’re rich. Unless you screw a person or entity even richer than you. Then you might actually go to jail. But if you do, a blowjob or two can (allegedly) get you out. But only (we assume) if you're really good at it. If the moral complexity of all this is tiring, feel free to soothe your weary soul with a better version below of the Welch shot from The Exploiter’s cover. So Sunday isn’t a total loss.

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Hollywoodland Sep 28 2009
WEEKEND WORRIERS
Celebs found trouble in greater numbers than usual over the last three days.

Is it the end times? No, just another weekend in the world of pulp. It was hard to keep track of all the events that occurred. Most took the form of arrests. Actress Tawny Kitaen, who has looked much better than she does above left, was arrested for drunk driving in Newport Beach, California. She had recently appeared on a reality show called Celeb Rehab, and we think it’s safe to say she’s earned her spot on season two.

Meanwhile, over in Switzerland, Roman Polanski was arrested on an international warrant stemming from a 32-year-old statutory rape charge. U.S. authorities filed the warrant recently, but it must have slipped Polanski’s mind, because he was on his way to Zurich to receive an award at a film festival when he was pinched. So much for Swiss neutrality.

And in a development we’re sure Polanski is well aware of, two days ago Charles Manson follower Susan Atkins died in prison. Atkins was not present during the massacre of Polanski’s then-wife Sharon Tate and four others, but aided and abetted the murders of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca the next night.

And lastly over in desolate West Texas, actor Randy Quaid managed to get himself arrested along with his wife for skipping out on a hotel bill. He claims it was all a publicity stunt, which seems possible when you see how cheerful he is in the mug shot above right.

But we bet he wasn’t smiling when the prison guards stripped him naked and crawled all up in his body cavities with pitons and spelunking helmets. That's the way they do it in Texas—er, so we hear. This is not by any means a complete rundown of what happened since Friday, but we’re only two people here and that’s far too few to keep up with all the real world pulp going on. We wish all the celebrity jailbirds good luck.     

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Vintage Pulp Aug 12 2009
ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN
Pistolero loses second eye demonstrating how he lost the first.

This guy is just asking for it, right? Love the cover, though. We don’t know who painted it, but we know author Keith Luger wrote quite a few westerns and space operas for the Spanish imprint Bruguera. That makes perfect sense, because he was really Miguel Olivero Tovar from Valencia, Spain. Tovar/Luger was a big deal for about ten years, during which time he published many books, made time for a couple of screenplays, and saw three of his projects optioned into movies. More Luger books below, including one concerning Sharon Tate.

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The Naked City Aug 9 2009
THRILL KILL KULTS
Bye bye Miss American Pie.

Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Steven Parent were murdered forty years ago today in Los Angeles, California. The killings took place just after midnight, and the bodies were discovered in the morning. Popular wisdom tells us this event brought a bloody end to the Summer of Love. As a rule, we don’t buy such easy labeling, but there’s no argument Tate was unusually lovely and her slaying while eight months pregnant was shocking, cruel and almost cosmically unfair. Her death also marked the beginning of the Sharon Tate and Charles Manson celebrity cults. The Tate cult consists of internet sites that rhapsodize over her beauty and talent, along with real-world victim advocacy groups determined to see that the Manson killers, and murderers in general, remain behind bars. And at the opposite end of the spectrum are the Manson fetishists, who mainly think he was innocent and who operate at least a few well-trafficked websites where crime scene photos are picked apart for supposed inconsistencies, and assorted straw man arguments are constructed and torn down. We were particularly fascinated by one forum dominated by a person who kept urging others to read up on the facts of “rigamortis.” Our view: if you posture as an expert on a subject, at least learn to spell it correctly. Below we offer up a selection of Manson/Tate images, and you can be sure we'll revisit this subject later.

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Hollywoodland Jun 16 2009
TATE WATCHERS
Sharon Tate became the most famous woman in the world—and all she had to do was die.

Confidential, June 1968, featuring Sharon Tate on the cover. When Tate died a year later she became much more famous than she had been while alive, due to the fact that she and her eight month-old unborn baby were among the victims of a mass murder by Charles Manson’s followers. For years tabloid covers featured Tate’s image along with exposés, or investigative reports attempting to prove she was killed by people other than the Manson family, or even wild stories about her being alive and well in Brazil. We have more of these covers, and will be posting them in the future. 

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Intl. Notebook Apr 12 2009
SMEAR FACTOR


April 1970 issue of Uncensored, with a different look from the 1950s version we posted previously. FYI, Alicia Purdom was the wife of British actor Edmund Purdom.  She claimed she had an affair with JFK in 1951, while they were both still single, and would have married him had not Joseph Kennedy stepped in and nixed their plans.

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Hollywoodland Dec 3 2008
AMERICA'S MOST WANTED
Thirty years ago he avoided prison by jumping bail and hopping on a plane.

In Los Angeles yesterday, lawyers for film director Roman Polanski filed a request to dismiss a 30-year old charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Polanski was once a U.S. resident, but fled to France in 1978 and has been wanted by American authorities ever since for allegedly giving a 13-year old model Quaaludes and champagne, before having sex with her—or raping her, depending on the telling—in Jack Nicholson’s hot tub when Nicholson was not on the premises.

Polanski’s life story reads like the darkest pulp fiction. He survived the Nazis as a child by escaping to the U.S., but without his parents, who were imprisoned in a concentration camp, where his mother was later gassed. As an adult Polanski rose to fame after directing the supernatural thriller Rosemary’s Baby, but his life was again derailed in 1969 when
members of Charles Manson’s clan murdered his wife, Sharon Tate, and their unborn child. Polanski somehow recovered enough from this second horror to continue working, and went on to direct Chinatown, considered by many to be one of the ten best films in American history.

When he was arrested in 1978 he faced multiple charges, but a plea deal was offered. According to prosecutors, Polanski likely would have been handed a sentence of three years or fewer in prison. However, by the letter of the law, the charges could also have resulted in a sentence of fifty years. Polanski didn’t stick around for sentencing. Instead he jumped bail and fled to Europe, where he continued to direct films over the next three decades, including 2002’s The Pianist, for which he won a best director Academy Award in absentia.

Polanski’s lawyers filed yesterday’s dismissal request on the grounds of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, after the HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, revealed that former judge Laurence J. Rittenband held news conferences and extrajudicial meetings about the case. The documentary also revealed that former Deputy District Attorney David Wells gave judge Rittenband sentencing advice, even though he was not assigned to the case.

The girl with whom Polanski admitted having sex (i.e. statutory rape), but who asserts she was violated while basically unconscious, is now 43. HBO’s documentary portrays prosecutors seeking to railroad Polanski, but he admitted what he did, which means the case for unlawful sexual intercourse could have stood on its own without prosecutorial games. Now, thirty years later, it’s possible authorities feel that dropping the charge would be akin to encouraging more flights from justice. And more importantly, a dismissal could have negative consequences upon similar cases still working their way through courts.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 22
1987—Andy Warhol Dies
American pop artist Andy Warhol, whose creations have sold for as much as 100 million dollars, dies of cardiac arrhythmia following gallbladder surgery in New York City. Warhol, who already suffered lingering physical problems from a 1968 shooting, requested in his will for all but a tiny fraction of his considerable estate to go toward the creation of a foundation dedicated to the advancement of the visual arts.
February 21
1947—Edwin Land Unveils His New Camera
In New York City, scientist and inventor Edwin Land demonstrates the first instant camera, the Polaroid Land Camera, at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. The camera, which contains a special film that self-develops prints in a minute, goes on sale the next year to the public and is an immediate sensation.
1965—Malcolm X Is Assassinated
American minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam, who shotgun him in the chest and then shoot him sixteen additional times with handguns. Though three men are eventually convicted of the killing, two have always maintained their innocence, and all have since been paroled.
February 20
1935—Caroline Mikkelsen Reaches Antarctica
Norwegian explorer Caroline Mikkelsen, accompanying her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen on a maritime expedition, makes landfall at Vestfold Hills and becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Today, a mountain overlooking the southern extremity of Prydz Bay is named for her.
1972—Walter Winchell Dies
American newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who invented the gossip column while working at the New York Evening Graphic, dies of cancer. In his heyday from 1930 to the 1950s, his newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, he was read by 50 million people a day, and his Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people.
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