Vintage Pulp Nov 15 2020
STRAIGHT OUTTA THE JUNGLE
She's tougher than Tarzan, meaner than Sheena, and lustier than Gungala.


You can look at this cover and correctly assume that we've shared it because it was painted by Frank Frazetta, considered by many to be the master of sword and sorcery art. It's a beautiful piece, rightly famous. Alan Dean Foster is a master too. He isn't what you'd call a significant author in the sense that he's produced lauded original material, but he may be the king of movie novelizations. Among his output: The Black Hole, Clash of the Titans, Outland, Starman, Pale Rider, and The Chronicles of Riddick, as well as novelized series based on Star Wars, Star Trek, and Alien. We love Foster for his Star Wars sequel Splinter of the Mind's Eye, which came out before The Empire Strikes Back (notice we don't bother with that Episode nonsense) and followed Luke and Leia—not siblings in Foster's universe—as they adventured on strange worlds and discovered their love for each other. We still think the film series should have followed Foster's lead, but whatever.

His Luana is a novelization of the 1968 movie of the same name starring Mei Chen Chalais, which we talked about a while back. Sometimes novelizations are published before the film, sometimes after. Foster published Luana six years after the film in 1974 for reasons that are obscure. It was among his first published books. While template for a novelization is provided by the filmmakers, the author is who gives it color and life. Foster fulfills that duty with obvious relish, mining literary and cinematic antecedents like Tarzan, Tarzana, Gungala, SheenaShuna, and Ka-Zar for familiar tropes. A kilometer long pit filled with army ants? A lion and panther, both larger than any ever seen before, working in tandem with a huge chimp? A pitched battle between blowgun wielding Tanzanian tribesmen and an expedition of white explorers? A secret city of solid gold buildings? As lost world tales go, by standing on the shoulders of his predecessors, Foster crafts something better than average. And far better than the movie too. 

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Vintage Pulp Jul 26 2018
ATTACK OF THE CLONE
Cinematic encounters of the worst kind.


The sci-fi adventure Starcrash was made to copy the success—as well as the basic blueprint—of Star Wars. But the only aspect of the movie that's comparable is the promo art. We already showed you the great U.S. poster. This is the Colombian poster made for the movie's premiere there today in 1979 as Ataques estelar del tercer tipo. Elsewhere in Latin America the film had titles like Infierno en el cosmos (Argentina), and Starcrash: Ataque interstelar (Mexico).

Looking more closely, you'll notice a ship similar to the Millennium Falcon. The engines are at the opposite end, but it's basically the same design. These guys were shameless. In addition, Ataques estelar del tercer tipo would translate as “star attacks of the third type.” Obviously, not content to merely rip off Stars Wars the producers decided to also borrow from Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But what you get is a cinematic encounter of the worst kind, though a very funny one. We talked about it already. Check here.

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Intl. Notebook Mar 6 2012
ART OF WARS
Stars Wars conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie dies.

Sci-fi artist Ralph McQuarrie died yesterday due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. McQuarrie’s concepts for Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3PO and other characters indelibly shaped the Star Wars franchise, and, closer to Earth, he was also a go-to paperback cover artist during the 1980s. Below is one of our favorite McQuarrie pieces, the cover of Alan Dean Foster’s excellent Star Wars sequel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. McQuarrie was eighty-two. 

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Intl. Notebook Feb 2 2012
STAR QUALITY
Some movies just can’t be improved upon.

Somehow, the fact that this original Star Wars promo photo is filled with pinholes and dings adds to its charm, since it mirrors the condition of Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder. There are some who would say the franchise drowned in cynicism, that it collapsed under the weight of fast food tie-ins, and fuzzy toys, and ill-considered digital revisionism. Those people would be right. Like this photo, and like Skywalker’s landspeeder, the original Star Wars had some scratches and dings, but cinematic believability derives from a well-known viewer psychology aptly described as willing suspension of disbelief. The key word is willing. You can’t bludgeon people into acceptance, no matter how slick the fx are. People willingly believe because the story and characters work. And in Star Wars, the simple story of a boy rising from his dusty roots to battle impossibly powerful galactic foes—and yet win—worked on every level. It still works. That’s why people who loved it as kids still watch it today as adults. Anyway, we’re just going to go ahead and call this photo one of the coolest artifacts we’ve ever found. 

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Modern Pulp Sep 26 2011
HUNGARY EYES
Hungarian graphic designers re-imagine promo art for a classic American series.

We have something a little different today, a bit of modern pulp from Central Europe. These are Hungarian posters for George Lucas’s Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, which incidentally were going for the equivalent of $350.00. Yes, seriously. Premiere dates on these are a little obscure, but the Hungarian re-releases took place in 1997, so we’ll go with that. Of course, it’s worth pointing out again that the main reason wonderful posters like these make it to the foreign marketplace is that the designers are freed from the anti-artistic influence of Hollywood marketing departments, which tend to be hands off when promoting big re-releases overseas (new films, of course, have the same promo art as in America, i.e. incredibly bad, which in turn leads to the sad sight of your humble authors trying to slink unnoticed past displays for Saw 3D and Zookeeper, but that’s another post entirely). See a great Star Wars poster from Poland here. 

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Vintage Pulp | Musiquarium Nov 8 2009
SAVAGE NOBLE
The three faces of Trisha.

Above we have Australian actress Trisha Noble on the German pamphlet art for Diese frau ist Gefährlich, which was a 1966 spy film originally released as Death Is a Woman. For some reason, the movie was retitled to Love Is a Woman for its American run, and you see that art below. But perhaps wanting to provide audiences with a three-dimensional portrait of the subject matter, the film also bore the title internationally of—you guessed it—Sex Is a Woman. We couldn’t find the Sex Is a Woman art, so the promo photo after which the German and American posters were based will have to do. Although she isn’t well known now, Trisha Noble is actually one of those people that has been in show business her entire life. As a teenager she released six hit albums in Australia as Patsy Ann Noble, then turned to acting. If you’re old enough, you may remember her from the American television series Strike Force, with Robert Stack. And if you’re young enough, you may recognize her as Padmé Amidala’s mother in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. And if you remember none of that, check her out here getting groovy to her hit single “Accidents Can Happen” and you’ll never forget her again.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 31 2009
EUROPA EUROPA

Various movie posters from Russia, Poland, Hungary, Turkey, and the former West Germany, circa ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.     

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 04
1918—Wilson Goes to Europe
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sails to Europe for the World War I peace talks in Versailles, France, becoming the first U.S. president to travel to Europe while in office.
1921—Arbuckle Manslaughter Trial Ends
In the U.S., a manslaughter trial against actor/director Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle ends with the jury deadlocked as to whether he had killed aspiring actress Virginia Rappe during rape and sodomy. Arbuckle was finally cleared of all wrongdoing after two more trials, but the scandal ruined his career and personal life.
December 03
1964—Mass Student Arrests in U.S.
In California, Police arrest over 800 students at the University of California, Berkeley, following their takeover and sit-in at the administration building in protest at the UC Regents' decision to forbid protests on university property.
1968—U.S. Unemployment Hits Low
Unemployment figures are released revealing that the U.S. unemployment rate has fallen to 3.3 percent, the lowest rate for almost fifteen years. Going forward all the way to the current day, the figure never reaches this low level again.
December 02
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.
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