Midnight lowers the bar even more than usual.
Around here we often debate whether to post something, but generally believe that as a sort of history site, it’s always a bad idea to hold back. Today we have an issue of Midnight, published October 24, 1966, that goes over the top with gore. It isn’t the woman whose face has been eaten off by rats that particularly worries us, nor the cop that supposedly had his eyeballs ripped out. We’ve posted those. No, it’s the autopsied infant that gave us pause. We sometimes prattle on about refusing to self-censor, but when we say that, what we’re referring to is sex and nudity, not vivisected one year-old babies. We want you to enjoy the site, not scroll down the page cringing at what gore will leap from the jack-in-the-box. So long story short: eaten face—okay; ripped out eyeballs—hunky dory; autopsied infant? Hellz no. We have our standards, though Midnight didn’t.
Anyway, you do get some interesting articles in this issue. Of special note is William Holden answering questions about a guy he ran over and killed on a highway in Geneva, where he was living to avoid paying U.S. taxes. The Swiss sweated Holden for a while, but in the end he escaped with an eight month suspended sentence for manslaughter. What’s especially intriguing about this story is that an online search uncovered no links to this Swiss snafu. Instead, we learned that Holden had been convicted of vehicular manslaughter not in Switzerland, but in Italy, where he had rammed another car while drunk and killed the driver. But in the Midnight story, Holden is said to have run over a hiker. Asked whether he was under the influence, his response is: “No, I wasn’t drunk—not this time.”
So did William Holden kill two people with his car in two separate incidents? We tend to doubt it, but on the other hand, how could Midnight get everything so wrong, with the accompanying quote: “not this time”? Sure, Midnight made things up, but as blatantly as this? We think it very likely that the editors simply tried to write about the Italian accident, but were working on the fly and mangled everything. They probably assumed the accident was in Switzerland because Holden lived there, took his “not this time” quote out of context, and—somehow—saw the phrase “second automobile” in all the other accounts and wrote it as “hiker.” Anyone could make those mistakes, right? Yeah, anyone could. But Midnight does.
Everybody’s gonna know, you can’t catch a motorcycle when it wants to go.
Here’s something we’ve never seen before. It’s Steve’s McQueen’s international motorcycle driver’s license, issued out of Geneva, Switzerland in 1964. We think it probably first appeared online here. Is it pulp? Perhaps not, but it is significant because McQueen made every guy in America want a motorcycle thanks to his bravura turn as the rough and tumble Captain Virgil Hilts, aka The Cooler King, in 1963’s The Great Escape. Haven’t seen it? Click the little linky here.
Giger retrospective taps into sexual obsessions and primal fears.
We’ve always liked the work of biomechanical airbursh artist H.R. Giger—it reminds us of high school, and the anguished sexual obsessions of that time. Most people associate his art with the Alien franchise because he did the production design for the original film, and all the sequels have built upon that foundation. But Giger is about more than just slimy, vicious monsters. For instance, the piece you see above, “Birth Machine,” is quintessential Giger. The crucial clue to its meaning comes from the title. And as we look closely at the piece, we see a pistol in which the bullets are half human creatures who themselves are holding pistols. If we assume each of their pistols in turn contain little bullet men with more guns loaded with more bullet men, we understand that Giger is making a statement about us killing ourselves through overpopulation. In a sense, each of us is a weapon, loaded with deadly ammunition and lacking any sense of restraint that might help us see that our state of perpetual war and environmental destruction derives from the fact that there are simply too damned many of us. Or something like that.
We bring all this up because we saw a Giger exhibit in person at the Kuba Art Gallery in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, and the pieces were extremely interesting. They’re otherworldly, yes. Biologically weird, certainly. Relentlessly vaginal, absolutely. Giger is well known for those things. But there’s also a darkness and density to the pieces that is very impressive in person. Their geometry and the physics implied within are Lovecraftian in a sense, which is why we weren’t surprised when we saw that two of Giger’s early pieces were in fact representations from the great horror writer H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction. The exhibit also included a larger than life movie alien menacingly perched on a wall, as well as a macabre dinner table with six biomechanical chairs. If a Giger exhibit ever comes to your town, by all means, go. Any effort will be worth the time and energy spent to see this unique master’s nightmarish work in person. We have more images below, and we apologize for their blurriness, but we were too terrified by the art to focus.
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.
Getting to No everything about you.
Three action-packed Japanese posters for Dr. No, with Sean Connery and Swiss beauty Ursula Andress. You can see Connery and Andress getting close in a rare promo photo here. Dr. No premiered in Japan today in 1963.
I'm afraid that isn't my hand in the small of your back, my dear.
Swiss actress Ursula Andress’ performance as Dr. No’s knife-wielding skindiver Honey Ryder made her a star and set the standard for all future Bond girls. At the time of this publicity photo she was married to John Derek, but we have a feeling Sean Connery didn’t care—and rumor has it Andress didn’t either. She was delivered up from the sea on a clamshell today in 1936.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1912—International Opium Convention Signed
The International Opium Convention is signed at The Hague, Netherlands, and is the first international drug control treaty. The agreement was signed by Germany, the U.S., China, France, the UK, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, and Siam.
1946—CIA Forerunner Created
U.S. president Harry S. Truman establishes the Central Intelligence Group or CIG, an interim authority that lasts until the Central Intelligence Agency is established in September of 1947.
1957—George Metesky Is Arrested
The New York City "Mad Bomber," a man named George P. Metesky, is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut and charged with planting more than 30 bombs. Metesky was angry about events surrounding a workplace injury suffered years earlier. Of the thirty-three known bombs he planted, twenty-two exploded, injuring fifteen people. He was apprehended based on an early use of offender profiling and because of clues given in letters he wrote to a newspaper. At trial he was found legally insane and committed to a state mental hospital.
1950—Alger Hiss Is Convicted of Perjury
American lawyer Alger Hiss is convicted of perjury in connection with an investigation by the House unAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC), at which he was questioned about being a Soviet spy. Hiss served forty-four months in prison. Hiss maintained his innocence and fought his perjury conviction until his death in 1996 at age 92.
1977—Carter Pardons War Fugitives
U.S. President Jimmy Carter pardons nearly all of the country's Vietnam War draft evaders, many of whom had emigrated to Canada. He had made the pardon pledge during his election campaign, and he fulfilled his promise the day after he took office.
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