Femmes Fatales May 27 2023
BEYOND RECOGNITION
Ask not for whom the Bell is mistaken.


If you do an image search on the above photo, every website in which it exists (that would include Getty Images, Yahoo, CNN, et al) says it's Paula Kelly, shot during the making of the 1972 blaxploitation movie Trouble Man. There's just one problem—she isn't Paula Kelly. She's actually—and obviously, we think—Jean Bell, who appeared in such movies as TNT Jackson and Policewomen. Bell and Paula Kelly don't look alike, but just the same they're the victims of an IRE™ (internet replication error) that probably will never be corrected. We're not perfect here, but we also don't have a research department like CNN and Getty Images. Because of the misidentification we don't have a copyright on this shot, but it's probably from around 1974.

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Femmes Fatales Aug 20 2017
PURE TNT
This woman is simply dynamite.


U.S. actress Annie Lee Morgan used a couple of pseudonyms in her career. When she broke into celebrityhood as a nude model for Playboy she was Jean Bell, and later as an actress she was often Jeannie Bell. By whatever name she was one of the most beautiful performers of the 1970s, which makes it a shame b-movies and television shows were the extent of her career. Her best known role? Probably the blaxploitation actioner TNT Jackson—which you can read about here. The above shot is undated but probably from around 1973.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 17 2017
ACTION JACKSON
Jeanne Bell karate chops her way across Hong Kong.

TNT Jackson, for which you see the U.S. promo poster painted by John Solie above, is a mid-budget blaxploitation flick shot in the Philippines and Hong Kong, built around clumsy martial arts, a flimsy plot, and shoddy acting. But it has Jeanne Bell. Playboy magazine had made Bell a centerfold in 1969. From there she launched a movie career, with TNT Jackson coming ninth in her filmography.

She plays Diana “TNT” Jackson, who learns that her brother was killed by Hong Kong drug dealers and seeks payback. While the plot is nothing special, Bell certainly is. She was twenty-five and wore a bouffant hair-do when she first appeared in Playboy; in TNT she was thirty and had blossomed into an unforgettable beauty with a frosted afro, kicking and chopping her way across the movie screen.

All the fight scenes are hilarious, with their cut-rate choreography and claw-handed posing, but they're fun to watch, especially the one in which she kicks the shit out of a bunch of guys while wearing only panties. That bit seems to us a clear homage to Reiko Ike's totally nude fight in 1973's Sex & Fury, another movie that surpasses its limitations by piling on style and attitude. Is TNT Jackson actually good? No—but we bet it'll make you smile. It premiered in the U.S. today in 1974.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 25
1938—Alicante Is Bombed
During the Spanish Civil War, a squadron of Italian bombers sent by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to support the insurgent Spanish Nationalists, bombs the town of Alicante, killing more than three-hundred people. Although less remembered internationally than the infamous Nazi bombing of Guernica the previous year, the death toll in Alicante is similar, if not higher.
1977—Star Wars Opens
George Lucas's sci-fi epic Star Wars premiers in the Unites States to rave reviews and packed movie houses. Produced on a budget of $11 million, the film goes on to earn $460 million in the U.S. and $337 million overseas, while spawning a franchise that would eventually earn billions and make Lucas a Hollywood icon.
May 24
1930—Amy Johnson Flies from England to Australia
English aviatrix Amy Johnson lands in Darwin, Northern Territory, becoming the first woman to fly from England to Australia. She had departed from Croydon on May 5 and flown 11,000 miles to complete the feat. Her storied career ends in January 1941 when, while flying a secret mission for Britain, she either bails out into the Thames estuary and drowns, or is mistakenly shot down by British fighter planes. The facts of her death remain clouded today.
May 23
1934—Bonnie and Clyde Are Shot To Death
Outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who traveled the central United States during the Great Depression robbing banks, stores and gas stations, are ambushed and shot to death in Louisiana by a posse of six law officers. Officially, the autopsy report lists seventeen separate entrance wounds on Barrow and twenty-six on Parker, including several head shots on each. So numerous are the bullet holes that an undertaker claims to have difficulty embalming the bodies because they won't hold the embalming fluid.
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