That totally slipped out. I don't know what happened. I meant to say I hate you. Dammit! It happened again.
The cover of Darling, I Hate You by T.S. Matthews tells you it was originally titled To the Gallows I Must Go. We consider that too much information, but yeah, this book is about a man whose latest sexual partner wants him to kill her husband. Matthews didn't write many novels, but he built a significant career as an editor, working at The New Republic and Time before jettisoning the U.S. to live in England, where he wrote books and moonlighted as a reviewer for New York Times. However, the above debuted in 1931. He wouldn't publish a second book for more than twenty-five years. This Popular Library edition from 1953 has pretty nice art, but sadly it's uncredited.
The deeper you go into this casino the wilder it gets.
Today we're circling back to James Bond—as we do every so often—to highlight these movie tie-in editions of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. The movie these are tied into is not the 1963 original with Sean Connery, but the 1967 screwball version with David Niven as Bond and Woody Allen as Bond's nephew Jimmy Bond. If you haven't seen it, just know that it was terribly reviewed, with Time magazine calling it an “an incoherent and vulgar vaudeville.” These covers are derived from the Robert McGinnis Casino Royale movie poster, which is an all-time classic. McGinnis created two versions of the poster—one with text and one without, with the painted patterns on the female figure varying slightly. You see both of those below.
The paperback was published by both Great Pan and Signet, and the cover art was different for the two versions. The Great Pan version at top is McGinnis's unaltered work, but the Signet version just above was painted by an imitator, we're almost certain. We'd hoped to answer this for sure by visiting one of the numerous Bond blogs out there, but none of them have really discussed the difference between the 1967 paperback covers. That leaves it up to us, so we're going to say definitively that the Great Pan version was not painted by McGinnis. Whoever the artist was, they did a nice job channeling the original piece, even if the execution is at a much simpler level.
Moving back to the posters, if you scroll down you'll see that we decided to focus on the details of the textless version to give you a close look at McGinnis's detailed work. The deeper you go the more you see—dice, poker chips, glittery earrings, actor portraits, and more. If you had a huge lithograph of this on your wall and a tab of acid on your tongue, an entire weekend would slip past before you moved again. This is possibly the best work from a paperback and movie artist considered to be a grandmaster, one the greatest ever to put brush to canvas. If anyone out there can tell us for sure who painted the Signet paperback—or whether it is indeed McGinnis—feel free to contact us.
Up and coming actress gets weeded out of Hollywood.
It was during wee hours, today in 1948, that fledgeling actress Lila Leeds was arrested, along with Robert Mitchum and two others, for possession of marijuana. The photo above was shot at her Hollywood bungalow a few days later to accompany a Los Angeles Times article about the arrest. Leeds was out on bail, and was given the opportunity to explain the circumstances around that fateful night. Her home had been portrayed in newspaper accounts as a party spot for drug users, a characterization she denied. She explained to Times readers that she'd rentedthe place because it was feminine, and because it had space for her two dogs. She also admitted that she used marijuana, which considering she hadn't gone to trial yet maybe wasn't a great idea. When Leeds had her day in court she was convicted of “conspiring to violate state health laws,” and sentenced to sixty days in jail. Robert Mitchum went to jail too, and fretted that his career had been ruined, but it was Leeds who never got another shot in Hollywood, apart from a role in the 1949 drug scare movie Wild Weed, aka The Devil's Weed, aka She Shoulda Said No. And indeed, she probably shoulda said no, because in 1948 a woman who got out of her lane was always severely punished if caught. But even if the drug conviction cost Leeds her career, she remains part of Hollywood lore, and though that's small consolation, it's still more than most can claim.
Our recommendation: Take the Fifth.
We read Jonathan Latimer's The Fifth Grave in its retitled incarnation Solomon's Vineyard and talked about the book a few years ago. That edition was from Great Pan and appeared in 1961. The Popular Library version you see above came in 1950 with art by the great Rudolph Belarski. We think back to this strange and dark novel often. At the time we thought it was very good but not a classic. Years later, considering how much it sticks in the head, maybe we'd better bump it up to the top tier, and once again recommend that you read this unusual tale. After digging around we finally got ahold of a couple of other Latimers and we're really looking forward to those. Can he possibly equal The Fifth Grave/Solomon's Vineyard? We'll report back.
There's more than just a killer virus flying around out there.
Just in time to distract you from the unstoppable flying virus, the U.S. government has gotten people talking about something else aerial and threatening—unidentified flying objects. This happened yesterday, when the Pentagon released footage of two close encounters of the mysterious kind. The videos are from the cameras of navy fighter jets and were made during two separate encounters in 2004 and 2015. One of the pilots had discussed the 2004 incident with the New York Times in 2017, and described an oblong object forty feet long hovering over the Pacific Ocean, accelerating “like nothing I've ever seen.” The newly released footage corroborates his account, seemingly. The 2015 video, which is FLIR footage, or infrared imagery, shows a rapidly moving object above cloud cover but seen from the vantage point of a higher flying jet. The pilot says over his radio, “Yeah, [that's] a fuckin' drone, bro.” Someone responds, “There's a whole fleet of them. Look on the ASA.” Response: “My gosh!” Followed by: “They're all going against the wind. The wind's 120 knots from the west.” Response: “Look at that thing, dude.”
Well, what can we say? Probably the same thing we've said before, which is that if alien civilizations were advanced enough to come light years from another star system we'd certainly never see them. We primitive earthlings have already figured out rudimentary stealth tech, and are seriously working on invisibility, and we presume we could see aliens that came from a distant advanced world? For that matter, why would they even need to get near us? We can read license plates from space with our primitive satellites. Why wouldn't aliens be able to set up in undetected orbit and observe everything they needed? Of course, maybe they're here and we can see them because they don't care if we do, but if that were true why not take a really good look? Why not hover above Sunset Boulevard and rubberneck at all the party girls and film execs? In our opinion, the first pilot got it right. That's a fuckin' drone, bro. Consider: an advanced drone could perform high-g maneuvers far beyond the capabilities of a human pilot to withstand, and if it were sent up against military jets, since they can't fire outside a wartime setting without chain-of-command approval, you get a real world test andyour drone back. But alien hunters are creaming their undies right now, and why not? The footage is interesting. And we admit, of course, we weren't there, and we aren't pilots. Our drone opinion is just that. What you see here are screenshots we made, but you can view all the fun video for yourself in the document library of the Naval Air Systems Command, located here. Whether you believe in UFOs or not, watching the videos is at least a break from reading about the virus again.
Edit: the Pulp Intl. girlfriends demur. They suggest it's possible the aliens are just playful dicks, like this fella here that got a laugh from ruining a guy's paddle boarding experience.
Dude, your mom is, like, totally babesville.
We mentioned last week that Bettie Page often starred on book covers, and here she is again on Alan Bennett's Savage Delinquents, published in 1959 by Bedside Books. This one is juviesploitation, and it deals with a disaffected seventeen-year-old girl named Lissa who falls in with a gang and soon learns it's like, nowhere, man. Page was thirty-six the year this was published, with the photo dating from a bit earlier, but still it speaks to her popularity that her image could sell this book when she was old enough to be the main character's mom. See more Page paperback art here.
All she needed was for someone to believe.
Paulette Goddard had more false starts to her career than most Hollywood legends. During the late 1920s and early-to-mid 1930s she worked—without making much impact—for Selznick International Pictures, George Fitzmaurice Productions, 20th Century Pictures, Hal Roach Studios, and both Goldwyn Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She turned some heads in Modern Times, co-starring with Charlie Chaplain, who was her boyfriend at the time, but her major break came with Paramount when she starred opposite Bob Hope in The Cat and The Canary. She never looked back, appearing in seventeen films in the next five years, and more than fifty over the course of her career. One of those was Northwest Mounted Police, which is where the above promo photo comes. It dates from 1940.
Remember when politicians were motivated not by money and power, but by a desire to help people? Neither do we.
Below, a small collection of vintage paperbacks all featuring images of the U.S. Capitol. They're reminders that the building has always been a place of intrigue and treachery. Which is exactly why it's perfect for our website.
It actually hurts me when you call me a tramp. Know what I bet hurts you more? That you can't afford me.
Monte Steele's Million Dollar Tramp should not be confused with William Campbell Gault's Million Dollar Tramp. Gault was a serious author of some acclaim, while Steele was serious about claiming a paycheck. We last saw him authoring a 1964 literary epic called Campus Chippies. This earlier effort is from 1963 for Playtime Reading with art by Robert Bonfils.
Well, I notice at least part of you is getting happier.
It's hard to stay mad with someone else's tongue in your mouth. Ever notice that? The principle is amply demonstrated on this brilliant cover for Edward Mannix's 1960 thriller The End of Fury. Put this one in the mean-streets-of-NYC bin, even though the action mostly takes place in Jersey City. The story deals with the Boyles, an Irish family of five—a hard drinking father, an emotionally wrecked mother, a widely desired daughter, and two sons, one a priest in training, the other this rebel with a stripper girlfriend you see on the cover. The priest/heretic brothers may seem like clichés today, but Mannix helped popularize the motif, with even The New York Times calling him a highly skilled writer. Interestingly, he was also a voice actor, dubbing dialogue for at least nine films from the early ’70s to the early ’90s. The art on this is by Robert Maguire and we think it's one of his best.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1929—Stock Market Crashes
Black Thursday, a catastrophic crash on the New York Stock Exchange, occurs when the value of stocks suddenly declines and continues to decline for a month. The event leads to a subsequent crash in world stock prices and precipitates the Great Depression. This after famous economist Irving Fisher had declared that stock prices had reached a permanently high plateau.
1935—Four Gangsters Gunned Down in New Jersey
In Newark, New Jersey, the organized crime figures Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman, and Bernard "Lulu" Rosencrantz are fatally shot at the Palace Chophouse restaurant. Schultz, who was the target, lingers in the hospital for about a day before dying
. The killings are committed by a group of professional gunmen known as Murder, Inc., and the event becomes known as the Chophouse Massacre.
1950—Al Jolson Dies
Vaudeville and screen performer Al Jolson dies of a heart attack in San Francisco after a trip to Korea to entertain troops causes lung problems. Jolson is best known for his film The Jazz Singer, and for his performances in blackface make-up, which were not considered offensive at the time, but have now come to be seen as a form of racial bigotry.
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.
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