Intl. Notebook Sep 2 2022
CANADA AFTER DARK
Minuit puts the country's hospitable reputation to the test.


Ever since we discovered a while back that the U.S. tabloid Midnight was actually a spin-off of Montreal based Minuit we've been looking around for issues. We finally had some luck. This example hit Canadian newsstands today in 1968, and on the cover is British actress Mollie Peters, or Molly Peters. Inside, various Hollywood stars are spotlighted in unflattering ways. Edy Williams was allegedly attacked by a lesbian; Paul Newman resorted to transcendental meditation to cut down on his drinking; Jason Robards, Jr. broke everything Humphrey Bogart related in Lauren Bacall's house; Robert Vaughn paid off his extensive gambling debts and cancelled his credit cards; Janet Margolin allegedly ate a pound of ground beef every day for health reasons; and Ursula Andress attacked Anita Ekberg in a Paris restaurant for making eyes at Andress's boyfriend Jean-Paul Belmondo.

There's also a note on Babsi Zimmermann, who Minuit claims just refused a nude role in a French film. We noticed the blurb because of her name, which seems too good to be true, and familiar too. We looked her up and she did exist. It turns out she was better known as Barbara Zimmermann. She changed her stage name after the release of her first film, a counter-culture sexploitation romp called Heißer Sand auf Sylt, aka The New Life Style (Just to Be Love). Maybe she wanted a fresh start because the movie was such a stinker. We know it was bad because we wrote about it, which is why her name sounded familiar. She's naked as a donskoy cat in it, so Minuit's claim that she refused the French movie makes sense if she wanted to rebrand herself. The change still has people confused. Currently IMDB has separate entries for Babsi and Barbara.

Minuit reserves special attention for U.S. actor George Hamilton, who had been generally targeted by tabloids for avoiding military service in Vietnam. Why him? We wrote about the reason a long while back, and if you're curious you can check. Minuit wryly informs readers that, “George Hamilton somehow managed to break his toe the day after he received a notice to report to the U.S. Army recruiting center. This gives him an interesting three-month [deferral]. It's clever, isn't it?” Obviously, toes heal. Hamilton eventually received a full deferral for other reasons.

Also in this issue, Minuit editors treat readers to a story about a man cut in half by a train. We feel like it's urban folklore, but there are photos—for any who might be convinced by those—and a long story explaining how a man named Regerio Estrada caught his wife Lucia in bed with another man, beat him unconscious, and tied him to a train track to await the next express. Do we buy it? Not really. The internet contains only a fraction of all knowledge and history, but we think this tawdry tale is so bizarre that it would have found its way online. There's nothing. Or maybe we're just the first to upload it. Anything is possible. We have additional colorful Canadian tabloids we'll be sharing in the months ahead. You'll find eighteen scans below.

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Intl. Notebook Aug 26 2022
BRAVO ENCORE
Back by popular demand.

Earlier this year we shared an issue of one of the prettiest mid-century celebrity magazines—West Germany's Bravo. We have pages from another issue, published today in 1956. We'll return to this publication a bit later.

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Sex Files Jul 29 2022
NATIONAL SEX SLAVES
Supply and demand in the unfree market.


Oh no! It's another National Informer. You're thinking, “Three days in a row? How many of these rags do they have?” Well, more than several, clearly, since we always post them on their publication dates and these ended up being consecutive. This issue, which hit newsstands today in 1973, offers a report on the so-called sex slave markets, which according to Informer were in existence in Turkey, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and Ghana. This is not exactly a newsflash. Just recently, the Credite Suisse leak, which we wrote about, revealed that sex traffickers were using Swiss banks to stash funds. Shockingly—and we know this will knock you for a loop—it's extremely difficult to eradicate anything that generates enough profits to interest the international banking sector. Business, real estate, oil, weapons, human trafficking, drugs—it's all of a piece to the banks.

To go along with its sex slave reporting Informer offers up a side helping of bdsm content, including a blurb on Bella Silverman, who was allegedly Miss Nude Dominant Female of 1973. You see her just below, complete with a terrifying mask that doesn't exactly scream erotic thrills. Or is that just us? We looked up Bella, but there was no info at all. Maybe she's a banker now. Elsewhere Informer tells readers that age is no barrier to sex, nudist camps really swing, and foreign diplomats are sex maniacs. And lastly, resident psychic Mark Travis makes a set of surprisingly prosaic predictions, including about future shoe fashion, breakthroughs in spray paint, and the California housing market. We suppose even psychics get tired of talking about Bigfoot and UFOs. Well, here's a prediction: there will be no National Informer tomorrow. Enjoy the scans.
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Sex Files Jul 28 2022
HIPS AND LIPS
Notable show business encounters: the Pelvis meets the Throat.


Issues of National Informer on back-to-back days? Sure, why not? The above example, published today in 1974, is five years older than yesterday's, and in the intervening timeframe the editors seem to have stopped woman bashing. They're still treating them as complete sex objects, but that's what Informer was all about. They've also replaced the (not so) Great Criswell with new psychic Mark Travis. We're still curious who actually bought these mags (we do it for scientific purposes, so we don't count), and exactly how seriously they took it. Our guess is not very.

The main attraction in this issue is the story on swivel-hipped musical star Elvis Presley and Linda Lovelace, centerpiece of the xxx smash Deep Throat. Lovelace, who was purportedly involved—at least for a few hours at a time—with such aging stars as Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, and (of course) Frank Sinatra, as well as young Hollywood rebels Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Dennis Hopper, is alleged to have met up with Presley in Las Vegas. You could be forgiven for assuming that nature took its course, but it didn't. At least, according to reports.

What on Earth could have stopped these two sex elementals from joining forces? Presley allegedly told Lovelace he was temporarily hors de combat because he had hurt himself having sex with Natalie Wood the previous week. Hey, we just relay this stuff. We make no claim that any of it is true. And we thought Natalie was so sweet. Well, you should never judge a book by its cover. Tabloids, on the other hand, you can safely evaluate at a glance. Informer is just as down and dirty as it looks. 
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Intl. Notebook Jul 27 2022
THE BAD EDITORS CLUB
If it's facts you want you've bought the wrong paper.


Above is a cover of the tabloid National Informer published today in 1969 with a feature on "watch-a-rape clubs," and we remind you again, these stories are fake. Tabloids at the level of Informer are closer to The Onion than any real newspaper, with the difference being that The Onion is actually funny. While it is absolutely certain that men have stood idly by and watched women be raped (all you have to do is read the news), it's equally certain that there were no watch-a-rape clubs. The story is written as cheesy softcore porn, and the image used is a promotional still from the 1968 movie Les oiseaux vont mourir au Pérou, aka Birds in Peru, with Jean Seberg. It was a controversial film, which is probably why Informer editors borrowed the shot.

They continue their anti-woman campaign in the story, “How To Tell When Someone Feeds You a Pack of Lies.” The pertinent section from author E.W. Steele: “Among the most notorious of liars are fishermen, golfers, salesmen, politicians, and women. The last-named are, perhaps, the most expert of the lot, because they find it so easy to assume an air of maidenly sincerity and absolute innocence. In addition they are less scrupulous than men. Not troubled to the same extent with qualms of conscience, lies flow from their lovely lips like lava.”

Less scrupulous than men? Apparently, this particular Informer is not so much a tabloid, but an encyclopedia of male grievance. They even try to drag Groucho Marx into it, somehow enticing him (if it really is him) into authoring an essay, “Groucho Marx Speaks Out on Love, Lust and Passion.” Marx, globally acknowledged comic genius, doesn't generate many laughs here. But it's late in his career, and maybe the written word simply wasn't his medium. After all, there are no prop eyeglasses and mustache to help him out.
 
While we enjoy major scandal sheets such as Confidential and Whisper, these bottom tier tabloids go against our ethical grain. But we scan and upload them because we consider them useful historical artifacts. Others have agreed. We've been contacted several times over the years and asked to provide full-sized scans for research papers and indie documentaries—though we've never seen the final results of those projects. Hey, you scholars and filmmakers, remember you said you'd send us copies when you were finished? Still waiting.

Elsewhere in Informer the (not so) Great Criswell puts in an appearance. He gives readers his usual set of preposterous psychic predictions. Our fave: I predict that an American writer will win the Nobel Prize for Literature very soon. Criswell probably thought he needed to mix an easy one in there, something he was sure to get correct, and guess what? He was way off! It took seven whole years for an American to win—Saul Bellow in 1976. Does seven years count as very soon? If you're a Galapagos tortoise maybe, but not as far as we're concerned. Back to the drawing board, Criswell.
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Hollywoodland Jul 5 2022
DEEP INSIDE
Inside Story goes where other tabloids tread—then claims not to have gone there.


It's been a few years since we posted an issue of Inside Story, but we don't run out of tabloids, we just run out of time to scan them. Today, though, there's time aplenty, so above you an issue that appeared this month in 1963 with a cover touting a feature on the new generation of young actresses in Hollywood taking over from Brigitte Bardot, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe. At the time, Bardot was twenty-nine and Novak was thirty-five. Those aren't exactly geriatric years for actresses, even back then, but Inside Story said there was a young new guard: Angie Dickinson, Ann-Margret, Jane Fonda, Connie Stevens, Tuesday Weld, and Julie Newmar. Dickinson was actually older than both Bardot and Novak, but we get the general point.

Later in the issue there's a story dedicated to Monroe that describes her fans as a death cult. The interesting aspect of this is that the author Kevin Flaherty accuses people of obsessing over Monroe—while himself obsessing over Monroe. The gist of his article is that a cottage industry of films, books, and magazine articles were cashing in on her suicide, which had occurred the previous August. This was, of course, shaky ground for any tabloid to tread upon, as they all made their profits via unauthorized articles about various celebrities, which one could define as exploitative by nature. But never let the facts get in the way of a good story angle.

Flaherty tells readers that Monroe's life was marred by abandonment, depression, and rape, and suggests that if she had been given a little peace by constantly clamoring fans and intrusive reporters she might not have taken that fatal dose of pills. We think it's just as valid to conclude that without stardom she wouldn't have lasted as long as she did. Since she isn't around anymore to speak for herself (she'd be ninety-six this year), we choose to view her on the terms she chose. She started as a model and worked hard to become an actress, and we think those achievements are far more important than what she had no control over. But there will always be debate over Monroe's legacy, and Inside Story shows that the discussion was already in full swing. Twenty-plus scans below.
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Hollywoodland Mar 18 2022
WHY WORRY
Ann-Margret's reputation was a problem. But her reputation for what?


This should spice up your Friday. Above you see Swedish bombshell Ann-Margret on the cover of a National Enquirer published today in 1962. The editors wanted to match Ann's face with the, “I'm worried,” header, and used a promo shot of her dancing. Wild facial expressions were a specialty of hers. Winks, grins, grimaces, and more were her stock in trade, deftly demonstrated in the shot below. But regarding the above image, we don't think she looks particularly worried. Pained, possibly. Worried, no. We didn't buy this item, so we can't tell you for sure what she's supposed to be worried about, but considering the year, the article probably discusses her trying to make the transition from singer/dancer to serious actress. It was something she talked about in interviews. In the end she managed it easily. On the other hand, maybe Enquirer is hinting at something else entirely. Either way, the photo is rare.

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Sex Files Feb 17 2022
LIGHT READER MATERIAL
Just a little something to help pass the time.


Above is the cover of an issue of National Informer Reader published today in 1974. Some people will tell you that the trans community is a new thing, but it isn't, and we know because vintage tabloids have been obsessed with the subject for more than sixty years. If you don't believe us check here, here, here, here, and here. Reader visits the topic with a story on trans entertainer Jennifer Fox. In cheap tabloids the stories were often made up, but Fox existed. She underwent gender reassignment in 1968 and became a burlesque dancer in Las Vegas. In other stories she's noted that once knowledge of her change became widely known, interest in her exploded and she became a star attraction. The only thing is, we don't think the photo Reader printed is Fox. Her face looks wrong, Fox was usually blonde, and not many burlesque dancers posed frontally nude after becoming famous—it would have devalued the moneymaker. Probably Reader never actually spoke to Fox. The editors simply knew a useful story when they saw it, and used a handout photo that looked good. When it comes to tabloids in this tier almost nothing is 100% accurate. Scans below.

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Intl. Notebook Feb 3 2022
OH, CANADA
C'est le tabloïd bon marché! Scandale et crime! Incroyable!


Above: scans from the Canadian French tabloid Le Rendez-Vous, which appeared today in 1969 from Montréal based Publications Neoscope. The cover star is German actress Margaret Rose Keil (whose first name they spell Margret), and the text says, “A girl with no arms or legs goofs off.” Right, well, we aren't sure what that means, and since Keil gets no inside play it's never explained. Another of those Frenchisms no doubt. Elsewhere inside, you get various quick hits: actress Christiane Rucker gathering no moss, beautiful obscurity Tiffany Roberts with her precious pearls, and Rina Berti in the centerfold. You also get feature length stories about love and suicide, misbehaving scoutmasters, and Mia Farrow, who says, “I love humanity, but I hate people.” As you can see, Canadian tabloids were like U.S. tabloids, but a bit more exotique. We have more issues of Le Rendez-Vous, so we'll get back to this subject later in the year.

Update: when if comes to Frenchisms, Jo is the man. He writes about the cover image:

The "gaffe" is a grip to catch the boat's rope. It can be also a goof. As the girl has no legs and no arms, it's a joke (not very funny). Maybe she catches men using what remains in her sexy body?

You're right, Jo, it isn't a funny joke, but it's good information. We always want to know. Thanks as always.

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Hollywoodland | Intl. Notebook Jan 26 2022
CONFIDENTIAL TAKEDOWN
The king of tabloids sets its sights on the Queen of Greece.


Every month when Confidential magazine hit newsstands, we imagine Hollywood celebrities receiving the bad news that they'd made the cover, and going, “Shit.” This issue published in January 1964 features Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, and Jill St. John. The first three members of that group probably took the news in stride, since they were all tabloid staples by then. St. John wasn't quite at their level, but her links with Sinatra kept her in the scandal sheets for a while too.

A person who wasn't used to Confidential's attentions was Frederica of Hanover, who at the time was Queen Consort of Greece—which is just a fancy way of saying she was married to the King of Greece. Confidential says she was a Nazi, a pretty serious charge, needless to say. Was she? Well, her grandfather was Kaiser Wilhelm II, as a girl she was a member of Bund Deutscher Mädel, which was a branch of the Hitler Youth, and she had brothers in the SS. Also, back in 1934 Adolf Hitler wanted to link the British and German royal houses, and tried to pressure Frederica's parents into arranging for the seventeen-year-old girl to marry the Prince of Wales, Edward VIII. And as Queen Consort she made a habit of meddling in Greek politics in ways that made clear she was not a fan of democracy. None of that is a particularly good look.

She had defenders, though, who believed that for a person in her position it would have been impossible not to have been a member of certain groups and to have socialized with Nazis. It's interesting, isn't it, how the rich and powerful always benefit from a special set of excuses? People can't really expect her to have made a stand, can they? But the excuse is hollow. As a high ranking royal she could have avoided anything she wished. Membership in organizations when she was a little girl is one thing, but as an adult she could have denounced Nazism with damage to her reputation the only potential result. A damaged reputation is no small thing, but if we expect resistance from people who'd have been imprisoned or shot for doing so, we should probably expect the same from people who would have suffered mostly dirty looks.

Confidential focuses on Frederica's July 1963 visit to England. The visit was no big surprise—Frederica, her husband King Paul of Greece, Queen Elizabeth, and her husband Prince Philip, were all related. They were all direct descendants of Queen Victoria. Monarchy is a funny thing, isn't it? The visit triggered a protest of about three thousand British leftists that was violently broken up by five thousand police. The protestors carried banners that said, “Down with the Nazi Queen.” After mentioning this fiasco, Confidential delves into Frederica's history, some of which we've outlined above, then loops back to the protests, which she blamed on the British press. But she had already reached a level of notoriety that usually brought out protestors who loudly booed her, particularly in Greece. She eventually retreated from public life, became a Buddhist, and died early at age sixty-three.

Confidential's unexpected exposé on Frederica wasn't out of character for the magazine. It was the top tabloid dog in a very large kennel. It had an expansive staff, serious reporters, hundreds of informers spread across the U.S. and Britain, and published stories about heavy hitters from all sectors of society. It had a regressive political agenda, as its article filled with terrible slander against gays and lesbians makes clear, but even with its rightward slant it took pains to keep its reporting framework factual. That makes it a priceless source of contemporaneous info about public figures, particularly of the Hollywood variety. We doubt we'll ever stop buying it, because we never know who we'll find inside. Twenty-plus scans below.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 24
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
September 23
1952—Chaplin Returns to England
Silent movie star Charlie Chaplin returns to his native England for the first time in twenty-one years. At the time it is said to be for a Royal Society benefit, but in reality Chaplin knows he is about to be banned from the States because of his political views. He would not return to the U.S. for twenty years.
September 22
1910—Duke of York's Cinema Opens
The Duke of York's Cinema opens in Brighton, England, on the site of an old brewery. It is still operating today, mainly as a venue for art films, and is the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.
1975—Gerald Ford Assassination Attempt
Sara Jane Moore, an FBI informant who had been evaluated and deemed harmless by the U.S. Secret Service, tries to assassinate U.S. President Gerald Ford. Moore fires one shot at Ford that misses, then is wrestled to the ground by a bystander named Oliver Sipple.
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