Intl. Notebook Jun 8 2024
THE EDGE OF FOREVER
A timeless show's most timeless episode.


Was Star Trek the greatest sci-fi series ever aired? We think so, though there have been other great ones. But even if Star Trek wasn't the best, it was the most topical and groundbreaking, with its anti-war and anti-racism allegories, diverse crew, and costumes that pushed the bounds of censorship. The two shots above are from the 1967 episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” written by Harlan Ellison and considered by many fans to be the pinnacle of the series. In the photo are Enterprise crew members looking at the Guardian of Forever, an eternal being that records all of history and acts as a gateway for those who wish to observe the past firsthand.

When Doctor McCoy suffers an accidental drug overdose that makes him psychotic he leaps through the gateway to a past Earth. At that moment the Enterprise, which is in orbit, disappears. Somehow McCoy has changed Earth's past, and caused the ship—possibly all of humanity—to wink out of existence. The crew members have no choice but to follow McCoy into the past to try and stop him from doing whatever altered history. Spock refers to that past—the 1920s—as “a rather barbaric time.” We wonder what he would think if he came from the future to the 2020s? We have a feeling the word “barbaric” wouldn't suffice.
 
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Sportswire Jun 7 2024
CRANKY CLIPPER
If Donald Sterling's comments embarrassed NBA team owners, what will they think about an entire mini-series?


We don't watch a lot of new television series, but when we heard about Hulu's Clipped we decided to have a look. It's about the dysfunctional reign of billionaire Donald Sterling as owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, and it happens that ten years ago, back when we still had the time and inclination to write about public scandals as a subset of pulp, we touched on the subject. We used to watch a lot of NBA, but around then we drifted away from the sport and haven't watched it since. It wasn't a conscious decision, but looking back, the plantation mentality of league owners like Sterling may have had something to do with it

In short, Sterling is a billionaire real-estate mogul whose wealth insulated him from consequences that should have taken him down decades earlier. It was a woman that finally did him in. His misbehavior came out in the open when his (possibly non-sexual) mistress V. Stiviano shared an audio rant of Sterling haranguing her because she'd taken a photo with ex-basketball star Magic Johnson and posted it online. Sterling didn't want Stiviano—who's black and Mexican—seen in public with people of color, and didn't want her bringing black friends to Clippers games. It was a problematic and indefensible attitude, to say the least.

The audio clip revealed to the world what sports fans around L.A. (including us) had known for years—that the city's massive fanbase meant Sterling didn't need to spend money improving the team, he had little interest in winning, and held proprietary and retrograde views of black athletes. Sterling denied that his rant was racist, of course, and exhibited the moral outrage that is the default setting for people exposed for terrible views. In reality, he was like a walking, talking villain from a blaxploitation movie. If Pam Grier had burst through the door and karate chopped him to the floor nobody would have blinked.

Hulu has released two of the six episodes of Clipped. The show has a great tone, nudging up against farce though it's based on reality. Laurence Fishburne is excellent as Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, as is Cleopatra Coleman as Stiviano, but the showrunners' coup was in casting ex-Al Bundy portrayer Ed O'Neill as Sterling. He's pitch perfectas an elderly, insulated billionaire who constantly tells himself he's brilliant, yet refuses to understand that the reason things it was “okay” to say in the past are problematic now is because in the past the people he mistreated couldn't make their protests heard. They always hated it. Digital technology, the internet, and social media finally provided them a voice. Entire swaths of America are still refusing to adjust to this tipping of the scales toward a slightly more equal reality.

Clued in sports fans have always understood that Sterling's attitude is common among owners in the NBA (and NFL), but the revelations shocked casual fans and looked dangerous for the league's bottom line. Sterling's peers, driven by the instinct for self-protection and self-policing that keeps their clan out of congressional hearings, proactively drummed him out of their cosseted circle. Therefore the ending of Clipped is pre-written, but even so, we bet there are some amusing surprises in store. If you like sports, enjoy insider info on athletes, and can laugh at the absurd, then Clipped is good fun. It can't make NBA owners happy, but we're sure enjoying it.

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Femmes Fatales May 16 2024
POWERS OF INNOVATION
You like my gun? I made a few modifications. It doesn't fire anymore, but it scares the absolute crap out of people.


This promo shot shows U.S. actress Stefanie Powers and was made for her The Man from U.N.C.L.E. spin-off show The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., on which she starred as secret agent April Dancer. She would later go on to become widely known while starring in the 1979-84 sleuthing weekly Hart to Hart with Robert Wagner. The photo is from 1966. You can see another one here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 9 2024
A REAL WRIST TAKER
Doing her part to take a bite out of crime.

Above is the cover of Bagliori sulla città, written by Roy Parks for S.P.E.R.O.’s series I Gialli Polizieschi Americani, 1957. Parks was actually a writer named Mario Casacci, who also published novels as Bill Coleman, Mario Kasak, Rex Sheridan, and possibly others. He was also a noted screenwriter most famous for inventing, along with Alberto Ciambricco, the figure of Lieutenant Sheridan, who was a staple on Italian television through the 1960s and early 1970s, played by Ubaldo Lay. Casacci also participated on several soundtracks as a lyricist. The art here is from Averardo Ciriello, who we’ve featured before here and here on movie posters.

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Femmes Fatales Nov 4 2023
A GAME OF SOLITAIRE
She can Seymour in the cards than you can.


Playing the virgin tarot reader Solitaire in 1973's James Bond film Live and Let Die, British actress Jane Seymour wore probably a dozen hairstyles, but we don't remember this one. It's ridiculous, but when you're beautiful you can get away with it. Since shifting her career into top gear with Bond, she's racked up acting credits in something like 170 films and television shows. While she's appeared on the silver screen plenty, she truly made her mark in television, playing everything from an Old West physician in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman to Lady Brett Ashley in a mini-series of The Sun Also Rises. There's little doubt she's one of the more enduring small screen stars of her generation. We doubt even Solitaire saw that coming.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 15 2023
JACKIE UH OH
Laced up tight and ready for action.

British actress Jacqueline Jones appears in the above promo image made for 1965 her comedy/thriller The Intelligence Man. Jones accumulated about forty credits during her career, appearing in such movies as Jungle Street Girls and The Cool Mikado, and on television shows such as The Avengers and The Scales of Justice. This is a great shot, bouffant hair, lace top, pink background, and all.

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Hollywoodland Sep 9 2023
FACE TIME
Movie stars were always willing to give each other a hand.


Once again we've been struck, so to speak, by the sheer number of cinema promo images featuring actors and actresses pretending to slap each other. They just keep turning up. The above shot is more about the neck than the face, but it still counts, as Gloria Swanson slaps William Holden in 1950's Sunset Boulevard. Below we have a bunch more, and you can see our previous collection at this link. Since we already discussed this phenomenon we won't get into it again, except briefly as follows: pretend slaps, film is not reality, and everyone should try to remember the difference. Many slaps below for your interest and wonder.
Diana Dors smacks Patrick Allen blurry in 1957's The Long Haul.

Mob boss George Raft menaces Anne Francis in a promo image made for 1954's Rogue Cop.

Bud Abbott gets aggressive with Lou Costello in 1945's Here Come the Co-Eds.

Jo Morrow takes one from black hat Jack Hogan in 1959's The Legend of Tom Dooley.

Chris Robinson and Anita Sands get a couple of things straight about who's on the yearbook committee in Diary of High School Bride.

Paul Newman and Ann Blyth agree to disagree in 1957's The Helen Morgan Story.

Verna Lisi shows Umberto Orsini who gives the orders in the 1967 film La ragazza e il generale, aka The Girl and the General.

What the fuck did you just call me? Marki Bey slaps Betty Anne Rees loopy in the 1974 horror flick Sugar Hill.

Claudia Cardinale slaps (or maybe punches—we can't remember) Brigitte Bardot in the 1971 western Les pétroleuses, known in English for some reason as The Legend of Frenchie King.

Audrey Totter reels under the attentions of Richard Basehart in 1949 Tension. We're thinking it was probably even more tense after this moment.

Anne Baxter tries to no avail to avoid a slap from heel Steve Cochran in 1954's Carnival Story.

Though Alan Ladd was a little guy who Gail Russell probably could have roughed up if she wanted, the script called for him to slap her, and he obeyed in the 1946 adventure Calcutta.

Peter Alexander guards his right cheek, therefore Hannelore Auer crosses him up and attacks his left in 1964's Schwejk's Flegeljahre, aka Schweik's Years of Indiscretion.

Elizabeth Ashley gives Roddy McDowall a facial in in 1965's The Third Day.

Tony Anthony slaps Lucretia Love in 1972's Piazza pulita, aka Pete, Pearl and the Pole.
 
André Oumansky goes backhand on Lola Albright in 1964's Joy House.

Frank Ferguson catches one from Barbara Bel Geddes in the 1949 drama Caught.

This looks like a real slap, so you have to credit the actresses for their commitment. It's from 1961's Raisin in the Sun and shows Claudia McNeil rearranging the face of Diana Sands.

Gloria Grahame finds herself cornered by Broderick Crawford in 1954's Human Desire.

Bette Davis, an experienced slapper and slappee, gets a little assistance from an unidentified third party as she goes Old West on Amanda Blake in a 1966 episode of Gunsmoke called “The Jailer.”

There are a few slaps in 1939's Gone with the Wind, so we had our pick. We went with Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard.

Virginia Field takes one on the chin from Marshall Thompson in Dial 1119.

Clint Eastwood absorbs a right cross from nun Shirley MacLaine in 1970's Two Mules for Sister Sara.

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Femmes Fatales Jul 15 2023
COLD STEEL PURSUASION
She always manages to make a solid point.


French actress Corinne Le Poulain, who you see here armed and pleased with herself, is a bit obscure due to acting largely on television, however, she did make such cinematic efforts as 1969's Un jeune couple, aka A Young Couple, 1970's La provocation, and 1973's Les anges. This photo was made for her hit show Sam et Sally in 1978. The beautiful madmemoiselle Corinne will return soon.

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Femmes Fatales Jan 25 2023
INTERPRETIVE DANCE
Whew! I'm getting tired. But there you have it—the letter Y. Next up is my finale—the letter Z!


Georgine Darcy shows her dancing flexibility in this promo image made in 1954, around the time she was making her debut in Rear Window. She appeared in a few other films, among them Women and Bloody Terror, and guested on about a dozen television shows—Mike Hammer and Peter Gunn come to mind—but she'll probably always be remembered as Miss Torso from Hitchcock's classic. The only thing is, they should have called her character Miss Everything, because she's got it all.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 8 2023
FEMINIST FATALE
She can Rigg a solution to any problem.

British actress Diana Rigg stars on this Flickr sourced cover of 1968's Lijken in Actie, which was a Dutch translation of John Garforth's The Laugh was on Lazarus, a novel derived from Rigg's hit television show The Avengers. She played the indomitable Emma Peel, who kicked ass with great counterculture style while partnered with the older and more conservative Patrick Macnee. The lettering that says De Wrekers, is not the title. That translates literally as “the avengers,” so it's just letting book buyers know they're looking at an adaptation of the show. The title is at the bottom.

This was the second of four Avengers novels by Garforth. As befits a show that had grown more fantastical each year, the story here deals with people being raised from the dead for nefarious purposes. You'll notice that the cover is signed. Dick Bruna is attributed with its creation, because by 1968 we've entered the age where graphic design is occasionally being considered creditable art. The most artful part of this is actually his signature, but okay, nice work. It's hard to go wrong when you start with an unbeatable photo of one of the most popular television spies of the era.
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
June 23
1973—Peter Dinsdale Commits First Arson
A fire at a house in Hull, England, kills a six year old boy and is believed to be an accident until it later is discovered to be a case of arson. It is the first of twenty-six deaths by fire caused over the next seven years by serial-arsonist Peter Dinsdale. Dinsdale is finally captured in 1981, pleads guilty to multiple manslaughter, and is detained indefinitely under Britain's Mental Health Act as a dangerous psychotic.
June 22
1944—G.I. Bill Goes into Effect
U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Servicemen's Readjustment Act into law. Commonly known as the G.I. Bill of Rights, or simply G.I. Bill, the grants toward college and vocational education, generous unemployment benefits, and low interest home and business loans the Bill provided to nearly ten million military veterans was one of the largest factors involved in building the vast American middle class of the 1950s and 1960s.
June 21
1940—Smedley Butler Dies
American general Smedley Butler dies. Butler had served in the Philippines, China, Central America, the Caribbean and France, and earned sixteen medals, five of which were for heroism. In 1934 he was approached by a group of wealthy industrialists wanting his help with a coup against President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in 1935 he wrote the book War Is a Racket, explaining that, based upon his many firsthand observations, warfare is always wholly about greed and profit, and all other ascribed motives are simply fiction designed to deceive the public.
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