Someone to watch over you.
Above, a Twentieth Century Fox promo item, a giant die-cut head of movie star Betty Grable made to promote her 1944 musical Pin Up Girl. That isn't the type of movie we usually talk about here, but for her we'll make an exception. This is the second time, actually, but we're into any kind of vintage memorabilia, especially something this rare and interesting. Plus Grable is kind of fun, as any viewing of her movies will show. This is a very large scan, as you can by our zoom of her eye. See another fun Grable image on the cover of Paris-Hollywood magazine here.
Don't just turn over a new leaf. Turn over twelve of them.
Let's start the year right. Everyone is hoping for a better 2021 than 2020. That's assuming you adhere to constrained, non-scientific ideas about time—for cynics and realists it's just another day. But in any case, above you see the cover of a 1959 nudie calendar that came inside an issue of the U.S. magazine Cocktail, a creation of Beacon Publications. The interior is below, and those with sharp eyes will spot a few notables—burlesque dancer Candy Barr in June, Shirley Kilpatrick in July and August (her July pose is the same as from the famed promo poster for the sci-fi film The Astounding She-Monster), and Jean Nieto, aka Ramona Rogers, in November. The other models may be well known too, but not by us, at least not today. When the cava hangover wears off, maybe our brains will work better. Then again, maybe the damage is permanent. Only time will tell. Happy New Year.
What do you get the pulp fan who has everything?
We were poking around online and came across these two nude figurines by the French artist Alain Gourdon, aka Aslan. He's well known today as an advertising illustrator, paperback and magazine illustrator, and pin-up artist. He also modeled a hedonistic lifestyle, a sort of mini-Hefner existence (example here, and below)—which like Hugh Hefner's may have been partially staged for publicity purposes. But what is less known about Aslan, outside France, anyway, is his sculpture. However he was a heavy hitter in this area too, and had been since before he became famous as a pin-up artist. Way back in 1952, when he was only twenty-two, he won a prize for his sculpture. Later he sculpted a famous bronze bust of Brigitte Bardot as Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic, and he also sculpted a funerary statue for famed actress Dalida's tomb, as well as a bronze bust of her that was erected on the Place Dalida in 1997. So these figurines come as no surprise to us. We'd let these live on our desks, keeping our stray papers under control, but the prices are too rich for our blood. On the other hand, since it's Christmas, maybe we can receive them as gifts. Hmm... Okay, gotta run. We're going to talk to our girlfriends about these.
A swarm of Jellyfish.
Below are some production photos from the pinku flick Neon kurage: Shinjuku hanadensha, aka Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Float, aka Neon Jellyfish: Shinjuku Flower Streetcar. We talked about it several years ago, so when we saw these we had to share. The movie stars Emiko Yamauchi, and premiered in Japan today in 1973.
Italian star takes a bite out of Paris.
Italian actress Elsa Martinelli is dressed like a vampire to attend a costume party being thrown by Gunter Sachs in Paris on Rue de Ponthieu today in 1972. The party was Count Dracula themed, which means Martinelli wasn't the only one dressed this way. Acquaintance Roman Polanski also rocks count couture. But Martinelli probably looked the best of all the guests, and we imagine many necks were offered to her before the festivities ended.
We're still at it because like all PIs we're persistent.
So we've been doing Pulp Intl. for twelve full years, as of today. That's a lot of trainspotting. Sometimes we're asked why there's so little information about us on the site. To us, there's too much, but we're flattered anyone would care. We can put a little info out there. We're nobodies. See? That was easy. We've also had people ask us to explain exactly what the site is about. Okay, what we're trying to do is create a conversation about art, literature, and cinema, and how they're perceived culturally, but especially temporally, while also mixing in real world material mirroring the focus of those media, which is why we examine feminine beauty, vintage tabloids, and old crimes. We're trying to do all that while using the actual art as a launching point and being light in tone when we discuss it. First the art, then the work it promotes, then the implications of the art and the work.
One aspect of these musings involves the influence of the profit motive on media. Seeking ever larger payouts, publishers and movie studios have jettisoned virtuosic promo illustrations created by artistic masters in favor of art designed in computer programs, nearly all of it within the capabilities of any graphic design graduate. The arc is interesting to observe. At the beginning of the mass media era beautiful art was not a priority for publishers and studios. Both realms experienced a peak in design that paralleled the rising popularity of their products, followed by a dramatic falloff in artistic quality even though their products remained popular. So with Pulp, in addition to discussing the merits of film and literature, we also like to look at how promo art developed, improved, then degraded over time.
Another area we're interested in is sex in media. Depictions of sex—the single most important thing humans ever do—have almost vanished from popular media. We think this happened due to fear, guilt, the influence of a minority of puritanical reactionaries, and the politicization of even loving and joyful depictions of sex. Yet the ongoing banishment of sex hasn't benefitted society, but instead has given an innovative pornography sector outsize influence over ideas of what constitutes normal forms of sex. We sometimes imagine future alien archaeologists, thousands of years from now, sifting through the rubble of U.S. civilization. Like earthly archaeologists they would look for clues who their subjects were in their art, and when they discerned that violence and death were viewed as entertainment but the procreative act was seen as shameful, they'd reach the conclusion that there was something seriously wrong with the creatures they were studying. So with Pulp, we like to ponder whether the loss of sex from popular media is a step forward or a step backward.
Why are we qualified to do ask all these questions? We're not. But we've been well schooled, well careered, and have seen and done a lot. We've been, either separately or collectively: screenwriters, magazine editors, musicians, workers in the porn industry (behind the camera), Hollywood insiders, social outsiders, bar owners, heavy drinkers, heavy drug users, global travelers, longtime residents of lands far flung from the Colorado where we spent our youths, and sources of consternation for many. And there are only two of us that do this site, so that's a lot of experiential ground covered in a number of years that would surprise you in their brevity. We're not experts about anything related to pulp, and the only credentials we have consist of Pulp Intl. itself. We use this website to learn as we go, and our visitorship from you guys makes the process fun.
Right now, twelve years in, Pulp. Intl. is doing fine. But we still haven't gotten the site redesigned, and at this point we realize we never will. Little pieces of it stop working occasionally, due to changes in the architecture of the internet. We realize that one day, due to some glitch or obsolescence, the entire site will go offline. We'll wake up and it'll be inaccessible, and that will be that. But we're going proceed as if Pulp Intl. will last forever. And if that moment comes when the site vanishes and doesn't reappear within a few days, it won't because we just quit. It'll be because rebuilding it was too hard. On the other hand, maybe instead of trying to do it ourselves we'll finally pay somebody to bring it all up to spec so it'll run smoothly. There's that option too. We'll see. Thanks for your visits, and please keep coming back.
When is a monster not scary? When it's a guy in a latex suit.
Maybe yesterday's Halloween themed post was a bit too grim. After all, it's a kid's holiday. So, continuing along the same lines but with less macabre realism, above and below we have a collection of monsters (full disclosure: some are actually monster-fighting good guys) culled from 1970s Japanese television and shlock cinema. There are hundreds of these from the period, but we restricted ourselves to twenty. You may recognize a few. For example, we tossed Hedorah, aka the Smog Monster, into the mix just for fun. You can definitely impress friends and the general public if you dress up as one of these ferocious entities. That'll have to wait until next year, though. Which is actually good, because it would probably take that long just to put one of these get-ups together. Most of these are a bit ridiculous, so theoretically they shouldn't give anyone nightmares. Then again, that's what they say about clowns.
They don't make happy music but it'll stick with you for a long time.
Above, a Toei Company promo photo for Zenka onna: koroshi-bushi, aka Criminal Woman: Killing Melody, featuring one of the great girl gangs of pinku cinema—comprising, counterclockwise from upper right, Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto, Masami Soda, Chiyoko Kazama, and Yumiko Katayama. We have some beautiful material on this flick, here, here, and here. It premiered today in 1973.
Private island available. Great views. No services, no electricity, no refunds.
Above, an alternate view of the Dominic Chama nuclear test conducted on Johnston Atoll, aka Kalama Atoll, today in 1962. You can see the other photo here. In 2005 the place was put up for auction by the U.S. government as a potential vacation getaway or possible eco-tourism hub. We're not sure how much eco there was, considering the place was not only nuked multiple times, but used for biological weapons testing and Agent Orange storage, but it didn't matter because there were no takers, and the offer was withdrawn. It might still be possible to buy it, though, if you have any connections in the U.S. State Department. We bet your resort would get glowing reviews. |
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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