Intl. Notebook Sep 18 2019
DANCE HALL NIGHTS
Japanese brochures hearken back to a legendary venue.


It's been a while since we've done anything extensive on burlesque, so today we have something unique—the covers of Japanese brochures printed during the 1950s and 1960s to promote the famed burlesque show at Nichigeki Music Hall in Tokyo. The building that hosted those shows—the Nichigeki Theatre, below—was an architectural wonder located in Yurakucho district near Ginza. The multi-level structure welcomed music acts as well as burlesque, and had its concert stage graced by Ella Fitzgerald, Gene Krupa, and Oscar Peterson. But it is remembered, first and foremost, for its fifth floor burlesque hall.

Nichigeki Music Hall's burlesque shows began during Tokyo's grim postwar years in March 1952. It showcased both local dancers and foreign stars, often from the Folies Bergère. The program changed often, and always had evocative names like “Devil Vamp Missile Glamours” or “Aqua Girls Bottom-Up Mambo.” The clientele at these shows was international—largely U.S. soldiers from Japan's occupying forces, and tourists. Indeed the Hall advertised specifically to attract that crowd. Interestingly, the shows were produced by Toho Company, the movie studio behind the Godzilla franchise, as well as quite a few softcore movies.

Frontal nudity in entertainment was illegal in Japan, so Nichigeki's extravaganzas featured feather boas, fans, frilled mini skirts, g-strings, and the like, all designed to dazzle the audience and obscure thedancers' naughty bits. As time went by public tastes veered toward the explicit and attendance at the Hall began to decline. It closed in 1981 and the brilliant art deco influenced building was demolished, another sad architectural loss on a list so long it's pointless to even contemplate it.
 
But at least the brochures survive. They're amazing, front and rear, as you'll see below, with a mix of stunning paintings by Noboru Ochiai, and lovely photos. Make sure you note the titles of the shows. Our favorite: “The Lady was a Stallion,” but “A Snail's Rhapsody” is good too. On a related note, you may want to check out the post we did on archetecturally significant cinemas. You'll see some real beauties there, including another shot of the Nichigeki Theatre. We'll get back to Nichgeki Music Hall's amazing brochures a bit later.
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Intl. Notebook Sep 8 2019
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIU
Pop culture magazine offers a look at post-Franco Spain.


Ages ago we found a stash of Spanish language magazines and books in a neglected closet in a stairwell in our apartment building. They were caked with dust, so we knew they'd been left to rot. We helped ourselves to a few, but didn't scan much of the collection because it was more contemporary than our usual offerings, and because the magazines were in large formats that needed piecing together in Photoshop. But we had a little time today (plus the Pulp Intl. girlfriends want us to clear out some material) so we have some scans from the Spanish magazine Interviu. This issue hit newsstands today in 1977 and features cover star María Carlos, model Virna Lisa, and Swiss icon Ursula Andress, who's the entire reason we did the scans. There's also a feature on nudism in Spain.

On the whole Interviu is a pop culture magazine, but with the crucial difference that it was published in a Spain recently freed from decades of dictatorship. Therefore the focus on politics and conflict is pretty heavy. We found four of these and all them play the dirty trick of placing photos of nude models on the overleaf of pages showing corpses. You're looking at a beautiful woman, then flip the page to see a dude with his skull smashed open. One issue had a photo of a guy torn to shreds by a bomb. We mean no recognizable body at all, just shoes, mangled flesh, and a few bones. In color. If the idea was to force readers to see the consequences of war, mission accomplished. But don't worry—we didn't include any of those scans, so scroll with confidence.
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Intl. Notebook Aug 31 2019
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
Sophia Loren applies personal experience to her ideas about marriage.

Above is a cover of Midnight with a nice photo of Italian superstar Sophia Loren, and a header suggesting trial marriages for couples over twenty-one. Did she say it? Quite possibly. Her marriage to film producer Carlo Ponti was an international scandal thanks to popes and others sticking their noses into her private business. But back then they thought it was their right—actually, their holy duty—because divorce wasn't legal in Italy and Ponti was still married. He and his wife had split and had nothing to do with each other, but the Catholic church assured Loren she'd go to hell if she married Ponti. Well, she did it anyway by proxy in 1957 and officially in 1966. So in August 1970, when this issue of Midnight appeared, we think it quite likely that she had some well formed ideas about marriage. In any case, nice cover.

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Intl. Notebook Aug 29 2019
JANE DO'
Have typewriter, will travel.


This shot shows Jane Dolinger, who began public life as a model but later became an acclaimed travel writer during an era when people who made a living that way were exceedingly rare. Her career began when she took a job as secretary to adventurer Ken Krippene, who nurtured her ambition and helped her get a start in the publishing business. She married Krippene, and between 1955 and 1995 traveled the world and wrote about her exploits, from the Amazon to the Sahara, publishing eight books and hundreds of articles. She wrote mainly for men's magazines, so her stories dwelled on nightlife, sex, and prostitutes. But she also managed to risk life and limb gathering facts on Jivaro headshrinkers and Inca gold.

The nude photos of her below were published in the 1960s but were probably shot in the late 1950s. This was common practice with her. A 1971 article she wrote for Bachelor about Ibiza was accompanied by topless photos of her from 1959. It was shameless pandering, of course, but it would be a mistake to assume this was the practice of some benighted, long passed era. Today female pop stars such as Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, and Azealia Banks routinely publish or leak nudes in order to boost sales. New decade, same game.

As pulp people we don't judge. Fame can be a long, hard climb and there are various ways to reach the mountaintop. Dolinger was fine with her nudes, as have been ambitious trailblazers stretching in a line from Hedy Lamarr to Marilyn Monroe to Madonna. The liberated ’70s even saw a few brave males posing nude for publicity, for example Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson. Dolinger's shots were stepping stones to a dream career, literary respect, and a lasting place in the pantheon of daring travelers. She published Gypsies of the Pampa, Behind Harem Walls, The Forbidden World of the Jaguar Princess, and other books, and became the subject of a book herself in 2010 when Larry Abbott published the biography Jane Dolinger: The Adventurous Life of an American Travel Writer. Dolinger died in 1995 at the age of sixty-two, but her legend lives on

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Intl. Notebook Jul 15 2019
MADE IN HONG KONG
Suzie Wong gets with the program.


When we watched The World of Suzie Wong several years ago we were aware that it had been a pretty big hit. It's no surprise, then, that we keep running across memorabilia from the film. Here we have a promotional pamphlet from Hong Kong, with a very cool cover of the prostitute title character, who was played by Nancy Kwan. Yes, it's faded as hell, but we kind of like that. These Hong Kong items are often in terrible shape, but there's such a thing as beautiful squalor. Is it the humidity that did this? Check out this other Suzie Wong item we shared way back, made with better paper, and seemingly stored with better care. We have scans of a few deteriorated but still interesting interior pages below, and if you read Chinese, all the better.

We may talk about The World of Suzie Wong a bit later. We watched it without the Pulp Intl. girlfriends, and we imagine they would have hated it—as any contemporary woman would, when it comes to romanticizing prostitution. Additionally, since PI2 is Filipina, we suspect she'd have a particularly incisive perspective. Yes, the Philippines are a long way from Hong Kong, but considering how encompassing attitudes were in mid-century Hollywood toward Asian women, we think she's well qualified to comment on a set-in-Hong Kong movie. In any case, it's a discussion for another day, perhaps. Scans below.

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Intl. Notebook Jul 14 2019
THE FUTURE IS CLOUDY
It's all skin no wit as tabloid stumbles along on its last legs.


It's July 14, 1974 and it's getting late in the game for National Informer. This issue shows that the magazine is exhausted of ideas and inspiration, and is bereft of all but the crassest humor. We suspect staff reductions. As magazines decline in circulation they lose pages and bleed staff. This issue is a full eight pages shorter than two years earlier. We aren't sure how much longer Informer lasted, but by this point the writing seems to be on the wall.

One mainstay, though, is resident seer Mark Travis, who offers his thoughts about the far future, predicting that Greenland will become the next frontier by 2050 due to underground volcanoes turning it into a tropical paradise, and Brazil will become a world power by 2075, ranking only after the U.S., China, and the U.S.S.R., thanks to cheap labor and the vast resources of the Amazon.

This guess is not far wide of the mark. The current president of Brazil is selling off the Amazon. But Travis's prediction is undermined by the fact that the U.S.S.R. no longer exists. Future visions tend to be notoriously select, but a non-U.S.S.R. future should be glaringly readable even within swirling clairvoyant mists. Well, no seer is perfect. Maybe Travis will do better in the next issue. You'll find out, because we have more to come.

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Intl. Notebook Jun 16 2019
OH MAMA
Ekberg personifies every father's wish.

Swedish superstar Anita Ekberg poses in New York City for this promo photo commemorating Father's Day, which in the U.S. happens to be today. How many fathers wish they had someone like Ekberg around the house? All of them. This was shot in 1958.

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Intl. Notebook Jun 11 2019
BANKING ON IT
Finally a place where the left/right divide isn't a bad thing.


No pulp hunter in Paris can possibly do without a trip to the bouquinistes, the sellers of used and antiquarian books located along the Seine. Actually, you don't even have to look for these guys. If you go into the city center you'll likely run into them without trying, since they're rather widely arrayed along the river's right bank between Pont Marie and Quai du Louvre, and on the left between Quai de la Tournelle and Quai Voltaire. It was rainy both days we popped by, which meant some weren't open. But even operating at less than half capacity, the bouquinistes had hidden treasures. We grabbed a few little things we'll be scanning and uploading imminently. For example, see the following post...

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Intl. Notebook Jun 9 2019
ASSIGNMENT PARIS
Endless sights in the City of Light.


We're back from Paris and it was as expected. We found a lot of great items we'll be uploading in the next days and weeks. And months, probably. Paris has many great sights, in every part of the city, but this time we ended up staying in Montmartre, an area that reminds us a bit of Washington Square, in San Francisco, that same feel of a tourist zone in a big city that has somehow managed to hang onto a neighborhood identity. As we wandered around town we saw scores of bookstores, some of which you see photos of below, and many had the type of material we were searching for. The focus this time ended up being on cinema magazines and comic books. Keep your eyes peeled. We have amazing things to show you.

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Intl. Notebook Jun 2 2019
PARIS IN THE SPRING
Pulp Intl. visits Paris as it springs into summer.


We're going to Paris for a bit. The trip is not due to our initiative. The Pulp Intl. girlfriends plan to intersect with friends passing through there, and we're going along partly to keep them company and partly to buy magazines and books. When the girls go to meet pals we generally stay home and take the opportunity to eat popcorn, hit the bars until sunrise, and churn out website material at an increased rate, but not when Paris is involved. As buying opportunities go, that's a city you can't pass up. So the website will be idle for a few days. Five or six, depending.

Second topic, you remember a technical glitch threw us offline a while back. Every time that happens we lose some functionality or other, and this time it was the ability to navigate to earlier pages using keywords or section headers. Savvy internet users know that it's possible to paste “?next=10” onto the end of the url and navigate backwards by changing the number—i.e. “?next=20,” “?next=30,” etc. So that's an option for those that want to bother.

But it's also a pain, and we know that. We will fix the navigation problem, hopefully soon. But of course, that will be a case of slapping duct tape on the most rickety old website left online. So, as we've been promising for years, a Pulp Intl. 2.0 is coming. It's 95% built, we swear. Whether that final 5% will take a week, a month, or years is not known at this point. We'll get there eventually. But right now we want to get to Paris. We'll be back soon.

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 20
1946—Cannes Launches Film Festival
The first Cannes Film Festival is held in 1946, in the old Casino of Cannes, financed by the French Foreign Affairs Ministry and the City of Cannes.
September 19
1934—Arrest Made in Lindbergh Baby Case
Bruno Hauptmann is arrested for the kidnap and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr., son of the famous American aviator. The infant child had been abducted from the Lindbergh home in March 1932, and found decomposed two months later in the woods nearby. He had suffered a fatal skull fracture. Hauptmann was tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and finally executed by electric chair in April 1936. He proclaimed his innocence to the end
September 18
1919—Pollard Breaks the Color Barrier
Fritz Pollard becomes the first African-American to play professional football for a major team, the Akron Pros. Though Pollard is forgotten today, famed sportswriter Walter Camp ranked him as "one of the greatest runners these eyes have ever seen." In another barrier-breaking historical achievement, Pollard later became the co-head coach of the Pros, while still maintaining his roster position as running back.
1932—Entwistle Leaps from Hollywood Sign
Actress Peg Entwistle commits suicide by jumping from the letter "H" in the Hollywood sign. Her body lay in the ravine below for two days, until it was found by a detective and two radio car officers. She remained unidentified until her uncle connected the description and the initials "P.E." on the suicide note in the newspapers with his niece's two-day absence.
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