National Informer guest columnist bares his soul and more.
This issue of National Informer was published today in 1974. In these later editions the editors seem to have discovered the value of a little dick, which is to say they began featuring male frontal nudes. The Pulp Intl. girlfriends used to wonder why we had so few nude men on the site. They actually thought it was up to us. We were like, “Baby, vintage actors didn't do nude promo shots.” Well, except for Fred Williamson, but he's Fred Williamson. Burt Reynolds did it for Cosmopolitan, but we don't have that shot because we don't collect Cosmo. So the best you get is these randos in low rent tabloids.
The models, whoever they were, got to experience what women had been experiencing for a long time, which was the shock of realizing their secret nudes had hit daylight on a drugstore newsstand without their knowledge—or financial remuneration. And as with the women, the photos were used in articles that had nothing to do with them. In this case the accompanying feature is about a porn actor who wants to move into legit cinema. It's a silly article filled with nothingness written by J.W.—presumably Johnny Wadd, aka John Holmes. At least that's what readers were supposed to think.
Do we buy it? Not really. For one, it reads like the same house hacks who wrote all Informer's articles (we love the part where he defines the term “persona non grata”), but second, why would a guy who's flashed his gooch to millions need to hide his identity? But it's very specific in terms of the hints the author drops, so maybe it really is him. But with or without Holmes, there's quality schlong on the anonymous model. The Pulp Intl. girlfriends say he could use a circumcision, but whatever, they can't say we never tried to give them some eye candy. More Informer coming later.
It's not how you start. It's how you finish.
We've talked before about the mid-century tabloid interest in transexuals, and how several trans burlesque performers achieved widespread fame. Those old tabloid covers serve to contradict people who claim that trans issues are a product of the new millennium, or that “it didn't happen in their day.” They just didn't notice. As the links in the above post show, transexual entertainers regularly made headlines in tabloids that sold millions of issues per month. To the list you can now add Gayle Sherman, who you see on this cover of The National Insider published today in 1963. This wasn't the height of her fame. A year later Novel Books would publish I Want To Be a Woman!, touted as the autobiography of a female impersonator. And still, she was just getting started.
Sherman started life as Gary Paradis, but became Sherman after a name change at age sixteen. As a transvestite she scored a job dancing for the Jewel Box Revue, which was a comedic drag queen show that criss-crossed the U.S. for more than thirty years. Probably the Jewel Box Revue deserves a write-up of its own, but the shorter version is it was the most popular extravaganza of its kind, and was run by gay management who were marketing to straight audiences.
Sherman moved on from the revue and worked mainly in Chicago, appearing at places such as the Nite Life, where her act sometimes involved dressing as a witch doctor and roasting a fake baby over a fire while singing Yma Sumac songs. Sometime later she underwent gender reassignment surgery, and all the while was passing through a string of pseudonyms, among them Gerri Weise, Brandy Alexander, and Geraldine Parades.
She eventually opted for breast enlargement surgery and at that point became Alexandria the Great 48, a stage name under which she would become a national celebrity. The number of course referenced her bust size. She was sometimes dubbed “Sophia Loren's twin,” but when audiences paid to see her they got something wholly different. She had left burlesque and moved into standard stripping, sometimes appearing at porno cinemas between features. She continued dancing until 1967, when bluenose politicians in Chicago managed to outlaw nude dancing. Sherman became a hairdresser, and was out of the public eye until her death in 2019.
As we mentioned above, vintage tabloids often featured transexuals, and while those stories were always sensationalistic, they were also surprisingly non-cruel. Not always, but often. The editors' accepting stances probably weren't sincere. Because tabloid readership was generally a cross section of middle class, middle American squares, the tone of the articles tended be: “this wild stuff happens in Hollywood and Paris, but who knows, maybe it's more prevalent than you suspect where you live.” As the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day—the tabs probably nailed it. 1.4 million Americans identify as transexual. There's no total from 1963, but you can bet it would be more than a few. In National Informer, the excellent money quote from the Gayle Sherman article is: “My birth certificate is stamped male, but my body is stamped female.” We have a photo of her below, and she's all woman.
All the news that's fit to sucker people out of their cash.
Yellow press is a term for newspapers that presented little or no legitimate news, instead attracting readers with empty sensationalism. While the term was most widely used a century ago, 1960-70s tabloid National Informer may qualify. This issue was published today in 1974 and is pure sex from cover to cover. Among the jewels: “Is It Normal To Be a Girl Watcher?” and “Do Older or Younger Women Make the Best Sex Partners?” As always, the photos accompanying these stories are random handouts, but sometimes they feature semi-famous figures. In this case, one of the photos accompanying the girl watcher story is of glamour model Lois Mitchell. The other two models on that page are probably well known too, but we can't place them. In true yellow press tradition, there's nothing substantial in Informer at all, but as always, its nothingness is well worth documentation, which we've done with nineteen scans below. And yes, we have still more issues. We'll get to those later. Meanwhile, if you want to see more from National Informer, National Informer Weekly Reader, and more than four hundred other tabloids we've already uploaded, just click here.
Clear your schedule. National Informer is back.
National Informer Weekly Reader is one of the more amusing vintage tabloids we've collected. This one is from today in 1973, and has time killing features such as two narrative brainteasers and a slate of predictions for the future by the inimitable seer Mark Travis, he of the 6.9% accuracy rate. It also has what purports to be an interview about zany fame with television and film star Goldie Hawn, but it's just a few lines and we didn't bother to scan it. But we did scan a hilarious story on Gloria Simpson, who editors tell us is in love with own body. Shouldn't we all be in love with our bodies? We mean in a perfect world, as the great rhythmic philosopher George Benson put it when he said that learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all? Well, we haven't yet achieved that utopia, so you'll have to be told about self love by Gloria. We made a nice box containing her tale so that, for strictly educational purposes, you can read some hardcore porn masquerading as journalism. Enjoy that, and the boner it's supposed to give you. National Informer Weekly Reader will return.
The best reporters know how to lay their subjects bare.
In these virus times we need viral stories more than ever. An item hit the wires yesterday concerning Louise Fischer, a journalist in Denmark, who conducted an interview at a suburban Copenhagen sex club called Swingland and got into the swing herself. In a move that would have impressed Hunter S. Thompson, she demonstrated experiential jounalism to the utmost and took her interviewee on a Fischer expedition. Her story orginally dealt with the club reopening after many months closed due to virus prevention. We mean COVID-19, not HPV. But the story evolved. The video clip she later posted lasted only two minutes, but we can be pretty sure her research went on longer than that. This actually happened back in March, but it takes time for rumors about who you had sex with to proliferate. Trust us—we know. A prude has to find out, then they'll check to be sure everyone they know is outraged.
Yesterday Denmark's Radio 4 reshared the interview, and this time British and U.S. internet outlets provided the prudes by spreading the story far and wide. Anytime someone talks about sex it's the perfect clickbait to agitate legions of self-appointed moral judges, particularly when that sex comes without negative consequences and abject regret attached. We glanced at the comment threads on a couple of websites and were reminded what benighted lives some people lead. Many commenters zeroed in on the reactions of Fischer's parents, who dared to not be outraged or shamed, and even, seemingly, believe that sex is a part of life and casual sex can be healthy and fun.
As a sex positive site, we here at Pulp Intl. didn't blink. If our parents had been more open about sex we'd have spent less time reading Penthouse Letters, and PSGP probably wouldn't have torn his ulnar collateral ligament masturbating. Reconstructive surgery was a wake-up call, and he's sexually healthy today. We have a few friends who aren't. Some are so repressed that their lives have been ruined. We think of one in particular who was so intent on saving her virginity for the right man—who of course had to be wealthy and handsome and funny but mainly wealthy—that she reached her middle thirties with only a single unfulfilling sexual experience on her résumé and was in therapy trying to discover her self worth. We're talking about a good-looking woman. Nicely proportioned, creamy skin, nose surgically nudged toward perfection. We tried to steer a male friend or two her way but her doctrine of having a like-new vagina to bestow upon a future husband scared away well-adjusted guys by the third date.
Fischer has some ideas about sexual repression too. Here she is in her own words: “Hypersensitivity to our own sexuality and drive is dangerous. At least I totally believe that you can and should do what you want. Then life becomes much more fun.” We agree, and we're all about her in-depth journalism. Find a story, follow wherever it leads, even if it's on top of a dick. Her objective assessment: “It wasn't the best sex I ever had.” But it wasn't bad either, judging by the moans that can be heard emanating from the interview audio (see captions below). Would we go to a swinger's club? Only if we wanted our crab-gnawed corpses to wash up on the local beach with dents in our skulls matching the Pulp Intl. girlfriends' prized cast iron skillet. But even if we were single we wouldn't do it. Just not our bag. But it's some people's bag and we respect that. And we respect Louise Fischer. Hell, we admire her. She'll get genuine laughs telling her swingers club story for the rest of her life.
Hello, police? I'd like to report an explosive orgasm.
Earlier this week in Germany, outside the town of Passau on the Austrian-Czech border, a jogger was running through the forest and came across a bag that seemed to have items inside. Perhaps hoping to find something useful or valuable, the jogger investigated this discarded sack and saw that it contained what looked like a World War II-era hand grenade. Though the war has been over for seventy-plus years, live grenades are still found in the forests of Europe, and everyone there knows that, so it's no surprise the jogger called the police.
Eventually a German bomb squad slogged out into the woods to investigate, and noticed that the bag also contained a tube of sex lubricant called Aquaglide and some condoms. The anti-climax must have been tremendous.
“Horst, your camera feed is bad. What the hell am I seeing there? Is that a tube of accelerant? Something explosive? Over.”
“No sir, it's lube. Over.”
“Sex lube, sir. Sex lube for the cockenspiel. Over.”
At that point the bomb squad deduced that the grenade was actually a rubber sex toy. But looking at it, we're unsure how it's meant to be used. We poked around online, in the process turning our browser history into a sexual free-for-all, and finally found the item you see in the second photo. But we'd be lying if we said that cleared things up for us. It's a hand pump of some sort, or possibly some unisex inflatable insertable, but considering the Passau photo also shows what looks like a power brick and a usb cable, we remain mystified. We're calling the German discovery the grenade of ecstasy.
Even though we don't know exactly how the grenade of ecstasy was meant to be used, we know what it's being used for now. The Passau bomb squad is taking turns pranking each other with it. Bomb squads have a lot of down time. The grenade has already turned up at the bottom of someone's bowl of kartoffelsuppe. And for sure it's been delivered by a bomb disposal robot to someone on the toilet. But the absolute best was throwing it into the dayroom while screaming, “Grenate! Alles runter! Alles runter!” followed by someone charging in, throwing himself on top of it, and ripping a massive pilsener fart. You gotta love those bomb guys.
Interestingly, because bomb squads are used to facing death, the Passau guys never cleaned the grenade of ecstasy. It's still got forest mulch and dried human fluids all over it. That's what makes the kartoffelsuppe gag funny. But bomb squads tire quickly of even the most thrilling diversions, and eventually they'll discard their new toy just like the person who dumped it in the woods. At which point they'll turn their attention to the Aquaglide. We recommend smearing it on someone's bomb disposal tools. That'll make the next bomb emergency dangerous and slippery. Pure fun for all involved.
Dors gets caught short of blonde dye.
We always note that one reason mid-century tabloids have historical value is because of their rare shots of significant celebrities, and here's a perfect example. Diana Dors appears on the cover of a National Enquirer published today in 1960, and in this photo we've never seen anywhere else she's sporting deep black Frida Kahlo eyebrows. Dors was one of the most interesting figures of her time, and the blurb on this Enquirer references her marriage to Dennis Hamilton, a union which led to her being lent as a sexual plaything to various producers and leading actors, and which also gave Hamilton the incandescent idea of hiring photographer Horace Roye to make Dors the star attraction of two racy photo collections. One of those was in 3D, and we bet those batwing eyebrows of hers really jumped off the page. For a bit more about Dors' strange and remarkable life, check here.
Sexplay goes south in a big way for cock cage gamesters.
Everything—truly everything—is going digital. We're thrilled to inform you that they finally upgraded the cock cage. We're surprised we missed this tech bombshell when it happened a while back, but finding out late is better than never. Longtime readers will know right away why we had to write about this, because they'll remember the Pulp Intl. cock cages. For newer visitors, back when we bothered putting ads on our website, for a few months we accepted the filthy but spendable lucre of a manufacturer of cock cages. They're metal devices designed to keep your junk trunked, and the idea is to prevent erections, bdsm style, for purposes of denial or punishment. Fun, right?
Now it seems there's a digital version, remotely controlled, compatible with the internet of things. The device, seen above, is called the Cellmate. It's from China-based manufacturer Qiui, and basically you slide this puppy on, lock it, and give someone else the code—and the power over whether to unleash your kraken. This is a quantum leap in sexual discomfort. Back during the analog cock cage days you'd whine to your master or mistress in person to set your peehole free. Now you text them. Maybe send them a frowny emoticon. And somewhere, near or far, they tap a code into their phone and it's sweet release for you.
Except some cheeky hacker found a security flaw and kept an unknown number of unlucky willies locked up against their will. What can you say? Hackers gonna hack, right? And they weren't content just to harass and terrify. They also demanded bitcoin ransoms, and sent messages to the effect of, “Your cock is mine now.” We don't know how many dismayed consumers lost their digital innocence through this scam, nor how many—if any—paid the ransom, but we would. Fuck yeah we would. We'd pay plenty. But we're happy to say it could never happen. The only people who keep our cocks locked up are the Pulp Intl. girlfriends.
Analog cock cage with cheap dime store lock. Digital cock cage with encrypted security. Which would you choose?
Vintage tabloid looks forward to better sex in the future but should have been happy with the present.
This issue of the low rent sexploitation tabloid National Informer published today in 1971 asks what will sex be like in the year 2020. We'd answer that compared to 1971 people will have less of it, and when they do it will come with recycled puritan guilt and fears of fatal disease. Other than that it'll be great! We jest, of course. We have no clue what 1971 sex was like, but National Informer makes clear that there were plenty of worries. Like what if you didn't know proper etiquette for your first orgy? Or what would you wear to the nude-in at Golden Gate Park? And could you get it up after popping three Quaaludes?
With the myriad sexual challenges of the period, it's no wonder people thought 2020 sex would be better, as a utopian article by Tom Bridges makes clear. Our favorite line: “Sex will be just another physical satisfaction in human living, with no stigmas attached.” Um... no. And this bit is great: “There will be sex schools in every city, attended by millions, which will teach by demonstration excellent sexual techniques. Anyone who doesn't attend and graduate will be a social dropout and considered illiterate.” Little could Mr. Bridges have suspected that the U.S. wouldn't come up with enough money to run normal schools, let alone sex schools.
It's fun to read how much faith Informer has in a brighter future. Optimism was actually a chararistic of the time period, we've noticed, whether talking about politics, science, or anything else. But a funny thing happened on the way to the post-millennial sexual mecca Informer imagines—the eunuchs took over the harem, and when 2020 finally arrived, the events of that shitty year were (notice we're already talking about it in past tense—that's how bad it was) enough to kill everyone's sex drives. Well, at least 2021 is just around the bend, and in the event of the virus actually being conquered, maybe a new sexual revolution will take hold, with love-ins and all the rest. We'll believe it when we see it, but it never hurts to dream, right?
It's nice and warm inside.
This is obviously Marilyn Chambers fronting a poster for her x-rated extravaganza Behind the Green Door, which opened in the U.S. this month in 1972. We shared a Japanese poster for this a long while ago, as well as a another Japanese promo advertising this as a double bill with The Resurrection of Eve. Today we figured we might as well show you the original American promo too.
Why do we coming back to Chambers? Probably her connection to horror films via the David Cronenberg classic Rabid has something to do with it. Not many actors have straddled porn and maintream cinema. Chambers is top of the heap on that score. And she died young at age fifty-six, so that always brings about examinations of a star's legacy. And finally, it's always interesting to see what path porn stars take when they move on. Chambers' path took her to Southern California, where she died in a mobile home in Santa Clarita, a long way from the bright lights of New York City where she first became a star. We had never watched Behind the Green Door, but we remedied that a few days ago, and for those who don't already know we can tell you the movie is a sexual awakening story, with Chambers the star of a live sex show about “the ravishment of a woman who has been abducted,a woman whose initial fear and anxiety has mellowed into curious expectation.” She appears in two vignettes of escalating explicitness, as masked onlookers observe à la Eyes Wide Shut. That's the entire plot.
Chambers looks very good in this movie. We can imagine what it must have been like for cinemagoers to see a woman in this raunchy role who was fully beautiful enough to be a Hollywood star. The party lifestyle she lived began to make almost immediate physical changes, but for a moment, here in the summer of 1972, she was really a goddess. We have a nice image of her below as evidence of that assertion.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1941—Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor
The Imperial Japanese Navy sends aircraft to attack the U.S. Pacific Fleet and its defending air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While the U.S. lost battleships and other vessels, its aircraft carriers were not at Pearl Harbor and survived intact, robbing the Japanese of the total destruction of the Pacific Fleet they had hoped to achieve.
1989—Anti-Feminist Gunman Kills 14
In Montreal, Canada, at the École Polytechnique, a gunman shoots twenty-eight young women with a semi-automatic rifle, killing fourteen. The gunman claimed to be fighting feminism, which he believed had ruined his life. After the killings he turns the gun on himself and commits suicide.
1933—Prohibition Ends in United States
Utah becomes the 36th U.S. state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus establishing the required 75% of states needed to overturn the 18th Amendment which had made the sale of alcohol illegal. But the criminal gangs that had gained power during Prohibition are now firmly established, and maintain an influence that continues unabated for decades.
1945—Flight 19 Vanishes without a Trace
During an overwater navigation training flight from Fort Lauderdale, five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo-bombers lose radio contact with their base and vanish. The disappearance takes place in what is popularly known as the Bermuda Triangle.
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