Vintage Pulp Aug 13 2022
NEED IN THE GROIN
I wouldn't call them raging so much as extremely reluctant to take no for an answer.


A little bit of vintage lesbian fiction today, Her Raging Needs, by Kay Johnson for Beacon Signal, 1964, with uncredited cover art. A libidinous young woman finds herself widowed, after which point she goes from to man to man, never satiated, until she finally crosses the line and jumps into bed with another woman. This one deserves points for the main character's name: Honey Bard. Amazingly, the book got reprinted in 1970 by Softcover Library. 

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Vintage Pulp Aug 12 2022
PURE GENIO
Franco Picchioni is bad as in good.


Franco Picchioni's hits keep coming. Above is another cover from the respected Italian artist, this time for Georges H. Boskero's Il genio del male, number twenty-two in the crime series Il Cerchio Rosso from Edizioni MA-GA, 1965. The title translates to “evil genius.” In terms of Picchioni, we'll certainly go with genius. See more from him starting at this link.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2022
SONG REMAINS THE SAME
Even Powell and Loy's legendary act was bound to get tired eventually.


There's nice Roger Soubie art on this French poster for Song of the Thin Man, the last of six movies in the Thin Man series, which premiered in the U.S. in 1947 and reached France today in 1948. After six sessions the concept might seem a little worn to some viewers, but it still has William Powell and Myrna Loy as the leads. The mystery involves the death of an orchestra musician and the search for a missing bandleader, which leads to Powell and Loy exploring New York City's jazz underground. It's an all-white underground spread across various clubs, gambling boats, and parties, populated by at least fifty musicians, none of them of color. Of all the sight gags in the movie, the barring of black musicians from a film revolving around the art form they invented is the most notable one of all, but that's mid-century moviemaking for you.

The jazz gimmick is useful anyway, because it gives the filmmakers the opportunity to have Powell—as upper class supersleuth Nick Charles—play the role of a fish out of water. He understands neither the hipster jazzcats nor their customs and slang, and in about half a decade probably turns into the white-haired bartender from The Wild One. Even so, he needs to find and unmask a murderer in order to free a wrongly accused acquaintance from police custody. In true Thin Man fashion, he quips his way through the proceedings, plays cagey with femmes fatales Marie Windsor and Gloria Grahame, and finally unveils the killer in a nightclub populated by all the suspects. Loy is reliable as always in the sidekick role, and even amusingly picks up a few words of hep lingo.

While Dashiell Hammett originated the two characters of Nick and Nora Charles, he didn't touch Song of the Thin Man. Instead it was written by veteran crime novelist Steve Fisher and comedy writer Nat Perrin. Their union, unlike Nick and Nora's marriage, is an uneasy pairing, though it's hard to put a finger on what exactly is wrong. The mystery has an interesting backdrop, but is never compelling, while the humor seems clunkier than in the past. Powell and Loy do their best, but the movie failed to earn back its production budget, and the franchise came to an end. There were screenwriting and production issues, but we suspect that the real culprit was simple boredom—slayer of movie series and marriages alike. Audiences had simply moved on. World War, generational cynicism, and the emergence of grittier cinema will tend to cause that. Song of the Thin Man premiered today in 1947.
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Vintage Pulp Aug 11 2022
THE FIRST OF JUN
Sometimes you can't even give it away.


This poster was made for the Japanese roman porno flick Kanjirundesu, known in English as I Am Aroused and I Can Feel It, and it stars the lovely Jun Izumi, making her film debut. She plays a beautiful young virgin who's fearful of sex. Her friend Panko is already sexually active, but Jun—who's learning how to be a seamstress or tailor at a local vocational school, a fact that causes us to assume she's at least eighteen—is strictly hands off. We can sympathize. We were hands off at eighteen too, though most assuredly not by choice.

When Jun catches her brother Chin masturbating to her, she decides to facilitate the relief of his tensions by asking the always eager Panko to have sex with him. From there the movie evolves into a sort of softcore coming-of-age comedy, with the usual crossed signals and sexual failures. The whole thing has a juvenile feel to it, and no wonder—it's based on Daihachi Izumi's youth sleaze novel Jun-chan. If you're looking for the film's western analog, think Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Sex Drive. We mean in terms of mood, not plot. Kanjirundesu has more nudity, lesbian undertones, and far more premature ejaculation.

Does Jun finally find someone to be the first entry on her ledger? Well, it wouldn't be a softcore movie if she didn't. A little face-sitting—someone else's face, not hers—gets her started down the road to pleasure. That may sound weird, but actually the best thing about this movie is that it's from Nikkatsu Studios but doesn't get too crazy. There's some peeing, though. Whaddaya gonna do? If you've read our other write-ups of Nikkatsu's output you know how far beyond the pale those folks could venture, so a little urine is acceptable. Kanjirundesu is dumb but worth a watch. It premiered in Japan today in 1976.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 10 2022
CINDERELLA LIBERTY
Why am I on the beach this morning in lingerie and one shoe? Let's just say the ball didn't end at midnight.


This piece of art for Lee Roberts' If the Shoe Fits was painted by Robert McGinnis and it's one you see around often, probably because it's a top effort, at least in our view. In addition, the lettering is wonderful, with its two red dots over each “i.” The Crest Books paperback, we understand by looking around online, is usually copyright 1960, but our copy carries a date of 1959. The art relates to the novel only tangentially—missing high heels and whom they might fit are a key element, however they were worn by a fully dressed woman, not by a lingerie clad femme fatale. But as always the final result from McGinnis is amazing. It's possible he custom painted it for the story—with a bit of artistic license taken.

Between the covers, Roberts, aka Robert Martin, spins the tale of a smalltown murder. Young playboy Paul Anway has his head bashed in while sitting lakeside in his convertible, and certain people had reason to hate him—the gamblers to whom he owed four grand, the two women he was dating, the jilted boyfriend of one, a sleazy detective hired for strongarm work, and possibly others. As it happens, all of them had the opportunity to kill Anway, a feat achieved though the gimmick of having him tailed to the secluded site of his eventual murder by three cars at the same time, with two of the drivers unaware that they're involved in a coincidental caravan. It sounds strange, but it works, particularly because the existence of these tails is revealed only in flashback.

The one person who isn't tailing Anway is the protagonist Clinton Shannon—local doctor, county coroner, and all around nice guy. Conceiving Shannon as both a trusted doctor and a city official allows Roberts to provide the character access to almost every event that occurs, a useful trick in a murder mystery. Shannon makes a couple of decisions that might raise an eyebrow—rashly disclosing confidential evidence to the victim's father, for example—but for the most part Roberts writes him as exactly the sort of capable hero stories like this rely upon. With its likeable lead and involving plotline, we think If the Shoe Fits will fit your reading list. 

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Vintage Pulp Aug 2 2022
RANCH UNDRESSING
When you think about the enormity of the sky and the vastness of nature doesn't it make taking off your blouse seem insignificant?


Above, a cover for Chris Harrison's sleaze novel Sex Ranch, published by Midwood Books in 1968, the last year the company was active. The art is unsigned but it's the work of the masterful Paul Rader, who we just saw yesterday. But we brought him back because he's one of our favorites. Hell, he's a favorite of anyone who follows vintage paperback art. Not only is he a top notch illustrator, but his work has given us many opportunities for enjoyable riffing. You can find some amusing efforts here, here, here, and here

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Vintage Pulp Aug 1 2022
FISHWATER BLONDE
Whatever floats your corpse.


Art by Paul Rader fronts this copy of Samuel A. Krasney's A Mania for Blondes, a police proceedural dealing with two women drowned in Philadelphia's Delaware River, and the investigation to bring a killer to justice. The protagonist here is vice detective Ben Krahmer, who learns that both victims appeared in nudie reels. The clues lead down the rabbit hole of illicit porn and toward a mysterious suspect witnesses think looks like Zorro—but who Krahmer soon realizes may be a member of Pennsylvania's traditionally garbed Dutch community. Procedurals sometimes—as is the case here—fail to provide deep characterizations, but the mechanics of the investigation are interesting. Krasney constantly refers to his protagonist as “the Morals man”—capital M—which we found weird, but we thought this outing was solid overall and we liked the Zorro imagery. Even so, we probably won't go looking for more from Krasney unless we run across him cheap. There are, after all, so many paperbacks, and so little time.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 31 2022
FIRST RESPONDERS
We better hurry if we're still going to give her mouth to mouth. She's starting to come around.


Above: Harry Schaare art for John Bartlow Martin's Butcher's Dozen, a true crime paperback dealing with six real world cases. Martin was well known as a political speech writer, diplomat, and ambassador, but true crime is an area into which he delved several times as an author, and to generally good reviews. This one was originally published in 1950, with the Signet paperback coming in 1952. 

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Vintage Pulp Jul 31 2022
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
He's watching your every move.


Above is an Italian poster for the U.S. drama I, Mobster, a 1959 crime drama starring Steve Cochran that we discussed earlier this year. This promo is different from the U.S. version but still features lettering across Cochrane's eye—though the visual pun of having the actual letter “I” cross his eye is not achievable in Italian. But we still like this for its successful conveyance of mood, and we liked the movie enough to want to circle back to it. It's obscure, but pretty good. Plus it introduced us to Lita Milan

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Vintage Pulp Jul 30 2022
ADAM SMASHERS
If anyone's going to impress her by magnanimously paying an exorbitant restaurant bill it's me!


This issue of Adam magazine hit newsstands in July of 1968, and our header refers not only to the two brawlers on the cover, but to the fact that this issue bore the smashing weight of something heavy for years, a fact made clear by the six rusty pressure dents that go clean through the magazine. Maybe the owner used it to level a work table in his garage, which we can't approve of as proper usage for the greatest men's magazine in Australian history, but even so, the scans mostly came out okay. Adam covers, which were usually painted by Jack Waugh or Phil Belbin, are always nice, but of special note in this issue is interior work from an excellent artist who signed only as Cameron. You'll find two efforts below. The editors didn't see fit to (and rarely did) credit artists in a masthead, so Cameron's full identity will remain a mystery. At least for now.

The cover illustrates Roderic J. Fittoc's “Gentleman's Agreement,” about rivarly and adultery among the smart set, but the more interesting tale is Victor Blake's “Dead Girls Can't Run.” The cool title gets an opening reference in the story, and a callback. First, concerning a tragedy in the main character's recent past, Blake writes, “But now Zelda is dead and Bertie is blind. He lost his eyes and lost his girl—but don't go thinking she came running back back to me. Dead girls can't run.” As the story devlops, the narrator is betrayed into prison by woman named Nikki. Though there's nothing good about being locked up, he figures at least he can enjoy picturing how graceful and athletic Nikki is, espeically when she runs. That pleasure would be ruined if he were free, because he'd have to kill her, and dead girls can't run. Double duty for the title phrase. We liked that. Twenty-nine scans below.

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 13
1995—Mickey Mantle Dies
New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle dies of complications from cancer, after receiving a liver transplant. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, but he was also an alcoholic and played drunk, hungover, and unprepared. He once said about himself, "Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been."
August 12
1943—Philadelphia Experiment Allegedly Takes Place
The U.S. government is believed by some to have attempted to create a cloak of invisibility around the Navy ship USS Eldridge. The top secret event is known as the Philadelphia Experiment and, according to believers, ultimately leads to the accidental teleportation of an entire vessel.
1953—Soviets Detonate Deliverable Nuke
The Soviet Union detonates a nuclear weapon codenamed Reaktivnyi Dvigatel Stalina, aka Stalin's Jet Engine. In the U.S. the bomb is codenamed Joe 4. It is a small yield fission bomb rather than a multi-stage fusion weapon, but it makes up for its relative weakness by being fully deployable, meaning it can be dropped from a bomber.
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