Femmes Fatales Dec 22 2014
LEAPING LUPITA
From Guanajay to Hollywood in a single bound.

Estelita Rodriguez was born in Guanajay, Cuba in 1928, signed with MGM at the tender age of fourteen, signed with Republic at seventeen, and appeared in such films as Tropical Heat Wave, Rio Bravo, and the unforgettable Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter. This promo shot dates from 1945 and was made when she was playing the character of Lupita in the musical Mexicana with Tito Guízar and Constance Moore. 

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Modern Pulp Dec 22 2014
NEW YORK VISIONS
Owen Smith’s pulp influenced creations are modern masterpieces.

We don’t spend as much time as we should on what we like to call modern pulp, but we very much like contemporary artist Owen Smith and mentioned how his work fronts two of our favorite crime novels of recent years—Daniel Chavarría’s Adios Muchachos and Tango for a Torturer. Smith also created two brilliant Dashiell Hammett posters that we shared back in 2009. We wanted to get back to him, so above and below are some of his unique, pulp-style covers for The New Yorker magazine. You can see more art on his website.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 21 2014
PARTY ANIMALS
Lavish year-end bonuses on Wall Street lead to drunken jubilation, drug-fueled orgies, and chants of “In your face, 99%!”

There’s nothing quite like getting multi-million dollar bonuses for fleecing gullible investors. Yes, the 1% get yachts, island vacations, and hot oil massages from senators and judges, while the bottom half get evictions, stolen pensions, and the occasional trip to the government cheese line. Clearly Santa got his naughty and nice lists mixed up around 2000 and never discovered the error. 1965 publication date on this.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 21 2014
RITE HERE, RITE NOW
Satan claws is coming to town.

Nothing says Christmas like a cheesy horror movie, and they don’t get much cheesier than Hammer Film Productions’ b-flick Satanic Rites of Dracula. This was the seventh and last movie to feature Christopher Lee playing Dracula, a role he inhabited with great gusto, and the third with Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. In other words, Hammer really knew how to beat a dead horse. Plenty of summaries of this online, so we won’t bother. We just wanted to show you the nice art. Satanic Rites of Dracula first played in Japan today in 1974. 

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Sportswire Dec 21 2014
SUGAR & SPICE
Getting on the same page.

These two December 1960 promotional photos show American welterweight/middleweight boxer Sugar Ray Robinson and Italian middleweight actress Rita Giannuzzi hamming it up after Robinson’s draw with rival Gene Fullmer at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Robinson and Giannuzzi were slated to appear together in a boxing-related movie—title to be determined—backed by lightweight producer Felice Zappulla and filmed in Europe. Apparently the idea never quite caught on, because the movie never happened. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 21 2014
SHLOCK AND KEY
Unlocking the door to all your darkest and dirtiest thoughts.

Keyhole’s slogan is “for mature adults.” We think it’s more for horny high schoolers, but there’s no doubt it’s a bold tabloid. This issue published today in 1972 has everything from swinging sex safaris (“Make sure your gun is loaded for bare”) to gay frat houses (“They don’t swallow goldfish anymore”). None of it’s real, of course. The frat house story is a firsthand account of a new pledge at a Harvard fraternity who doesn’t discover the members dress in drag until he goes under the skirt of a blonde lovely and gets a handful of nutsack. The article features a photo of a bearish model with a volume of Shakespeare over his willie. The sex safari story features British model Susan Shaw in what could easily be someone’s unweeded back garden. But while the stories are phony, they’re at least funny—not on their merits so much, but because people actually got paid to write them. Quite a way to make a living. What’s even funnier? People bought Keyhole. We have a few scans below, and sharp-eyed readers may recognize American glamour model Sylvia Bayo, aka Lucienne Camille as the Keyhole Cutie for the month.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 20 2014
SALADE DAYS
Finally, after a lifetime's work—the condiment that will revolutionize how the world eats greenery.

Above, Drôle de salade written by Al Caussin, aka Alex Caussin de Perceval, Percy Wall, and Allan Blyth, published 1952 by France's Éditions de la Flamme d’Or, with awesome cover art from Jef de Wulf. Drôle de salade actually means “funny salad,” so you have to wonder what this book is about. In any case, what a bummer it’ll be for the main character when he finds out the term “French dressing” is already in use.

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Sportswire Dec 20 2014
FUTBOL WEEKENDS
For a little while at least, sports can bring a nation together.

The art deco influenced fútbol poster above, which is signed in its lower right corner by an artist whose identity is unknown to us, advertises a  match between top flight Spanish sides Valencia F.C. and Real Madrid at Valencia’s Estadio de Mestalla. Months earlier Spain had become a republic after years of dictatorship under Miguel Primo de Rivera, and was about to enter into a period of unrest and rising fascism, leading to civil war and decades more dictatorship under Francisco Franco. But on this particular winter Sunday in Valencia the sole battle took place on the pitch at Mestalla. The star player on the field was Manuel Olivares Lapeña, who you see at right, but it was Jaime Lazcano Escolá and Juan Costa Font who netted goals that day. The game ended in a 1-1 draw—a triumph for a Valencia squad languishing at the bottom third of the table. But Real Madrid won the league.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 20 2014
NOCTURNAL EMISSIONS
For a magazine that had practically zero credibility Midnight sure was generous with sexual advice.

Most 1970s tabloids espouse the idea of easy sexual availability of women for men, but Midnight, more than others, made that its reason for existence. You’ve seen the covers here before—a wild and willing Nobu McCarthy, the girl that seduces an entire town, mail-order love slaves, et.al. In this issue published today in 1965, cover star Raquel Welch tells readers she thinks married men should be free to roam. She explains: “Most adulterous men get that way because their wives don’t know how—or simply don’t give a damn—on satisfying them emotionally. Adultery serves to get rid of tensions and restore a man’s faith in his desirability.” Music to Midnight’s male readers’ ears, we’re sure, but did Welch ever say that? The article sounds more like a bad high school essay than an interview. It even ends with this bit: “That’s why I claim that adultery can very easily save a marriage!” Which is more like the summation after a debate rebuttal than anything from a real interview. It’s like—“Tah dah! Thank you. Thank you very much.” So we’re thinking this all came from the tyewriter of a really bad Midnight assistant editor. But we love the cover.

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Intl. Notebook | Politique Diabolique Dec 19 2014
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER
Mandy Rice-Davies dies of cancer.

Mandy Rice-Davies, one of the central figures in the John Profumo Affair of 1963, died of cancer early this morning. Most accounts of the scandal describe Rice-Davies as a prostitute, and indeed Stephen Ward, one of the principals in the fiasco, was imprisoned for living off the earnings of Rice-Davies and other women—another way of saying he pimped. But Rice-Davies spent a good portion of her final years denying she was a call girl, saying she didn’t want her grandchildren to remember her that way. 

Whatever her means of support during the Profumo Affair, what is certainly true is that she was young and beautiful and somehow found herself at the nexus where rich, entitled men and beautiful women always seem to meet. The Profumo Affair's world of secret parties, middle-aged male egos, and a lurking Soviet spy came into being during the most paranoid years of the Cold War, and John Profumo’s role in it cost him his position as Secretary of State for War in the British government.

After the scandal Rice-Davies sang in a cabaret in Germany, lived in Spain, moved to Israel where she opened nightclubs and restaurants in Tel Aviv, released music and books, appeared on television and in film, including the The Seven Magnificent Gladiators and Absolute Beginners, and was involved in the development of a Stephen Ward-based Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. She accomplished plenty. But as long as she is remembered it will be for Profumo, Christine Keeler, the parties and scandalous revelations, and the near-collapse of the British government in 1963. If you’re interested in reading more, we talked about Rice-Davies in a bit more detail here and here.


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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 22
1972—Plane Crash Victims Found in Andes
The Chilean Air force locates fourteen survivors from a plane that had crashed in the Argentine Andes two months earlier. Four days after the rescue, a Santiago, Chile newspaper alleges that the survivors became cannibals to ward off starvation. The surviving group confirms that they ate human flesh at a press conference two days later.
December 21
1958—de Gaulle Elected President of France
World War II hero General Charles de Gaulle is elected President of France by an overwhelming majority. During his time he leads France to develop nuclear weapons, ends the French presence in Algeria, and survives several assassination attempts. He eventually retires to Colombey-les-Deux-Eglises, in north-east France, and dies from a heart attack on 9 November 1970.
December 20
1989—U.S. Invades Panama
The United States invades Panama with the goal of overthrowing the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega. Noriega had been a CIA agent for many years, and because of this special status, U.S. drug authorities had turned a blind eye toward his activities, which included helping to create a crack cocaine epidemic in American inner cities. In 1988, Senator John Kerry's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Narcotics and International Operations concluded that the Noriega saga represented one of the most serious foreign policy failures in U.S. history.

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