|Vintage Pulp||Feb 27 2017|
We've run across some low characters in paperback art, but these guys are the lowest. Faced with danger they've grabbed the nearest woman to use as a shield. Women in mid-century fiction have it rough—they're interrupted while skinny-dipping, carried off against their will, manhandled, spied on, tied up, and more. They have their victories too, thankfully—put a gun in their hands and they start dropping men like two-foot putts. Well, good thing femmes fatales are so tough, because they'll need to be hard enough to stop bullets to get out of these jams.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 25 2017|
Above and below we have some scans from an issue of National Informer Reader published today in 1974. During its early days the magazine was called National Informer Weekly Reader, but we guess weakly sales put a stop to its more frequent publication schedule. The content hasn't changed in this later Reader, though. It has the usual stories of vice, including one of a sex orgy in a restaurant, complete with a photo of one of the participants, Christina Lindberg. You may remember we last saw her here.
Her presence in Reader is a classic example of the phenomenon of handout photos—i.e. publicity shots from promotional agencies sent to publications for usage in celeb write-ups. Generally, the agencies didn't carefully check the types of publications requesting shots, which meant tabloids were able to get them pretty easily. Sometimes the parent publications would request the photos and they'd trickle down to the companies' tabloid operations. In any case, Christina Lindberg obviously did not participate in a restaurant orgy. Though it certainly is appetizing to contemplate.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 24 2017|
Casanova à Manhattan is another novel in the dekobrisme style by the author for whom the adjective was coined, Maurice Dekobra. In this one a French count rescues a woman from a concentration camp, marries her, and spirits her away to New York City. He gets a job in a nightclub and she finds work as a chaperone of debutantes. Things go swimmingly until the count's sister-in-law turns up with designs to replace the wife. Dekobra was one of the most famous French authors of the 20th century. You can learn a bit more about him from our previous write-ups on him here and here, but the best way to know him is to read him. The cover art here was painted by Aslan, aka Alain Gourdon. He painted some of the most romantic covers and pin-ups of the last century, but also some of the most erotic. We've been thinking about putting together a collection of his pin-ups, but have been hesitant because they're pretty explicit. Well, stay tuned. We may do it anyway. Meanwhile, check out our collection of paperback kisses here.
|Femmes Fatales||Feb 23 2017|
Above, two borderline scary promo photos of Joan Crawford made when she was shooting the film noir Mildred Pierce, a movie that, embarrassingly, represents a gaping hole in our film watching résumé. We'll take care of that soon. These images are from 1945.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 23 2017|
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 22 2017|
This is the fiftieth issue of Adam we've shared, which is a milestone of sorts for our website, considering how hard the magazine is to obtain. The cover illustration depicts the moment in John P. Gilders' story “Girl Trap” when a body is dumped in Sydney Harbor, theoretically to be carried out to sea on a receding tide. The hero had intervened to stop a woman from being beaten by her violent boyfriend only to stand by in horror as she shot the guy dead. He soon discovers that the woman is actually a prostitute and the boyfriend was her pimp. Cops eventually get involved but the hero skates because the police “just know” he isn't a murderer. The story is as bad as it sounds, but on the plus side it's short.
|Hollywoodland||Feb 21 2017|
When we describe Dynamite as a new tabloid, it's only partly true. It was a new imprint. But its publisher, the Modern Living Council of Connecticut, Inc., was headquartered at the Charlton Building in Derby, Connecticut, which is where Top Secret and Hush-Hush based operations. When you see that Dynamite carried the same cover font as Top Secret and Hush-Hush, and that those two magazines advertised in Dynamite, it seems clear that all three had the same provenance. But unlike Top Secret and Hush-Hush, it doesn't seem as if Dynamite lasted long. The issue above, which appeared this month in 1956, is the second. We are unable to confirm whether there was a third. But if Dynamite was short-lived it wasn't because of any deficiencies in the publication. It's identical in style to other tabloids, and its stories are equally interesting.
There's a lot more to learn about Nina Dyer—her modeling career, her adventures in the south of France, her free-spirited ways in the Caribbean, her 1962 E-Type Jaguar Roadster that was found in Jamaica in 2015 and restored for a November 2016 auction, and more. So we'll be getting back to her a little later. We still have about fifty tabloids from the mid-1950s and we're betting she appears in more than a few. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Dynamite is a story tracking Marilyn Monroe's movements around Fire Island during a summer 1955 vacation, a report about Frank Sinatra being barred from the Milroy Club in London, an exposé on prostitution in Rome, a breakdown of the breakdown of Gene Tierney's engagement to Aly Khan (Sadruddin Aga Khan's brother), and a couple of beautiful photos of Diana Dors. We have about thirty scans below for your enjoyment. Odds are we'll never find another issue of Dynamite, but we're happy to own even one. It's great reading.
|Hollywoodland||Feb 21 2017|
The above photo shows two hopefuls backstage about to compete for the title of Miss Cinemiracle, which was bestowed by the Los Angeles Press Photographer's Association in a pageant held at the National Theatre. We have no idea who the two women are or what they did once taking the stage, but we do know what Cinemiracle was—a film projection system designed to compete with Cinerama. The winner of the Miss Cinemiracle title, who ended up being Merlene Marrow, gained a measure of recognition—always invaluable for those hoping to break into show business—and in return helped publicize the projection process at public appearances. You see Marrow doing exactly that below, standing next to other pageant winners and actor James Garner. Eventually, Cinerama bought the patents for Cinemiracle and brought the competing format to an end. Anyway, these images struck us and we wanted to share them. The one above was made today in 1958, and the one below was made later the same year.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 20 2017|
We mentioned last month that we bought a group of water damaged issues of National Informer. They had lain in a garage somewhere and humidity had caused the color inks to run, in some cases to the point of disappearing. The Informer you see above, published today in 1972, is the most damaged of the lot, though when you look at the striking result it seems inaccurate to use the word damaged. Let's call it altered, because we actually like look. But have a glance at an unaltered issue from the same year here. You see that plenty is missing. Today's issue is fully readable, though, and the semi-pornographic photos are unharmed too, all the way to the deepest interior pages. You can see for yourself below, where we have eighteen panels for your enjoyment. We have ten more issues from this batch we'll be uploading in the coming year.
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 19 2017|
The cover blurb on this 1957 Crest paperback for Gil Brewer's Little Tramp is a case of false advertising. The femme fatale is not jail bait—she's eighteen. Which might make involvement with her a case of bad judgment, but not one of illegality. An important detail, that. But even if young Arlene isn't jail bait, she still might be the reason the down-on-his-luck protagonist Gary Dunn goes to prison. She's decided to stage her own kidnapping to pry money from her rich father, and has set Dunn up to look like the perpetrator. The scheme goes wrong when a sleazy private investigator decides to use the scam to kidnap Arlene for real. This is typical Brewer—an everyman finds himself in over his head with a woman. The art however, is not typical. It's first rate stuff, painted by the always great Barye Phillips for Fawcett-Crest in 1957.