|Vintage Pulp||Mar 24 2015|
|The Naked City||Mar 24 2015|
Above and below is a fascinating series of photos from the Los Angeles Examiner during the heyday of tabloids, showing just how invasive such publications could be. The photo above shows the aftermath of a murder-suicide at the Ansonia Apartments in L.A.’s MacArthur Park neighborhood. A mother jumped from a window with her six-year-old son. The photos below show the scene from different angles, then a priest administering last rites to the boy, and finally the father grieving over his son’s body. The Examiner focused on crime, corruption, and Hollywood scandals, and was for a time the most widely circulated newspaper in Los Angeles. Possibly its most famous scoop was breaking the story of the 1947 mutilation murder of Elizabeth Short, better known as the Black Dahlia.
In the references we dug up on the Clouart tragedy the wife’s name is never given—she’s called only Mrs. Gerald Clouart. That was of course common practice at the time, but it’s ironic the way it renders invisible a woman who might have received help had anyone truly discerned her troubles. But in yet another example of the Examiner’s extraordinary access, one of its photos is of Mrs. Clouart’s suicide note, and we were able to get her name from that. The note said: “I’ve reached the point of no return. It’s not your fault. You’ve been a wonderful husband and father. Am taking [John] with me to spare him the disgrace. I’m just inadequate.” It was signed Terry. That was today in 1952.
|Femmes Fatales||Mar 23 2015|
|Intl. Notebook||Mar 23 2015|
Archaeologists have uncovered a set of stone ruins in Argentina they believe were constructed to serve as homes for Nazis fleeing Europe during the aftermath of World War II. The buildings are located in a mountainous, barely accessible area of the Teyu Cuare national park in northern Argentina where it meets the border with Paraguay. The archaeologists believe these are Nazi structures because they uncovered German coins minted between 1938 and 1941, and fragments of a plate made in Germany. The fact that such structures were found in Argentina isn’t a surprise—another stone house found years ago (below) in the same park is believed to have been built for Parteikanzlei chief Martin Bormann, who never got to use it. In the end the Nazis never really needed their Teyu Cuare lairs—as many as 9,000 of them fled to Argentina openly, welcomed by the government of Juan Peron.
Argentina was hardly unique in that respect. Thousands more Nazis settled in Brazil, Chile, and in the fascist dictatorship of Paraguay. Hundreds fled to the Middle East. At least one resided for a brief time inQuebec. Via Operation Paperclip, high ranking Nazi party members such as Wernher von Braun, Kurt Debus, and Arthur Rudolph were welcomed into the U.S., mainly due to their knowledge of physics and rocketry. Hubertus Strughold (at right) was also brought over. He had a different kind of knowledge—direct awareness of and possible involvement with fatal medical experiments relating to extreme environments and atmospheric pressure. All four men were given jobs at NASA.
There’s no word yet on what the Argentine government plans to do with the newly discovered Teyu Cuare structures. The alleged Borman house still stands and even has a sign noting its unusual history. However most countries prefer to wipe out evidence of government or citizen collaboration with the Third Reich by opting to raze Nazi structures.
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 22 2015|
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 22 2015|
The change of logo and title shows how these images spread from company to company. Possibly each publisher bought the rights for a short time, leaving the owner free to peddle the same shots again later. Alternatively, K.L.M. bought the negs for a long period but was absorbed by A. Fox at some point. We wouldn’t doubt it—there were many publishers of these shots, and it seems unlikely they all thrived. Buying out a failing company and acquiring its images would be good business. It gets complicated, though, because as we now know, some of these pin-ups come from negatives owned by Playboy and were printed with the bunny logo, which suggests licensing deals. We’re still doing research on that aspect of the industry, so maybe we’ll know more later. In meantime, anyone recognize the model?
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 21 2015|
|Modern Pulp | Vintage Pulp||Mar 20 2015|
The top cover for Mickey Spillane’s Ti ucciderò was painted by the excellent Giovanni Benvenuti for Garzanti in 1957. You can see the artist’s signature more or less in the middle of the cover. The title Ti ucciderò means “I will kill you,” which is considerably less evocative than the original title I, the Jury, but maybe that just doesn’t translate well in Italy for some reason. The second cover is also from Garzanti and dates from 1972. The shifty eyes at top were a design element on all the Spillane covers from Garzanti during the period. Last you see a 1990 edition of I, the Jury published by Oscar Mondadori, and though we don’t know the artist, it’s interesting to see a book appear so late with a painted cover. The detective on that one, if you take a close look, is the actor Stacy Keach. He was starring as Mike Hammer on an American television show called The New Mike Hammer, from which you see a still at right, and the Mondadori book was a tie-in for when the show hit Italian television. All three covers are nice, but Benvenuti is tops, as always.
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 19 2015|
|Intl. Notebook||Mar 17 2015|
In the photo above, department store manager Hillman Lee checks out a group of battered mannequins he had helped the U.S. government use in a nuclear test. The mannequins were placed inside House No. 1 at the Nevada Proving Grounds and subjected to the blast effects of the sixteen-kiloton shot codenamed Annie, which was part of Operation Upshot-Knothole. The images below show up on all sorts of websites identified with all sorts of tests, but these come from the Nevada Department of Energy website and are identified there as the actual House No. 1 that wasblown to smithereens along with Hillman’s mannequins (those may seem in strangely good shape to you, but keep in mind that fiberglass melts at about 37,000°F, whereas human flesh burns at about 120°F and melts shortly thereafter).
For an interesting indication of the bizarro world some people lived in during the nuclear 1950s, consider this quote from Hillman concerning the use of mannequins (which, by the way, he dressed differently as a tribute to American individuality and choice): “The outcome of this test is unpredictable, but the results of the evaluation may be a powerful factor in deciding fashion trends in the years to come.” That’s right—he thought he could learn from the test how to make nuclear blast-resistant clothes, market them, and make money selling them. Kind of makes you wonder whether humans are simply destined to fail on this planet, doesn’t it? Nuclear test Annie occurred at 5:20 a.m. today in 1953.
Note: We got an e-mail, and the question was whether the mannequin photo was really made after the test, or before. If the photo were larger you'd be able to see that the mannequins are, in fact, a bit battered. Of course, that raises the question of whether they're radioactive. Being the morbid guys we are, we did check historical records on Hillman Lee to see if maybe he developed health problems, but there's nothing on him. Presumably he made a fortune on his nuke resistant garments and retired to a life of quiet but comfortable obscurity. Or not.