Vintage Pulp Apr 15 2010
DEATH PROOF
Don’t love the Game, love the player.

Mining dead artists for profit is a well-established (if ethically dubious) tradition. Ernest Hemingway somehow kept publishing novels after his suicide. Tupac Shakur released more albums after he was shot to death than when he was alive. And Game of Death, for which you see the Japanese promo art above, hit theaters after Bruce Lee died unexpectedly during filming. The film's producers, who had been left with a large cash outlay and no star, cobbled together a disjointed finished product using doubles and old footage, and when the end result was unveiled to the world, everyone from Lee’s family to his die-hard fans labeled it a blight on Lee’s legacy. But we take a different view. Lee wasn’t famous because he was an actor—he was famous because he was a visual artist. His acting was always secondary, merely a convenient medium of delivery for his martial arts. Like a dead musician whose final few great songs are released on a disc filled out by mediocre live recordings and outtakes, Game of Death’s Lee footage should be judged apart from the film as a whole. Seen in that light, you’ll be able to appreciate the fact that Lee is sublime in his last few choreographed fights, even if the filler material surrounding him is a mess. From what we’ve read, Lee’s original concept for this movie was ambitious, interweaving bits of philosophy and spirituality into a violent quest for higher consciousness in both life and martial arts. Had the project been finished, it probably would have been the greatest martial arts epic ever made. But even if the film never reached such lofty heights, we can still enjoy Lee’s last moments working in the craft he loved. Game of Death premiered today in Japan in 1978. More rare promo art below.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 25
2002—Mystery Space Object Crashes in Russia
In an occurrence known as the Vitim Event, an object crashes to the Earth in Siberia and explodes with a force estimated at 4 to 5 kilotons by Russian scientists. An expedition to the site finds the landscape leveled and the soil contaminated by high levels of radioactivity. It is thought that the object was a comet nucleus with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.
September 24
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
September 23
1952—Chaplin Returns to England
Silent movie star Charlie Chaplin returns to his native England for the first time in twenty-one years. At the time it is said to be for a Royal Society benefit, but in reality Chaplin knows he is about to be banned from the States because of his political views. He would not return to the U.S. for twenty years.
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