Vintage Pulp Jul 27 2015
GETTING HEADE
You should have seen it. It was unbelievable. From base to tip it was like this. I swear.

Originally published in 1952, this paperback edition of Hank Janson’s Conflict came from British publisher Alexander Moring in 1957. The art is uncredited and unsigned, but it’s undoubtedly Reginald Heade, who stopped putting a name to his work after seven of Janson’s books brought about an obscenity trial and guilty verdicts. Though Janson’s writing was racy, we doubt that this cover is supposed to convey what we imply. But you have to admit—it’s a really curious pose from the female figure. See a bit more Heade here.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 17 2015
ULTIMATE FIGHTING
Vintage paperback violence gets up close and personal.


We have another collection today as we prepare to jet away on vacation with the girls. Since the place we’re going is known for rowdy British tourists (what place isn’t known for that?), we thought we’d feature some of the numerous paperback covers featuring fights. You’ll notice, as with our last collection, the preponderance of French books. Parisian publishers loved this theme. The difference, as opposed to American publishers, is that you almost never saw women actually being hit on French covers (we’d almost go so far as to say it never happened, but we’ve obviously not seen every French paperback ever printed). The French preferred man-on-man violence, and when women were involved, they were either acquitting themselves nicely, or often winning via the use of sharp or blunt instruments.

Violence against women is and has always been a serious problem in the real world, but we’re just looking at products of the imagination here, which themselves represent products of the imagination known as fiction. Content-wise, mid-century authors generally frowned upon violence toward women even if they wrote it into their novels. Conversely, the cover art, stripped of literary context, seemed to glorify it. Since cover art is designed to entice readers, there’s a valid discussion here about why anti-woman violence was deemed attractive on mid-century paperback fronts, and whether its disappearance indicates an understanding of its wrongness, or merely a cynical realization that it can no longer be shown without consequences. We have another fighting cover here, and you may also want to check out our western brawls here.


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Intl. Notebook Jul 17 2015
GREEN INFERNO
Mass destruction as a party balloon.

Above is a photo of the French nuclear test codenamed Tamouré, a 50 kiloton airdrop at Mururoa Atoll, Pacific Test Area, French Polynesia. It was the first time the French dropped a nuclear device from an airplane. The photo has the same weird ass green color as the Betelgeuse test we showed you a few years ago, but we don’t know why that is. Exposure time? Film stock? French photog getting all artistic trying make the horrifying reality of the shot a bit  more cheerful? We don’t know. But the image was made this week in 1966.  

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Hollywoodland Jul 16 2015
CONFIDENCE GAMES
Liberace experiences tabloid wrath at its most merciless.


It was in this July 1957 issue of Confidential that journalist “Horton Streete’ infamously outed cover star Liberace in the most vicious and dehumanizing way with an article entitled “Why Liberace’s Theme Song Should Be ‘Mad About the Boy’.” We’ve talked about it before. Streete willfully attempted to damage the singer’s career by spinning a shocking tale of how he attacked a young, male press agent. The article refers to Liberace as Fatso, Pudgy, Dimples, and other, less flattering monikers.  

Here’s a rule you can count on—when a journalist or on-air personality constantly refers to someone by other than his or her name or title, it’s a hit piece. Liberace was horrified and sued Confidential. California Attorney General Pat Brown had already managed to win an indictment of the magazine two months earlier. Owner Robert Harrison was about to spend his entire summer in court. He took these legal threats to heart and publicly promised to stop publishing stories about the private lives of Hollywood stars.
 
Up until then Confidential had been as reckless as a magazine could be. This issue accuses Gary Crosby of punching a woman in the face, and Eartha Kitt of trapping her friend’s boyfriend in her penthouse. An extraordinary story about boxer Jake LaMotta suggests the he got a bumrap in his morals trial. LaMotta was serving time for bedding a 14-year-old. Prosecutors had convinced a jury that the incident with LaMotta was a primary cause of the girl later becoming a prostitute. Confidential rides to the rescue, claiming that the girl’s father had already deflowered her, therefore LaMotta could not have had any influence on the girl’s fate. How’s that for a principled stand?

These early issues of Confidential are a cesspool of journalistic ethics, no doubt, but they’re also a visual treat. Using black, red, blue, and yellow, plus the white of the pages themselves, the designers put together a bold and gaudy package that would influence every other tabloid on the market. The layouts on Kitt, Liberace, Alan Dale, and Lex Barker are among the most eye-catching we’ve seen from the period. Elsewhere you get Anthony Quinn, and a host of other stars. We have a bunch of scans below. Remember, you can always see more from Confidential and other tabs by visiting our tabloid index at this link.


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Femmes Fatales Jul 16 2015
UNCANI DANI
She’s always poking around.


French actress/singer Danièle Graule, better known as Dani, appeared in about twenty movies beginning in 1964, including Un officier de police sans importance, aka A Police Officer without Importance, and La fille d'en face, aka The Girl Across the Way, and was last seen onscreen as recently as 2012. We’ve turned this watery image of her vertically because a horizontal orientation would make it too small to truly appreciate. You know the drill—drag, drop, and rotate for a better view. The shot is from the French magazine Lui and is from 1975. 

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Vintage Pulp Jul 12 2015
QUEEN OF THE HILL
Patachou starts with a little patch of Paris and conquers the planet.


1954’s Montmartre nocturne was a twenty-five minute exposé of the Parisian cabaret Patachou, which Jean Billon and his wife Henriette Ragon opened on famed Montmartre hill in 1948. Ragon went on to release numerous records, and soon became so famous she evolved into a one-name star. The name? Patachou, the same as the name of her club. Montmartre nocturne somehow, despite its brevity, made it to Japan, resulting in the classic promo poster you see above. That isn’t Patachou on the art—she was already thirty-five in 1953 and rocking mom hair, which was considered hip back then (see below). In 2009 at the venerable age of 90 she was made Officier of France’s Légion d'honneur, and she just died a couple of months ago at age ninety-six.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 11 2015
HOMME FATALE
Robbery and riches are fine, but this next part is what he really enjoys.

Above is a very nice uncredited cover for L’homme san nom, aka The Man Who Was Nobody, written by Edgar Wallace in 1927 and republished by Hatchette as an entry in its Collection L’énigme, or Enigma Collection, 1940. The main character here isn’t the homme—this is actually part of a series starring Wallace’s crime solving creation Marjorie Steadman. It was later made into an episode of the television series The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre

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Intl. Notebook Jul 9 2015
FIRE FLYER
One of the last two functioning examples of revered World War II fighter plane hits the auction block today.

Today in London, Christie’s auction house is selling off one of the only two flyable, original spec Vickers Supermarine Spitfire fighter planes left in the world. One of the most elegant of World War II fighters, the Spitfire played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain, going up against the German Luftwaffe and its comparable Messerschmitt fighter craft. This particular Spitfire made an emergency landing on a beach at Calais, France in 1940, and was quickly covered by tidal sands. The sands receded in 1980 to expose the aircraft once more, and it went into the Musée d’l’Air at Le Bourget, Paris, before being acquired and restored by the British company Aircraft Restoration Company/Historic Flying Ltd. Christie’s estimates the plane will sell for at least US$2.3 million, and could go for close to US$4 million.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 7 2015
NANA HEY HEY
If you’re going to have an empty life, at least make it a beautiful one.

La poupée d’amour played in the U.S. by the silly title Take Me, Love Me, but was originally released in Sweden as Naná, after the Emile Zola novel from which it’s adapted. Director Mac Ahlberg and cinematographer Andréas Winding deserve credit for making the film look fantastic, star Anna Gaël is certainly beautiful, and the cabaret numbers are entertainingly staged, but on the whole we found this one a bit tedious. The movie is basically ’70s arthouse porn and, thanks to some coupling by Gaël’s body double, still qualifies today as adult cinema, but only barely. Zola’s Naná ended up covered with pustules and dying in agony; this movie wouldn’t dare harsh on its own groovy high to that extent, but Gaël does find happiness elusive, as do her lovers. If you watch the movie you may find enjoyment elusive, but in purely visual terms, it’s a real treat. The Belgian promo poster, also a treat, was painted by Loris, an illustrator whose online presence is small, which means we can’t tell you anything about him/her—not even a full name. But he/she did paint other nice promos, and we may dig some of those up later. La poupée d’amour premiered in France/Belgium today in 1970.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 5 2015
READY L'OR NOT
Anthropologists stunned as new research shows Native Americans funneled beer centuries before frat boys.

We have no idea why scientists are surprised. Native Americans brewed many types of alcoholic beverages, so it follows they’d come up with ridiculous ways to drink them. Jean d’Ascain wrote L’or qui tue in 1946 for the Paris based publishing company La Caravelle as part of its Collection Le Ranch. On the cover Albert Chazelle art shows an early American colonist named Trish learning how to funnel, while one of the boys cops a cheap feel. The natives would later improve the funneling process by adding a tube, as well as sexually suggestive, horribly out-of-pitch singing. Genealogical note—Trish is the many-times-great grandmother of this person. Also, d’Ascain wrote a sequel where natives invent the drinking game Edward Fortyhands. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 02
1921—Black Sox Acquitted
After a trial lasting fourteen days, a jury finds eight Chicago White Sox baseball players not guilty of conspiring with a national gambling syndicate to throw the 1920 World Series. Despite the acquittal, newly appointed baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis expels all eight players from major league baseball in an attempt to assure the American public of the purity of the game.
August 01
1966—Whitman Massacre in Texas
Charles Joseph Whitman, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, kills 14 people and wounds 32 during a shooting rampage on and around the university's campus. Ten are killed from the 28th floor observation deck of the University's administrative building. Whitman had already murdered his wife and mother in their homes.
July 31
1964—Riot Stops Stones Concert
The Rolling Stones play in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but the show is stopped after twelve minutes because of violence in the audience. Some fans are carried away in straitjackets.

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