Musiquarium Oct 16 2014
SEXUAL HEARING
Spread-eagled Aslan art helped cure the guilt of buying pirated music.

We said we were done with France for the moment, but we’re veering back there briefly today to show you this Cure album sleeve featuring art from the French painter Aslan. Live at Paradiso is a bootleg, same as the other Aslan-fronted Cure record we showed you back in January. The people who pressed this weren’t messing around, either—they opted for one of the artist’s more explicit paintings. No complaints here, but we bet Aslan was a bit annoyed when he saw his work appropriated yet again. It wouldn’t be the last time. We’ll get to more bootleg sleeves a bit later.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 14 2014
NOUS WORLD
Out of the fires of war came romance.


We’re sharing one last item from our France trip before moving on to other items. We haven’t run out of Parisian purchases, though—we’re just saving the rest of our finds for later. Above is another cover of the photo romance publication Nous Deux, which we mentioned was a French version of an Italian magazine put together by the brother of the two Italian publishers. That brother was Cino Del Duca, who was a major cog in the French Resistance during World War II, and earned the Croix de Guerre for his efforts.
 
After the war he launched a small publishing house in Paris and built that into a successful business. Later he diversified into cinema, and extended his publishing arm into West Germany, Great Britain, and his native Italy, building an empire in the process, and using his ample profits for philanthropic pursuits. When he died in 1967 streets were named for him in Paris and Biarritz, and today a major French literary award bears his name—the Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca.

The cover of this Nous Deux, with its happy and colorful holiday theme, is by Aslan, a prize-winner in his own right (he was given the prestigious Commandeur des Arts et Lettres in 2003). Some online sources say his covers appeared on the magazine only in the early 1960s, but 1968 is the date on this, and it’s one of his more beautiful pieces, we think. Now it’s time to put our French material aside and focus on other countries the way Cino Del Duca did. We’ll have more from him and Nous Deux later.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 13 2014
VENUS DE PARIS
French cover model earns her stripes.

This is the first issue of the Parisian art deco magazine Vénus we’ve had on the site. There’s a reason for that—they’re rare. And there’s a reason for that—they’re amazing. We think it’s the prettiest mid-century French art magazine ever made, and that’s really saying something, because plenty were published. This one survives from January 1937 and when we saw it at one of bouquinistes adjacent to the Seine it seemed to leap out from all the publications on offer. And no wonder—the cover photo-illustration of a woman dressed as a sort of theatre usher riding a carousel zebra is an instant classic. We’ve already made a high resolution scan of it and are thinking of having it framed. Our website (and other vintage websites) implicitly ask whether we are today living in a less artful age. Vénus answers that question definitively, especially when you consider that it was only one (but the best in our opinion) of a dozen or more French magazines of similar stripe (heh, because of the zebra). For a refresher on what was going on in Paris during the mid-century era check here, here, here, here, and here, but only after you scroll down and enjoy the interior of Páris, including a stunning overleaf, a great rear cover, and photography from Schostal, Caillaus, and others.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 11 2014
A REAL MOUTHFUL
Not only is she fun—she’s easy to swallow.

Souris à croquer means “chewable mouse.” Nothing more to add there, really, except to speculate that maybe it’s a slang phrase. French friends help us out. Moving on, you may already know the master illustrator Jean David, who signed his work J. David. Did he write this book? We have no idea, and neither did anyone else we asked. Considering J. David painted from the 1940s onward, and this book by Jean David appeared in 1958, it’s certainly possible they’re the same person. Note to selves: more research. Souris à croquer, by the way, means “chewable mouse.” Did we mention that already? Well, it bears repeating. The cover art here is not by J. David, but by Jihel, aka Jacques Leclerc. 

Update: Jo B. from Marseille has the answer, writing: "Souris à croquer" means "a mouse to eat."  "Mouse" is a little slang term (not vulgar) to designate a pretty girl. "Croquer" is the way you eat an apple, a bar of chocolate or something like that. I don't know the real word in English (munch, crunch?). Maybe we have two mice to crunch on the cover as "souris" can be one mouse or many mice.

Thanks so much Jo.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 11 2014
FATAL BALLET
Who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time now, smartass?

Above, another cool comic book cover, this one featuring a woman dressed vaguely like a ballet dancer seeming to scratch her ankle and shoot her enemy at the same time. Or maybe that’s just a normal French shooting pose, because they do everything with a bit more style. Actually, this is the French version of the Italian comic Satanik, created by Max Bunker and Magnus, and the character is Marny Bannister, a woman who develops a formula to make her beautiful, but with the side effect of turning her into a murderous criminal. The screen version starred Magda Konopka, who needs no formula of any sort to look good.

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Intl. Notebook Oct 10 2014
TIME TO FLEA
Bargains are few when the best flea market in Paris becomes the trendiest, but there's always hope for pulp diggers.


Vintage book seekers in Paris often focus their efforts on Le Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen, or the Saint-Ouen Flea Market. Operating since 1870, as you see in the vintage postcard above, the seventeen-acre site is located north of the 18th arrondissment, outside the Boulevard Périphérique encompassing the historic center of the city. Here thousands of vendors sell every item imaginable—furniture, board games, musical instruments, électrodomestiques, vinyl records, jewelry, art and more. There are also many cafés on site, and the combination of all this makes the market a popular destination. If you’re headed to Paris we recommend the place. Some unfavorable reviews focus on the prices, which we agree are not low, but this is less a true flea market than a rarities market—i.e., bargains are thin on the ground. But for pulp diggers it’s nice. Even sellers who don’t specialize in vintage publications sometimes keep a stash of books and magazines around because they’re just the sort of low cost items that bring browsers into the stalls.

Also on the subject of reviews, we saw some suggesting the market is unsafe. You have to scratch your head at some people’s fears. 120,000 people visit the Saint-Ouen during its busiest weekends and in no part of it could you manage to be more than twenty feet from other shoppers. It’s possible pickpockets may lurk, but that's true in any crowded spotin any big city in any country. Take the standard precautions, and then enjoy yourself—that's the only advice needed here. Oh, and bring good shoes. If this is indeed a flea market—disputed, as we mentioned earlier—then it's the largest in the world.

So, what did we buy? We came across a huge stack of Paris-Hollywood magazines, several tattered issues of Ciné-Revue, and plenty of old books. Budget mattered, but luckily the books and magazines were reasonably priced and every vendor we interacted with bargained willingly, even cheerfully. In the end we managed several good purchases, supplemented by crisp digital photos of the covers of items we couldn’t afford to acquire. A tweak in Photoshop and they’re almost as good as scans. We’ll share all of those in upcoming days.


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Vintage Pulp Oct 10 2014
DOWNWARD SPIRAL
Where she stops nobody knows.

Where we stayed in Paris near the famed Sorbonne seemingly dozens of comic book shops had sprouted. Here’s an amazing cover that caught our eye—Dans les spirales du temps, from Elvifrance, number 103 in its Serie Verte, 1973. See more Elvifrance here, here, here, and here.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
ENTRE NOUS
Deux for the price of one.

The above photos show the wares of one of the vintage booksellers known as “bouquinistes,” Parisian vendors found on the right bank of the River Seine from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre, and on the left bank from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire. Amazingly, they have been there in one form or another since the 1700s. We were lured to this specific bouquiniste by some issues of the weekly Nous Deux and grabbed a couple at half the asking price. Nous Deux was a version of a wildly successful Italian magazine called Grand Hôtel, and was established by the brother of the two men who had launched the Italian imprint. The cover art on Nous Deux is always spectacular. Since it was a reiteration of the Italian magazine, the art was often Italian in origin, mainly by Walter Molino and Giulio Bertoletti, and inside each issue appeared a few more illustrations and twenty pages of photo fiction. This particular cover from 1951 is by Bertoletti for the story “Incident sur la Canebiere,” and features the charming scene of a woman with her heel stuck in a trolley track being rescued by a passing stud. Interestingly, later issues of Nous Deux were illustrated by Aslan, and those are rare indeed.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
ROMA AMORE
You can't spell romance without Rome.

Nous Deux was an ongoing concern that spawned dozens of romance novels. Éditions Mondiales-Del Duca put out a Collection Nous Deux, of which the above, Sous les platanes de Rome, aka Under the Trees of Rome, is number 95, appearing in 1958. It was written by Lucienne Peverelly, aka Luciana Perverelli, aka Greta Granor, who penned several Nous Deux novels. Peverelly was possibly the same person as Lucienne Royer, but we’re still trying to confirm that. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
SPECIAL INVITATION
Sometimes a look says everything words can’t.

Below you see an issue of Folies de Paris et de Hollywood that was published yesterday in 1966. The cover star is popular glamour model Margaret Nolan, aka Vicki Kennedy, who also appears inside. More on her and Folies later. 


 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 24
1929—Stock Market Crashes
Black Thursday, a catastrophic crash on the New York Stock Exchange, occurs when the value of stocks suddenly declines and continues to decline for a month. The event leads to a subsequent crash in world stock prices and precipitates the Great Depression. This after famous economist Irving Fisher had declared that stock prices had reached a permanently high plateau.
October 23
1935—Four Gangsters Gunned Down in New Jersey
In Newark, New Jersey, the organized crime figures Dutch Schultz, Abe Landau, Otto Berman, and Bernard "Lulu" Rosencrantz are fatally shot at the Palace Chophouse restaurant. Schultz, who was the target, lingers in the hospital for about a day before dying. The killings are committed by a group of professional gunmen known as Murder, Inc., and the event becomes known as the Chophouse Massacre.
1950—Al Jolson Dies
Vaudeville and screen performer Al Jolson dies of a heart attack in San Francisco after a trip to Korea to entertain troops causes lung problems. Jolson is best known for his film The Jazz Singer, and for his performances in blackface make-up, which were not considered offensive at the time, but have now come to be seen as a form of racial bigotry.
October 22
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.

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