|Vintage Pulp||Apr 1 2015|
|Vintage Pulp||Feb 19 2012|
In January 1967, the German news magazine Stern (Star) wrote that deceased U.S. president John F. Kennedy had suffered from a potentially fatal disease. The above cover of National Enquirer from today in 1967 echoes that famous Stern story. The illness JFK had is known as Addison’s disease, and is a withering of the adrenal glands. Rumors about the sickness sprang up early in Kennedy’s political career, but he denied having any health problems, thinking (correctly, we can assume) that Americans would not elect a sick man to the presidency.
In the end, Kennedy managed the disease by taking cortisone, though one side effect was puffiness in his face. The disease had historical side effects, as well. After JFK’s death, his family requested that the autopsy report be kept secret, and to confuse matters even more, the coroner destroyed the examination notes. This created yet another layer of mystery around Kennedy's death. Both Jackie Kennedy and Robert Kennedy documentably believed JFK had been murdered as the result of a conspiracy, which means that in their desire for privacy they perhaps rashly made a decision that hampered their later search for the truth.
But perhaps not. It's very possible the autopsy notes would not have settled any issues around the assassination. We say this because, though a majority of Americans have always doubted the lone gunman theory (the first survey taken just weeks after the assassination showed that 52% believed there was a conspiracy), the Kennedy narrative has always favored a minority of backers of the official story. That favoritism is not deliberate, in our opinion. It's more a matter of journalistic laziness. We discussed that a while back, so click over that post to see an example of what we mean. We'll have more from National Enquirer and much more on JFK later.
|Vintage Pulp||Nov 24 2011|
On the cover of this issue of Midnight published today in 1969, editors tell readers that presidential widow Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis hates Americans. The story extensively quotes an acquaintance named Lisa Whalley, who says at one point, “She (Jackie) thinks of Americans as a herd of mindless sheep who follow after famous personalities as though they were gods and goddesses.” It’s an interesting line, but it isn’t really news. Jacqueline Kennedy’s feelings about the U.S. were well known. After her husband was murdered, she and Robert Kennedy stated that they believed JFK had been felled by domestic opponents, the key words in there being “domestic”, i.e. American, and “opponents”, more than one person. And when Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968, Jackie came to the conclusion that the entire Kennedy family was a target. According to RFK biographer C. David Heymann, she said, “I hate this country. I despise America and I don’t want my children to live here anymore. If they’re killing Kennedys, my children are number one targets. I want to get out of this country.” Four months later she married Aristotle Onassis and moved to Greece. So the Midnight headline isn’t any great stretch, though to the editors’ credit, they do a pretty good job of framing it as a scoop. Inside the issue you get Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton on the rocks, Italian bombshell Nuccia Cardinali, Chinese beauty Irene Tsu, and a pretty nice shot of Czech-born sex symbol Barbara Bouchet. All of that and more below.
|Vintage Pulp||Sep 21 2011|
Above, a September 1966 Confidential with a rivalry theme featuring Ursula Andress vs. Claudine Auger, and Jackie Kennedy vs. Princess Grace. Andress and Auger are compared merely for their Bond girl qualities, but Kennedy and the Princess actually did have their resentful moments. These were detailed not just in the tabloid press—even supposedly sober magazines like Time reported on the feud. Perhaps it was inevitable. The two began as friendly acquaintances and ascended to positions of American royalty, a level that was surpassed by Grace Kelly when she became an actual royal with her marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. A widowed Kennedy later married Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, who happened to be an epic business and political rival of Rainier. How epic? Rainier actually suspended Monaco's constitution to put an end to Onassis’ meddling in its internal affairs. So taking that into consideration, it’s amazing Jackie and the Princess never tried to choke each other out. But like everyone says, that was a much more polite age.
|Vintage Pulp||Jun 7 2011|
The National Police Gazette didn’t become America’s longest running publication by not knowing which celebrities people wanted to read about. We see that at work on the cover of this issue published in June 1974, which features a triptych of the era’s most tabloid-worthy icons in the fields of sports, politics and music. Muhammad Ali at thirty-three was just past his prime, but was still a great boxer with two of his most memorable bouts still ahead of him; Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was one of the richest women in the world and a full time obsession for an American public who remembered her mainly as a presidential widow; Elvis Presley was no longer a force on the pop charts, yet his albums were still selling millions of copies and his persona and lifestyle ensured that he remained the best known music star in the world. We’re told by editors that Ali had a master plan to regain the heavyweight title (which he did), that Onassis couldn’t forget a past love named Sir David Ormsby-Gore (unconfirmed), and that Presley wanted to be a preacher (we all know how that turned out). The Gazette also makes room for stories on Howard Hughes, the Oakland A’s, and Jack Dempsey, but they’re all just bit players to the Big Three. We’ve scanned some pages below, and we’ll have much more from The National Police Gazette later.
|Vintage Pulp||Mar 1 2011|
We’ve got quite a backlog of tabloids here, so we’re officially designating March tabloid month at Pulp Intl., and we’re starting with this issue of The National Tattler, published today in 1970. It features tales about Charles Manson’s revenge fantasies, Dean Martin’s partying lifestyle, and Jackie O’s problems with poltergeists. Stories about Kennedy ghosts were rampant during the early ’70s, and we actually have a few other tabs we’ll show you later that riff on the same chord. Also of note is a story about America reaching its pollution doomsday in 1980. Again with that year? We just don’t get it. Perhaps in the other tabloids we share this month we’ll find an answer. Expect appearances from The National Police Gazette, Hush-Hush, Confidential, Whisper and all the other heavy hitters of the era, as well as a few obscure finds we’ve made during the last year. See the Tattler in rare form here and here, and check the website badmags.com for even more.
|Intl. Notebook||Oct 13 2010|
Midnight, like other tabloids, learned quite well that a Kennedy could move product. Thus their editors splashed a Kennedy, or Jackie Onassis, on the cover of their paper at pretty much every opportunity. On the above issue from today in 1969, editors tell us that Teddy Kennedy is at the end of his rope. Apparently, after enduring the assassination of two brothers, a plane accident in which he broke his back, his wife Joan’s miscarriage, and a car accident on Chappaquiddick Island in which he drove into a pond and his companion Mary Jo Kopechne drowned, Kennedy was not in a good frame of mind. Go and figure. Midnight claims to have gotten this statement out of him: “I see [Mary Jo Kopechne’s] face in my dreams and imagine her features contorted as she struggles to escape the car, death closing in on her.” And this: “I dream of Mary Jo every night and wake up in a cold sweat, scared and screaming.” Did Midnight really scoop every paper in the land and get these anguished quotes? Well, no—this is the same paper that wrote two weeks earlier that John Kennedy’s ghost was haunting Jackie Onassis. So we take their claims of unfettered access to the Kennedy clan with a grain of salt. However, we have three more issues of Midnight with Kennedy themes, so maybe they can still convince us. We’ll be sharing those issues down the line.
|Intl. Notebook||Sep 6 2010|
Above, a Midnight newspaper with an article on Aristotle Onassis and his wife of one year, former First Lady of the U.S. Jackie Kennedy, published today in 1969. Jackie O., as she was known, was a full time obsession for the American tabloid press, though she lived on Skorpios, a private Greek island that was inaccessible to just about anyone outside the Onassis inner circle. But Midnight made up all its stories anyway, so isolated isle or not, they claim here to have the inside scoop on her marriage. Interspersed among that and other celebrity content is a lot of gore—i.e., unflinching photos of people in varying stages of mutilation, dismemberment and decay. Most of the images come from police files, though some are Vietnam War shots. Either way, they’re not for the faint-hearted. We have several more Midnights we’ll show you the inside of soon, including the blood and guts.