Intl. Notebook Nov 1 2018
PULPY ANNIVERSARY
One decade down, another to go.


So today is Pulp Intl.'s anniversary, and a special one, as we've now been around ten full years. Yeah, it's crazy. When we began there were numerous blogs and websites that we admired and drew inspiration from, and all of them are gone or permanently idle now. A few new ones have popped up and we can only hope they last. Pulp Intl. came about because we had moved out of the U.S. and wanted something to eat up the idle hours we'd benefitted. Mostly we partied those hours away, but there were still a few left and Pulp duly sprang forth. We figured maybe ten or twenty people might drop by per week. Last we checked that number had reached more than 7,000 individual visitors per day, and in the summer it has been as many as 14,000. Per day. It's just shocking. So we definitely want to thank every one of you for dropping by, and particularly those who visit time and again, with a special shout to those who write in with corrections and ideas.

We've scanned and uploaded thousands of original images, and seen them reposted tens of thousands of times on Tumblr, Twitter, and various other platforms. We have more to come. We shot photos of some items we have laying around the flat, just to give you an idea. It's not a complete accounting. We have things we're too lazy to pull out of storage right now. In all, scanning and sharing this stuff should take ten more years. Of course, as some wit once pointed out, plans and life are two different things—often diametrically opposed. Anything could happen, up to and including losing everything in a fire or the Pulp Intl. girlfriends—who are real people, by the way, not some concept we came up with—finally getting fed up and threatening to leave or kill us if we don't shut down the website. But they'd never do that because they're the best. Heh heh. Anyway, thank you everyone for these ten years. It's been incredibly fun for us and we hope you've gotten a few laughs out of it, learned a few things, and had a love of vintage media instilled or just reaffirmed. And now—future here we come...



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Hollywoodland | Vintage Pulp Feb 7 2013
DRESS TO EXCESS
If there’s such a thing as the most amazing dress ever made, Carroll Baker wore it.


In the summer of 1964, promoting her movie The Carpetbaggers, American actress Carroll Baker attended a premiere at London’s Plaza Theatre in Piccadilly Circus wearing a $28,000.00 transparent dress from designer Pierre Balmain. She had worn it before at the U.S. premiere in June, which means Londoners had an inkling what they were going to see, but what resulted was, well, a circus. The crowd went nuts and the situation devolved into what some newspapers described as a near riot. The above National Examiner, published today in 1972, features Baker wearing what we noticed was a similar but not identical dress. We got curious where it came from, and so we went looking.

Turns out in late 1964 designer Oleg Cassini, entranced by the Balmain dress, designed a similar version for Baker to wear at a promotional event in Las Vegas. The difference is in the placement of the beading—Balmain’s left a v-shaped peek-a-boo, whereas Cassini’s left a diagonal opening across the chest. You can see the difference below. Cassini had built his version of the dress in Baker’s absence using a model of identical size, but it didn’t really fit because bodies have all sorts of differences, even if their crude numerical aspects are ostensibly the same. Baker endured eighteen precarious hours in a gown that was so tightshe couldn’t shake hands without it shifting to reveal parts she wanted to keep hidden. She later wore the dress—hopefully altered—at a premiere of Cheyenne Autumn, and a photo of her posing with a dozen costumed Native Americans survives today in the Associated Press archives.
 
But the dress wasn’t finished quite yet. The next year immortal costumer Edith Head designed yet another variation on Balmain’s original for Baker to wear promoting the film Harlow. We don’t know where the previous two gowns went, but the Head version, one of several she put together, survived and has appeared in Hollywood fashion exhibitions as recently as 2003. Baker also wore a Balmain (or Cassini or Edith Head copy) during a 1966 troop tour in Vietnam, and the only reason a full firefight didn’t break out among the GIs the moment she unveiled herself is probably because that version had no cut-outs (right).
 
Extreme publicity stunts were apparently not unusual for Baker. She considered herself a good actress, but felt that she couldn’t become a star in Hollywood without promoting herself as a sex symbol. “I’ve tried just acting,” she once said, “but sex sells at the box office.” As time wore on, she went from threatening to walk off the set of Station Six—Sahara due to the director pressuring her to appear nude to playing unclothed roles in The Sweet Body of Deborah, Così dolce... così perversa, and Paranoia, as well appearing nude in Playboy and Playmen. Nothing like a shrinking bank account to totally reshape one’s morals. In 1966 AP scribe Doris Klein wrote that Baker was “almost too pretty, too much like a slim teenager to play a sexpot.” But Baker became one of the biggest sexpots in the world. Looking at the 1964 Balmain, and the three to six versions that followed, we’d say it was inevitable.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 4 2011
CURSORY EXAMINATION
Looks can be deceiving. This tabloid is empty inside.

Above is a cover of National Examiner from today, 1972. Examiner was so downmarket it didn’t even bother with a masthead, and despite its colorful cover managed a mere twenty pages of bare bones content, none of it interesting, and little of it accompanied by the striking art so often seen in ’70s tabloids. We have no way of knowing whether this is the same Examiner that survives today, because its pages don’t list a publishing company, but if it is, that means it was owned by National Enquirer publisher Generoso Pope, Jr., and sold off to American Media, Inc. when he died in 1988. We have a few more scans below, and another Examiner cover here. 

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Intl. Notebook Nov 15 2009
INSIDE OUTED
Have we got News for you.

Inside News was yet another low rent, late-’60s/early-’70s tabloid, like the National Examiner, Keyhole, Midnight and others, that basically printed fiction in the guise of investigative journalism. In a race to the bottom of the market, Inside News focused on sex, the outrage of homosexuality, the outrage of sex associated with drug use, the outrage of sex between whites and blacks, and rape—which they presented not as an outrage, but as titillation. The example above, published today in 1970, is typical. She was raped, but she was a stripper, therefore here she is in a bikini, and boy howdy, it’s pretty easy to see why she was raped, isn’t it? Of course, the report is 100% fabricated, and it’s possible some readers of Inside News even suspected as much. But since it was ideas being sold, rather than literal truth, we can see with the clarity of years that what we have here is a magazine catering to a readership fearful about the direction of the times—i.e. sexual liberation and racial equality. We have two or three more issues of Inside News, but we’re searching for more. We’ll share them as we find them.     

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The Naked City Aug 9 2009
THRILL KILL KULTS
Bye bye Miss American Pie.

Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger and Steven Parent were murdered forty years ago today in Los Angeles, California. The killings took place just after midnight, and the bodies were discovered in the morning. Popular wisdom tells us this event brought a bloody end to the Summer of Love. As a rule, we don’t buy such easy labeling, but there’s no argument Tate was unusually lovely and her slaying while eight months pregnant was shocking, cruel and almost cosmically unfair. Her death also marked the beginning of the Sharon Tate and Charles Manson celebrity cults. The Tate cult consists of internet sites that rhapsodize over her beauty and talent, along with real-world victim advocacy groups determined to see that the Manson killers, and murderers in general, remain behind bars. And at the opposite end of the spectrum are the Manson fetishists, who mainly think he was innocent and who operate at least a few well-trafficked websites where crime scene photos are picked apart for supposed inconsistencies, and assorted straw man arguments are constructed and torn down. We were particularly fascinated by one forum dominated by a person who kept urging others to read up on the facts of “rigamortis.” Our view: if you posture as an expert on a subject, at least learn to spell it correctly. Below we offer up a selection of Manson/Tate images, a couple of which we borrowed from here.

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Mondo Bizarro Dec 29 2008
OFF WITH HIS HEAD
This photo is an obvious fake.

You know, we see a lot of bad Photoshop and weak paste-up around here, but this truly takes the cake. There’s always a telltale sign of fakery, but in this case, the sheer realism of this National Examiner cover from forty-four years ago today reveals it as a phony. Never in the annals of pulpdom has a severed head looked this authentic—which pretty much exposes it as a scam. No pulp publication—not even Pulp Intl., and certainly not the obscure National Examiner—has ever had a writer or photographer present for an actual news story. We just rewrite that shit like we were there. Spare us, okay?

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 15
1920—League of Nations Holds First Session
The first assembly of the League of Nations, the multi-governmental organization formed as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, is held in Geneva, Switzerland. The League begins to fall apart less than fifteen years later when Germany withdraws. By the onset of World War II it is clear that the League has failed completely.
1959—Clutter Murders Take Place
Four members of the Herbert Clutter Family are murdered at their farm outside Holcomb, Kansas by Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Smith. The events would be used by author Truman Capote for his 1966 non-fiction novel In Cold Blood, which is considered a pioneering work of true crime writing. The book is later adapted into a film starring Robert Blake.
November 13
1971—Mariner Orbits Mars
The NASA space probe Mariner 9 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit another planet successfully when it begins circling Mars. Among the images it transmits back to Earth are photos of Olympus Mons, a volcano three times taller than Mount Everest and so wide at its base that, due to curvature of the planet, its peak would be below the horizon to a person standing on its outer slope.
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