Remember how mom always used to say she wasn't a dog person?
Above, a minimalist yet arresting cover from the always envelope-pushing National Star Chronicle, published today 1965. This sort of brilliant simplicity—shocking headline, no color, virtually no art—was the paper's trademark during this period. See examples of what we mean here and here.
Love and the single robot.
This National Star Chronicle published today in 1965 doesn’t stand up well against the more colorful Keyhole (above), but it does have Julie Newmar, which is something. The photo that editors opt to use is just a handout, and it’s actually several years older than the issue, having appeared in glamour magazines as far back as 1961. When Newmar says she’s no robot, she’s referring to her role in the television series My Living Doll, in which she played an android named AF 709. In the show she’s created as a blank slate, which prompts her maker to partner her with a psychiatrist played by Bob Cummings, whose job is to program her to behave like an actual woman. We know. We know. The job should probably be given to… erm… a woman, but where’s the fun in that? Anyway, AF 709 is redubbed Rhoda Miller, given over to Cummings, and he tries to teach her things like obedience to males, and to not talk back—yes, really—but she of course develops a few quirks independent of her programming, and hilarity ensues. The show didn’t last long, shockingly, but it did contribute an enduring catchphrase to the American lexicon: “Does not compute.”
Chronicle of a death foretold.
We’ve shown you a lot of early- and mid-1960s examples of the American tabloid National Star Chronicle, but for a change we have late stage Chronicle, published today in 1973. A decade on we see no substantial differences except that the layout is cluttered and hard on the eyes. Compared to other tabs of the time Chronicle is incredibly tame—there’s only a smidge of nudity, very little mayhem, and not even one story about monkeys performing oral sex on strippers. It almost feels like Chronicle is on life support, like all the trusted scribes and typesetters were let go in favor of cheapie replacements—and indeed we strongly suspect 1973 was the paper’s last year.
Chronicle’s death was probably a good thing, not just because of all the sloppy margins and crooked insets they began passing off as actual graphic design, but because when Sally Struthers and Alice Cooper are your frontline celebs there’s little doubt your peak journalistic years have passed. But even if there’s a serious dearth of good tabloid fodder in this issue, we did note the article that touted tax reform by citing instances of 24,000 wealthy Americans paying only 4.13% and 276 paying 0%, thanks to assorted loopholes for the rich. Back then such cases were outliers, whereas today, alas not so much. But fret not. There will always be bread and circuses for all us overtaxed middle masses—and we’ll do our part here on Pulp Intl. by continuing to share plenty of distracting tabloids.
Chronicle of a death foretold.
Above, the cover of a National Star Chronicle published forty-five years ago today with prostitution, sex games, and the murder of a recalcitrant wife. And of course a horny, manhunting model. All in all, pretty tame for the Chronicle. We have twelve more covers you can see by clicking here.
But with fiends like these who needs enemies?
National Star Chronicle generally didn’t bother with fluff or humor. That was for other tabloids. Chronicle’s thing was torture, gore, murder, rape, incest, and tragedy, and if you couldn’t handle it that was your own damn problem. On this cover from today in 1965 readers learn that a little girl forgave the fiend who imprisoned her and shot out her eye. Amazing, considering most people won’t even forgive the guy who forgot to hold the pickles last time they ordered a sub at Quizno’s. But is the story true? We doubt it. As always, we’re amazed people actually bought this tabloid, considering the competition offered nudity, celebrity gossip, and humor, but there’s no accounting for taste. More Chronicle to come.
National Star Chronicle makes use of the classic vamp/victim stereotype.
And as long as we’re at it, here’s a cover of the continually provocative National Star Chronicle, from today in 1967, with a story about an undertaker/rapist. Are you sensing a theme? Is this cover and the one in the post above not a case of two pigs feeding at the same trough? These stories represent the diametric extremes of ’60s sleaze tabloids—woman as ravaged sex victim/ravenous sex beast, which is a slight variation on Freud’s Madonna/whore complex, the twist here being that the Madonna loses her purity at the hands of a rapist. At least that’s how it seems to us. But what do we know? A psychologist or sociologist might have something useful to say, but in school we majored in vodka, so our insights are probably limited. Maybe we’ll get back to this after we consult our resident experts on the evils of men—our girlfriends. More tabloids coming soon.
He was only trying to minister to his flock.
National Star Chronicle cover from today 1965. You can see nine more weird and wonderful Chronicle covers by clicking here.
Maybe she should have just washed his mouth out with soap.
Here’s more from the National Star Chronicle with a cover from today in 1964. Just FYI, ammonia boils at –28 Fahrenheit, which means it’s pretty difficult to handle as a liquid, and is a gas at room temperature. True science, untrue story.
The trick of tabloid journalism is to always keep you guessing.
Above is a cover of National Star Chronicle which appeared this month in 1964 with a story about a twenty-year-old Argentine woman named Margarita Andrade, who we’re told was kidnapped and forced to take part in an orgy. “I was compelled to perform sexual acts that I had never heard of before,” she says. “I’m too ashamed to describe what I had to do—and what was done to me.” And then she goes on to describe it. Short version—she was stripped and shoved into a room filled with naked men and women engaged in unnatural sex acts. Which raises the question—if they had enough consenting perverts to fill a room why did they need someone who would scream, scratch, and kick various fat dudes in the nuts? And considering the severity of the crimes, why did they later take her "to a deserted spot near the town of Monte Grande and shove her out of the car," thus allowing her to be a witness and make it onto the cover of national newspapers? Mystifying, no? But this story may not be a complete fabrication. National Star Chronicle was mostly fiction, but it was often mixed with a speck of truth, kind of like here. So in the end we'll never know. That's the trick of tabloid journalism—just when you think you can write it off, they throw something (semi) real at you.
National Star Chronicle gets udderly ridiculous.
Above, a cover of the New York City-based National Star Chronicle published today 1965. This is a page from our big book of tabloid covers, which means we don’t have the inside and can’t tell you which illness these cattle supposedly had. Mad cow disease maybe? Well if they were mad before, they must be furious now. Bada bing!
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1944—Vive la France
With the surrender of the last occupying German garrison, Paris is liberated from Nazi occupation by Allied troops after six days of fighting. The city had been administered by Nazi Germany since the Second Compiègne armistice in June 1940 when Germany occupied the north and west of France and when the Vichy regime was created in the city of Vichy in central France.
1954—Communist Party Outlawed
In the U.S., during the height of the Red Scare, President Dwight Eisenhower signs the Communist Control Act into law. The new legislation bans the American Communist Party, and prohibits people deemed to be communists from serving as officials in labor organizations.
1968—France Explodes Nuke
a two-stage nuclear weapon, codenamed Canopus, on Fangataufa, French Polynesia.
1942—Battle of Stalingrad Begins
The Battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the most pivotal event of World War II, begins. It lasts for more than six months, spread across the brutal Russian winter, and ends with two million casualties. The Russian sacrifice reduces the powerful German army to a shell of its former self, and as a result Nazi defeat in the war becomes a simple matter of time.
1979—Alexander Gudonov Defects
Russian ballet dancer and actor Alexander Borisovich Godunov defects to the U.S. The event causes an international diplomatic crisis, but Gudonov manages to win asylum. He joins the famous American Ballet Theater, where he becomes a colleague of fellow-defector Mikhail Baryshnikov, and later earns roles in such Hollywood films as Witness and Die Hard.
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