Vintage Pulp Jul 17 2017
UP TO SPEED
Now you see him, now you don't.


The open road adventure Vanishing Point is one of cinema history's most beloved cult classics. You know the story probably. Barry Newman plays a guy hired to drive a beautiful 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum from Denver to San Francisco. He decides to do it in record time, and this brings him the attention of police, who try to stop him. It's austere, introspective, and mystical, and is an interesting commentary on the rootlessness and disillusionment of Vietnam War vets. Highly recommended. And as a bonus, not only do you get to watch that Challenger move at high speed, but there's the classic naked-woman-riding-her-motorcycle-through-the-desert scene starring Gilda Texter. The scene made Texter famous, but she only appeared in a few more productions. Ironically, though, she had a forty year career in another area of cinema—costume and wardrobe design. We consider Vanishing Point to be her best wardrobe work. You see two Japanese promo posters above, six production photos below, and can see four more, along with further discussion of the film, at this link.

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Vintage Pulp Apr 9 2010
AUTO FOCUS
Baby you can drive my car.


Yesterday, the Pulp girlfriends suggested that the only reason we posted all those album covers was because several of them featured nudity. We're just humble historians, chronicling mid-century art and discussing the social context within which it appeared, so we really hadn't noticed Christina Lindberg's copious, perfectly formed breasts—honest. But because our girlfriends called us voyeurs, we've decided to balance the scales a bit by posting something pretty much all women find exciting—crashing cars. Below is an assortment of Japanese posters for nine automotively-themed, vintage American movies. So there you go girls. If you don't find these exciting, well, we give up trying to figure you out.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 13 2009
DISAPPEARING MAN
Your life can change forever in a thousand miles of open road.

Vanishing Point’s hard-driving anti-hero Kowalski is nobody special before the fateful moment he decides to deliver a Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco in fifteen hours. He has to drive like a bat out of hell to do it, and suddenly what could have been a meaningless trip becomes instead a deadly serious rebuke to authority. Kowalski burns up mile after mile of open road, ripping along in a wash of dust and noise, and occasionally stopping to meet some of the denizens of the vast American west. This is one of the best counterculture movies ever made, in our humble view. Like Easy Rider, it portrays the establishment as fiercely opposed to freedom, and exposes its patriotic rhetoric as empty of substance. The two movies are almost companion pieces, telling us that when you rattle your cage, trouble will always be waiting around the next bend, or just over the horizon. Vanishing Point premiered in the U.S. today, 1971.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.
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