Vintage Pulp Jan 30 2024
HIGH CONCEPT
It's a beautiful Window even if it doesn't illuminate the identity of the cover artist.


Above: a cover scan of Raymond Chandler's thriller The High Window. This book sold on Sotheby's a while back for more than 5K. It was published in 1943 in identical editions by British imprint Hamish Hamilton and Australia's George Jaboor with cover art that's signed but uncredited inside. It's possibly the work of British painter John Hewitt. He was born in 1922, which would make this an (extremely) early effort. But maybe he was a prodigy. With connections that could get him into the commercial art scene by age twenty-one. Okay, no. Alternatively, this could be the work of Don Hewitt, a British painter born in 1904. He repatriated with his parents to the U.S. in 1907, but could have later worked for an across-the-pond publisher, we suppose. Publishing continued there even during World War II. How Hewitt got his art to London we can't speculate. So, probably not him either. Call it unattributed, then. If you want to know what The High Window is about, check our earlier musings here.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 18 2023
FARRINGTON ENOUGH
Horwitz Publications perfectly red the paperback market.


For a while we were tracking the possibly unlicensed usage by Australian imprint Horwitz Publications of celebrities on its paperback covers. We fell down on the job a bit. The last one we looked at was two years ago.
 
The red-haired model used above on Carter Brown's thriller No Halo for Hedy is Playboy centerfold and nightclub performer Colleen Farrington, who was the mother of actress Diane Lane. The book originally appeared in 1956, and the above reprint came in 1959. This photo used for the cover is rare. We've seen no other shot of Farrington in these capri pants. Presumably, at one point multiple frames from the session existed, but time disposes of such items. However, it can't diminish the beauty of this cover. You can see all of our Horwitz celeb covers by clicking here.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 8 2023
GONE OVERBOARD
I see a tiny island! If we make it there we can recite captions from classic castaway cartoons until we're rescued!

We have another issue of Adam today, with a fun cover illustrating Ron Rawcliffe's story, “The Nine Strippers.” Obviously, with a title like that we had to read it, and it deals with a charter boat captain hired to take nine exotic entertainers upriver into the wilderness under mysterious circumstances, and it turns out they've been hired by an organized crime cabal. When the gathering is raided by federal police the captain must escape intact with bullets flying, strippers fleeing, and mafiosi trying to hijack his boat. Also in this issue of Adam you get fiction by Leonard Calhoun and John P. Gilders, plus a bit of boxing and a lot of models, including German born Israeli actress Helena Ronée just below, and French actress Catherine Rouvel in the feature "She Wins Them All." And circling back to the cover and its two potential castaways, look forward to this: we have another set of castaway cartoons coming up.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 28 2023
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
To the inexperienced eye she looks unarmed, but her moral outrage and certainty that men are always wrong will prevail.


This cover of Adam magazine dates from July 1969, and as always there's conflict depicted. The art illustrates Ted Schurmann's story, “Deadly Efficient,” which is about a disgruntled secretary who helps rob her employer. What's she disgruntled about? Well, it's a story from a 1969 men's magazine, so what do you think the problem would be? That's right—her boss doesn't love her. But the very hour after the robbery, the boss calls up the secretary (not knowing yet that his office has been ransacked) and admits he has feelings for her, which leaves her to try to undo the theft before it's discovered. That effort backfires in the expected ways, leaving the corpse of her accomplice and a lot of questions behind. It's a decent story, so we weren't surprised Schurmann also published a couple of novels. But it looks as if Adam may have given him his first shot. Its role as a platform for new writers is yet another reason it was one of the best men's magazine around. We have twenty-five scans below, including a shot of British model/actress Eve Eden in panel twelve.
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Vintage Pulp Jul 24 2023
A COLORFUL MAN
Interesting, full of stories, and very well read.

As much as we love K.G. Murray Publishing's men's magazine Adam, especially during its early 1970s period, we have to admit that the succinctly titled Man is probably the prettiest magazine ever produced by the Aussie company. Today's issue from this month in 1964 is an example. The colors explode from the pages. The art, some of which is by Jack Waugh and the single-monikered Humph, is detailed and lovingly rendered. The format is large (so much so that we had to scan every page you see here in two parts and assemble them in GIMP). And the stories are pure male wish fulfillment.

The magazine was such a popular offering that K.G. Murray even published a pocket edition, which we've already shown you. In today's full-sized edition, as always you get several beautiful models, including one supposedly named Van Leman posing on a sea turtle like it's a coin-operated ride outside a Kwik-E-Mart. We imagine the turtle wasn't happy about it, but how can you tell? It's a turtle. They never look happy. Man also provides a few celebrity shots, including of British actress Gloria Paul, and Danish flash-in-the pan Heidi Hansen. All that and more in many scans down under.
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Vintage Pulp Apr 22 2023
CLIFF HANGERS
The story's on the verge of ending badly for all of them.


The above issue of Adam once again features two men about to fall to their deaths while fighting. The magazine used this idea often, including on our last example. The art, which is probably by Jack Waugh, illustrates Eric. J. Drysdale's tale, “Ransom Double-Cross,” about a rich man whose wife is kidnapped for $200,000 ransom. He later learns that she's in on the scheme and wants to have him murdered so she can inherit everything. But you can't keep a good man down. His wife goes over a cliff, as do her two accomplices. The inside front cover of this issue is graced by Italian actress and occasional space femme Ornella Muti, while the rear cover model, just above, is familiar, but unidentified for now. We'll have more from Adam later.

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Femmes Fatales Apr 5 2023
A SERIOUS SPLAYER
Ever since I started wearing a holster in front like this I've really started to see the point of manspreading.

This odd promo image of Australian actress Linda Marlowe was made for her 1973 British made thriller The Big Zapper. She plays a private detective hired for a missing persons case. The ’70s brought a wave of women detectives and fixers to movie screens, and we hear that Marlowe's character Harriet Zapper fits in with Foxy Brown, Cleopatra Jones, Pepper Anderson, and creations of that ilk. Those are pretty good ilk, but The Big Zapper had generally bad reviews. We have a copy of the movie, so we'll soon see for ourselves. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 30 2023
FALLING FOR HER
Some men go head over heels for a woman.


We have another of issue of Adam magazine for you to feast your eyes upon. This one was published in January 1973, and the cover illustrates the story, “Death Rail,” in which author Jack Ritchie asks the eternal philosophical question, “What do men think about when they are falling?” The answer is probably: how to land on the other guy. And what does a woman think about? In the story she congratulates herself for having inherited everything that belongs to her falling husband, and all just by making him erroneously believe she was screwing his business partner, and luring the two into a balcony fight. And the twist, unrevealed until the last sentence, is that it was all a misdirection play. She actually had been cheating, but with the chauffeur, not the business partner. Pretty good work from Ritchie, and another excellent effort from Adam.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 15 2023
RESCUE AT SEA
Don't worry! I'm going to get the three of you out of there!


Our girlfriends—affectionately PI-1 and PI-2—rolled their eyes at this one, and why wouldn't they? We did too, but we work with what we're given, and we certainly couldn't ignore the fact that this January 1969 Adam magazine features a cover of a woman whose gravity defying breasts are directly in the center of the art. Men's magazines, those concoctions of macho fantasy set to print, are inherently sexist, but we are mere documentarians of mid-century art, literature, and film—and crime, and weirdness, and sex—in the various forms they take. This one is a particularly eye-catching example.

While literary magazines published prestige fiction, men's mags like Adam carried on the pulp tradition, giving authors without highbrow leanings opportunities to expose their work to wide audiences. Without the efforts of such publications, modern literature might look very different. Stephen King, for example, published many of his early stories in Gallery, a middle-tier smut monthly nobody would have mistaken for Playboy. Speaking of which, Playboy published early works from Ian Fleming, Ursula K. Le Guin, and even serialized the entirety of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in 1954, a year after its initial publication landed with a thud.

As far as we know Adam didn't produce any major writers except James Lee, aka Jim Aitchison, whose Mr. Midnight books were recently made into a series now streaming on Netflix. But failing to graduate lots of future bestselling authors doesn't change what Adam was—a publication that aimed for mass male appeal by merging all the elements of what was once known as pulp. Those elements included mystery, crime, war, exotic adventure, risqué humor, and a dose of relatively tame sexual content. We have all that and more below in thirty-plus scans, and something like seventy-eight issues of Adam embedded in our website.
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Vintage Pulp Dec 1 2022
DOUBLE OR NOTHING
Stanwyck and MacMurray make a dangerous bet


There are still, after all these years, important classic films we've never discussed in detail. We can now cross Double Indemnity off the list. The movie starred Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, and we've looked at its West German poster, had fun with one of its promo images, and talked about its ingenious quasi-remake, but never actually gotten to the movie itself. Well, here we are, and now the question is can we tell you anything you don't already know? Possibly not, but let's start with the Australian daybill, which you see above. It isn't the usual poster you find online, so that's something, anyway.

The movie begins with MacMurray making a confession, then slides into flashback to explain his crime. He plays an insurance salesman for Pacific All Risk who quickly realizes that Stanwyck's interest in secretly purchasing a life insurance policy on her husband is for the purposes of murder and claimant fraud. He resists the scheme at first but Stanwyck convinces him. How? All we see are a few kisses but the answer has to be sex. McMurray is a guy who has experience with women and is so confident with them he's almost glib. He wouldn't agree to murder a guy just because someone is a good kisser.

Thus, temptation nudges him, unseen sex tips him over the edge, and from there he and Stanwyck are off and running with their murder plot. Eventually Stanwyck's husband is found dead on a train track, presumably after falling off the observation car of the Los Angeles-Santa Barbara express, and the crime seems perfect, except the insurance policy that will pay $100,000 brings a tenacious investigator into the picture. That would be Edward G. Robinson in another great performance, and he immediately latches onto an anomaly—Stanwyck's husband didn't file an insurance claim when he broke his leg weeks earlier. Why would a guy who had accident insurance not make a claim? Maybe he didn't know he had accident insurance.

Robinson's role and performance make the movie. He pulls on the single hanging thread that unravels the entire murder plot, and when it starts to come apart it does so almost too fast to believe. There's revelation upon revelation, even reaching years back to the time that Stanwyck's husband was married to another woman, and Stanwyck was that woman's nurse. It's this latter half that makes Double Indemnity a top classic—though make no mistake, it's a film noir clinic even from its first frames, in terms of visuals, structure, music, and direction from Billy Wilder. But when MacMurray's situation deteriorates so quickly and so uncontrollably in the last half, you almost experience the same vertigo and helplessness his character must feel.

Double Indemnity was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and as usual for the Oscars, was beaten in most of its categories by a film that ended up having far less influence—the Bing Crosby musical Going My Way. But time tells the tale. Nobody is calling Going My Way one of the best films ever made, but Double Indemnity was certainly a top ten film noir, and was influential far beyond its niche. The movie opened in the U.S. in the late spring of 1944 and finally reached Australia to dazzle and dismay audiences today, December 1, that same year.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 28
1953—Watson and Crick Unravel DNA
American biologists James D. Watson and Francis Crick tell their friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA. The formal announcement takes place in April following publication in Nature magazine. In 1968, Watson writes The Double Helix, a non-fiction account of not only the discovery of the structure of DNA, but the personalities, conflicts and controversy surrounding the work.
February 27
1922—Challenge to Women's Voting Rights Rebuffed
In the United States, a conservative legal challenge to the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishing voting rights for women is rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Leser v. Garnett. The challenge was based partly on the idea of individual "states rights" to self determination. The failure of such reasoning as it applied to basic human rights created a framework for later states rights losses involving the denial of voting rights to African-Americans.
February 26
1917—First Jazz Record Is Made
In New Orleans, The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band was frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", but in reality all the members had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a group of racially mixed performers who helped form the basis of Dixieland while playing under bandleader George Laine.
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