Intl. Notebook May 23 2021
ECLIPSE OF THE MOON
Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck wrote an unpublished werewolf novel.

In what qualifies around here as blockbuster news, it turns out literary master John Steinbeck wrote a werewolf novel. Rejected by publishers in 1930, it's currently under lock and key at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin. The Steinbeck estate has so far declined to authorize its release. Titled Murder at Full Moon, it's reportedly a 233-page typescript, and as a bonus contains a couple of illustrations drawn by Steinbeck.
 
We'd love to read it. We'd enjoy comparing it to Guy Endore's werewolf novel The Werewolf of Paris, which was published in 1933. But if we had to guess, we'd say the public will have wait a long while for Steinbeck's moon tale to rise. What is there to gain when his reputation is pure platinum and his books—particularly The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, which are required reading for students the length and breadth of the U.S.—still sell? But you never know. The smell of money affects people like the smell of blood affects werewolves. Even when they're already full they want another bite.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 11 2018
ALL IN THE SAME BOAT
Bankhead and Co. try to deal with an ocean of differences.


The best thing about Lifeboat is Tallulah Bankhead. Simple as that. Top billed, tasked with bringing a complex character to life, and working in a film with huge expectations because it was written by literary laureate John Steinbeck and helmed by internationally renowned director Alfred Hitchcock, she delivers the goods. If you haven't seen it, it's an adventure and character study about a group of cruise ship passengers who survive a German u-boat attack and find themselves adrift on the Atlantic Ocean. There's a tinge of war propaganda to it, a touch of we're-humans-and-the-other-side-aren't, but when you consider that Germany was a genocidal regime, and news reports had been touching on this fact for two years (though visual evidence wouldn't appear until after May 1945) Lifeboat is remarkably subtle in that regard.

Anyway, if you ever want to see a star go full nova, check this film out—Bankhead is funny, bitter, sly, ironic, desperate, and more, helped along by reliable old William Bendix, as well as Hume Cronyn, Mary Anderson, and Walter Slezak in a pivotal role. And I guess we don't have to tell you one of Hitchcock's most famous stories came from this movie, the one about his camera accidentally getting upskirt shots of a pantyless Bankhead, and the question of whether the problem was one for hair, make-up, or wardrobe.

The poster above is a really nice piece of mid-century promo art and we spent a lot of computer time trying to discover who painted it, but to no avail. That wasn't a surprise, though. It's a painted version of the photo-illustration used on the panel length promo you see below, which means it's basically a copy job that numerous artists could have executed. But it's still nice compositionally, with its beautiful blue coloration, bright yellow title, and diagonal arrangement of faces. Lifeboat premiered in the U.S. today in 1944.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 24 2017
LOFT EXPECTATIONS
There's nothing quite like a roll in the hay.


You'd think we'd eventually run out of themes in mid-century paperbacks, but the possibilities are seemingly endless. We can add illicit love in the hayloft to the many other time honored subjects exploited by paperback publishers. We've already shared several covers along these lines, such as this one, this one, and this one, but today we have an entire set for your enjoyment. Personally, we've never had sex in a hayloft—in fact, we've never even had the opportunity—but we imagine that once you get past the smelly manure and the scratchy hay and the jittery animals it's pretty fun. Or maybe not. There are also numerous books, incidentally, that feature characters trysting by outdoor haystacks, but for today we want to stay inside the barn. Thanks to all the original uploaders of these covers.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 28 2011
AMERICAN COUSIN
Our favorite magazine Adam had a relative on the other side of the world.

We’ve now posted eighteen issues of the great Australian men’s magazine Adam. But there was an American Adam too, unaffiliated with the Aussie mag (as far as we know) that published identical content during the same period. There were three major differences, though—the American Adam did not have painted pulp-style covers like Aussie Adam, it had access to more widely known actors and authors, and it showcased nude photography years earlier. For example, the above American Adam, from August 1966, has rising star Raquel Welch, famous glamour babe June Wilkinson, fiction from John Steinbeck and Harlan Ellison, and an extensive and revealing feature on burlesque. It also has a centerfold of Vicky Kennedy, aka Margaret Nolan, who appeared in Goldfinger, among numerous other films, and was one of the more popular nude models of the 1960s. We have thirty scans of all this below. 

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Intl. Notebook Apr 19 2010
DUST IN THE WIND
Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and sky.

The other day we posted a note in our history rewind about the giant dust storms that raged across the U.S. during the Great Depression. Those storms—and the dust bowl in general—were a central feature of the pulp age, and after we saw the photos of the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland we were reminded yet again, so we thought we’d revisit the subject today. Above and below you see assorted images of the types of Depression-era dust storms that featured prominently in the works of everyone from John Steinbeck to William Wister Haines, and remain an indelible part of American history. They also remind us that our hold over the environment is tenuous at best and, in the end, we’re but guests on a planet that will long outlast us. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 10 2009
MR. GOODWRENCH
He’s always hanging around.


William Wister Haines wrote six screenplays, saw several books adapted to film, and was considered by some to be a literary talent on the level of John Steinbeck. But you’d never know any of that from looking at the cover art for his Depression-era novel Slim, with its shirtless hunk of burnin’ love casually doing a little pole smoking. The novel was mainly a drama about the dangerous working conditions for electrical linemen, but Bantam opted to sex it up a bit for the 1957 re-issue with a cover that looks like a Marlboro ad. We hope Slim remembered his sunblock.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 25
2002—Mystery Space Object Crashes in Russia
In an occurrence known as the Vitim Event, an object crashes to the Earth in Siberia and explodes with a force estimated at 4 to 5 kilotons by Russian scientists. An expedition to the site finds the landscape leveled and the soil contaminated by high levels of radioactivity. It is thought that the object was a comet nucleus with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.
September 24
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
September 23
1952—Chaplin Returns to England
Silent movie star Charlie Chaplin returns to his native England for the first time in twenty-one years. At the time it is said to be for a Royal Society benefit, but in reality Chaplin knows he is about to be banned from the States because of his political views. He would not return to the U.S. for twenty years.
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