They fought the law and the law won.
Indeed guns don't argue. Rarely have truer words screamed from a movie poster, and we've come across few titles more fitting for a crime film. What you get here is a narrated docudrama about how U.S. federal agents began to carry guns, and use them. In the past they hadn't been authorized to do so, but faring poorly against machine gun-toting gangsters like Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger, and Bonnie and Clyde changed that. Pretty soon we see g-men picking off criminals like tin ducks in a shooting gallery, and the narrator drones lines such as, “Like flies to a sticky bun the curious clustered at the sound of the excitement.” Mmm... sticky buns.
The movie was edited together from three episodes of the moralizing 1952 television series Gangbusters and released on the national b-circuit in September 1957. It's as slapdash as it sounds, cheap as single-ply toilet paper, clumsily scripted, and hilariously acted by the likes of Jeanne Carmen, Myron Healey, and Lash La Rue. We recommend giving it a pass unless you want to subject it to the Mystery Science Theatre treatment—i.e. watch it with booze and smart-ass friends. But even if the movie purely sucks, we had to show you this poster. It's quite a nice item. We have a zoom on selling point Jeanne Carmen below. Guns Don't Argue premiered in the U.S. this month in 1957.
Better late than never is our motto around here.
We're finally getting back to paperback artist Gene Bilbrew, whose odd style, with its scantily clad women and their muscular butts has become collectible in recent years. We didn't get it at first, but like a lot of art, once you're exposed to it regularly you begin to appreciate its unique qualities. There's clear intent in Bilbrew's work, a deliberate attempt to approach illustration from a different angle, and we've grown to understand that his cartoonish, chaotic, often humorous, and often bondage themed aesthetic is purposeful. In fact, his imagery has become so intertwined with the bdsm scene that in 2019 the National Leather Association International established an award named after Bilbrew for creators of animated erotic art. While it's not exactly a Pulitzer Prize, the point is that Bilbrew's bizarre visions keep gaining wider acceptance. So for that reason we've put together another group of his paperback fronts. You can see more of them here, here, and here, and you can see a few rare oddities here, here, and here.
This looks nothing like you two, does it? Well, truthfully I’m not an artist—I just wanted to see you both naked.
“Mother. Daughter. They Both Wanted Him!” That sums up Myron Brinig’s 1950 novel No Marriage in Paradise about as neatly as possible. The mother, whose unlikely name is Alix, and the daughter, whose even more unlikely name is Duff, end up rivals for the mother’s latest younger boyfriend, an artist named Pete. When the daughter steals Pete and runs away to marry him that throws Alix, who had never had trouble attracting men, into an existential crisis. Best way to solve that? Another man. Despite the seeming sleaze elements here, Brinig was a serious writer, often discussed as part of a cohort of pre-World War II Jewish writers born in the U.S. who mined their parents’ or grandparents’ immigrant experiences for fiction. Brinig, who worked between 1929 and 1958, was also among the first to explore gay characters in American novels. The cover art for No Marriage in Paradise is uncredited but very probably by Ed Paulsen, and almost—but not quite—fits into our themed collection of artists and models. You can see that amusing group here.
This is the pleasure department, sir. Pain was consolidated here after last month’s corporate downsizing.
More fun sleaze today, a cover for Myron Kosloff’s 1964 opus Dial “P” for Pleasure, from First Niter, a subsidiary of Connoisseur Publications, with Eric Stanton cover art. You get sexual hijinks at the Hotel Park-Ritz, with swapping, bondage, lesbianism, and all the other fun things in life. This was, if you can believe, made into a porn movie of the same name in 1978 starring Susan Wong and Sharon Mitchell.
Despite best efforts the perpetrator remains unknown.
We’re sharing this hyperviolent true crime magazine front because the art resembles that from yesterday’s post of Tom Palmer covers for The Crime Machine. Crime Does Not Pay has no art credits, so we can’t be sure who painted the covers, but we doubt it’s Tom Palmer because, while similar in mood, Crime Does Not Pay is more cartoonish. Artists' styles evolve, of course, and a couple of years separate the two magazines, but we still doubt it's the same guy. We checked every site online that deals in these sorts of publications and none of them had a name. We also have two full issues of Crime Does Not Pay and there are definitely no art credits anywhere inside, and the pieces are unsigned to boot, so we don’t even have a pair of initials or some illegible scrawl to work from. So the above cover art—brilliant and ingenious—remains uncredited. See the other three examples of Crime Does Not Pay here, here, and here.
Cruel and unusual punishment.
We’ve already shared a couple of issues of Myron Fass’s true crime magazine Crime Does Not Pay. You can see those here and here. This issue is from October 1970 and features yet another hapless victim of diabolical torture. This is probably the most extreme piece we’ve seen from this magazine (notice the two women in the rear awaiting the same treatment) and of course it’s uncredited, but it does resemble Fass’s own work, actually. Crime Does Not Pay had featured regular tabloid-style covers since its launch in 1968, but sometime in late 1969 Fass decided to use the same sort of violent, painted covers that had been appearing on his other imprints like Weird and Terror Tales. These painted issues of Crime Does Not Pay are incredibly rare—so far we’ve seen four. But we’ll keep looking.
Tabloid journalism is all about finding the quickest way from A to B.
We’ve never seen this one before. It’s the American tabloid Limelight, published today in 1966, with someone who looks quite a bit like famed nude model Margaret Nolan on the cover posing as the title story’s jilted lover. This is an example of what we like to think of as editorial economy—i.e., the process of getting from raw material to end story in the most concise way possible. You have a photo of a woman wearing a man’s suit jacket and—voilà!—you write a story that the jacket is all she has left of a boyfriend who (this is where “tabloid” comes in) changed his sex. Ingenious, really. Actually, it might have been even more economical to write that the woman used to be a man and wears the jacket out of sadness and nostalgia: Woman Who Was Once Man Says Sex Change Was a Mistake. We have a feeling sleaze publisher nonpareil Myron Fass was behind this newspaper. Limelight is not listed anywhere as one of his publications, but we doubt those lists are complete. We’ll dig for more info.
Hey, Boss, am I the only one this is putting in the mood for crème brûlée flambé?
Today we have another copy of Myron Fass’s true crime magazine Crime Does Not Pay, with one of its infamous torture covers. We thought the last one was bad, but this time the uncredited artist opts to depict the dreaded blowtorch treatment. This issue is from September 1969, and inside you get stories on Vito Genovese, Elliot Ness, Bugsy Siegel, Abe Hummel, Charles Ponzi, and various other crooks, cops, feds, crooked cops, and crooked feds. Twenty-one scans below, and you can see more gory goodness from Crime Does Not Pay here.
Once upon a crime in America.
Myron Fass knew how to sell magazines, especially violent, lurid, depraved magazines. Crime Does Not Pay (not the same as the identically named comic book) is a perfect example. Basically it was just a true crime magazine, but with a focus on iconic American crimes and criminals, with a liberal dose of splatter thrown in. Some of the covers were crime scene photos, but examples we’ve seen from 1969 featured beautiful (if extremely gory) paintings that we suspect appealed to readers younger than those who normally bought crime mags. Above, for example, you see the cover of the December 1969 issue (no artist info appears in the masthead, sadly). Below are twenty-five images, including shots of Charles Starkweather, John Dillinger, Al Capone, Bonnie Parker, Lester Gillis on a slab, and more. You can read a bit more about Myron Fass here.
And the wiener is…
Above, a cover of Myron Fass’s over-the-top tabloid National Mirror, published today in 1969. Our choice for best story: “Crazed Firemen Put Out Fire Naturally.” How much you wanna bet the phrase “weenie roast” pops up in there somewhere? See more National Mirror here and here.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1941—Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor
The Imperial Japanese Navy sends aircraft to attack the U.S. Pacific Fleet and its defending air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. While the U.S. lost battleships and other vessels, its aircraft carriers were not at Pearl Harbor and survived intact, robbing the Japanese of the total destruction of the Pacific Fleet they had hoped to achieve.
1989—Anti-Feminist Gunman Kills 14
In Montreal, Canada, at the École Polytechnique, a gunman shoots twenty-eight young women with a semi-automatic rifle, killing fourteen. The gunman claimed to be fighting feminism, which he believed had ruined his life. After the killings he turns the gun on himself and commits suicide.
1933—Prohibition Ends in United States
Utah becomes the 36th U.S. state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution, thus establishing the required 75% of states needed to overturn the 18th Amendment which had made the sale of alcohol illegal. But the criminal gangs that had gained power during Prohibition are now firmly established, and maintain an influence that continues unabated for decades.
1945—Flight 19 Vanishes without a Trace
During an overwater navigation training flight from Fort Lauderdale, five U.S. Navy TBM Avenger torpedo-bombers lose radio contact with their base and vanish. The disappearance takes place in what is popularly known as the Bermuda Triangle.
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