There's nothing quite as stimulating as a vintage sleazy tabloid.
When the phonograph was invented, one of the things its advocates suggested was that it might be used for education, for example to listen to correspondence courses at home. Instead, in time it became a medium for selling music. When radio was invented it too was called a possible method for distance learning, and television was likewise touted as an educational device. And most of you will remember the high-minded rhetoric of what the internet would be used for. But today it's mainly a cesspool of crass salesmanship, lowbrow entertainment, mass manipulation, and intellectual self harm. So we thought we'd add to the morass today by sharing the infinitely sleazy National Informer Reader.
This issue in all its baby blue glory appeared today in 1975 with an unidentified cover model. The magazine, you may remember from previous times we've featured it, was an offshoot of National Informer, and a pared down version of National Informer Weekly Reader. The “reader” aspect is close to euphemistic, as there is no actual reportage at all, and the few stories provided are just short form sleaze fiction. We've talked about all this before. Today, for a change, we thought it might be fun to focus on the want ads. Or maybe hope ads is a more accurate description. The term “dick pic” is a recent invention, we think, but it probably should have arisen a long time ago. Check below:
He probably should have cropped the photo down to only his left-hanging dick (his left, not yours) to have a better shot at a response. In any case, the flourishing of the mid-century tabloid industry will remind you that mass communication has always bred lowbrow gratification. Some say the internet supercharged our darkest desires, and that's true, but we never actually needed digital technology to let our ids run free. Even pulp literature, with its murder, infidelities, and testosterone driven fantasies, is an example of the marginal blossoming into the mainstream. Well, there are few publications as marginal as National Informer Reader, as you'll see in twenty scans below with numerous explicit personal ads. Check our tabloid index for more examples of Reader.
Cheapie tabloid shows the way to enriched health.
Above is the cover and below are some interior scans from National Informer Reader, an offshoot of the tabloid National Informer. It hit newsstands today in 1971. Generally the publication featured photographed models on its cover, but we've run across a few like this one with illustrations. There's another one in the same vein inside the paper, and of course both are uncredited, though they look like the work of Alain Gourdon, aka Aslan. Needless to say, if these drawings are the work of the famed French illustrator, the editors of Informer Reader are unlikely to have paid for them.
The centerpiece of this issue is the spread on Swami Sarasvati, a famous yoga teacher who was born in India but moved to Australia and in 1969 became the host of a yoga television show that aired five mornings a week. Informer Reader shares her “sexercises,” but this turns out to be the editors' salacious take on things—the Swami is merely offering relaxation and better health. It's interesting, though, that she posed in a bikini. Clearly she wasn't so zen a little self promotional skin was out of the question. You'll notice her Siamese cat makes an appearance. There's a video online of the Swami being interviewed, which you can see here, and amusingly, the cat makes an appearance there too.
Elsewhere in the issue readers get another installment of “I Predict” by seer Mark Travis. Never timid, this time around he warns that the U.S. and Soviet Union will develop lightning weapons to blast each other, that a member of the British parliament will be revealed as a modern Jack the Ripper, and that a famous Hollywood producer will be exposed as a drug kingpin. As a prognosticator you only have to be right one in ten times to impress people, but Travis isn't even giving himself a chance with these crackpot predictions. We have more Readers to upload, so we'll see if his anemic percentage improves. Scans below.
One decade down, another to go.
So today is Pulp Intl.'s anniversary, and a special one, as we've now been around ten full years. Yeah, it's crazy. When we began there were numerous blogs and websites that we admired and drew inspiration from, and all of them are gone or permanently idle now. A few new ones have popped up and we can only hope they last. Pulp Intl. came about because we had moved out of the U.S. and wanted something to eat up the idle hours we'd benefitted. Mostly we partied those hours away, but there were still a few left and Pulp duly sprang forth. We figured maybe ten or twenty people might drop by per week. Last we checked that number had reached more than 7,000 individual visitors per day, and in the summer it has been as many as 14,000. Per day. It's just shocking. So we definitely want to thank every one of you for dropping by, and particularly those who visit time and again, with a special shout to those who write in with corrections and ideas.
We've scanned and uploaded thousands of original images, and seen them reposted tens of thousands of times on Tumblr, Twitter, and various other platforms. We have more to come. We shot photos of some items we have laying around the flat, just to give you an idea. It's not a complete accounting. We have things we're too lazy to pull out of storage right now. In all, scanning and sharing this stuff should take ten more years. Of course, as some wit once pointed out, plans and life are two different things—often diametrically opposed. Anything could happen, up to and including losing everything in a fire or the Pulp Intl. girlfriends—who are real people, by the way, not some concept we came up with—finally getting fed up and threatening to leave or kill us if we don't shut down the website. But they'd never do that because they're the best. Heh heh. Anyway, thank you everyone for these ten years. It's been incredibly fun for us and we hope you've gotten a few laughs out of it, learned a few things, and had a love of vintage media instilled or just reaffirmed. And now—future here we come...
National Informer Reader delves into the intricacies of male birth control.
By today in 1974, which is when this issue of National Informer Reader appeared, the magazine was nearing its end. It's easy to tell. There's less content than in pervious years, and there's a proliferation of penny-ante ads in the front half of the layout. In the magazine world it's understood that ads in the front are the ones most often seen by readers. The back page and inside back page are prime sports too, but otherwise it's the front half of the book that makes publishers money because advertisers pay more for it. But readers will skip past ads if they aren't adjacent to editorial content, so there needs to be a careful balance between the two. In this Reader that balance is gone. The entirety of pages two through seven are given over to ads and personals. You wanna know what angry is? Try the angry of an advertiser that opens your magazine and sees that his or her ad is surrounded not by readable content that keeps the reader on the page, but by other ads.
But there are still some treats even in a late stage Reader. “Older Women Are Flocking To Massage Parlors Run By Young Virile Studs” is pure gold, just for that descriptive header alone. But sometimes a header is so bizarre there's no way to tell what the story is about. “New Vasectomy Ties Tell Women Who To Date.” Huh? What the hell kind of ties do they mean? Like the ones they use to tie your tubes? Turns out they mean it literally. A vasectomy clinic in London allegedly gave patients neckties with Vs running down the front, indicating the wearer had been snipped. And supposedly women flocked to these guys. We've been unable to corroborate the story, but it feels different from the second rate bull tabloid editors usually concoct—heh, we said coct—so we suspect it's truthful. And fittingly, there's cock in this issue, and not on slobs either—on nice looking guys, though none are swinging low, if you know what we mean. But still, something for our female readers. And male readers too. You're welcome. Cock and bull below.
What’s scarier than National Informer Reader? Actually daring to look inside.
On the opposite end of the tabloid spectrum from yesterday’s Top Secret, we have an issue of National Informer Reader published today in 1971. You may remember our previous entries on National Informer Weekly Reader. What you see above is simply the earlier, monthly iteration of the same rag. You wanna be scared on Halloween? Just peel back the cover on this baby.
Reader editors start by donning their anthropology hats and telling readers that by the year 2000 there will be 2.5 women on Earth for every man. You know what that means right? “In the year 2000 men will be catered to by women as in no other era in the history of mankind. Every week will be a special week dedicated in some way to the male sex. For instance, one week will be called National Sex Week, and if a man gives at the office he doesn’t have to give at home. 2000 is the start of the era when men will have the whip hand.”
Because men need more control, right? Well, if that prospect isn’t frightening enough, Reader tells us California is a breeding ground for devil-worshipping cults, drugs are destroying family life via osmosis from bad neighbors, virgin women are lamentably impossible to find anymore, and psychopathic outlaws and sex perverts have invaded America’s freewheeling outdoor music festivals. Readers also get to solve a murder mystery (which you can try below). All very scary.
Elsewhere in the issue, readers get Raquel Welch (just below) in a promo shot from Myra Breckenridge, and two photos of Malta-born British twins Mary and Madeleine Collinson, who posed together for Playboy’sOctober 1970 centerfold and were the first (but not last) identical twins to do so. Both also appeared in movies, always together, because, well, twins. Their most remembered feature is Hammer’s schlock vampire classic Twins of Evil (although only one twin is a vampire in the movie). Sadly, Madeleine Collinson died last month on Malta
Lastly, Sophia Loren urges women to have sex before marriage. Loren describes women as “ridiculously moral. So they go out and marry a man without having a love affair first to find out if they are compatible.” Any potential husband, she says, might be anything from a sadist to a eunuch, and she recommends premarital sex, trial cohabitation, and state mandated probationary marriage that doesn’t legalize until three years have passed.
We have a few scans below, about fifteen issues of National Informer and National Informer Weekly Reader we’ve already shared (we’ll get you started in the archives here, here, here, and here), and we have nine more issues we hope to get through eventually. If that prospect doesn’t scare you nothing will. |
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
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