Hollywoodland May 14 2010
WITNESS FOR THE PERSECUTION
1958 Whisper cover cleverly promises readers intensified efforts digging up celebrity dirt.

That was quick, wasn’t it? Here’s another Whisper, this one from May 1958, which is an important date because it was the month that original publisher Robert Harrison sold out to a publishing group led by Sy Steirman. Peter Driben’s monthly cover art had disappeared years before, but this clever inversion of the maxim about three monkeys that hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil almost makes up for Driben’s absence. And what we like best about it is that the idea is conveyed with no words at all. With a glance, readers knew the new Whisper would be getting deep down in the Hollywood muck to entertain them. But the magazine did not exactly live up to that promise, because it had already been sued for obscenity. Steirman actually toned Whisper down, and newstand sales suffered. Whisper lasted for another fifteen years, but was never again the imprint that struck terror into the hearts of Hollywood celebs.

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Modern Pulp Mar 8 2010
DRIBEN LESSONS
It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Or better yet, just don't get caught.

We were out barhopping not long ago when we spotted this promo poster on the wall of one of the many joints we visited. You’ll notice most of the text is in English. That’s because Ondarra sort of markets itself to the expat Brit crowd here. Anyway, after a couple of attempts to adequately photograph the poster, we just ripped it down and departed, because hey, why not? This particular poster features the work of mid-century pin-up artist Peter Driben, who painted covers for the Robert Harrison-operated pulp mags Wink, Flirt, Beauty Parade, and others. Driben is one of the most important and prolific pulp illustrators, so we’ll be stealing—or, ahem, borrowing—some more of his work in the future. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 29
1914—RMS Empress Sinks
Canadian Pacific Steamships' 570 foot ocean liner Empress of Ireland is struck amidships by a Norwegian coal freighter and sinks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the loss of 1,024 lives. Submerged in 130 feet of water, the ship is so easily accessible to treasure hunters who removed valuables and bodies from the wreck that the Canadian government finally passes a law in 1998 restricting access.
May 28
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
May 27
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
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