She always wanted people to think of her as sizzling hot.
You don't see many photos like these. They were published in Playboy Italy in 1980, and feature Italian actress Maria Rosaria Omaggio, who appeared in such films as Roma a mano armata, aka The Tough Ones, and Squadra antiscippo, aka The Cop in Blue Jeans. These images are yet more imaginativeness from famed photographer Angelo Frontoni. This time he took his cue from Omaggio when she said she collected writings on witches and the occult. Playboy shared an example: The candelabrum: go at night to the place reputed to hide a treasure, carefully watching the oscillations of the flame. When the flame goes out, it will be a sign that you have the coveted treasure under your feet. Groovy.
The text goes on to note that during the Italian Renaissance, and later during the Counter-Reformation, contraception, birth control, and infertility came to be defined as witchcraft. So the eclectic Frontoni, in collaboration with Omaggio, took all that info onboard came up with this immolative concept. Don't forget, this was during an era when photographers and models generally saw nudity as an expression of freedom and power. In other words, Frontoni and Omaggio, by using nude-witch-at-the-stake imagery, were saying, “Strip away all the excuses and this is what many men really hate and fear most: women.” Heavy handed? Maybe. But very much on target, we think.
One way or another someone has to pay.
This unusual poster was made for the gritty John Cassavetes drama The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, and features co-star and Playboy model Azizi Johari. It's an alternate promo that was never used in cinemas, however it appeared at auction several years ago, and thence onto the internet. We noticed it because of the lovely Johari, who we've highlighted before, but we also knew the movie, which is one of Cassavetes' more discussed efforts. It's about a cabaret owner, played by Ben Gazzara, who has a serious gambling problem. After making the last payment of a loan shark debt he's been whittling down for seven years, he goes right out accompanied by Johari and two of his club's dancers, loses big again, and must sign over his club as collateral on the debt. Later, as the film's title suggests, his creditors demand—none too politely—that he kill someone. Gazzara is one cool cucumber. His aplomb makes you wonder whether he's self-contained or just stupid. But really, how smart can you be to fall right back into a hole it took seven years to climb out of? Now it's called gambling addiction, but we think of it as merely being a mark. We wondered whether his cabaret Crazy Horse West, which features amazingly mediocre acts, was meant to embody his generally poor judgment. In any case, his bill will come due. Cassavetes puts all this together in his trademark patchwork style, with small moments stitched together to create the main character's life, and what a crazy quilt it is. The style may be off-putting to some, and the movie is marred by substandard acting from a couple of minor castmembers, but overall The Killing of a Chinese Bookie shows why Cassavetes was such a respected director. It premiered today in 1976.
Tabloid offers pills, thrills, and various painful aches.
Above: assorted pages from an issue of National Close-Up published today in 1968, with sex pills called vitogen, sexual perversion, sex parties, and sex swingers, then conversely, mass suicides, a monster baby, an acid burn victim, car crash deaths, and all that is terrible and painful in the world. Somewhere between those extremes are celebrities, including Julie Christie, Bing Crosby, Donna Marlowe again (seems she was a tabloid staple in ’68), Playboy centerfold Sue Williams (in the advertisement for strip poker cards), and, just above, the lovely June Palmer.
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.
For that matter she can barely be bottomed.
Japanese actress Izumi Shima strikes a nice seaside pose in a 1978 issue of the men's magazine Weekly Playboy. In text we've cropped out, the image mentions two of her upcoming movies—Kyoshi mejika, aka Teacher Deer, and Danchizuma: Futari dake no yoru, aka Apartment Wife: Night by Ourselves, and gives a mailing address for fans to write “love letters” to her at Nikkatsu Studios in Tokyo. The mail must have arrived by the cartload. We have more Shima shots from this session that we'll share later.
Hell yeah! My dance moves are tight, and this outfit will definitely make me the center of attention.
We've come to the last page in Reiko Ike's 1972 Weekly Playboy calendar—this fun shot for December where she seems to be having a party of one at home. But we imagine her heading to the hottest club in town. Having been to several of the better discos in the western hemisphere, we think this outfit will get her past even the most jaded doormen. Of course, nobody can really trust our opinon. We've also been arbitrarily refused entry to some of the better discos in the western hemisphere—Pacha! Pacha! Excuse us. Little touch of cold coming on.
Anyway, it's been a pretty nice year of Reiko images, and we're happy to have uploaded them for all of you to enjoy. She's outpaced her competitors to become the most featured vintage actress on Pulp Intl., ahead of Marilyn Monroe (if we don't count tabloid appearances), Pam Grier, Christina Lindberg, and a few others. We'll have even more shots of Japan's greatest cinematic girl gangster at some point, so look for those down the line.
Age is just a number—a pointlessly restrictive one.
We've been sharing Reiko Ike images via her 1972 Weekly Playboy calendar, posting one shot each month, but a few times the magazine used a photo for two months at once, which leaves us to find imagery to fill in the gaps. October was one of those months, so above are a couple of replacement images for November. They're also from Weekly Playboy, just not from her calendar. The text says Reiko-kun was due to turn twenty in May 1972, and she announces, with the wisdom of her advanced years, “It's too late for me to be nude.” And of course she reversed course on that crazy notion pretty quick, as her many subsequent unclothed photos prove. Here's the thing: It's never too late to be nude. Not for her, not for us, not for anybody.
Summer's over but the heat lingers.
The Reiko Ike Weekly Playboy calendar is in its last quarter—in its autumn you might even say. Above you see the magazine's entry for October and November 1972, featuring Reiko in a groovy fringed vest—yet another look from that era we think needs to return. And under the vest she's wearing, well, herself. Always her best look. Obviously, since this shot encompasses November we'll need to dig up an image from elsewhere for the first of next month, but luckily, we have plenty. Stay tuned.
Maybe she'll think you didn't look if you tell her she's out of sight.
One can't help but stare at least a little at this promo shot of Hitomi Kozue where the text says in English and Japanese not to do it. It came from a 1975 issue of Weekly Playboy in which the popular actress talks about her interests and hobbies. Among them: drinking. Literally, it says that. We like Kozue better the more we learn about her.
Of course we'll join you. Thanks for asking. Is there another bike or does one of us sit on the handlebars?
We continue adding to our set of rare Reiko Ike promo images with this September page from her 1972 Weekly Playboy calendar. For some reason we couldn't get a smooth scan of this, a sometime problem we think is related to vagaries of the electricity in our place. We may try this one again a bit later, but Reiko looks good smooth, grainy, blurry, and all other ways. More from her soon.
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
The Battle of Normandy, aka D-Day, begins with the landing of 155,000 Allied troops on the beaches of northern France in an event codenamed Operation Overlord. The German army by this time is already seriously depleted after their long but unsuccessful struggle to conquer Russia in the East, thus Allied soldiers quickly break through the Nazi defensive positions and push inland in the largest amphibious military operation in history.
1963—John Profumo Resigns
British Secretary of State for War John Profumo resigns after the revelation
that he had been sexually involved with a showgirl and sometime prostitute named Christine Keeler. Among Keeler's close acquaintances was a senior Soviet naval attaché, thus in addition to Profumo committing adultery then lying about it before the House of Commons, authorities pressed for his resignation because they also feared he had been plied for state secrets.
1939—Journey of the St. Louis
The German passenger liner MS St. Louis, carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps. The event becomes the subject of a 1974 book, Voyage of the Damned, by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts, and is later adapted into a film with the same title, released in 1976.
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