Femmes Fatales Sep 14 2019
BLANK EXPRESSION
Photographer fatally shot by movie star while staging publicity photo.

This unusual triptych shows actress Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko, better known as Natalie Wood, not watching as she fires off a round. You'll see these photos described simply as Wood shooting a pistol, as if she used a real gun, but we doubt it's real. We don't think the photographer Ralph Crane would have risked having her fire a real gun anywhere in the direction of either himself or an expensive remote operated camera—especially considering the shaky aim involved.
 
Wood is almost certainly using a Hollywood prop pistol designed to shoot blanks. Crane probably set up about thirty feet away, where he'd be at no risk from superheated gases, blank cartridge debris, etc. On the other hand, maybe the bullet was real—because you never know what sort of crazy shit someone will do with a gun.

Second matter that needs clearing up—some websites say this isn't Natalie Wood. They're wrong. She was eighteen when the photos were made, and was already a big star thanks to 1955's Rebel without a Cause. We mention the film only because Wood's fame means there were hundreds of photos of her from the period, and we've uploaded a nice color one here as well. There's zero doubt. Same eyes. Same haircut. Same mouth. Natalie Wood.
 
The shooting photos first appeared in Life magazine, and both those and the color image are from 1956. As we've noted in the past, sometimes the narrow column width on Pulp Intl. means images are smaller than we'd like them to be, so we took the liberty of rearranging the black and whites vertically in order to offer a better look at them, and you see the result below. Interested in seeing more rare Wood images? Look here, here, and here.
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Hollywoodland Nov 18 2010
PLATO'S RETREAT
Sal Mineo was never able to escape his image.


Above is a National Enquirer from the week November 12—18, 1961, with cover star Sal Mineo. Mineo had been a major Hollywood presence who had scored two Academy Award nominations, one of which was for his bravura performance as Plato in Rebel without a Cause. But by 1961 the roles had dried up. The problem was his boyish appearance: he had made his reputation playing volatile youths, but now he was older and studios didn’t believe he could play other types of roles. At the time of the Enquirer cover, Mineo hadn’t worked for eighteen months. The article was simply another variation on the troubled youth theme, riffing on how Mineo had the world at his feet but had no real friends and nobody he could trust.

Soon it became clear Mineo did not have the world at his feet. He languished on the fringes of Hollywood, managing only eight roles—some of them mere bit parts—in the next ten years. However, by 1971 he had begun to make a mark on stage, starring in the gay-themed Fortune and Men’s Eyes with a young Don Johnson, and in 1976’s P.S. Your Cat Is Dead. Both plays were well-reviewed, for the most part, and Mineo seemed to have reached a point where he might vault back into the Hollywood mainstream. But his comeback was cut short when he was murdered behind his L.A. home in February 1976, stabbed in the heart. We looked  for a better version of the above shot of Mineo on a Vespa, to no avail. But we’ll keep our eyes open—it’s out there somewhere. 

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Hollywoodland May 30 2010
LAST RIDE
The man who went looking for America.

Promo photo of Dennis Hopper, actor in Rebel without a Cause, Cool Hand Luke, and Apocalypse Now, also co-writer, co-star and director of the eternal Easy Rider, seen here circa 1955. Easy Rider's official tagline was: A man went looking for America—and couldn't find it anywhere. It was meant to describe Peter Fonda's character Captain America, but it is real-life maverick Hopper for whom the line always seemed more apt

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 10
1969—Manson Followers Continue Rampage
A day after murdering actress Sharon Tate and four others, members of Charles Manson's cult kill Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Manson personally orchestrates the event, but leaves the LaBianca house before the killing starts.
1977—Son of Sam Arrested
The serial killer and arsonist known as Son of Sam and the .44 Caliber Killer, is arrested in Yonkers, New York. He turns out to be 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz. He had been killing people in the New York area for most of the previous year.
August 09
1945—Nagasaki Destroyed
The United States detonates a nuclear bomb codenamed Fat Man over the city of Nagasaki. It is the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan. 40,000 to 75,000 people are killed immediately, with tens of thousands more sickening and dying later due to radiation poisoning. The U.S. had plans to drop as many as seven more bombs on Japan, but the nation surrendered days later.
1969—Manson Followers Murder Five
Members of a cult led by Charles Manson murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate and coffee heiress Abigail Folger, along with Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, and Steven Parent. The crimes terrify the Los Angeles celebrity community, and even today continue to fascinate the worldwide public.
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