Musiquarium Feb 5 2021
MUSIQUE DES SPHERES
Turns out the French were the first to land on another planet.


It's been a while since we've looked at the output of genius illustrator Raymond Brenot, so today we have a record cover he painted in 1957 for a compilation disc called Party Interplanetaire. This is tasty work in the classic pin-up mode that made him deservedly famous under both his own name and his occasional pseudonym Carols. So who's on this vinyl? That would be Jo Courtin, Otto Rubini, Ray Massey, Conrad Janis, and Los Cangaceiros. Household names, right? Well, we never heard of them. If you have, good on you. If you're unfamiliar and want to hear a few examples, check here and here. But does the music really matter? If you have this just lose the platter and frame the sleeve. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 23 2020
SWAMPED AT WORK
A trapper's job turns into a battle of wits and a test of survival.


The movie Swamp Water is based on Vereen Bell's 1941 novel of the same name. We read the book a while back and loved it, so having a look at the movie adaptation was mandatory. Jean Renoir directs a heavyweight cast: Walter Brennan, Walter Huston, Dana Andrews, an eighteen-year old Anne Baxter, and even John Carradine. Brennan is the key character, playing a murder suspect hiding in the Okefenokee Swamp. He's considered an all-time great actor, and here he plays a backwoods good ole boy, mouthing dialogue like, “I bet I been cottonmouth bit a dozen times.” When we heard that line we had to laugh, because it prefigures his famous soliloquy from 1946's To Have and Have Not about being “bit by a dead bee.”

There's more excellent dialogue in this. Our favorite line: “It's gettin' so I don't expect nothin' from you 'cept a bossified tongue and a cussin' out.”

While the script is fun, we didn't think Bell's book would be easily adaptable and we were right. One of the pleasures of the novel is its extensive focus on the geography of the swamp, but there was no way that could fit into the film. The air of deep foreboding and mystery is also missing. For those and other reasons what you end up with is a so-so old movie made from an excellent old book. The script closely follows the source material, so if you want to know a bit more about the plot, we posted a short write-up on the novel here. Swamp Water opened across the U.S. in November 1941, but before its national debut had a special premiere in the town of Waycross, Georgia, where much of the movie was made. That was today, 1941.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 7 2020
HASSLES IN THE SAND
The beach is always fun and games until someone gets burned.


What a coincidence. We were just talking about Joan Bennett a couple of days ago. You remember the story. Her husband tried to shoot her lover in the balls. Or unit. Or really anywhere in the vicinity of his reproductive organs. And he succeeded in hitting the vicinity, but missed all the crucial plumbing. It was a Hollywood love triangle that ended in blood and violence. Woman on the Beach stars Bennett, Robert Ryan, and Charles Bickford, and is also a love triangle that causes violence. The plot concerns a Coast Guard officer who becomes infatuated with a married woman. The woman's husband is an artist who lost his sight in an accident, but the Coast Guard officer becomes convinced the artist isn't really blind, but rather is using it as an excuse to hang onto his wife. Under the careful direction of French auteur Jean Renoir, Woman on the Beach makes for a decent ninety minutes of entertainment. We don't consider it a film noir, by the way, as some crowdsourced sites and blogs suggest. It just doesn't meet the requirements, in our view. AFI.com agrees, and calls it  drama. It premiered in New York City today in 1947.

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Hollywoodland Apr 16 2020
DIRECT FROM HOLLYWOOD
They always get the best seat in the house.

Below, a collection of film stars, in Hollywood and other places, looking large and in charge while seated in director's chairs. In panel three the actress in the “Bonanza's guest” chair is Karen Sharpe. We don't expect you'll need help with the others, but if so our keywords list them in order.
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Vintage Pulp Sep 26 2018
SEX SALES
Whatever he's advertising, we're buying.

Today we've brought back French illustrator Raymond Brenot, aka Carols, a genius of the visual arts. These were all magazine ads, but he also painted album sleeves, pin-ups, and the occasional paperback cover. If these don't brighten your day nothing will. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 8 2018
FOREIGN EXCHANGE
Bilateral cooperation produces great results.

Above are assorted scans from Paris-Hollywood #109 published in 1951. The cover is an Ektachrome photo credited to Mac Arthur, who's a new name for us. The centerfold déshabillable (undressable)—which is the main selling point of this magazine—was painted by Raymond Brenot under his pseudonym Carols. The rest of content features photos by Serge de Sazo, Stephen Glass, and others, of French cabaret dancers, nearly all of them forgotten today, but fondly memorialized thanks to this magazine. We have more. Just click the keywords below.

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Musiquarium Sep 26 2017
BRENOT THE ONLY ONE
Raymond Brenot proves he's one of the top album sleeve artists of his era.


Above, more pin-up style vinyl sleeves from French artist Raymond Brenot, aka Pierre-Laurent Brenot, for records pressed in France during the 1950s and 1960s. We have a previous sleeve from him here, and you can see more of his art in general by clicking his keywords below.

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Femmes Fatales May 28 2017
WEST SIDE GIRL
Best ever reason to brave crosstown traffic.


Sultry Puerto Rico born actress Rita Moreno, who many remember from her role as Anita in the 1961 Hollywood adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story, is one of the few performers to have won all four major annual American entertainment awards—i.e. the Oscar, the Emmy, the Grammy, and the Tony. She's also won a Golden Globe, been awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom and a National Medal of the Arts, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and been bestowed the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. There are even more awards, too numerous to list, and on top of all of them, she was also awarded some awesome genes, because not only is she very beautiful in the top photo from around 1960, but she still looks good today at age eighty-five.
 
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Intl. Notebook Apr 8 2017
GORGE OF THE JUNGLE
Tiki bra offers support where others fear to venture.

Last month we showed you a piece of art by Raymond Brenot and noted the eclectic industries for which he worked. Well, he also painted advertisements. The ad above is a very nice piece of tropical themed art, apparently for the technologically advanced Tiki bra, designed according to LOU guidelines, whatever those are, and incorporating innovative side straps, whatever those are. No, we don't know much about bras. But thanks to this ad we learned that one would be called in French a soutien-gorge. At least back then. To us that sounds like some sort of surgical procedure you have on your digestive tract. And in fact if you break the word apart, soutien translates as “support,” which is encouraging enough, but gorge translates as “throat,” which raises terrifying images. Love this piece of south seas island art, though. It's, erm, gorgeous.

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Musiquarium Mar 1 2017
TOURS DE DANCE
One good turn deserves another, and another, and another...

French illustrator Raymond Brenot, aka Pierre-Laurent Brenot painted many magazine covers and pin-ups, and a few paperback fronts, as well. He also painted sleeves for numerous records. You see a beautiful example above for French trumpeter Fred Gérard's Si nous dansions... en 16 tours. The close-up image shows the unique aspect of the art—its mise en abîme element, or what the Dutch call a Droste effect, an identical image within the image, with infinite repetitions implied.

The title of the record translates to “If we danced... 16 turns,” which is weird because there are actually twenty songs. The tunes cover various dance styles, such as mambo, Charleston, foxtot, etc., and we know what you're thinking. You're thinking sixteen dance styles must be covered. No—only nine styles are played, so the 16 tours part of the title is a mystery to us. If you know the answer to the riddle, you know how to reach us. But don't expect an immediate response—we'll be busy foxtrotting.

Update: It is incredibly informative having readers from all over the world. The answer came from Jo B. in France, who informed us: "16 tours is the rotation speed of the record in 1 minute."

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 18
1923—Yankee Stadium Opens
In New York City, Yankee Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's New York Yankees, opens with the Yankees beating their eternal rivals the Boston Red Sox 4 to 1. The stadium, which is nicknamed The House that Ruth Built, sees the Yankees become the most successful franchise in baseball history. It is eventually replaced by a new Yankee Stadium and closes in September 2008.
April 17
1961—Bay of Pigs Invasion Is Launched
A group of CIA financed and trained Cuban refugees lands at the Bay of Pigs in southern Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro. However, the invasion fails badly and the result is embarrassment for U.S. president John F. Kennedy and a major boost in popularity for Fidel Castro, and also has the effect of pushing him toward the Soviet Union for protection.
April 16
1943—First LSD Trip Takes Place
Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, while working at Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, accidentally absorbs lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD, and thus discovers its psychedelic properties. He had first synthesized the substance five years earlier but hadn't been aware of its effects. He goes on to write scores of articles and books about his creation.
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