Femmes Fatales Sep 7 2019
A HOT WYNTER
Everywhere she went brought a change in the weather.


You know the difference between weather and climate? Los Angeles has beautiful women. That's climate. Dana Wynter stood out in L.A. for being unusually hot. That's weather. Glad we could clear that up. Wynter was born in Berlin and raised in England, but made her name in U.S. movies such as Something of Value and Shake Hands with the Devil. Today she's mainly remembered for Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which we briefly mentioned back in May. Check here.

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Vintage Pulp May 30 2019
YOUR BODY, THEIR CHOICE
Jack Finney's alien invasion novel is filled with close encounters of the worst kind.


This paperback cover was painted by John McDermott, aka J.M. Ryan, and it's iconic, as is Jack Finney's novel The Body Snatchers. You know the story. Aliens come from space in the form of pods that grow into exact duplicates of humans, who are replaced and dissolved into dust. Finney deftly blends sci-fi and horror, and the result is great—simply put. As with many macabre tales, the fear factor subsides somewhat once the monsters move from the shadows to center stage, but it's still very good even after that point.

The Body Snatchers became a movie in 1956, 1978, 1993, and 2007. The ’56 Don Siegel version is famously considered by many to be a direct Cold War allegory, and is the best of the quartet of adaptations, but the ’78 iteration is damned good too. In terms of metaphor, the book seems to be less about the Cold War and more clearly about the overall loss of freedom
in American society. Other than the freedom to buy things that process continues to accelerate. Finney claims the book is just popular entertainment, so we'll take him at his word, but he wouldn't be the first writer to unwittingly let subtext sneak into his work.
 
The novel originally appeared in 1955 as a serial in Colliers Magazine, with this Dell edition coming the same year. The cover artist McDermott is someone we've featured before, and if you're curious you can see more of his nice work here and here. Some book dealers actually try to sell this edition for $100, if you can believe that. Money snatchers is more like it. Buy a cheap new edition, read it, and enjoy it.

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Femmes Fatales May 4 2019
LITTLE MISS GUNSHINE
There's not even the slightest glimmer of hope.


Virginia Christine prepares to ventilate someone's cranium in this crop of a promo photo made for her 1947 film noir The Invisible Wall. We haven't watched this yet, but we will, because we have a copy of this flick in some hard drive or other. You probably haven't heard of Christine, but she had a fantastic career during which she appeared in about fifty films and numerous television shows, moving constantly between the two realms like few performers have ever managed. Some of her cinematic highlights include Robert Siodmak's The Killers, Jack Webb's Dragnet, Sam Newfield's Murder Is My Business, and Don Siegel's Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The full version of the above shot, which includes her blissfully sleeping target, appears below.

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Femmes Fatales Jun 23 2011
LOVER'S LANE
Someday her prince will come.

Above, Austrian-born British actress Jocelyn Lane, who appeared in numerous films and television shows during the ’50s and ’60s, including The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Operation Snatch, Dangerous Youth, and The Gamma People, before going on to marry Prince Alfonso of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (there’s a mouthful), relaxing here with her dog circa 1960. 

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Hollywoodland | Sportswire Dec 8 2008
MY CUSSIN' VINNIE
He wrote a check with his mouth, cashed it with his face.

British actor and former pro footballer Vinnie Jones could be facing jail time for his role in a brawl in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. And by role, we mean the role of a guy eating a beer glass. The incident took place in a bar called Wiley’s Tavern, after a patron identified Jones as the character Juggernaut from X-Men: The Last Stand. According to witnesses, Jones took offense at being recognized for that role, when he has acted in much more significant films such as Snatch and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. A profanity-laced shouting match escalated into a physical confrontation, at which point 24-year old Jesse Bickett smashed a beer glass in Jones’ face.

As a footballer Jones was known for his rough play, and still holds the English record for fastest booking, when he was ejected after just three seconds of play for illegally tackling Dana Whitehouse in a 1992 Chelsea/Sheffield United match. He also permanently injured Tottenham’s Gary Stevens with another illegal tackle, and infamously squeezed Paul Gascoigne’s testicles. But this time it was Jones who ended up in the hospital. Sioux Falls police Sgt. Tim Hagen, after studying a photo of the injured actor, deadpanned, “He sure got the worst end of that deal.”

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 30
1936—Crystal Palace Gutted by Fire
In London, the landmark structure Crystal Palace, a 900,000 square foot glass and steel exhibition hall erected in 1851, is destroyed by fire. The Palace had been moved once and fallen into disrepair, and at the time of the fire was not in use. Two water towers survived the blaze, but these were later demolished, leaving no remnants of the original structure.
November 29
1963—Warren Commission Formed
U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. However the long report that is finally issued does little to settle questions about the assassination, and today surveys show that only a small minority of Americans agree with the Commission's conclusions.
November 28
1942—Nightclub Fire Kills Hundreds
In Boston, Massachusetts, a fire in the fashionable Cocoanut Grove nightclub kills 492 people. Patrons were unable to escape when the fire began because the exits immediately became blocked with panicked people, and other possible exits were welded shut or boarded up. The fire led to a reform of fire codes and safety standards across the country, and the club's owner, Barney Welansky, who had boasted of his ties to the Mafia and to Boston Mayor Maurice J. Tobin, was eventually found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
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