Femmes Fatales Oct 10 2016
DORIS IN THE CHORUS
Sometimes in show business you need to make sure to cover your ass.

This lovely photo shows Doris Mitchell, a New York City showgirl and singer who was a member of Nils Thor Granlund's NTG Revue, a chorus line that was the first of its kind in Las Vegas, originating in 1943 at the El Rancho Hotel and Casino. The NTG Revue eventually came to New York City, where Mitchell presumably joined. But reviews were mixed, with some critics liking it, but a Variety scribe noting Granlund's habit of slapping the chorus girls on their asses, to which they rolled their eyes and drawled scripted quips like, “Ain't he a card?” Granlund was uncouth, but he was also famous and wealthy, so he got away with it. Sound like anyone you know? As far as Mitchell herself, this photo seems to be the only evidence of her career that exists. 

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Vintage Pulp May 2 2013
INVASION EARTH
Maybe they're angry they weren't invited to the slumber party.

This chaotic scene of terrified earthlings in their pajamas being swarmed by UFOs is one of the cooler vintage book covers you’ll see. Behind the Flying Saucers was Frank Scully's discussion of the origin of extraterrestrials, with a finger pointed squarely at the U.S. government for covering up evidence of their existence. He first aired his views in 1949 in his column in the publication Variety, and the next year expanded upon them in book form. The art, which was painted by Earle Bergey, is from the 1951 paperback edition. Behind the Flying Saucers was one of the first UFO books and its influence has been enduring. Scully inspired the name of Gillian Anderson’s immortal character on The X-Files, and we’ve seen the book online going for as much as $150. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology you don’t have to pay that much, or anything, for that matter, because you can read the entire text online here, or download it just about anywhere. As to whether any of what Scully wrote was true, like we’ve said before, if aliens could fly here from millions of light years away we’re pretty sure they’d have mastered the ability to go unobserved. We also think that an advanced race—after seeing how we kill each other by the millions, destroy our habitat, tolerate mass starvation, and are locked in a bizarre system of debt peonage designed to enrich an entrenched few—would not only do a screeching U-turn back to the far reaches of the cosmos, but would put up a giant intergalactic advisory sign telling travelers to steer clear of Earth at all costs. But we digress. Since the universe is too vast not to contain extraterrestrial life of some sort, maybe visitors have been here. You never know.

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Hollywoodland Apr 4 2012
GRANT'S TOMB
The porn industry welcomed her with open arms. Two years later she was dead.


Above is a cover of Variety magazine published today in 1984 reporting the death of porn starlet Shauna Grant the previous month. Born Colleen Applegate in Minnesota, she became a top-earning adult film performer over her two-year career in Los Angeles, but was also a heavy cocaine user and was ambivalent at best about her work. In fact, despite her popularity with the paying public she sometimes had difficulty acquiring roles because directors were well aware that she had no zest for what she did and they believed it showed in her performances. But her lack of enthusiasm wasn't just for her work—it was for her entire life, which was fueled by cash and parties, but also filled with hangers-on, bad men, and dodgy friends.

At some point she contracted herpes, and though many accounts assume it came from her career, it's just as likely she got the disease from her many outside-the-industry acquaintances, considering the incredibly high infection rates among the general public. In any case, with a drug habit and an STD, as well as an abortion and a broken relationship weighing on her, not to mention a career that she was ashamed of, Grant shot herself in the head with a .22 rifle on 23 March, and appeared posthumously on the Variety cover above. We chose the photo below because she seems so isolated in it, even lonely. A while back we shared an amazing Japanese poster with her, which you can see here, and we'll get back to more promo material from her later.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
December 12
1968—Tallulah Bankhead Dies
American actress, talk show host, and party girl Tallulah Bankhead, who was fond of turning cartwheels in a dress without underwear and once made an entrance to a party without a stitch of clothing on, dies in St. Luke's Hospital in New York City of double pneumonia complicated by emphysema.
December 11
1962—Canada Has Last Execution
The last executions in Canada occur when Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin, both of whom are Americans who had been extradited north after committing separate murders in Canada, are hanged at Don Jail in Toronto. When Turpin is told that he and Lucas will probably be the last people hanged in Canada, he replies, “Some consolation.”
1964—Guevara Speaks at U.N.
Ernesto "Che" Guevara, representing the nation of Cuba, speaks at the 19th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City. His speech calls for wholesale changes in policies between rich nations and poor ones, as well as five demands of the United States, none of which are met.
2008—Legendary Pin-Up Bettie Page Dies
After suffering a heart attack several days before, erotic model Bettie Page, who in the 1950s became known as the Queen of Pin-ups, dies when she is removed from life support machinery. Thanks to the unique style she displayed in thousands of photos and film loops, Page is considered one of the most influential beauties who ever lived.
December 10
1935—Downtown Athletic Club Awards First Trophy
The Downtown Athletic Club in New York City awards its first trophy for athletic achievement to University of Chicago halfback Jay Berwanger. The prize is later renamed the Heisman Trophy, and becomes the most prestigious award in college athletics.
1968—Japan's Biggest Heist Occurs
300 million yen is stolen from four employees of the Nihon Shintaku Ginko bank in Tokyo when a man dressed as a police officer blocks traffic due to a bomb threat, makes them exit their bank car while he checks it for a bomb, and then drives away in it. Under Japanese statute of limitations laws, the thief could come forward today with no repercussions, but nobody has ever taken credit for the crime.
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