Vintage Pulp Feb 24 2024
LOSER TAKES A SHOT
The question is—a shot of what?


You've seen previous examples from Éditions le Condor's series La Môme Double-Shot. This entry was written by George Maxwell, aka Georges Esposito, and is called Rien ne va plus, which means “nothing is going well.” But this cover went pretty well. Its creator Jean Salvetti, who signed as “Salva,” painted a visual pun in which “double-shot” becomes a choice between a shot of liquor and a shot of lead. We'll take the booze. Every time. More from Salvetti at his keywords below. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 22 2024
CRACK BABY
Aw, look. She's all puckered up and ready for a kiss.

Sure, we went there. Why not? We built our own wesbite so we can write any damn thing we want. Above you see another Europa Books foldout cover, Fritz Jantzen's 1963 sleazer Berlin Bed, which we found on Flickr, then brightened up a bit. The author obviously used a pseudonym, possibly for Charles Nuetzel, who is known to have used the name Jantzen. The art here is by Bill Edwards, identifiable anyway from the style, but doubly so thanks to the band-aid. If you want to see more Europa foldout covers, and learn a little about the company just click its keywords below and scroll. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 20 2024
DARKEST DESIRES
There's no jealousy like a femme fatale's jealousy.


It's amazing how much easier James M. Cain makes writing seem than scores of other authors. His 1950 novel Jealous Woman starts at a gallop. Here's the first line: At the desk, when they said she was in 819, I knew hubby or pappy or somebody was doing all right by their Jane, because 19 is the deluxe tier at the Washoe-Truckee, one of our best hotels here in Reno, and you don’t get space there for buttons. And just like that we're off. Cain gives readers ambitious insurance man Ed Horner of General Pan-Pacific Insurance of California. Horner lives, works, and parties in Reno, where unhappy marrieds migrate to be freed from their nuptial bonds. He gets involved in a complex divorce/annulment scheme between Jane Delavan, her rich husband, Jane's ex-husband, and his current wife. Yes, it's a bit complicated, but a messy murder uncomplicates it a little. At least for readers. For Horner, things get weird. Jealous Woman isn't Cain's best, but it's still a slice of devious fun worth reading, and this Ace version with John Vernon cover art is the edition to buy if you can.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 12 2024
DEEP WATERS
1959 flood thriller proves that even during a natural disaster money, booze, and women are all that matter.


Ernest Jason Fredericks', aka Paul Ernst's 1959 novel Cry Flood!, for which see an Ace paperback edition above with nice art by George Ziel, is a thriller in the flood/hurricane sub-genre on which we've gotten hooked in recent years. We've read entires from John D. MacDonald, Theodore Pratt, Malcolm Douglas, and others. It seems as though the close quarters and ticking clock aspects built into disaster settings bring out the best in authors.

In Cry Flood! Fredericks sets the action in a New Jersey diner perched on high land as two hurricanes to the south and unseasonable rain in the region bring the nearby river to the record crest of a 1936 flood—then beyond. Converging on the diner are a bank-phobic miser carrying twenty-six thousand dollars, four married couples, and two criminals who catch wind of the money and intend to steal it. The problem is the flood waters rise too high for anyone to leave, which means the crooks must bide their time, prompting them to spend it terrorizing those with whom they're trapped.

In Fredericks' hands, the two bad men are synonymous with the flood, implacable and unavoidable, forcing the couples to face their fears and admit their failings before death sweeps them away. Or not—but only if they're brave and lucky. It was quite well done, and consistently enjoyable. For our money, the best of the flood/hurricane lot so far has been John and Ward Hawkins' A Girl, a River, and a Man, but Cry Flood! held its own in what has continued to be fertile pop fiction territory.
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Vintage Pulp Feb 10 2024
DOCTORISH ADVICE
I don't have my degree yet, so for now my recommendation for your sex addiction is to hire a good booking agent.

Above: Swap Psychiatrist, from 1968, with art by Robert Bonfils. The author, John Dexter, was credited with three-hundred and fifty books, according to the comprehensive website Greenleaf Classics Books. His name was used as a pseudonym by many, including Lawrence Block, Vivien Kern, Harry Whittington, and others. We have more than a few Dexter covers in the website, but our favorites are here and here

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Vintage Pulp Feb 8 2024
A WOMAN'S WORK
I did it the same way you became a boy reporter, but with less respect and more talent.

How I Became a Girl Reporter was first published in 1951, and as the title and cover indicate, Hyman Goldberg's novel is a breezy little number about men and women who have various workplace encounters that presage romance. The book was well received, and while we were tempted to buy it to learn just how different the co-ed workplace was back then (as if we couldn't guess), venturing anywhere near the boundaries of comedy is a dodgy proposition when you're talking about this time period. Maybe we'll read it down the line. The cover art is by an unknown. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 4 2024
NOT IN HIS CORNER
Baby, stay down! I put a hundred bucks on the other guy!

Argosy magazine, the first of the pulps, running from 1882 to 1978, occasionally compiled its sports related short stories into a long format publication, and you see an example here—The Argosy Book of Sports Stories. This edition with cover art by John Walter Scott was published in 1953 with stories from Virgil Scott, William Campbell Gault, William Holder, Stewart Sterling, Scott Young, and others. We stopped highlighting Argosy long ago because it has little visual content aside from the covers, but we discussed it several times, and you can those posts here, here, here, and here.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 1 2024
HEALTH FREAK
If you don't mind, let's stop for a moment so I can call in a nurse. I'm into threesomes.

More sleaze from Beacon-Signal, this time in the medical sub-genre, with Elaine Dorian's, aka Isabel Moore's 1962 effort The Sex Cure. We last saw her when we read her 1961 novel Love Now Pay Later, which was marketed as sleaze but was actually rather ambitious. There's more deceptive marketing here. The Sex Cure has a certain amount of eroticism, but what you mainly get is the serious tale of a philandering doctor trying to change his ways after his latest girlfriend almost dies from an illegal abortion.

This is not, strictly speaking, entirely the doctor's fault. He'd given his girlfriend money and sent her to a reliable practitioner, but she'd kept most of the cash, went cheap on the procedure, and it cost her. To the doc's dismay, because she'd had to speak to police about the incident, his name is out and his reputation is ruined. There's more to the book, as well as numerous characters and subplots, but is it worth reading? Well, as a pure drama it's nothing special, and it isn't erotic enough to be sleaze, so we can't recommend it.

However, it does have an interesting backstory. Apparently it was based on actual goings-on in Cooperstown, New York. The story goes that when Dorian moved there in 1961 the locals learned or already knew that she was a novelist, and in their zeal to cozy up to a local celebrity passed along the town's gossip. Dorian repackaged much of what she heard into The Sex Cure, and when the townspeople got wind of the novel's contents they were displeased. You can read the entire story at New York Magazine here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 30 2024
HIGH CONCEPT
It's a beautiful Window even if it doesn't illuminate the identity of the cover artist.


Above: a cover scan of Raymond Chandler's thriller The High Window. This book sold on Sotheby's a while back for more than 5K. It was published in 1943 in identical editions by British imprint Hamish Hamilton and Australia's George Jaboor with cover art that's signed but uncredited inside. It's possibly the work of British painter John Hewitt. He was born in 1922, which would make this an (extremely) early effort. But maybe he was a prodigy. With connections that could get him into the commercial art scene by age twenty-one. Okay, no. Alternatively, this could be the work of Don Hewitt, a British painter born in 1904. He repatriated with his parents to the U.S. in 1907, but could have later worked for an across-the-pond publisher, we suppose. Publishing continued there even during World War II. How Hewitt got his art to London we can't speculate. So, probably not him either. Call it unattributed, then. If you want to know what The High Window is about, check our earlier musings here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 26 2024
THE MORTAL OF THE STORY
It may seem harsh, but it's the only way I know of to quiet a roomful of men.


We have another new name for the website today, French illustrator Jean Sidobre, who put together this piece for Robert Tachet's 1952 novel Les morts sont toujours collants and signed it at bottom right. The title means “the dead are always sticky,” which is a typical title from that particular paperback industry—i.e. a bit baffling. But we get the idea we think. We've seen Tachet before. Have a look here

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 26
1917—First Jazz Record Is Made
In New Orleans, The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band was frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", but in reality all the members had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a group of racially mixed performers who helped form the basis of Dixieland while playing under bandleader George Laine.
February 25
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
February 24
1920—The Nazi Party Is Founded
The small German Workers' Party, or DAP, which was under the direction of Adolf Hitler, changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Though Hitler adopted the socialist label to attract working class Germans, his party in fact embraced mainly anti-socialist ideas. The group became known in English as the Nazi Party, and within the next fifteen years expanded to become the most powerful force in German politics.
1942—Battle of Los Angeles Takes Place
A object flying over wartime Los Angeles triggers a massive anti-aircraft barrage, ultimately killing 3 civilians. Initially the target of the aerial barrage is thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it is later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects remains unknown to this day, but the event is known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
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