Femmes Fatales Jul 10 2024
THAT OLD BLONDE MAGIC
You know the old saying. Once you go witch you'll never want to switch.


Since we mentioned the television show Bewitched recently, here's its star, the lovely Elizabeth Montgomery, bringing some supernatural qualities to a nightgown in this 1963 photo made to promote her comedy flick Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed? She was born into show business as the daughter of legendary actor and director Robert Montgomery, who boosted Elizabeth's fortunes by casting her in thirty episodes of Robert Montgomery Presents. Having launched her career in television, she worked mainly in that medium going forward but appeared in a few movies, notably in 1963's Johnny Cool. She accumulated credits on some sixty television shows, sang on three soundtracks, and even lent her voice to cartoon characters on The Flintstones and Batman: The Animated Series.

We've been enjoying Bewitched immensely. As a classic sitcom, it mixes a lot of zany problems into a suburban marriage, and enlivens the proceedings with a bit of low wattage sexiness. We think Darrin Stevens, as played so far by Dick York, is a terrible husband, but part of the fun is watching the twerp try to stop Montgomery from using her magical powers. It was a plot contrivance meant extol the virtues of earning what you obtain, but these days reads more like marital domination, mansplaining, and unsupportiveness. Whereas we'd be, “You wanna do what? Zap us over to Budapest for the weekend? Well, sure, honey, I suppose I could free up time for that.” Since Montgomery didn't make much in the way of pulp style entertainment she may not appear here again, but what an appearance. See another Montgomery here.

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Intl. Notebook Jun 8 2024
THE EDGE OF FOREVER
A timeless show's most timeless episode.


Was Star Trek the greatest sci-fi series ever aired? We think so, though there have been other great ones. But even if Star Trek wasn't the best, it was the most topical and groundbreaking, with its anti-war and anti-racism allegories, diverse crew, and costumes that pushed the bounds of censorship. The two shots above are from the 1967 episode “City on the Edge of Forever,” written by Harlan Ellison and considered by many fans to be the pinnacle of the series. In the photo are Enterprise crew members looking at the Guardian of Forever, an eternal being that records all of history and acts as a gateway for those who wish to observe the past firsthand.

When Doctor McCoy suffers an accidental drug overdose that makes him psychotic he leaps through the gateway to a past Earth. At that moment the Enterprise, which is in orbit, disappears. Somehow McCoy has changed Earth's past, and caused the ship—possibly all of humanity—to wink out of existence. The crew members have no choice but to follow McCoy into the past to try and stop him from doing whatever altered history. Spock refers to that past—the 1920s—as “a rather barbaric time.” We wonder what he would think if he came from the future to the 2020s? We have a feeling the word “barbaric” wouldn't suffice.
 
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Sportswire Jun 7 2024
CRANKY CLIPPER
If Donald Sterling's comments embarrassed NBA team owners, what will they think about an entire mini-series?


We don't watch a lot of new television series, but when we heard about Hulu's Clipped we decided to have a look. It's about the dysfunctional reign of billionaire Donald Sterling as owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers, and it happens that ten years ago, back when we still had the time and inclination to write about public scandals as a subset of pulp, we touched on the subject. We used to watch a lot of NBA, but around then we drifted away from the sport and haven't watched it since. It wasn't a conscious decision, but looking back, the plantation mentality of league owners like Sterling may have had something to do with it

In short, Sterling is a billionaire real-estate mogul whose wealth insulated him from consequences that should have taken him down decades earlier. It was a woman that finally did him in. His misbehavior came out in the open when his (possibly non-sexual) mistress V. Stiviano shared an audio rant of Sterling haranguing her because she'd taken a photo with ex-basketball star Magic Johnson and posted it online. Sterling didn't want Stiviano—who's black and Mexican—seen in public with people of color, and didn't want her bringing black friends to Clippers games. It was a problematic and indefensible attitude, to say the least.

The audio clip revealed to the world what sports fans around L.A. (including us) had known for years—that the city's massive fanbase meant Sterling didn't need to spend money improving the team, he had little interest in winning, and held proprietary and retrograde views of black athletes. Sterling denied that his rant was racist, of course, and exhibited the moral outrage that is the default setting for people exposed for terrible views. In reality, he was like a walking, talking villain from a blaxploitation movie. If Pam Grier had burst through the door and karate chopped him to the floor nobody would have blinked.

Hulu has released two of the six episodes of Clipped. The show has a great tone, nudging up against farce though it's based on reality. Laurence Fishburne is excellent as Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, as is Cleopatra Coleman as Stiviano, but the showrunners' coup was in casting ex-Al Bundy portrayer Ed O'Neill as Sterling. He's pitch perfectas an elderly, insulated billionaire who constantly tells himself he's brilliant, yet refuses to understand that the reason things it was “okay” to say in the past are problematic now is because in the past the people he mistreated couldn't make their protests heard. They always hated it. Digital technology, the internet, and social media finally provided them a voice. Entire swaths of America are still refusing to adjust to this tipping of the scales toward a slightly more equal reality.

Clued in sports fans have always understood that Sterling's attitude is common among owners in the NBA (and NFL), but the revelations shocked casual fans and looked dangerous for the league's bottom line. Sterling's peers, driven by the instinct for self-protection and self-policing that keeps their clan out of congressional hearings, proactively drummed him out of their cosseted circle. Therefore the ending of Clipped is pre-written, but even so, we bet there are some amusing surprises in store. If you like sports, enjoy insider info on athletes, and can laugh at the absurd, then Clipped is good fun. It can't make NBA owners happy, but we're sure enjoying it.

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Femmes Fatales May 16 2024
POWERS OF INNOVATION
You like my gun? I made a few modifications. It doesn't fire anymore, but it scares the absolute crap out of people.


This promo shot shows U.S. actress Stefanie Powers and was made for her The Man from U.N.C.L.E. spin-off show The Girl from U.N.C.L.E., on which she starred as secret agent April Dancer. She would later go on to become widely known while starring in the 1979-84 sleuthing weekly Hart to Hart with Robert Wagner. The photo is from 1966. You can see another one here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 9 2024
A REAL WRIST TAKER
Doing her part to take a bite out of crime.

Above is the cover of Bagliori sulla città, written by Roy Parks for S.P.E.R.O.’s series I Gialli Polizieschi Americani, 1957. Parks was actually a writer named Mario Casacci, who also published novels as Bill Coleman, Mario Kasak, Rex Sheridan, and possibly others. He was also a noted screenwriter most famous for inventing, along with Alberto Ciambricco, the figure of Lieutenant Sheridan, who was a staple on Italian television through the 1960s and early 1970s, played by Ubaldo Lay. Casacci also participated on several soundtracks as a lyricist. The art here is from Averardo Ciriello, who we’ve featured before here and here on movie posters.

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Femmes Fatales Nov 4 2023
A GAME OF SOLITAIRE
She can Seymour in the cards than you can.


Playing the virgin tarot reader Solitaire in 1973's James Bond film Live and Let Die, British actress Jane Seymour wore probably a dozen hairstyles, but we don't remember this one. It's ridiculous, but when you're beautiful you can get away with it. Since shifting her career into top gear with Bond, she's racked up acting credits in something like 170 films and television shows. While she's appeared on the silver screen plenty, she truly made her mark in television, playing everything from an Old West physician in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman to Lady Brett Ashley in a mini-series of The Sun Also Rises. There's little doubt she's one of the more enduring small screen stars of her generation. We doubt even Solitaire saw that coming.

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Femmes Fatales Sep 15 2023
JACKIE UH OH
Laced up tight and ready for action.

British actress Jacqueline Jones appears in the above promo image made for 1965 her comedy/thriller The Intelligence Man. Jones accumulated about forty credits during her career, appearing in such movies as Jungle Street Girls and The Cool Mikado, and on television shows such as The Avengers and The Scales of Justice. This is a great shot, bouffant hair, lace top, pink background, and all.

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Hollywoodland Sep 9 2023
FACE TIME
Movie stars were always willing to give each other a hand.


Once again we've been struck, so to speak, by the sheer number of cinema promo images featuring actors and actresses pretending to slap each other. They just keep turning up. The above shot is more about the neck than the face, but it still counts, as Gloria Swanson slaps William Holden in 1950's Sunset Boulevard. Below we have a bunch more, and you can see our previous collection at this link. Since we already discussed this phenomenon we won't get into it again, except briefly as follows: pretend slaps, film is not reality, and everyone should try to remember the difference. Many slaps below for your interest and wonder.
Diana Dors smacks Patrick Allen blurry in 1957's The Long Haul.

Mob boss George Raft menaces Anne Francis in a promo image made for 1954's Rogue Cop.

Bud Abbott gets aggressive with Lou Costello in 1945's Here Come the Co-Eds.

Jo Morrow takes one from black hat Jack Hogan in 1959's The Legend of Tom Dooley.

Chris Robinson and Anita Sands get a couple of things straight about who's on the yearbook committee in Diary of High School Bride.

Paul Newman and Ann Blyth agree to disagree in 1957's The Helen Morgan Story.

Verna Lisi shows Umberto Orsini who gives the orders in the 1967 film La ragazza e il generale, aka The Girl and the General.

What the fuck did you just call me? Marki Bey slaps Betty Anne Rees loopy in the 1974 horror flick Sugar Hill.

Claudia Cardinale slaps (or maybe punches—we can't remember) Brigitte Bardot in the 1971 western Les pétroleuses, known in English for some reason as The Legend of Frenchie King.

Audrey Totter reels under the attentions of Richard Basehart in 1949 Tension. We're thinking it was probably even more tense after this moment.

Anne Baxter tries to no avail to avoid a slap from heel Steve Cochran in 1954's Carnival Story.

Though Alan Ladd was a little guy who Gail Russell probably could have roughed up if she wanted, the script called for him to slap her, and he obeyed in the 1946 adventure Calcutta.

Peter Alexander guards his right cheek, therefore Hannelore Auer crosses him up and attacks his left in 1964's Schwejk's Flegeljahre, aka Schweik's Years of Indiscretion.

Elizabeth Ashley gives Roddy McDowall a facial in in 1965's The Third Day.

Tony Anthony slaps Lucretia Love in 1972's Piazza pulita, aka Pete, Pearl and the Pole.
 
André Oumansky goes backhand on Lola Albright in 1964's Joy House.

Frank Ferguson catches one from Barbara Bel Geddes in the 1949 drama Caught.

This looks like a real slap, so you have to credit the actresses for their commitment. It's from 1961's Raisin in the Sun and shows Claudia McNeil rearranging the face of Diana Sands.

Gloria Grahame finds herself cornered by Broderick Crawford in 1954's Human Desire.

Bette Davis, an experienced slapper and slappee, gets a little assistance from an unidentified third party as she goes Old West on Amanda Blake in a 1966 episode of Gunsmoke called “The Jailer.”

There are a few slaps in 1939's Gone with the Wind, so we had our pick. We went with Vivien Leigh and Leslie Howard.

Virginia Field takes one on the chin from Marshall Thompson in Dial 1119.

Clint Eastwood absorbs a right cross from nun Shirley MacLaine in 1970's Two Mules for Sister Sara.

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Femmes Fatales Jul 15 2023
COLD STEEL PURSUASION
She always manages to make a solid point.


French actress Corinne Le Poulain, who you see here armed and pleased with herself, is a bit obscure due to acting largely on television, however, she did make such cinematic efforts as 1969's Un jeune couple, aka A Young Couple, 1970's La provocation, and 1973's Les anges. This photo was made for her hit show Sam et Sally in 1978. The beautiful madmemoiselle Corinne will return soon.

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Femmes Fatales Jan 25 2023
INTERPRETIVE DANCE
Whew! I'm getting tired. But there you have it—the letter Y. Next up is my finale—the letter Z!


Georgine Darcy shows her dancing flexibility in this promo image made in 1954, around the time she was making her debut in Rear Window. She appeared in a few other films, among them Women and Bloody Terror, and guested on about a dozen television shows—Mike Hammer and Peter Gunn come to mind—but she'll probably always be remembered as Miss Torso from Hitchcock's classic. The only thing is, they should have called her character Miss Everything, because she's got it all.

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 14
1921—Sacco & Vanzetti Convicted
Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Dedham, Massachusetts of killing their shoe company's paymaster. Even at the time there are serious questions about their guilt, and whether they are being railroaded because of their Italian ethnicity and anarchist political beliefs.
July 13
1933—Eugenics Becomes Official German Policy
Adolf Hitler signs the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, and Germany begins sterilizing those they believe carry hereditary illnesses, and those they consider impure. By the end of WWII more than 400,000 are sterilized, including criminals, alcoholics, the mentally ill, Jews, and people of mixed German-African heritage.
1955—Ruth Ellis Executed
Former model Ruth Ellis is hanged at Holloway Prison in London for the murder of her lover, British race car driver David Blakely. She is the last woman executed in the United Kingdom.
1966—Richard Speck Rampage
Richard Speck breaks into a Chicago townhouse where he systematically rapes and kills eight student nurses. The only survivor hides under a bed the entire night.
July 12
1971—Corona Sent to Prison
Mexican-born serial killer Juan Vallejo Corona is convicted of the murders of 25 itinerant laborers. He had stabbed each of them, chopped a cross in the backs of their heads with a machete, and buried them in shallow graves in fruit orchards in Sutter County, California. At the time the crimes were the worst mass murders in U.S. history.
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